Monday, April 29, 2013

Handmade lamps by Robert Temple in Oakland, CA

Robert Temple, an established musician in Oakland has started a business making lamps, called Reclaimed Luminosity.  His lamps can also be created using materials from the client such as grandma's lampshade, wood, or leather pieces.  He uses mostly recycled materials and shops at places such as Urban Ore, East Bay Depot for Recycled Materials, and other such materials.  Each of his lamps has his own personality and can therefore fit into different types of home environments.


Robert Temple
Reclaimed Luminosity
Broken Pretzel Music
phone:  (510) 654-2329
P.O. Box 3183
Oakland, CA  94609

Timeless Coffee, Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA

This past Saturday morning I finally had a chance to go to Timeless Coffee Roasters and Cafe on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA.  I've driven by the cafe a few times and have wanted to go inside, have a cup of coffee and stay awhile.  They did a wonderful job of creating a warm, inviting exterior and interior space, the inside smells of coffee and chocolate and they do their own baking.  They do not have internet service and all the plugs are closed so it is not the best place to hang out on your own and work on the computer.  This place is the kind of place to write in an old fashioned journal, write a long hand letter, or meet friends or loved ones.  The only gluten free selections they had were the chocolates so I just had coffee but it was delicious.  I recommend this place for the ambiance, and it is a great place to meet a friend.


Timeless Coffee Roasters
coffee bar/ roastery/ bakery/ chocolates
4252 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA  94611

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tues., April 23rd, Interview with Frankie Ridolf, Oakland,CA

This Tuesday, April 23rd, from 5:30PM to 8:00PM is an interview with Frankie Ridolfi, the Free Range Studios VP of Marketing (creators of The Meatrix, The Story of Stuff, and many successful social and sustainable branding campaigns, websites, and media.)    The location and tour will be at the 25th Street Collective, which has local sustainable slow fashion and is a slow food collective.  When I went to the website,, I was surprised how many fun and educational events this group holds.  I was interested in going to several!


Free Range
Tuesday, April 23rd, 5:30-8:00PM
For more information, visit
Location:  25th Street Collective

Berkeley Bowl Grocery Store, Berkeley, CA

Berkeley Bowl is a great alternative to a higher priced health food store.  The place is huge and they also have a cafe.  Usually, I like to go by myself here since they have both health food plus the usual Safeway junk food fare, yet it is cheaper than Whole Foods.  Don't get me wrong, I love Whole Foods too!


Berkeley Bowl Marketplace
2020 Oregon Street
Berkeley, CA  94703
(510) 843-6929

My dog's favorite dog treats

My dog's favorite dog treats are Dr. Becker's Bites, and I like them because they are 100% grain free and only consist of dried beef liver.  I could probably dry liver myself, but this was as close to homemade as I could find.  Sometime soon I'll try to make some dog treats by drying some liver or other meats.  In fact, this treat was created by Karen Shaw Becker, DVM, NMD;  and she asked her mother to bake some healthy treats for her own dogs and cats, and that is how Dr. Becker's Bites was born.


Dr. Becker's Bites
(100% grain free liver treats)
St. Anne, IL  60964

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lovesac couches, huge lounging pillows, and comfortable furniture that would look great in an old bungalow!

I was at the Stoneridge Mall today in Pleasanton, CA with my son and I found a delightful store called Lovesac.  Inside, they had it decorated like a living room and they had all kinds of couches that have separate pieces that can be put together.  They also have huge pillows just like my Aunt Ruth used to have in her house when I was growing up!  I remember going over her house and nesting and disappearing in one of her two huge soft pillows!  I wanted to buy one instantly but we just don't have any room in our old bungalow right now.  If I did have to buy a couch, I would go to Lovesac.

(On their brochure it claims, "This is not a dirty website!)

I saw the shop at Stoneridge Mall, in Pleasanton, CA

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Melissa and Doug wood toys - my son loves the wooden train and platform set.

I love the Melissa and Doug wood train and platform set.  My son also has some of their toy food sets for budding pretend chefs.  I much prefer the wood toys to the plastic versions, and they seem to fit better in our  bungalow lifestyle.

This toy includes nine high-quality wooden pieces- engine/dining car with reversible tabletop, passenger car, station platform, and five people.  The two sides tabletop in the train features a checkers game on one side, and dinner for two on the other.

