Thursday, June 6, 2019

My First Speaking Engagement

Last month I was invited to speak at an event called Love Yourself Boho Brunch put on by Her Elk Grove.  It was my very first time speaking in front of an audience without the support of a panel.  I was really nervous but I figure through discomfort comes growth so I accepted the opportunity.  Here is my experience including my one major regret.

(Photos are courtesy of Cynthia Rodriquez Photography.)  

I practiced my speech time after time to myself and to the mirror.  I practiced in the car and at night before I went to bed.  I lived and breathed this speech and how I could convey such a huge concept such as loving yourself in a 5-10 minute speech.  I wanted to give the attendees value and a takeaway that they could go implement in their life.  I wanted them to be glad that they heard the talk and most of all I wanted to not waste their time because time is the most precious thing we have.

I spoke on how switching from a negative mindset to a positive mindset can literally change your entire life.  Now, I'm not crazy and I don't think that positivity alone can cure disease or anything like that.  But I do believe that when you believe in yourself and when you decide that you are enough, that gives you the strength to fight for what you deserve, to leave toxic situations, and to better your life.  I also believe that pushing away from saying negative things about yourself and shifting to be more realistic is the simplest and most effective way to love yourself.  For example, instead of saying "I look so fat in this shirt" you could say "this shirt is not right for me."  It's generally the same idea but shifts your mindset from being horrible to yourself to simply being realistic.

My hugest mistake for this event was not asking anyone to record my talk.  I have no video of the full thing.  I'm really sad because people asked me to see the whole video and I didn't have one.  If I had thought about it, I could have set up my own tripod and recorded it myself.  That's my biggest regret so if you are speaking or performing at an event, don't forget to ask someone to record it for you!

Overall, it was a great experience and I would speak at this type of event again.  It felt really amazing to hear that my words and story were helpful to other people.  When I entered the lifestyle blogger and influencer realm, I always hoped I would be able to make a difference in the lives of others.  This event gave me immediate feedback that I did just that.

Thank you to Haku and Wine for making me a custom flower haku (crown) for this event!  I love it and still have it in my house as a reminder of this day!

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Hoshall's Spa Day

What could beat a day at the spa?  All my blogger dreams came true the day that Hoshall's Salon & Spa invited me to try their services.  They invited me the week before Mother's Day for a relaxing spa experience to get me ready for Mother's Day.  I could not be more excited!

I received free services in exchange for a social media post.  This blog post was not required and I'm writing it because I truly loved my experience and think that it would be one of the best gifts you could give someone.  

All photos are courtesy of the amazing Christina Best Photography.

Hoshall's is in Folsom, CA near the Rainbow Bridge.  They were founded over 40 years ago and in 2016 Hoshall's became an all women owned business.  I got to meet owners Kathy Fennessy and Mary Brigham and not only were they absolutely lovely people but you could tell they took a lot of care in every single detail they put into their place.

Confession: I have never been to a real full service spa before.  I have been to a salon/spa and a chain massage place to get massages and I've been to a small salon to have a facial but not this kind of spa. It was so fun to change into a robe and slippers (lockers are provided for your belongings) to lounge around the spa!  I think being in the robe puts you in a different mindset.  PS the robe had pockets so I kept my phone with me the whole time so I could take selfies, not sorry.

One of the things that surprised me most about Hoshall's is their giant beautiful patio which looks out onto a beautiful nature landscape.  I've been in the same parking lot various times and had no idea that the view in the back was so stunning!  They offer the patio for rent for private events such as birthdays, baby showers, or even a couple's day.  You can even bring your own food and an attendant will set it up for you at no extra charge.  Or you can have a spa lunch ordered and there is wine available for purchase.  I would highly recommend spending some time on this patio!  It was the perfect place to have lunch and just feel like you've escaped from the whole world.  You feel like you're in a relaxing oasis instead of a few miles from home.

My first service was a petite facial with Luda.  It was such a lovely and relaxing session.  I had exfoliation and a mask.  There was steaming and massaging.  Luda, the esthetician, also talked to be about my skin and gave me some advice on dealing with some problems I've been having.  It was a lovely session and the perfect way to start my spa day.

