It was 89 degrees today in Sonoma. I hear it was 85 in San Francisco. Incredible.
We spent the day wandering around Cornerstone Gardens. Cannot believe I’ve never been. I felt like it was a little piece of Burning Man in wine country: art sculptures, galleries, wine, and a ton of sun. In one of the exhibits, you could write a wish on a piece of ribbon and hang it onto the sculpture. Dean and I had the same wish; we have been praying so very hard recently. Cornerstone reminds me of Di Rosa. Both places exhibit wonderful art in wine country. Gosh, there is so much to do in the Bay Area. We are damn lucky to live here.
I often come across a link or post that isn’t worthy of a dedicated post on my blog. It’s really best for me to tweet these things, but then a lot of people who read my blog don’t necessarily subscribe to Twitter so then they’d be missing out. So I figured I’d just compile some of these little tiny topics into a series called Blurbs for the Brain.
Here’s a 3 and a half minute enlightening video on How the Internet Works. Fantabulous!
One of the blogs I follow is Jason Shen’s The Art of Ass-Kicking. As an entrepreneur, he doles out a bunch of insight that’s particularly useful for people who want to start up their own business, but I still find interesting even though I’m a total corporette. He wrote a post titled Startup Founders: Don’t Forget to Sell the Dream. Read the example pitch he gives for Airbnb and some parting thoughts below. But click on the link above for the full post.
“Airbnb enables people to live richer lives, where their extra space allows them to be with their children, take more vacations and save for retirement. We transform travel accommodations from cold, sterile rooms to amazing experiences with locals in unique spaces. How will we become a billion dollar company? Airbnb will host more travelers than the entire Hilton hotel chain with 5,200 locations around the world, without having to manage a single piece of property. We will be the future of travel.”
It’s a little different right? It’s much more than just making money. An investor, like a founder, wants to be a part of something that is really going to change the world. Something to be proud of. Something that they can say “Yeah, I invested to those guys/gals when they were just getting started because I saw the potential in what they could create and the impact they could have on the world”
Now again, I want to emphasize that 90% of your pitch should be about the nitty gritty of your business. But don’t fail to include that 10% of a dream.
This strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. This is for all you OCD types who are willing to take risks and take great pride in stretching your hard-earned dollars.
I have been itching to go on vacation ever since we flew back home from spending Christmas and New Year’s in the UK. As fun as that was, I have been dying for some R&R in the sun!
We bounced around Palm Springs and Los Angeles as options, but decided it was best to stay local and opted for an easy jaunt to wine country. Securing a luxe hotel reservation during spring time in Napa or Sonoma is like trying to score a same day reservation at French Laundry. It ain’t gonna happen, especially if you’re looking to book only a week or two in advance.
This is where renting a place online has really alleviated a lot of stress when it comes to finding a place to stay. There are so many beautiful, well-maintained properties on Vrbo.com, Airbnb.com or HomeAway.com. You’ll always find a handful that are available. In fact, there were a couple places I was really interested in that showed no availability, but I emailed the owners and they said it had either recently become available or they had another property available. Here are photos (credit Vrbo.com) of places I was negotiating with.
This is the best time to negotiate, when you know they’re hoping to rent their property, it’s just a couple days out, and their property is still available. BAM! Hit them with your terms. You want a free night, you don’t want to pay tax or the cleaning fee, and you’re ready to submit payment in full immediately. Not a single no. All 3 property owners I emailed agreed to my terms.
Now even though these were all gorgeous properties, I consulted with my hubby (the true decision maker, ahem, cough). And he insisted that to make this feel like a true vacation, we needed to be spoiled and sitting pool-side. Hence, a discounted last minute booking opened up at the Lodge at Sonoma—at a price similar to what I was looking at for rental properties—and I pounced on it.
Here is our home (photo credit Marriott.com) for the next few days. Heaven!
Dean and I had a party this past weekend to celebrate his birthday and me selling my home. We seriously haven’t connected with people since 2012 since the first few months of this year have been dedicated to the home sale, work, and other important matters. We haven’t had any fun and are in desperate need of a vacation!
In preparation for this party, I kept thinking we should rent a big spacious house with a huge backyard so we could entertain all our friends. I’m so glad we didn’t do that. Our 1-bedroom apartment accommodated 20+ guests just fine! Which brings me back to one of my new tenets in life which is DOWNSIZE YOUR SHIT.
Note to anyone who came to our party: if there’s anything that struck your fancy in our apartment, just let me know, it’s yours. We’ve got books, pillows, nightstands, side tables galore that we simply do not need. All this crap is driving me crazy. I only need the following material things in my life: Tempurpedic bed, a good reading lamp, books, clothes, shoes, and my MacBook air. That’s it. Everything else can go in the circular bin.