My son loves it when he pretends to be the conductor leading a train tour.  We discuss what sort of terrain the train will pass through, and he announces when it is time for dinner.  Then, while we actually have dinner we pretend we are on the train.  Then, we pretend we are going to the observation car.

I love Melissa and Doug toys as they encourage imagination and creative play!

Melissa & Doug
P.O. Box 590, Westport, CT  06881

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jules Thin Crust Pizza - on College Avenue in North Oakland! Heaven!

I think that we in Rockridge have pizza heaven!  Jules Thin Crust Pizza just opened across from Zachary's pizza!  

Jules Thin Crust Pizza and Zachary's have very different flavors and styles.  Jules only has thin crust pizza, plus they have a gluten free option.   Zachary's also has thin crust, but I  they specialize in the Chicago deep dish style.

Now we have our bases covered in Rockridge.  We have the yummy Jules thin, light as a feather crust and gluten free pizza plus we have the yummy  Zachary's Chicago style deep dish.   The Jules pizza  reminds me of when I first graduated from college and traveled through Europe.  When visiting Italy I first had real Italian pizza, and it was really thin.  I lived on that thin pizza while in Italy because the other dinner foods were much more expensive.  

I have been going to the Jules Thin Crust in Danville for over a year.  I discovered it after meeting friends there.  The gluten free pesto pizza is my favorite and is amazingly delicious and savory.  My son loves either the gluten free or regular plain children's cheese variety.  The Rockridge Jules is clean, large, and everyone that works there is super friendly and helpful!  There is even a table outside if you want to bring your pooch!  

I am so happy that Jules Pizza is now in Rockridge!  They are even thinking of starting to deliver by bicycle to homes in the area.  They are so nice that when I asked one guy that works there about them being across from Zachary's, he said, "Who doesn't love Zachary's?"  He then told me how they are different, and appeal to a different market.

I  agree.  Zachary's does not do gluten free, which has been difficult for me when family come to visit and everyone wants to go to Zachary's (and I have to go there and have a salad).  Now, I can run across the street and get my own variety!  Jules also sells the gluten free pizza dough so you can make your own delicious pizza at home!  For dessert, Jules sells Mariposa gluten free brownies which are delicious in their own right!

Thanks for being part of the Rockridge neighborhood, Jules!


Jules Thin Crust Pizza
College Ave
Rockridge district
Oakland, CA
(This location is only a block away from Rockridge BART)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse-Berkeley, CA

In the next few days I want to visit the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.  I want to pick up some water and sand toys for my son.  I'll blog about it once I have gone there and seen with my own eyes what they have.  I know that many teachers and artists go there for projects and other creative uses.

CAT excavator from Rockridge Kids store - A great toy for playing outside!

Our son loves construction-related toys.  About 18 months ago, we bought him a bulldozer -- really a CAT excavator -- for use in the sandbox.  Complete with special rubber grips on its plastic treads, my son loved it.  Unfortunately, we accidentally left it at a sandbox.  It took us many months, but we finally decided to replace it.  On the positive side, I suppose, we get to support Rockridge Kids with repeat business...

Rockridge Kids Store, Oakland, CA - Best toy store in Rockridge! Update- Rockridge Kids closed!

Yesterday,  I went to Rockridge Kids store in Oakland to get a  baby shower present for my friend.  I love Rockridge Kids because they even do free gift wrapping!  When I asked for suggestions of a certain price range, they gave me a few things that were perfect!  I also got my son a Bruber CAT excavator.  He had gotten one for his birthday but he had left it at a park a few months ago.  What I love about Rockridge Kids is that they give personal service, free giftwrapping, and they only carry quality things that I'm proud to give as a present, and feel comfortable giving to my son to play with.  I also really enjoy supporting local businesses!


Rockridge Kids store
(510) 601-5437
5511 College Avenue
Oakland,CA  94618

CAT Excavator
BRUDER Spielwaren GmbH + Co. KG
Bernbacher Str.  94-98
90768  Furth/Germany
Telephone:  49 (0) 911/75209-230

Update- On December 31, 2013, Rockridge Kids closed its doors for good.  It is so sad as that was our favorite toy store!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I used my new steamer basket tonight to steam artichokes, yum!

I had gotten a stainless steel collapsible steamer basket from Sur La Table awhile ago in my quest to start eating healthier and enjoy the bounty that the farmers markets in the area supplies.   I finally opened the box and used it tonight to make steamed artichokes that I had gotten from the Saturday Farmer's market in Alameda.  I also made a dip with mayonnaise and fresh dill.