In between services, you can hang out on the patio or there's a waiting area with tea, water, and light snacks.  I opted for some spa water on the patio since it was such a lovely day.  I was able to chat with my friends for a few minutes before heading off to the next service.

Next, I had a massage with masseuse Elizabeth.  Is there anything in life more relaxing than a massage?  They have these amazing rooms with shower heads over the bed where you can get rinsed off right in the room.  It's so neat!  I was in one of these rooms but I didn't try to rinse.  The lights are dim and there's calming music.  Elizabeth asked me how much pressure I liked and what my problem areas were.  It was a WONDERFUL massage and I wish I could go back right this second.

After the massage, the masseuse asked me if I wanted to try the Turkish Showers to rinse off.  I figured I was already there so I should try it.  She got it started for me and walked me over there which I found so thoughtful!  The Turkish Showers have steam as well as the traditional shower head.  The steam at Hoshall's had aroma therapy too.  I steamed for as long as I could manage, which isn't long for me since I run really warm, then I turned on the cold water and rinsed off to close up all my pores as suggested by Elizabeth.  They also have a Desert Dry Sauna that people are welcome to use between services or  you can use just the sauna and shower for a small fee.

My last treatment for the day was a blow out.  I have never gone to a salon for a blow out before.  They wash and dry your hair and they will style it for you.  My cute hairstyle Katie had these lovely beach waves and a braid in her hair that day and I asked her to make my hair look just like hers.  She did an amazing job and it was sooooooo luxurious to have someone style my hair.  I felt so pretty leaving the salon!

I highly recommend booking a spa day at Hoshall's!  It's the perfect gift for someone important in your life.  What's a better gift than spending the day relaxing and being pampered?  It's perfect for a busy mom or a bride to relax before her big day or anyone who loves being treated like a queen!  I know what I'll be putting on my holiday wishlist!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Friends Day Out in Old Sacramento

Last year, we made some amazing new friends and we have been making an effort to get together once a month for a fun day out.  This month we decided to do a day in Old Sacramento since our friends recently signed the lease on their new business, Neo Escape Rooms.  They wanted to show us the space before they started construction and we wanted to check out what Old Sac has to offer for a group of friends.

This post is in collaboration with Fats Restaurant Group.  We were given a meal in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

First off, we met up for lunch at Fat City Bar and Cafe.  Fat City is owned and run by Fats Restaurant Group which are the same people who bring you Frank Fats and Fat's Asia Bistro.  However, Fat City is a very different concept.  It is right in Old Sac across from the Embarcadero and offers an eclectic menu of upscale cuisine.  They have everything from nachos and sandwiches to French Beouf Bourguignon and Jambalaya Pasta.  With their extensive menu, we were able to find something to suit every person in our group's appetite.  

We started with some appetizers.  We got the nachos and the calamari.  I asked for cocktail sauce for the calamari and the waiter said they didn't have any BUT he would MAKE me some.  Talk about great service!  It was also the best cocktail sauce I've ever had!  Then we moved onto entrees, my husband and one of our friends got the Burger of the Week.  The week we went it was a BBQ Bison Burger and they both enjoyed it very much.  My friend Acme got the Chicken Pot Pie which was brought back my popular demand.  Rightly so, it was delicious!  My friend Alex got the Beouf Bourguignon which was tender and flavorful.  It came with lovely vegetables.  I got the Osso Buco since I haven't seen that on many menus.  It was fall off the bone tender and so full of flavor!  We loved all our meals and the staff was delightful!  I can't wait to come back to try more Fat City Bar and Cafe's menu, maybe next time for brunch!

After our filling lunch, we walked around Old Sac to digest.  We happened to be there on May the Fourth Day and we decided to dress to theme.  There was a Star Wars themed scavenger hunt but unfortunately we didn't have time to complete it.  We did however enjoy the decorations and visited with some cosplayers.  We also took some pictures.

