A la Carte & Art Festival...

A La Carte & Art Festival is April 30 and May 1, 2016. This year is the 20th anniversary of the festival. There will be over 200 artists. These artists have been carefully selected by an organization called Pacific Fine Arts Festivals and they are superb at bringing in some of the most talented, creative people, from all over the county, everything from fine art, paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry to handmade clothing, leather goods, artisan specialty foods, wooden toys, furniture and garden art. There will be some of the Bay Area’s favorite food vendors and lots of wine, beer and iced tea and water. Here’s a link for more information on the beverages that will be served. The food vendors are hand picked from many that apply. You should definitely try the tamales, the crepes, and buy a big bag of kettle corn to take home. I got a sneak peek at this year’s wine glass and I love it. Wine and beer glasses will be available to purchase, and are quite popular with lots of the locals who collect them. Music! Yes!  Live music is on stage during the entire festival and there will be street performers stationed throughout the festival. The music is the main reason some people come to festival, year after year. It’s so nice to see a big crowd of people dancing, and having the time of their life, in the middle of the street in downtown Mountain View. Fire and Police departments are at the festival and have vehicles for kids to sit in and have a photos taken. They’re always at every big community event and residents can ask questions and get to know them. This festival also has a classic car show and a farmers market...

Eureka!

Eureka! Restaurant opens Monday, April 25th and Mountain View is going to be happy about this one. I had the pleasure of attending several media dinners, as well as the soft-opening at this all-American restaurant and each time, everything was amazing. They serve classic American food, with an elevated twist, along with plenty of bourbon and beer. The address is 191 Castro Street. I tried the Bison and the Fresno Fig burgers. Both were beautifully presented, prepared perfectly medium-rare, exactly what I asked for. The french fries had truffle in both the salt and the cheese sauce and the sweet potato fries had maple syrup on them. The glazed Brussels sprouts are the best, I even went home and tried to copy them.  I sampled every dessert on the menu and I would recommend all of them, however the Butterscotch Rum pudding is sprinkled with sea salt, and just my style, so that’s what I’ll be ordering more often than not. Eureka has over 40 craft beers, local California wines and 50 small-batch whiskeys and specialty cocktails. My “Holy Smokes” came in a jar with hickory smoke trapped in the jar and when you unscrew the lid, the smoke rolls out. Wait 30 seconds before you open the lid so the smoke has a chance to flavor the bourbon. It’s quite unusual, tastes like a campfire and I want more of them. One of the upcoming happy hour specials is a “steal-the-glass” night. They have a cute glass with their logo etched on it, already picked out for us. It has already proven itself to be popular and quite steal-able, so the owners decided that should just give everyone what they want. Be sure you’re stealing the glass on the right happy-hour of the week. It might be uncomfortable if you get...

