Archive for Bay Area People
Thanks Tara for your inspiring newsletter this week (and all that you do)!
To all the Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Sisters and Brothers…What to get for Christmas…
Twas the night before Christmas
And all across the Farm
Not a creature was stirring
All quiet in the Barn
The children were nestled
Scattered about the house (four sons – 21, 22, 23, 14, a girl that is supposedly just a friend and another kid from who knows where)
My husband I were sleeping (hiding)
I awoke to a SNAP…one less mouse (peanut butter in the trap works really well)
Staring at the ceiling
Feeling the dread
Knowing I would soon
Be getting out of bed
Wrapping the presents
And filling the socks
Wondering if they would think it funny
If they were filled with Rocks
We don’t need any thing
We don’t need more stuff
We don’t need to waste
It’s all useless fluff
The packaging and paper
Our landfills are full
Our buying and buying
Needing more is just bull.
It’s never enough
All the junk, all the stuff
It doesn’t make us happy
Myself I rebuff
It’s not about stuff
It’s not about things
It’s not about toys or gas cards or rings
It’s not about spending
Time in the store
It’s not about giving out crap
It has to change
We have to wake up
We have to think long term
The “stuff” we have to give up
So I took out a pen
And paper to write
I made several renditions
Notes to my boys that night
I wrote of how proud
I am of them all
How we laugh together
They are really a ball
I wrote of their wins
And how they show character when they lose
I wrote of honesty
And lack of drug taking and little booze.
I tried to explain
How a mother does feel
To see her children
Engage in a way that is real.
In the wee morning hours
I drank coffee and cried
The paper was stained
And the tear stains shown as they dried.
With so little stuff
Under the tree
I worried they would wake
And be disappointed in me.
I watched as they gathered
Around the lit tree
Each taking out their letters
I watched them tear up
As the heart embraces
The emotion it feels
It showed in their faces
The love of a parent
So simple to give
It lasts forever
Any stuff it will outlive.
It takes only time
And a paper and pen
Give them a gift
They will remember when…and always…
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Your Farmer, Tara Smith
P.S. If you add a little cash to the envelope they’re really like it. (added by @Sally_K) I want to be Tara when I grow up.
This is my dog Poncho and his new Vet Dr. Cynthia Steele, whom we both love.
He’s getting old.
He has lumps and bumps and not as much energy as he used to have. Recently he has developed a strange problem with his eye. I hadn’t been happy with my current vet and I needed to find a new one. I was not looking forward to taking my 11 year old dog to a new Veterinarian office. I was afraid they were going to over prescribe treatment for him. Also, Poncho is not a big fan of going to the vet, he gets very stressed & doesn’t like to sit still. It usually takes 2 or 3 of us to hold him in place for an exam.
Someone suggested we try a mobile vet. I had no idea mobile vets existed. A mobile vet is a doctor who does house calls. They come to your house to examine your dog. Way less stressful for you and your dog.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the mobile vet I called but what I got was an awesome vet! Cynthia and Maureen (nurse) showed up at my door and greeted me with a hug. Poncho instantly loved them. He thought friends came to visit just him. They spent a whole hour examining Poncho and talking with us about his health. The cost of the visit was only slightly more than a trip to the vet but the quality and care was 100 times better.
If you have an older dog or would rather have your vet come to your house instead of sitting in a stressful waiting room with a bunch of other sick pets I highly recommend calling Mill Valley Mobile Vet. Since she is mobile you don’t have to live in Mill Valley to use her services. She goes all over Marin and I think even to the city sometimes.
Cynthia Steele, D.V.M.
I had to go all the way to LA to meet a super cool woman from Marin.
This last weekend I was down in LA with Celia who was presenting at AEA (American Evaluation Association). Celia put together a rock star team for the presentation & I was lucky enough to be included in the after conference dinner. I got to sit next to the fabulous Felecia Gaston (from Performing Stars of Marin AND The Phoenix Project) who told me about an event she was organizing for Veterens Day in Marin City.
Parade starts at 11am at the Manzanita Recreation Center.
630 Drake Avenue
Marin City, CA
I have been seeing this image circulating around the social networks and it has really stuck with me. I’ve always been a supporter of local, independent businesses but when things get busy and life gets stressful sometimes it’s easier to just go to the nearest Starbucks instead of seeking out an independent, locally owned cafe.
