Vacation Destinations

Motivations for taking a trip—vacation if you prefer—and where to go, vary all over the map. Mostly they are related to the individual and to one’s desire to get away, to change the environment, or to ignore problems or conditions that exist. To escape the mundane world for a bit.

Funny direction signpostAh, but where to go, what to do, what to see? Once again, this decision is personal. For some, just relaxing is the object of the exercise. Chase the sun to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico – who cares. Just lie on a beach, eat well, and finish the novel. A more anxious person may assemble an educational trip; to the Louvre or the Hermitage, or maybe touring the splendid architecture of medieval castles and churches so predominant in Europe. We can’t rule out nature as a possibility. Wild beasts in Africa, mountain ranges in Switzerland and Argentina, as well as jungle creatures along the Amazon.

Cruise ships and river boats have been tossed into the mix as of late. These vacations reflect a number of motivations and afford the opportunity to shop, visit, and experience a variety of cultures. Here one can move into the lodging once and still visit a large number of cities.

I’ve probably been too general in my overview, so now it’s your turn. What is your motivation—your desire? What do you look forward to? What do you hope to bring back? What stories will you tell to friends on your return? Got yours? Now here is mine.

Barb and I enjoy the freedom of choice. We wander a great deal, spending more time in places and areas we find enjoyable and stopping only briefly in places where we feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Another very gratifying experience for me is communicating with the people who live and work in the areas we visit. Language is often a barrier, but it is human nature to talk, to share, and to explain, especially to visitors to your own area. We love to immerse ourselves in their culture and to hear their stories or observations. If we ask their opinion of Americans, we usually get interesting feed-back. Let me share a couple of my experiences with you.

One conversation which always makes me chuckle was with a Brit well outside of London. He spoke about Americans’ ability or desire to rearrange or adjust tings. This is a near quote.

“Should a group of five Brits enter a theater just as the feature started and see no seats together, they would disburse, sitting separately about the theater. If such an American group arrived they would readjust the entire seating capacity of the theater until they had five seats together in a good location.”

On another occasion we were touring China with a group. We visited the soldiers at Xian and were heading back. We passed through a tiny village, and I asked the tour guide if it was possible to see how the people lived. We stopped, and the guide politely asked the villagers if we could take a look. Overjoyed, they agreed, and we visited a tiny town. Looked in houses, saw where they purchased goods, watched them garden, all with smiles and nods from both visitors and residents.

Once I talked at length with a police officer in a medium-large German city. I spoke of crime and how it manifested itself in the United States, and he shared with me what it was like in his city as well. He spoke of drugs, of gangs, of petty theft, or major corruption. I was surprised how similar his stories were to the things I read here in the states.

I admit being captivated by the wild animals loose outside our safari vehicles in Africa. Also, by the magnificent structures of the medieval churches in Europe, and by their art and sculptures. The mysteries of the Asian continent and their milling throngs of people entrance me. But, it is the interaction with individuals I find the most exciting and interesting as I travel. We humans share characteristics regardless of where we are raised. Deep down we all share the same feelings, the same desires, and the same goals. These features become apparent as I collect Stamps In My Passport.

How to Solve the (Your) Problem of Unemployment

As the next presidential election nears, unemployment will be a topic frequently discussed. Monthly, then weekly reports as to the percentages of workers holding full or part time jobs will become fodder for heated political debates, as each candidate will claim their plan to be the best one to solve the problem of unemployment in America.

Trying to get a jobIs there a real answer to the “jobs” problem, and if so, what is it? Yes, there is, but it’s one you’ll never hear from politicians. It is a mix of new-school and old-school thinking, and the good news is, if you are unemployed or underemployed, by adopting ideas suggested here and by taking the following steps, your days of unemployment will soon end…

1) Realize that the one person with the most control of your destiny is you.

2) Don’t think “Job.” Be creative and think, “How can I generate income?”

3) Realize that your past does not determine your future; that you have more choices now than ever before, and that opportunity is everywhere.

4) If you need money immediately, sell something on Craigslist—it costs nothing to do so. You can even start your own business today on sites like Ebay.

5) Realize that knowledge, ability, skill and ambition are what matter most in today’s marketplace. You can learn how to do just about anything for free online today—except the ambition part.

6) Forget the idea that more college or an advanced degree will guarantee you a job, because it won’t, and don’t think that not having a degree has to hold you back. Great ideas, passion and ambition can well compensate for the lack of any degree. Don’t believe it? Just ask three college drop-outs: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, how they did it!

7) Prove to an employer you would be valuable to their business. Offer to work for free for 30 days, and make yourself invaluable to the company.