Then, we toured the space that will be Neo Escape Rooms.  Our friends Gabriel and Acme won a contest called Calling All Dreamers which helps people with business ideas with resources to open their own business in Downtown Sacramento.  They recently signed the lease on a large space next to Firehouse Restaurant.  They will be transforming the space into three Sacramento themed escape rooms.  I can't wait for them to open because escape rooms are the perfect way to spend time with friends!

We finished our day off with a sweet treat from another Calling All Dreamers contest winner, Milk House Shakes.  The owner's name is Kelly and she created fabulous Presidential inspired milkshakes such as the Abraham Lincoln which is an Oreo shake and the Theodore Roosevelt which is a coffee shake since he was rumored to drink a gallon of coffee a day.  The cute little shop is a family affair where you can often find Kelly's mom and twin sister scooping up some delicious shakes.  My husband and I tried a traditional Oreo Shake which the other guys mixed a bunch of flavors together.  We enjoyed our shakes outside at the picnic tables and it was a lovely end to a lovely day!

Old Sacramento is going through a revitalization.  The Embarcadero they built is the perfect place to see many iconic Sacramento features such as the Tower Bridge and The Ziggurat.  Old Sac draws tourist for a reason.  There's great restaurants, fun shops, and more and more events happening all the time.  Next time you're out for a friend's day, give it a shot!

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Simple and Elegant Blogger Brunch

This weekend, my lovey friend Laura and I hosted some of our local mommy blogger friends for a brunch.  Laura thought it would be fun to get together to meet each other in person and have a community of support.  It can be a little lonely being a blogger when you work from your home with no coworkers and no need to leave.  While we wanted to the brunch to be beautiful, delicious and fun, we also wanted it to be easy for us to put together and not too expensive.

Disclosure: I reached out to a few brands to see if they would like their products featured at this event.  The graciously gave me free products/gift cards to purchase their product.  As always, opinions are 100% honest and my own.  Professional photos provided by Liz Lopez Photography.

We kept our decor very simple.  First off, Laura has a really beautiful house so it's easy to keep the decor streamlined.  We decided to just go with some fresh flowers.  We were SO lucky that my friend Amanda from Bloom Sacramento was going out of town and happened to be giving away some excess flowers that were just GORGEOUS!  She is a flower farmer and florist and always has the most beautiful flowers!  Laura put flowers in large vases for the dessert and coffee area and for a counter.  She put some flower in little Target Dollar Spot tiny vases for the parfait bar.  I cut off some flowers and added them to the beverage tub on top of the ice.  It's a ton of impact for minimal work and I only needed about 7-8 flowers.

Photo from Jessica of Blog About It All

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

For the food, we used white serve ware and some baskets lined with pink tissue paper.  We bought some pretty paper plates from Target with flowers on them and some cute napkins.  We bought cute sparkly plastic wine glasses for the wine.  We also bought some Target Dollar Spot place cards to label the food items.

We were so lucky to have Grazing Cravings gift us a Grazing Platter which was the centerpiece of our brunch.  The lovely Shiella makes the most gorgeous platters ever!

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

We were also given delicious cake pops from The Sugar Butcher.  Katelynd makes the most detailed baked goods ever and her flavors are always delicious!

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

Laura and I provided really simple, fun, and customizable food.  We had a Parfait Bar.  We provided regular and non-dairy/vegan yogurt, regular and gluten free granola, a variety of cut up fruit, local honey, and jam.  We had clear cups and people were able to make a parfait that was perfect for their needs and preferences.  We also got croissants and dulce de leche bites from Costco for people who love carbs.
Photos from Kimi of
For drinks, we partnered with Silt Wine Co and Muddy Boot Wines.  We also provided some sparkling waters, hard cider, rose, and Diet Coke for a certain someone.

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

First of all, I do not think that swag bags or goody bags are necessary for an event.  I think the important part is to spend time with your friends or family and have fun.  However, since this event was for blogger I wanted to allow my friends with small businesses the chance to be seen by the ladies without having the event be about sales.  We created simple bags and added in some yummy treats for the way home.

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

The contents were: a pass for a free admission to Imagine Play Elk Grove, a soap from Birds of a Feather, stationery from Petite Papery, travel first aid kit from Grade Power Elk Grove, and a coupon from Amazing Lash Elk Grove.