Title Boxing Club

I took a boxing class on Sunday at Title Boxing Club Mountain View. I can’t believe I just wrote those words. It was the first time I had ever put on a pair of boxing gloves and it certainly won’t be the last. The owner of the club, Adrienne Rush, met with me before the class got started, showed me around and wrapped my hands. The class had about 18 people in it, 10 women and 8 men. The trainer, Armand, showed me how to position my feet as I punched the bag, how to twist my body and not just use my arms, and how to turn my hands so I didn’t injure my wrists. There was a silly grin on my face the whole time because I was having so much fun. My entire body was sore for a few days, which tells me it was a good workout, and that I need more of it.   The class involved warm-up cardio activities and stretches, then everyone put their gloves on for 8 three-minute rounds, with a 1 minute “active rest” in between each round. Armand walked around to all the students during the class and coached each person before moving on to the next. He shows everyone what to do during each round and then checks to see if you’re doing it correctly. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t doing anything correctly, but it didn’t matter. I was having a great time. After the 8 rounds, everyone grabs a floor mat and does some core exercises with a medicine ball. Oh, guess what… I had never even touched a medicine ball in my life before that. They’re heavy, in case you didn’t know. The toughest workout I had ever done before last Sunday was at Curves, so this part about actually punching stuff and sweating was new to me. I felt very comfortable, even though I had no idea how to do the boxing part. There wasn’t any pressure on me to go faster, or harder than what I was capable of. And it wasn’t a fashion show. You know what I mean, everyone was totally focused on hitting the bag and working up a sweat. I brought one of my Chamber of Commerce colleagues, Jennifer. And it turns out she throws a mean punch, just as I assumed she would, since she already owns a pair of fancy boxing gloves. It’s always more fun to workout with a friend, so take someone with you when you visit Title Boxing Club Mountain View. Title Boxing Club is a nationwide company, but there are only 5 in California and the Mountain View location is the only one in the Bay Area. It’s the newest thing in cool-places-to-workout. The location is perfect for people who commute, because it is centrally located between 85 and 237. Adrienne (who lives in Mountain View) told me that she has members that live over an hour away. They prefer taking a boxing or kickboxing class in the evening as opposed to sitting in traffic. Some members work at large tech companies, but those companies don’t offer boxing classes, so they joined Title Boxing instead of exercising at their gym at work. The address is157 E El Camino Real, Mountain View, California. One last detail that I love about the location of Title Boxing Club Mountain View is that it’s right next door to Nijiya Market, in the same shopping center as a Starbucks and a Walgreens. How convenient is that? Here’s a link to their class schedule. I love Mountain...

Deer Hollow Farm Mar22

Deer Hollow Farm

Spring is the best time of year to visit Deer Hollow Farm. All of the animals are having babies and you really need to stop by for a visit. The farm is located 1 mile from the parking lot, so plan on taking a little stroll before you reach your destination. Here’s the address: 22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Cupertino, CA 95014 There are signs (and lots of friendly people) telling you which trail and direction to take. There are restrooms in the parking lot too. Bikes are allowed on the paved trails. Dogs aren’t allowed. There’s a nice picnic area and please be sure that you know what Poison Oak looks like before you touch anything growing along the trail. The creek that runs through Rancho San Antonio has water in it right now and the trails winds beside the creek for part of the walk. I always look at the old wooden fence beside the trail and think how nice it is that the people that maintain the park and farm have preserved the original look of the pioneer fence. There are plenty of lizards on the trail and I even got to see a blue-tailed Skink. If you’re quiet, you’ll usually see wild turkeys, hawks, fat squirrels, a quail family, or some deer on your way to the farm. I spoke with several volunteers. They told me that one of the goats recently gave birth to triplets and another one had twins. More on the way very soon. I think that the baby sheep were inside the barn sleeping while I was there. A bus full of Mountain View Whisman school district kids were leaving just as I was arriving and the volunteers told me that the animals are always tired after school children visit them. That’s so cute that the animals want to take a nap after the school bus leaves. There are signs that say “Don’t touch the animals” but honestly, it’s hard not to touch them when they come right up to you to check you out. They’re very tame and friendly and used to visitors.  The volunteers and staff at the farm are so patient with all the funny questions from the visitors. The farm animals all go to bed at night inside in their own little barns or sleeping quarters (the staff actually lock them up and do a head count) so they’re safe from predators, like coyotes and mountain lions. One chicken was outside the big pen where the rest of her friends were, but she didn’t seem worried at all. I walked up to her and she was not concerned. There are also cows and pigs and a pond with friendly ducks, and some rabbits. This is quite possibly the most peaceful place in all of Silicon Valley. The volunteers told me that’s it’s not nearly as peaceful when there are 75 children running around. I guess they’re probably right. Deer Hollow Farm is inside Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, which is in Cupertino, but the park is managed by the city of Mountain View’s Recreation Division. Additional funds come from Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara County, the non-profit Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, Los Altos Hills and the City of Cupertino. Be sure to explore the Blacksmith Shed, herb garden and Nature Center in the farm area too. Deer Hollow Farm is one of those special places that children will remember going to for the rest of their lives. Making memories, the Mountain View...

NASA Ames Research Center Mar14

NASA Ames Research Center...