I need to experiment on how long to cook the artichokes, as it seemed that the 30 minutes the directions gave just wasn't enough.

When I was cooking tonight I noticed I do not have one large pan with a lid on it!  I need to update my cooking supplies!  I enjoy going to cooking stores, such as Sur La Table, as just looking around.


Sur La Table
The Art & Soul of Cooking
Collapsible Steamer basket
9" diameter
adjustable for use in various pots
18/0 stainless steel construction

Restoration Hardware - Now on 4th Street in Berkeley

Restoration Hardware is now on Fourth Street in Berkeley!  I stopped by there today with my son and dog.  Yes, they are dog and child friendly!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Oakland History Room - Oakland, CA - Great place to look up the history of your East Bay bungalow

This year, as our house gets closer to being a hundred years old, I want to explore its history at the Oakland History Room.  This place is a great resource, and I am looking forward to going there.


Oakland History Room
125  14th Street
Oakland, CA  94612
(510) 238-3222

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There is a new bakery in Oakland - Sweet Bar Bakery- YUM!

When I was growing up in Michigan we used to go visit family on the farm and then on the way back we'd visit an amazing bakery in Richmond, MI.  I remember how the smell of freshly baked bread, cakes, and cookies would fill the air as we walked toward the bakery in the small town.  After I moved away, I was so sad to come back to the town and find out the bakery was gone.  It felt like the soul of the town was also gone.

Well, Oakland, CA is coming to life.  I feel good bakeries give life and soul to a place.  I love bakeries, especially ones specializing in food with organic wholesome ingredients.

The Sweet Bar Bakery feels like a small town bakery, though it is on Broadway in Oakland, CA.  I first tasted their delicious cupcakes when they had set up a tent this past summer on First Friday in front of their new location.  Though they hadn't quite officially opened, they already were gathering quite a following.  My son and I went there today and got cookies, coffee, and a sandwich.  Who says you can't go home again?


Sweet Bar Bakery
sweet bar

Friday, April 5, 2013

Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA

I visited Urban Ore with my son this past week.  We actually dropped off a boom box radio and the drop off area.  It was a great way to teach my son about recycling for we talked at length afterwards about how some other family may really enjoy the radio!

We ventured inside and we were a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff everywhere!  We were looking for items for my son's adventure pack, and were looking for a magnifying glass and/or flashlight.  We didn't find either and ended up leaving empty handed.  As we left the door, we saw a huge bus labeled Academy of Arts, San Francisco.  A bunch of students were walking into the bus with repurposed things to create art with!  This would be a great place for artists as there are tons of recycled items.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Classic Meatloaf

Classic Meatloaf

This is the recipe that my mom made when I was growing up!  It is such a delicious and yummy recipe.

Prep time  15 minutes
Cook time:  1 hour


1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of finely chopped green pepper
1 cup of organic ketchup
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 cup of soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 tsp of pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat.  Cook onion, garlic, celery, and pepper until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in ketchup.  Remove pan from heat and divide sauce mixture in half.  Combine one half of the sauce with ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, and pepper.  Mix gently.  Pat mixture into a lightly greased meatloaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 % F.  Rest meatloaf for 5 minutes.  Reheat the reserved sauce mixture.  Slice meatloaf and serve with sauce.

(This recipe can be varied according to taste and sensitivity.  Some children prefer the recipe without the green pepper.  People with gluten sensitivity can use gluten free bread crumbs.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Urban Ore- Berkeley, CA

It is a rainy day today, we are going to Urban Ore to drop off a few things.  Urban Ore is a great place to both drop off things that you don't need anymore and to buy used things you may not need but find appealing at the time.  They have kitchen supplies, building supplies, books (some rare,) salvaged wood, and so much more!  Some even call this place a monstrous garage sale, perfect for those who love recycling!


Urban Ore
900 Murray Street
Berkeley, CA (between 7th and 9th streets)
(510) 841-7283

Hours:  Monday through Saturday,
8:30AM to 7:00PM
Sunday, 10:00AM to 7:00PM
Receiving closes at 5:00PM  (look on the website regarding what the receiving department will take.)

We kept the dog!

We kept our sweet dog!  He fits in perfectly with our old bungalow, and I couldn't say goodbye to him.      In fact, my brother thinks he is reincarnated to his last dog as he is so similar to her!  My son and I took him for a walk today in the rain in his new raincoat.