Here’s an opinion piece that really resonated with me. It should resonate with you too! Consider it mandatory reading, especially for those of you who live in these palatial homes filled with crap. The guy who wrote it was one of you.
Completely off-topic, Dean and I viewed this open house in Bernal Heights on Sunday. I really liked it, but agreed with Dean about the spiral staircase. We were going up and down the spiral staircase (the only way to get from the 1st to the 2nd floor) and he said, “This is a deal breaker.”
It can be very difficult to please children, especially on holiday. Here we have just a few ideas of how to keep the little ones entertained on the beautiful island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands.
As Tenerife offers year round sunshine and blazing temperatures in the summer, sometimes you just want to unwind and chill out. The perfect place to entertain children and keep cool is Siam Park, arguably the best water park on the island. This Thai themed water park is located in Costa Adeje, only opened in 2008, and boasts 46 acres of land with plenty to keep the whole family entertained. From adrenaline filled rides like the Tower of Power – a 28 metre vertical drop water slide – to more family friendly attractions like Mekong River Rapids and Sea Lion Island. And if that has tired you out, you can relax and have a swim in the lagoon-like pools.
Walk with some animals
If you have had enough of water activities, why not head inland to discover some of the animal parks the island has to offer. Located on the north of the island in Puerto de La Cruz is Loro Parque, the most exciting zoo on the island. Originally intended as a reserve for parrots, the park has grown its portfolio to include tigers, gorillas, chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and many more. For a more intimate zoo experience, then look no further than the Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park. The park is a breeding centre for endangered species of primates and offers you the chance to interact with these fascinating and somewhat mischievous creatures.
Aside from the big days out there are plenty of sports and activities on offer within the resorts from go-karting and crazy golf to fun-filled watersports on the beach. If travelling with children, you might want to consider a hire car rather than public transport. Car hire for Tenerife Airport South in Canarias is available as well as in the main resorts.
Today, I am the featured blogger on The SITS Girls, a community of 40,000 actively engaged bloggers known for helping women grow their online reach. Not only has SITS been instrumental in the rapid growth of my blog readership, but I have felt so genuinely supported by the friends I have made through this amazingly loyal community. Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking of strangers who have reached out to me and been there for me. Thank you SITS! I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY SO MUCH! If you are a blogger, I encourage you to visit The SITS Girls website and become part of our network.
Now a little bit about me.
Just the Facts
*American born, Filipino heritage
*37 years old
*Married for 3 years
*San Francisco dweller
*Traveled to 30+ countries, 6 continents
*Undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley: double-majored in Biology and English and minored in Forestry
*MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
*Work for a Fortune 50 company in the financial services industry
Now highlighting the Dear Vixen blog.
In business school, I had an advice column in the school newspaper titled Dear Vixen. After I graduated, people said they missed my writing, and that’s how my blog was born. I blog about living in one of the best places on earth, the San Francisco Bay Area, and traveling all around the globosphere. As an academic, literary fiend, and lover of the written word, I also feature book reviews and blog about current events and thought-provoking social, political, and religious issues that are important to me and my readers. One thing that makes my blog unique is that I take an opinionated stand, while asking readers to weigh in as I am very open-minded and respectful of differing viewpoints. My hope is that the topics I blog about spur conversation and debate, and that the advice I dole out helps people live a more enlightened and inspired life. Every once in a while, I select guest bloggers cultivated from my vast network who are subject matter experts in their field. These posts are always very well received. Thematically, my blog also has a financial bent to it as I’ve set a personal goal to retire when I’m 50 and am always harping on what we can all do to save more money.
I encourage you to wander around this online home I’ve created on the interweb. Scroll down to read my recent posts. And subscribe by clicking on the pink button on the right.
I look forward to connecting and collaborating with you, and living an inspired life.
I didn’t realize that yesterday, when I wrote my post about sexual harassment, was International Denim Day, a day to honor victims of rape and sexual assault. Read more about it by clicking on the Wikipedia link above or reading this post by Savvy Working Girl.
I think it’s so important to talk about these cringe-worthy topics and make the message clear that we’re not going to stand for this bullshit nor are we going to blame the victims.
How to sum up Spain? It’s a huge and diverse country that’s famous for so many things. It’s renowned for its sizzling summer climate and golden sanded beaches. There’s the sprawling vineyards that bask under cloudless blue skies. The stunning peaks and snow-capped summits of the Pyrenees. Paella and tapas. Jugs of sangria. Flamenco dancers and early afternoon siestas. Whatever springs to mind when you think of Spain, there’s no denying it’s a magical place with a spectacular culture and more than a few things to see, do and experience.