If you have visitors, you should definitely take them to them to our NASA Ames Research Visitors Center. Admission and parking are free. I stopped by last week to see what was new in the center. The newest addition to the visitors center is a life size model of Pioneer Venus Orbiter (Pioneer 12). My favorite item is the Mercury Spacecraft that launched in 1960. It was recovered 236 miles down range in the Atlantic ocean following its sub-orbital flight. It’s so retro looking. The moon rock is always one of the most popular items on display. It was collected by the crew of Apollo 15 in 1971 and is approximately 3.4 billion years old. I like that they have red lighting on the Mars globe. My photo of the red planet reminded me of Scott Kelly’s photos from his year in space. I love following him on Twitter imagining spending an entire year that far away from home. I’m really hoping that we get to have some kind of Scott Kelly display in our NASA Ames Research Center in the future. The NASA Advanced Super Computing Division has a display area. This Archive Storage System would be able to hold 34 trillion songs (mp3s) on tape and it would take 192,932 years to play back that many song. In comparison, iTunes has around 37 million songs. There is a model of the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). And some vintage spacesuits (Gemini from 1965 and Mercury from 1961) are interesting and look like sci-fi movie props. They have a small version of the International Space Station in the middle of the giant visitors center tent. The tiny gift shop had just as many visitors in it as the entire visitor center...

Paint Nite at Agave Mar07

Paint Nite at Agave

   Have you heard about Paint Nite? I kept seeing posts on Facebook about large painting events at local restaurants, so I checked one out. Okay, two of them. I went to one in Sunnyvale a month ago, and another one here in Mountain View last week. It was at Agave Restaurant on Castro Street. Paint Nite is a popular, trendy evening activity and I had a great time. Think of it as an art class that encourages consuming lots of alcohol. If you go to the Paint Nite website, you get to see the upcoming paintings and you can decide whether or not you like what you’ll be going home with. I didn’t know ahead of time what we were painting and it didn’t matter to me. I was going with a group of friends. I think the activity itself is more fun than the actual painting that you take away, unless you happen to be an artist. If you’re a trained artist, or maybe if you don’t drink too much and you really listen to the instructor, you might be willing to hang your painting in your home. Buy your tickets online and plan ahead. It’s not something you can do it at the last minute. No. It always sells out, at least in Mountain View it does. There’s an instructor who guides everyone through the steps involved in the painting. Our teacher was Troy. He was creative and helpful as he walked around the room and offered advice to those that had questions, or if he noticed that you needed help with something specific. Everyone is painting the same thing and it’s fascinating to see how different all the artwork is at the end. Some people try really hard to follow what...

East West Drum Circle Mar01

East West Drum Circle...

Have you checked out the events calendar at East West Bookshop lately? If you’re new to the area, I recommend it. East West Bookshop is one of those special places that makes Mountain View so unique. I have some friends that regularly attend drum circle events in the area and they invited me to go to one at East West with them. They have their own drums, as do lots of the other people that go, but there are just as many people, like me, who show up empty-handed and use a loaner drum. If you haven’t attended a drum circle in the last 20 years, you need to go to one. It’s probably pretty different from what you might be thinking. All different ages were in the group of 65 or 70 people, even a few kids. The leader of the circle, David DiLullo, is charming and energetic and easily gets everyone laughing. There are a few friends of his that sit beside him and they help him demonstrate what he wants everyone to do. You know… a little drum demo by the pros, then everyone does it together. David gives the group a little bit of the history of drumming, “the oldest sacred rhythm in the world” and mentioned that by being part of the dum circle, our brains were forming new connections. It’s good for you and puts the listener in a meditative state of mind. He makes the event feel very supportive and friendly and tells you that the person next to you isn’t judging you or even listening to you, so relax and enjoy the drumming. I liked that he said to visualize your tensions falling away, visualize the color of your essence and trust the chair that you’re sitting...