Working in downtown San Francisco you can spin in circles, walk any direction and in less than a block you will most likely find a Starbucks.
I wanted something different. I wanted to get my coffee at an independently owned place but I didn’t know where to go. Until… I opened my eyes and realized there is an Italian style cafe located near my office called Palio Paninoteca. Actually I didn’t open my eyes and look around, I looked down at my iPhone where I was trying out a new program called LevelUp. It’s a program that lets you pay with your smart phone. I’ve been wanting to try one of those programs for awhile and for some reason this one called my attention enough for me to download the app and try it.
While searching the current locations accepting LevelUp I discovered this cafe just down the street. When I signed up for LevelUp I got $5 credit and noticed Palio Paninoteca offered $2 credit so I decided to head over to Palio Paninoteca to check it out and enjoy my complimentary lunch. I didn’t realize they served lunch in addition to coffee and gelato. Yes I said gelato!
Palio Paninoteca’s lunch consists of soups, salads and sandwiches (paninis) prepared in advance (kind of like going to the counter at Whole Foods). So far I’ve tried 2 of their salads and they are delicious! Today I had the spinach, avocado, mango salad. Yum!
While trying out my LevelUp for the first time I happened to meet the owner of the cafe. She showed me how to pay with my phone. We got to chatting and that is when I learned that Palio Paninoteca is an independent, local, woman owned business. They’re also green and serve your food in reusable ceramic dishes. Bettie Scodel is a single mom and the owner of both Palio Paninotecas. She’s also a very hard worker. She gets up at 3:30am every day to be ready to serve breakfast to the hungry masses passing through. She proudly told me of her two children in college. She’s the perfect candidate to help me keep up with my Miss Representation pledge of featuring women doing cool things around the Bay Area.
Two thumbs up to Palio Paninoteca and to LevelUp. I had a great experience with both. I’m looking forward to enjoying many more coffee and meals using my LevelUp at Palio Paninoteca.
If you find yourself in downtown San Francisco around breakfast or lunch time give this place a try.
Oh, one more thing! I emailed LevelUp yesterday to see when there were going to be more locations in San Francisco and they said they are adding more everyday! I also told them I would be mentioning them in my blog and they offered my readers a special code! If you want to try LevelUp (it doesn’t cost anything) they will put $10 credit in to your account if you use the code SALLY when registering. When registering be sure to click on the blue link that says: Have a promotion or friend referral code? to get your $10 credit! So go sign up for then let me know and maybe we can meet for a coffee at Palio Paninoteca.
Palio Paninoteca is located on the corner of Montgomery and Clay St in the financial district of San Francisco. They also have a location near UCSF. More info here: www.paliopaninoteca.com
I’m talking about a wife as in someone who is there to support you, inspire you and be there for you in sickness and in health.
Women: Don’t you wish you had a wife? Well now you can and you don’t have to be gay to have one! (But if you are gay, that’s okay too.)
All you have to do is join the online group called A Band of Wives (ABOW) and you are instantly married to a supportive group of wonderful women. Seriously, it is that easy.
A Band of Wives was founded by the amazing Christine Bronstein.
I joined back in February when I discovered them via the Marin Magazine article about online communities that we were both featured in.
At first I didn’t know if this was the right group for me. I was a little intimidated by all the hip, beautiful and successful women. Then I attended a few of their events and realized they were also friendly, genuine, authentic and caring women. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
A few weeks ago, I discovered Bistro Burger in San Francisco. I loved their turkey burgers SO much, I went there 3 times that week. They had one of those fishbowls on the counter where you put your business card in for a chance to win a free lunch. I never put my business cards in those things but for some reason I decided to this time. The next day I got an email saying, “Congratulations you won a free lunch for 4 at Bistro Burger”. I was super happy but was wondering who I was going to invite. I didn’t have 3 friends in the financial district who would be available to lunch. This was about the same time I had the realization that my only real complaint about my job was that I really missed those coffee and lunch dates I used to have in Marin with my Twitter friends when I was self employed.
I remembered super-star wife Leila (@mizbohemia), the Director of Operations at A Band of Wives, lived in the city, so I invited her to join me for the free lunch. She agreed.