8) Recognize that many others have become successful with fewer advantages than what you have today. If you have your health, you have an advantage. If you speak English, you have an advantage. If you can read, you have an advantage. If you have transportation and a phone, you have an advantage. If you have access to a computer and the internet, you have a huge advantage.

Finally, believe in yourself and take full responsibility for your own destiny. Recognize those advantages, add up your “pluses,” and start from where you are. Never accept the idea that you are a victim of circumstance. Realize the truth so eloquently stated by Viktor Frankl when he said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Bridges Restaurant

There is always a need to dine finely, and in our quaint corner of the bubble, there are quite a few choices to make when the occasion calls for white linen tablecloths and place settings with more than one fork. As some of you may recall, I have had a couple of our local upscale eatery’s as my home from the management side of things, but my love for our topic today goes deeper.

Let’s take a trip back to 1993. I have always wondered if Bridges is tired of living and re-living that year, but then I put back on my managers coat and realize that the type of publicity they received that year may very well still be putting people in the seats today. Heck, if you won a gold medal in the 1990s Olympics, wouldn’t you still be proud of showing it off today?

I was one of those community college kids a year out of high school taking up valuable space at the smoking booths in Lyons Coffee Shop on a nightly basis. We would spend our time flapping our gums about how misunderstood we were and how nothing ever happens in this town.

Then one night, right down the street there was a great to-do happening. There were big lights, and security blocking the driveway to Bridges every late night for quite a few days. We would huddle around as close to the tape as possible to try and catch a glimpse of Robin Williams in action, and then the movie was released. There was our small town represented by some serious Hollywood names on the big screen, and they didn’t even change the name of the restaurant. Oh yeah, and Lori Hales back of the head had a cameo—she was my girlfriend in first grade—BOOYA!

But the story doesn’t stop there, and for very good reason. Bridges could have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and slipped off into oblivion, but they did the un-thinkable. They built off of their good fortune and created something else to talk about and revisit for years: A superb product with amazing people!

The reason that Bridges stands out to me is simple—they have fine dining down to an art form, but wrapped up in a cozy local tavern feel. As soon as you enter the property with a vine covered trellis and natural granite waterfall you feel calmer than you did when you got out of the car. Then you see it, arguably the best patio in the area. Inside is soft lighting and hard surfaces, softened by the décor of linen, glass and pictures of bridges. You feel oddly sheik but comfortable, even on a budget. That’s their thing: you don’t need to take a second out on the house to dine here. Their happy hour in the bar is ALL DAY and the $29 three course Prix Fixe menu is inspired. But honestly there is zero sticker shock here.

Executive Chef and Partner Kevin Gin is California educated, French trained, and Japanese inspired and brings all of this to the menu at Bridges. The “Partner” piece carries a lot of weight. You want that kind of ownership in a Chef. Along with Wine Director David Gibson, they have created more than a night/day out—they have created an experience—the type of experience that reveals what food and wine is supposed to be about.

Mrs. Doubtfire may have put Bridges on the map, but they decided to make the most of it, and that they did. They have created a private club feel available to everybody that comes through the door.

Whether you are there for Happy Hour, lunch or to close a major job prospect while also satisfying your family time under two different genders, you will be treated as though you are family and will leave looking forward to your return.

44 Church St, Danville, California 94526
(925) 820-7200

He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,
Friends of ours are divorcing and my husband and I are having trouble navigating the sticky terrain of maintaining our friendship with both of them. She and I were friends first and then we introduced our husbands who really like each other. Now I worry about offending my friend when we have her ex-husband and his new girlfriend over. What’s the protocol? — BFF, Walnut Creek

Two mid adult couples sitting togetherShe Said: This is a sticky situation, but one we’re seeing more and more. On the one hand, why do you have to invite the new couple over at all when you know it will hurt your friend’s feelings? Let the guys get together when they want to see each other. Your friend may be feeling displaced, and we girls gotta stick together. On the other hand, things change and it’s always good to cultivate new friendships. Just make sure you’re not announcing that you’re entertaining the new couple, and certainly don’t share what a good time you had. And absolutely never tell your friend how much she’d like the new woman. She would not.

He Said: To quote the great American philosopher Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” I never quite understood why divorces have to extend beyond the two people getting divorced. Good friendships are difficult to come by nowadays and usually take years to cultivate, so they shouldn’t be thrown away because your friend and her husband are no longer together. That being said, I agree with Robin that your husband should continue to stay friends with the ex and you should stay loyal to your friend. Don’t befriend the “new woman” and if you do, realize that it will come at the cost of alienating your friend, and you can’t blame her one bit for being upset with you.

Dear HSSS,
What is the best way to introduce people to my significant other at parties or business conferences? We are not married, but introducing him as my boyfriend sounds ridiculous at my age.