KMVT Camps Feb22

KMVT Camps

Don’t you wish you knew how to make really nice little videos? Nice enough that you would feel proud to share them online? Whether it’s for promoting your business or just the ability to make entertaining little clips to show family and friends, most of us would love to have the skills to do this.  And in a perfect world, your awesome little videos would be seen by hundreds, or thousands of people, right?  Our local community television station, KMVT 15 Silicon Valley Community Media offers all different kinds of workshops and ways of getting your messages out to the world. I stopped by this week while they were having a Youth Camp and it was… well, I hesitate to use the word “hilarious” but honestly, some of those kids were total comedians and they loved being in front of the camera. Others were more interested in working in the control room or operating the cameras. It was a Beginning Video Production camp that I visited. It was hands-on and immersive. The students were all in middle school. They ran the control room, worked all the cameras, wrote the script and did all the acting in front of the green screen. I watched them make a video about volcanos and another one that was a silly infomercial about some chairs that they were pretending to sell. They had been given 2 days of instruction before they were turned loose with the equipment so they had a pretty good idea how it worked. Okay, that, and they were being very closely supervised. I envy their carefree-attitude and the ability to get in front of the camera and and totally go for it. Executive Director, Bobby Chastain, also showed me another camp in progress where students were...

Mountain View Community Shuttle Feb16

Mountain View Community Shuttle...

Would you like to go downtown and not have to worry about where to park, and whether or not you’ll get a ticket if you stay too long? Or go to the movies and not have to deal with finding a parking spot? I just tried the free Mountain View Community Shuttle and it was amazing. I normally drive everyplace and I think I might be willing to make this shuttle a habit. I rode the entire route yesterday. There are 2 different routes; it’s actually one big circle and you can go in either direction, so if you stay on one bus, you’ll see everything. It took exactly an hour to ride the entire route. It was very peaceful and quiet because the bus is 100% electric. That also means it’s very clean, inside and outside. It was provided to our city by Google. It also has free wifi. It was on time, at every stop. The driver was very friendly and didn’t mind at all that we were tourists. She asked us if we planned on getting off and we said “no” and that we’re just enjoying the free ride that Google provided. Yes, it was like we were getting a little tour of the community. I would definitely recommend it to people who want a free tour of our city. The other riders looked like they were going to doctor appointments, out to lunch or shopping, but not jobs. This particular shuttle is probably more popular with people doing community things as opposed to going to work for several reasons. It starts at 10:00 am, which is pretty late for going to a job and because it doesn’t go to the tech companies. And there are other shuttles that are more focused on...

Ujena Swimwear Feb11

Ujena Swimwear

   I was invited to the Ujena Swimwear showroom and factory for a tour this week. Okay, I may have invited myself, but they were incredibly friendly and happy to have me. Did you know that Ujena Swimwear has been making bathing suits and cover ups right here in Mountain View since 1984? And they’re just down the street from YouTube, Google, Intuit and Microsoft. They’re located at 1931 Old Middlefield Way. Here’s a link to their website. The showroom is pretty and girly, and they do a good job showing customers what’s possible when you order a swimsuit from them, so many options, styles, and fabrics. You can certainly order one of the suits that they’ve designed, but you can also Design Your Own UjENA Suit (DYOUS) by selecting a UjENA style and a UjENA fabric, as sexy or conservative as you want and lots of fabrics to choose from, animal prints, dots, camouflage, tropical patterns or solids. They have bikinis, tankinis, swim dresses, one pieces, monokinis, lounge pants and cover ups, all made in Mountain View. If you want to get the exact suit that was in Baywatch, this is definitely the place to go. Their swimwear and cover ups are sporty,  functional and fashionable.  I loved watching people sitting at sewing machines, carefully sewing the suits. One big, burly guy was so proud of the bright yellow suit that he had just finished, that he held it up to show me, and flipped it around so I could admire his work, both front and back.  They have paper patterns that they trace onto the fabric and then cut out each piece by hand. And the fabric is really high quality and thick, with 4 way stretch, not like what you typically see in department stores....