Then I got the idea to ask on Twitter who works/lives in downtown San Francisco and I got a response from someone who just happened to also be a member of ABOW! Shasta (@girlfrndcircles), owner of GirlFriendCircles.com and I invited her to join us for lunch. She said yes! We had room for one more at lunch so Shasta invited Jessica (@50womenproject), author the 50 Woman Project and she said Yes!
On Friday, we all met at Bistro Burger (in Trinity Alley) and were greeted by John who congratulated us and took our photo. I’m guessing the photo is going to show up on their Website under the Happy Winner section soon. Bistro Burger sells veggie, turkey, chicken and regular hamburgers along with salads so there is something for everyone. And they’re really, really good! You can order your burger without a bun if you’re doing the Sugar Divorce, like I am. They’re also on Twitter at: @BistroBurgerSF
It was a nice day so we sat outside. Our little lunch turned in to a 3 hour magical, brainstorming session. We ended our lunch full of ideas and inspirations for our own various projects. It’s amazing how the power of group intelligence can get you unstuck from a rut. That’s what A Band of Wives is all about; connecting women, and igniting the spark in all of us.
Thank you Twitter, Bistro Burger and A Band of Wives for connecting us!
Here are the 3 dynamic wives I had the pleasure of dining with:
I told you they were all hip, beautiful and successful!
On Thursday night a large group of women descended upon Mill Valley. There were so many beautiful women arriving, the town couldn’t contain itself and erupted in excitement.
“A Band of Wives is not about being married to men. It is a sisterhood of women who are supportive of other women and are looking to connect with likeminded women. We are helping women bring community back to their communities.”
As I was driving to the event the street literally was erupting in front of my eyes (and my car). I was a little nervous to drive by but ended up getting a great car wash (and photo) at no charge.
When I arrived to El Paseo I knew I was at the right place because I found the patio full of beautiful women.
I was happy to find familiar faces as soon as I walked in. My Tweeps were there! I said hello to my tweep friends, made my way to the bar, had a glass of complimentary bubbly, then did I little mingling. Ran in to the authors (Sue Warhaftig and Beverly Butler) of the book, Meant to Be that we are currently reading for the Twitter Book Club, chatted it up with them for a bit and then like a magnet was drawn back to the corner where my Tweeps were. Guess what they were doing? They were in a huddle looking down at their phones! I joined them. I SO wish I had a picture! However, I did get a picture of our toes. We were acting like a bunch of 7th grade girl wallflowers with the difference that we were having a blast tweeting it up while chatting with each other.
So… we aren’t that bad, we did actually talk to some non-tweeting wives. How could we not? They were all so friendly.
At one point during the evening Christine Bronstein, the founder, got up to speak and tell us about a sister wife who is going through a very difficult time. Here’s an excerpt* from the ABOW Facebook page with an example of how the wives actually do band together:
After the first El Paseo gathering I wrote “Oh what a night! There are simply no words to describe the high that comes with flittering, fluttering and floating amongst so many amazing wives who came from far and wide and mingled and laughed and ate and drank and were merry all around!”
This feeling, this merriment and excitement and support was still in full effect on this July night but tenfold as wives packed up the venue and enthusiastically reached out to each other in true ABOW spirit… but our gathering was also bittersweet as wives lived up to our ABOW name and indeed banded together for one of our own who needs help, wife Tika Hick.
Thank you Christine for the spur-of-the-moment fundraiser for Tika. If you don’t know the story, our wife Tika has been battling breast cancer with a new baby, is scheduled for a double mastectomy on July 20th and could really use our support in now tragically losing her husband (http://ow.ly/5G4Nn ). Please keep her in your prayers and if you want to help financially:
Attn: Matt Johnson
Bank of Marin
501 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Greenbrae, CA 94904
Make payable to Hick/Potts Fund, Tika Hick or Bank of Marin and reference Tika
*Written by the fabulous Leila Radan who is the Director of Operations for A Band of Wives.
Here is another post about Tika from a fellow wife/Tweep @LisaKiftTherapy who posted Tika’s story on her blog.