For beach-centric breaks with the classic combo of sun, sea and sand, Spain’s golden Costas are the place to be. Here you’ve got bubbly Costa Blanca with its neon-lit resort of Benidorm, packed with cheesy nightclubs, karaoke joints and eclectic entertainment. Costa Blanca is also home to the town of Alicante with its airport and lovely old town, which is well worth a visit. Or there’s the laid-back sophistication of Marbella, the family-friendly vibe of the Costa Dorada or chirpy, cheerful Costa Brava.
If a city break is on the agenda, try the glorious coastal appeal of chic, cosmopolitan Valencia, or head to trendy Barcelona and explore its fabulous architecture and impressive art galleries. You could also head inland to the sprawling capital of Madrid and soak up some traditional Spanish flair in its vibrant city centre.
Whatever type of Spanish getaway you’re after, you’ll find a fantastic array of choice through some of today’s holiday tour operators. For instance, Thomas Cook’s Spain holidays serve up a wonderful choice of breaks ranging from beach escapes and rural retreats to chic city locations and family-friendly holidays. Spain is a fabulous place that’s certainly got holidays down to a T – so which Spanish getaway gets your vote?
I don’t have a son nor do I have a daughter so this post is purely theoretical, but based on my own real-life experiences. I firmly believe that parenting a son in this day and age is less anxiety-filled than parenting a daughter.
A month ago, while having drinks with Dean and his friends, the topic of parenting came up—as it usually does because his friends wax on about their kids and of course, we love hearing updates. These friends both agreed that having a daughter was so special, even more special than having a son. They considered their daughters the ultimate gift. Reality set in for me as they continued to gush and I blurted out, “Why is it so special to have a daughter? So you can watch her get raped?”
Silence. Dean’s friends looked at me in shock. Dean literally put his hand around my mouth and told me to shove it. I persisted, “Of course you wouldn’t understand because you’re men.”
Cmon people. Let’s actually talk about this and not act dumb. All you have to do is pickup a newspaper and scan the headlines.
Gang Rape in India
Teen Commits Suicide After Rape
5 Year Old Raped
These are real life events that affect women. WOMEN! I’m not saying that the opposite sex isn’t also subject to assault (i.e., Jerry Sandusky), but the majority of assault cases are men against women. And many of these go unreported!
When I got lost while traveling alone in Bali, I was suddenly encircled by a band of motorcyclists jeering at me. My only saving grace was a local woman who whistled for me and pointed me in the direction of my hotel.
In Istanbul, there was a man who pinched my butt on the train. In Africa, I ultimately came out unharmed, but got embroiled in such a horrible situation that I won’t even speak of it. I literally shut down when I think of the memory.
You can say, those are risks I take for traveling abroad. But no, harassment can happen in your own backyard. I was either in high school or home from college. A friend of my dad’s stopped by. I let him in the house because he was a good family friend. I asked where his wife was and he said she was sitting in the car. He then started to tell me how pretty I was and maybe he could take me out to lunch sometime. I mean, SICK! He handed me his business card, then next came his face crashing into mine as he swiped a kiss and told me to call him sometime. This was a good family friend, in his fifties, Japanese, with his wife sitting in the car outside, a man who had full-grown daughters of his own! I make mention of his ethnicity because the Japanese are known for being a respectful culture and here was this man/father taking advantage of a teenager!
Am I making myself clear? Men wouldn’t understand because they’ve never been subjected to the amount of sexual disrespect women get all the time. Am I biased? No, because Dean and I want a healthy child no matter what sex. Am I sexist? If being fearful for the female sex is sexist, then I guess I’m sexist. Am I correct? Yes. Given what has happened lately with the number of incidents of women being raped, given my own personal experiences, I am freaked out for young women out there. I fear for them and I’m concerned for the mothers who have to parent them. What are we going to do? What can we do? Lock our daughters in their rooms?
What a scary world out there. Be on guard, women.
I am going on exactly one week of being sick. It’s made me pretty depressed, but what can I do. I’ve kinda been a zombie lately, not socializing, not responding to emails, just focusing on trying to get better. Hope to see the light at the end of this tunnel sometime soon.
You know what they say about curing the blues? Retail therapy! Haha. Seriously.
Wilkes Bashford, a San Francisco high-end boutique, has been on my To Do list for a while now. Firstly, I don’t really believe in shopping, let alone high-end shopping. However, this place is seriously an institution, with an opening in 1966 and a grand reopening last year after a complete renovation. I pass the store often because it’s on our same street and a block away from my new acupuncturist. Plus, Armistead Maupin references the boutique in Tales of the City which is a quick, indulgent read for anyone who lives in San Francisco.
Dean and I got to check it out recently. It’s cute. It has a townhouse theme with each floor a different living space: garden, living room, penthouse. The first floor is mixed, then 3 floors for women, and 3 floors for men with the top floor penthouse sporting a fireplace and full bar. I would never dare buy something so extravagant, but for shits and giggles, I checked the price tag on a cute dress. It was $1,800.