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography
It was such a nice time hanging out with our friends!  Also, I think it's important to remember that not all parties need to be over the top and full of details.  It's about spending time together and enjoying your conversation.

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography

Photo by Liz Lopez Photography
Photo by Liz Lopez Photography
I hope this inspires you all to have a brunch or get together with your friends!  I think so many times we get caught up in all the things we feel like we have to do to make things nice that we psyche ourselves out.  We end up missing out on having great memories because we are afraid it will be too much time or money to put together a little party.  Have the party!  Life is too short to not celebrate lovely things like friendship!

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Snow Day for Non-Snow People in Apple Hill

I love the idea of snow but if I'm honest, it scares me.  Growing up in the Sacramento area, we never got snow.  I don't know how to drive in snow.  I'm actually not all that great at even walking in snow.  But of course, my kids love snow even though my daughter had never seen snow in person before.  Last Monday, we had a short and sweet snow day that I wanted to share with anyone like me who is slightly anxious about snow.

This post is NOT sponsored.  I have no affiliations with any of the places or companies mentioned.  This an affiliate link, if you purchase from the link I earn a very small commission.  I wrote this post just in case you were someone like me who wanted in their heart to take your kids to the snow but got very anxious driving in and being in lots of snow.  I hope this can be helpful to you!

I talked to my husband's cousin after she posted that it snowed in the town where she lives.  Unfortunately, she told me that the snow was melting but recommended I go to Apple Hill to see snow.  Why have I never thought of this?!?

Wanna know if there's snow in Apple Hill right the second you want to go?  My tip?  Check Instagram!  You can go to either Apple Hill's page, a page of one of the orchards like Boa Vista, or you can check out posts from random people under the Apple Hill geotag.  The day I looked, I found photos posted within the hour with snow on the ground.  I tried checking the weather app and it only told me the current weather which was about 42 and did not tell me if there was snow on the ground.  The weather app will most likely only tell you if it's currently snowing, raining, etc...  That was not helpful to me.  I wanted to know if there was viable snow to be played with.

The beauty of going to Apple Hill in February is that it is not nearly as crowded as October.  LOL!  We went on President's Day which is always a Monday.  We did not hit any traffic.  There was NO snow or ice on the roads.  We went up HWY 50 and took the directions that our phone gave us.  There was snow on the sides of the road but NONE of the actual highway or streets.  This was really important to me since I didn't want to buy chains for the car.  (I did see online that people experienced traffic on the weekends.)

We decided to stop at Boa Vista Orchards since I knew from being there in the fall that they have a large open lot across the street that they normally put their pumpkin patch in.  They are open all year so I was also excited to buy some baked goods while I was up there!  It was really easy to park in their parking lot and cross the street to the snow.

There were a few inches of snow on the ground it was was perfect for playing while not having to worry about my tiny daughter sinking into a large area of snow.  Since it was just a couple inches, we were mostly fine in our sneakers and regular winter boats without needing snow boots.  In fact, it wasn't all that cold so some gloves, a jacket, and a hat was all that was needed.  The boys didn't even wear hats.

When we got too cold and needed a break from the snow, we headed across the street to Boa Vista's bakery and got hot chocolate and hot apple cider to warm up.  We also got some still warm donuts and it was basically bliss.  They have a small fire place where you can warm up a bit too.  They also have hard cider and wine for the 21 and up.  I suggest bringing a little spending money and taking some apples, baked goods, and drinks home with you too!

Things I Wish We Had:
1. Plastic Sled (this is an affiliate link, if you purchase from it, I earn a small commission.) for going down the hill they have.
2. Things to decorate a snowman ie carrot nose, charcoal eyes, etc...
3. Waterproof gloves.  We brought the cheap knit kind.
4. Waterproof shoes.  We wore regular shoes and mostly did ok but we did get our feet a little damp.

We spent a couple hours and the kids got their fill of snow.  It took about an hour to get there and an hour to get back.  I'm glad my daughter finally got to see the snow.  It wasn't anything ground breaking but it was a nice, fun time and inexpensive!

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