After lots of love, tears, laughter, socializing and tasty appetizers (the little cups of Mac-n-Cheese were to die for!) the geeks, I mean Tweeps decided to go out to dinner at Piazza D’Angelos. The 4 of us (@pobutler, @alembic, @tamholland and me) plus one innocent woman we planned to convert (a non-tweeting friend) headed over to Piazza D’Angelos where we sat down at a lovely table and promptly pulled out our phones to check in via FourSquare. We were more interested in our phones than in what the waiter had to say. I think we annoyed him a bit. When we finally got around to looking at the menu we discovered Piazza D’Angelos now has a gluten free menu! However, it seems the waiter isn’t fully sold on this menu yet… when Dolores and I ordered the gluten free gnocchi his response was do you want that one or the REAL one. We wanted the gluten free one and got it! I imagine being a waiter in Marin must be trying on the patience with all the quirkiness in diets that Marinites come up with.
Our plan worked, my friend Dolores converted and is now tweeting! She just had to try it after sitting there with us for awhile watching us tweet and chat about tweets. She grasped the concept of how Twitter works faster than anyone I’ve ever taught! She’s a natural. Follow her here: @mizstarryeyed She and I put our phones down long enough to take this picture.
A special thank you to Leila Radan for being SO active on the social networking sites keeping me informed about the upcoming A Band of Wives events. To Christine Bronstein for creating this wonderful group. Tolan Florence for welcoming us into El Paseo. To my Tweeps for sitting in restaurants with me tweeting. And all the wonderful women who showed up!
I love Marin County! It’s full of interesting and fun people! For instance, meet Leslie Lakes (formally Hendricks) who is new to Marin and was kind enough to share some of her favorite things about the Bay Area through the eyes of a newbie.
What do you love most about the Bay Area?
Having relocated to the Bay Area from the East Coast (Montclair, NJ), I’m incredibly appreciative of so many things that native Marinites take for granted: like the comparatively warm and moderate weather; the exquisite beauty of the surrounding natural terrain and landscapes; the fact that within a short radius of Mill Valley where I live, I can see and experience the ocean, mountains, marinas, bird sanctuaries, valleys, the magnificent structure of the Golden Gate Bridge; the culture of San Francisco, not to mention the looming and majestic Mount Tamalpais from our front door! I love the fresh, sweet smelling air, as well as the fog that rolls in early in the morning, and burns off in the afternoon. I love the fact that flowers bloom all year round; the characteristically health oriented culture, and that public buses have bike racks. How cool is that!
What is your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?
While there’s a plethora of excellent and multi-ethnic restaurants in the bay area, for great Deli sandwiches, LOUIE’S DELI on Bridgeway in Sausalito can’t be beat! We also enjoy DISH in Mill Valley, but if I had to choose only ONE restaurant…it would be SARTAJ on Caledonia Street in Sausalito. SARTAJ is a small quaint, Indian ‘Mom and Pop’ operation where every dish is made with love and just the right amount of spices. Portions are ample and the prices are very reasonable. But, mostly because it’s where my husband and I courted before we got married. We even have our own special table for two by the window! (I love Sartaj!!! Their Chai tea is delicious!)
What is your favorite coffee or tea shop?
I love lattes and café au lait “to go” (always “extra hot”) either from PEET’S or STARBUCKS, but to actually sit down to enjoy coffee, I prefer to go to LA BOULANGE (Strawberry Village, Mill Valley) because it’s the closest thing to being in France (where I’m from) as they serve café au lait with lots of frothy hot milk foam, in a bowl.
Where is your favorite place to shop for clothing, books, kids stuff, etc?
For clothes: THE FAMILY THRIFT STORE (Miller Avenue, Mill Valley); GOODWILL (San Rafael); H&M (Terra Linda); MARSHALL’S (Novato) and ROSS stores (throughout).
For books: Without a doubt – BOOK PASSAGE in Corte Madera!
For children’s things: GOOD NITE MOON (where I work on a part-time basis) at the Corte Madera Town Center, and WEE THREADS (E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley)
Favorite place to hike or bike? Favorite park? or Favorite outdoor activity?