— Label-less, Lafayette

She Said: How about, “Hi everyone, I’d like you to meet _____” (fill in blank with his name). Why do we feel the need to make everyone else comfortable by identifying our relationships? If you really need something, you could say “partner” or if you’re in a committed relationship, I suppose you could say fiancé, but that could bring up even more unwanted questions. Just say his name – leave ‘em guessing.

He Said: If you really think that introducing someone as your boyfriend is ridiculous at your age, then you shouldn’t be dating this person. It’s your own insecurities that are driving you to feel self-conscious about having a boyfriend at your age. I would enjoy the fact that you found someone to spend time with and don’t worry so much about the label. If you are truly happy with your relationship choices, then it won’t matter if you call him your boyfriend, partner, friend, roommate, etc. But if you’re unsure of whether you are boyfriend and girlfriend to begin with, then that’s a whole different topic we should discuss.HeSaidSheSaidgraphic

Robin Fahr is a public relations specialist and co-host with Shawn Shizzo on Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at You can also catch He Said/She Said on The Talk Pod. Send your questions to

Fall… In Love with Beauty Confidence!

Time to chat about the top impressive and amazing fall/winter 2015 make-up trends we observed during the latest seasonal make-up shows and events. Looking through the options, we find make-up has a 70s accent with a sleek 90s vibe with a modern sophistication.

One of the classiest and the most ethereal alternatives we observed among the cosmetic events is the inclination towards natural looks and glowing peach like skin tones. We as women want to look natural with a youthful glow, but we also want to look sophisticated with a realistic updated look. This season eyeliner is the definite focal point with colors ranging from army green, deep plum and navy. Eyeshades capture the season in matte pecan shades and burgundies to clarify fall eyes.

Military-inspired greens were some of the most impressive and unique looks of the season. Combinations of matte peach eye colors on the lids with soft khakis in the crease with sweeps of burgundy accenting eyes, made subtle and hardly noticeable accents while making the eyes look charming, classy and fun. Stylist applied peachy highlighters illuminating the skin then slipped on lip tones of corals and soft pinks that took center stage, while mouth-watering sheer berry glosses set the look.

When it comes To Eyes, Opt For Arrows!

Arrows were the say of a big number of stylists, who came up with the most diverse and multi-shaped option possible. Turning this classic make-up design into a super modernized and cool alternative, they managed to achieve a charming diversity. When we talk about arrows, we can’t but come to the cat eyes. This fall they are introducing this uber-feminine and mysterious make-up option as a basic trend for the coming season. For some really memorable interpretations, you may turn to the options suggested by Karen Walker, Simonetta Ravizza and Jean Paul Gautier.

Slightly Messy and Effortless Will Also Do

The interesting and noteworthy option by our observation is also worth talking about, coming with an innovative and creative solution, the essence of which is creating maximum messy and smeared effect of the eye-shadow, applied to both upper lid and under eye. This effect gives the eyes a very natural no make-up look without effort. Which some girls will love.

Bluish Eye Shadow Accents

Coming to color diversity, we may first of all talk about the bluish accents we saw. Creating an interesting comeback of the 90s they produce an effective impression for the coming season. The look is interesting and bold. The Look: Start by applying a neutral eyeshade in the brown family all over the lid and crease, follow with a navy blue arrow liner. Find a shimmer blue eye color in a medium or light shade and sweep it along the accent area and under the eye for a glorious finish. This will give you that total undeniable impression of a chic up-to-date look, the girl that knows her stuff and is confident and secure within her self.

The Rouge Cosmetics color specialist will be offering make-up updates for the fall beauty season, starting August 25th. Please call for more information and to book your appointment.

By George, Shes Got It!

“By George, she got it!” Those are the immortal words of Professor Henry Higgins in response to Eliza Doolittle finally saying “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the lane.” But who the blazes is George? My good friend Wiki says it is a bowdlerization of By Jove, which is the gentlemanly way of saying By God. Now that we know that, let George do it.

1. He was a close friend of Bugsy Siegel and one of Hollywood’s worse actors. His main schtick was flipping a coin in the original movie Scarface. Who was he?

2. The most famous George in baseball history was George Herman Ruth, better known as Babe Ruth. With what team did he end his career?

3. “Well I’ll be a dirty bird” was his catchphrase and he was one of TV’ s most popular stars in the 1950s. Who was he?

4. His first popular song was Swanee, written for Al Jolson. Who was this musical genius?

5. He wrote Paper Lion, which depicted his experience trying out with the Detroit Lions in a1960s training camp. Who was he?

6. He was the straight man to his wife on radio and early TV. After her death, he staked his claim to being one of the most loved men in Show Business until his death at age 99. Who was he?

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