All posts filed under: Local Tourist

stop and smell.

Have you visited the Berkeley Rose Garden? May is a lovely time to wander the garden. I especially appreciate a sunset visit. Sometimes Hubby tricks me by saying something adventurous and romantic like ‘let’s go to the rose garden,’ but what he really wants to do is check out the Rose Garden tennis courts (yes, they have tennis courts!). I’m not mad about it though; look at these blooms and the view! There are plenty of spots to sit and levels of garden to wander. I not-so-secretly would love to be able to name off varieties of plants so I like that the rose bushes are labeled with common names. Also fun: There’s a tunnel that connects the Rose Garden to Codornices Park across the street which has a playground, lots of grassy hang out space, a creek, and hiking trails. For more rose garden adventures, try the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland or the State Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden in Sacramento, too. I hope you get to take some time to enjoy …


Need a fun, easy, magical date night idea for the whole family? Now through March 12, Entwined is on display at Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park. It’s described as a ‘dazzling forest of light.’ It really is dazzling! I love a good art installation. Entwined is colorful and mesmerizing. There is an interactive component, too. Scan the QR code on one of the ‘flowers’ when you get there. You’ll get added to the queue to control the lights – the intensity, the colors – to create your custom art show. The field is covered in hay and they have a few chairs for sitting and admiring the display. All that was missing was a warm cup of cocoa. SF Parks Alliance hosts events on select days including salsa dancing, arts and crafts, and yoga! I didn’t do enough research before going, but apparently there are knots in the ‘trees’ where you can view miniature art created by local artists. I’ll have to go back. It seems like worth a visit during day just before …

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.