While my husband is a professional bike mechanic (MIKE’S BIKES) and quite passionate about cycling, I lean more toward getting places – on foot! I love to walk and often do for miles and miles. My most favorite outdoor activity is normally horse-back-riding, but in this current economy, walking is cheaper. I enjoy walking just about anywhere! For exercise, I often take the bike path from Mill Valley to Sausalito town center, and back again.
Can you tell me a little bit more about what you do? What kind of people do you work with? Who do you help?
I’ve often been called a “Renaissance Woman”. My main profession is that of licensed Massage Therapist with over 23 years experience in the field with a private practice in Mill Valley. I’m also a singer/songwriter of children’s fare; a visual artist, as well as voice-over artist.
I keep hearing wonderful things about this restaurant in Berkeley called Gather, but I have yet to try it. I asked my Twitter-friend-turned-real-friend, Cathy Curtis (who seems to be one of Gather’s biggest cheerleaders) to write a review for us. Here is what Cathy has to say about Gather. Now I really want to try it! ~Sally
Gather for some good food in Berkeley!
I realized I was becoming jaded about restaurant dining before Gather arrived on the scene in December of 2009. I wasn’t as excited about eating out as I used to be. But with Gather, I eagerly anticipate the meal and the experience, no matter how many times I dine there. Each time it’s like opening a delightful gift that you didn’t expect. From the happy smiles on fellow diner’s faces, it’s obvious that many feel the same way.
First of all, it’s the creative and inventive menu so artfully put together by the chef, Sean Baker. He has turned once neglected vegetables – like kale, parsnips, escarole and beets into dishes that you actually crave! Instead of over-burdening entrees and consequently our digestive systems with too much rich butter, the sauces and dressings are flavorful, added with a light hand, and are made with healthful ingredients such as nuts, mushrooms, nori and tahini.
Three of my favorite dishes are examples of this artful way of cooking. The kale salad is a mound of blanched kale, roasted winter root vegetables, thin strips of red onion, lemon juice, oil, toasted pine nuts and a generous portion of grated fiscalini cheese floating on the top like snow. The escarole salad includes escarole leaves, toasted nori, garlic lemon tahini dressing and breadcrumbs which add just the right amount of “crunch.” But it’s the vegan charcuterie that really shows off the cuisine that is uniquely Gather’s – a smorgasbord of seasonal vegetables diced and sliced and shaped into little islands of flavors – a burst of citrus, smoked maple, smoked parsnip or dill added to heighten the flavors.
Then there are the pizzas. The edges are puffy like clouds but when you take a bite there is that satisfying crunch. The rest of the pie is thin and layered with ingredients that complement and uplift each other. For example, the fuji apple pizza: fontinella cheese, pancetta, sliced apple, and rosemary all covered in a bounty of fresh arugula. Heaven!
This limited sampling of menu items I’ve described could satisfy me for a long time. But the menu holds so much more. You can eat vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and also enjoy meat, poultry and fish on any visit to Gather, each prepared with the same attention to detail and flavor. Try the Prather Ranch Burger with caramelized shallot-tomato sauce, the marinated Pt. Reyes mussels or the barbecued young chicken.
The staff at Gather are young, friendly and seem really happy about working there.
At times the service can be a little slow but that is most likely due to a back-up in the kitchen as the crush of orders for pizza or vegan charcuterie overwhelms the system from time to time. If you go there regularly, you start to recognize faces which just adds to the fun.
The décor is as refreshing as the food. Almost everything in the restaurant is made from something recycled like the bench surrounding the perimeter of the restaurant fashioned from pre-worn leather belts, the lighting made from sawed-off vodka bottles and the wall-art created from cardboard packaging materials. I wouldn’t call Gather a cozy restaurant. The ceilings are high and the layout is open. It’s not quiet and subdued. So you may not choose Gather for a romantic tete-a-tete. It’s much more of a restaurant to relax, enjoy, and well, gather.
Cathy Curtis is a fee-only independent financial advisor specializing in the finances of women, their families and their businesses. Her website is www.curtisfinancialplanning.com. She also leads a special interest group, Bay Gourmet, at the Commonwealth Club of California planning food and wine programs for the membership and the public. Check out the trip to Burgundy, France that Cathy will host in October of 2011. If you would like to contact Cathy she can be found on twitter @curtisfinancial and Linkedin. Or join in discussion on her Facebook page Women and Money.