All posts filed under: Local Tourist

munching thru martinez.

Someone was chosen for jury duty and the same someone ate her way through downtown Martinez. Here are a few munchies and places to hang while fulfilling your civic duty. States Coffee x Bread I can never get enough States. I previously featured them here and I am still a big fan (PS They’ve got a few more locations throughout the East Bay now, too). Their Martinez space has expanded since my last visit so there is lots of room to spread out. I am currently obsessed with their Earl Grey Lattes, both hot and iced. Their savory toasts are always a yes, too. I definitely came here more than once during my jury duty service. Taco Daddy’s Get on over here for tacos, burritos, bowls, … and get here quick. The lunch crowd keeps this place busy. I later learned you can place your order online, so protip: do that instead! There is indoor and outdoor dining, but I took my lunch to the park a short walk away. Ginger Thai I could have …

lego x target

#tbt To last winter when Target launched their Lego collab and I took a long work lunch to preview the goodies at Jack London Square in Oakland. There was music, shopping, and a Spot, the Target dog (who’s actual name is Jack), meet and greet. They even had Target themed dog house Lego kits for all the kids (big kids included!), like the one here, but mini. I enjoyed the colorful textiles, … …the Lego builds, … …and giant Lego bricks! I wouldn’t say I’m complete AFOL, but I appreciate a good theme. Lego fans out there, what was your favorite piece in the collection? Mine have to be the color-blocked throw blankets! The color combos inspire me to create. Any fun and colorful pop up events happening in your area? Share below!

plants on plants on plants.

Does anyone else feel the need to move into a bigger place so you can take more plant bebes home with you from the local plant store? No? Just me? Oh. Well, here’s a round up of some plant shops you should patronize. Plants make lovely (last minute) gifts; find the one just right for everyone on your list. Living Room Plant Co, Pacifica, California Chill vibes and Royal Bee Yarn is down the street – a two in one shopping trip! Flourish, Petaluma, California So much to choose from at this plant shop including mini walis tambo (IYKYK). Aquarian Plants, Benicia, California Stop in before or after a bite at Aung MayLiKa. Paraiso Plant Studio, Berkeley, California Note: They recently opened up a flower shop across the way! Pamana Plantas, Albany, California Admire their living wall, attend one of their many monthly events, and don’t forget to look up at the hanging plant selection. The Growing Groves, Davis, California Worth the visit just to be inspired by the sitting area. Have you visited any …

house of petals.

Oh hi, cute store! House of Petals is such a good find in Martinez because it’s run by cheery, welcoming staff who made me feel like I was entering their home. 🙂 This collab shop is run by two local ladies and it’s one part floral and one part home goods shop. On my visit, the shop was filled with lots of merry and great host gifts and Christmas stocking stuffer ideas. There were baskets and woven bags, pillows, kitchen goods, plant accessories. On the flower side, there was flower bar and a selection of floral decor (wreaths and garlands). I went home with a few woven trees, a ceramic berry colander, and a hot toddy drink kit. I can’t wait to visit this well-curated and highly aesthetic shop again. Share a local find below! Yay!

cross stitch kit.

My friend Laura is such a good crafty gift finder and giver (remember the bear pouch?). This cross-stitch kit is the latest in her kit finds. It was super user-friendly and the product turned out so lovely. This kit came with everything (just add scissors) to create one of three pouch designs. The hardest part was picking which design to use! I spent a couple of leisure evenings working on this project, though you could easily finish in one sitting. The pattern was simple to follow; I also added a few improv-ed stitches. Pro-tip: Make sure you’ve got good lighting to count the holes. Tahdum! A floral pouch! For me, what’s better than a handmade gift is a gift I can make myself! 🙂 Hope you’re having a crafty holiday season!


Have you shopped Umami in Albany? The shop is filled with colorful handmade finds. There’s so much to peruse! There’s jewelry, kitchen ware, baskets (my fave!), decor, towels…. I feel like you can find something for everyone on your shopping list here. Or in my case, everything for me. 😛 I found a felted hummingbird to add to my collection of hummingbird figurines (will need to post about these sometime!), a tiny basket (because “I need more baskets”), and a salt and pepper pinch bowl (so fancy!). Side note: Here’s the mural outside the shop – I highly recommend Tay Tah Cafe for Thai iced tea slushies and banh mi, and Bua Luang for a sit down meal, too. Yay for shopping small and supporting local businesses year round! What are some of your go-to shops for gift shopping? Share below.


Short story: I found a bead store and bought a bunch of beads. I hope Bebe doesn’t eat them. Owned and operated by Lilian Leung, this Solano Avenue (Berkeley side) shop – Beadazzled – boasts two rooms of beads and findings, handmade jewelry (by Lilian!), and a space to create. On this visit I reupped my collection of Miyuki beads, memory wire (love this stuff!), and nylon jewelry cord (which I actually use for making garlands). I also learned that kids like to put stuff up their noses – Lilian shared that her grandchild once put a bead up their nose. D’oh! As far as crafts go, Bebe and I have drawn together, painted (more on that soon!), and he’s seen me work on a couple macrame pieces. I hope one day we can craft together with tiny materials, hot glue, and scissors. 🙂 Hurry, name some toddler-friendly (beaded) craft projects!

baskets and bees.

The last in-person crafty workshop I attended was held at Royal Bee Yarn in Pacifica. The shop is filled with yarn (of course), craft kits, and gifts. They also had bee-utiful spice wall. And as if a yarn store and a creative workshop weren’t enough, there was also a neighborhood event happening the same day and Royal Bee was hosting a few handmade vendors in their backyard space. Clearly I was drawn to the baskets as is apparent by my camera roll. I adopted two baskets! I now officially have a designated farmers market bag and Bebe has a travel book basket (Start ’em young.). Discover any fun creative shops lately? Share below.

back at it.

Oh hi! It’s been a minute and I’ve got a backlog of fun local finds and creative pursuits I want to share. I am not fully back to the level of explorations and crafts pre-pandemic and pre-baby, but I’m easing my way back with a different capacity and mindset. First, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve visited a few local pop-up markets within the last year or so, including Handmade Pacifica (featuring my friends Roberta, Chelsea, and Melissa!) and one across the street from where I live at the Senior Center (that’s super local!). And, get this: I participated in my first in-person event in two years – the first Small Business Love Holiday Market hosted by Pamana Plantas, The Dance Floor, and Fonda, all businesses on Solano Ave in Albany. This definitely took a lot of mental preparation and months of getting accustomed to life with Bebe, but I’m here for it, as long as it’s low key and no one tries to high-five me. Also, aren’t you so proud of me for …


Since I’ve been back to work full time I’ve found myself working long hours most days. So I’m doing my best to carve out some days where I can take a break. I’ve been averaging one day off every two months. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I’ve spent my days off with my little family visiting somewhere new together. So far, we’ve gone to the beach in Pacifica, strolled a Petaluma neighborhood, and went sunflower field hunting in Dixon – featured here! We even made a music video. There are so many sunflower fields in the area. Take your pick! Just note, the ones we spotted were all on private land so we stayed on the outskirts of the property, was careful not to damage any of the plants, and of course did not take any blooms. It was such a treat to catch a glimpse in real life. What do you like to do on your days off? Share below!