Fire Drill Fun Run

 As first responders in our community, the Mountain View Fire Department is sometimes exposed to heartbreaking situations. Several firefighters from Station #1, Mike Quan and Jenna Graham, told me about some tragic situations that they’ve witnessed as they responded to 911 calls where local families really needed a helping hand. Some of the firefighters went around to all of the fire stations in Mountain View and asked their colleagues for donations so they could help in these situations. One of the first times this happened was when a girl fell off her scooter and knocked out her front teeth. As they responded to the home, they noticed there was absolutely no food in the house. Apparently you’re supposed to put teeth in a glass of milk and take them to the hospital with the injured person, but this family had no food at all, much less a carton of milk. Another time someone desperately needed a wheelchair and a ramp built so they could get in and out of their home. As a result of situations like those, our firefighters started a non-profit, Random Acts, so now they have an official means to help families or individuals who may need it. They saw a program very similar happening in Oakland, which was successful, so they cloned it here in Mountain View. I feel so fortunate to live in a community where the fire department cares so deeply about helping the underserved and I’m sure that there are plenty of people that fall into this category. Random Acts first fundraising event is a fun run, Mountain View Fire Drill, happening on February 20, 2016. 100% of the proceeds will go straight into the fund that will do good deeds for people who need help in Mountain View. You can do a 5k or a 10k, walk or run, whatever makes you happy. Sign up here and get an awesome tee shirt. Thank you to the wonderful sponsors who are helping make this amazing event happen. There are two different maps posted here, one for the 5k and one for the 10k. Everyone will meet in Lot E. That’s on the righthand side as soon as you pass through the front gate and enter the park. Check out the tee shirt that you’ll get on the day of the run! It’s bound to be a favorite in your closet since it’s from the first Fire Drill run ever. Wonderful job to our local firefighters for creating Random Acts, for planning this fun run, and for caring so much for those that need help. See you at Shoreline Park on February 20th! I love Mountain...

50 Things to do in Mountain View Feb02

50 Things to do in Mountain View

Whether you’re here just for the week of Super Bowl 50, or you’ve lived here for years, here are 50 things you need to experience in Mountain View! Go out to dinner in downtown Mountain View, where there are over 100 restaurants. Journey back in time with a visit to the Rengstorff House. Take a leisurely stroll on the Stevens Creek Trail. Go on a picnic in Cuesta Park, Pioneer Park, Charleston Park, or Eagle Park. Hang out at an authentic Silicon Valley dive bar: Bert’s Alibi, Fred’s Place or Mervyn’s. Take Salsa lessons at Albertos. Learn about and visit our endangered Burrowing Owls. Go golfing at Shoreline Golf Links. Go windsurfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddling at Shoreline Aquatic Center. Enjoy a visit to our 2 community gardens. Go to a performance at The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. See the Shockley Labs sign and honor the true birthplace of Silicon Valley. Attend the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival. Take your photo in front of local tech company signs like LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, Youtube, Intuit, Quixey, What’sApp. Take your photo with the Google Android sculptures. Shop at the award winning Mountain View Farmers Market. Ride a bike around town with the Bay Area Bike Share program. Slurp beer and watch the game at Tied House, the south bay’s original microbrewery. Visit Moffett Field Historic Society Museum. Go to a concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Eat macarons from Alexander’s Patisserie. Live it up and eat like a king at Chez TJ. Fly a kite at the official kite flying area of the city. Go on a Wine Walk with your friends. Enjoy the annual Obon Festival. Learn about Silicon Valley and geek out at the Computer History Museum. Definitely plan on attending the A La Carte & Art Festival. Dance in the street during Thursday Night Live. Sign up for a Coffee Tasting Class at Red Rock Coffee. Get to know yourself by attending some of the special events at East West Books. Take a yoga class at Yoga Belly, Yoga is Youthfulness, or California Yoga Center. Go to a play at Pear Theatre. Use CalTrain or VTA Light Rail to get around the bay area. Check out the new plush, oversized, electric loungers at Cinemark 16 Theatre. Mark your calendar and plan on attending Oktoberfest. Glimpse California’s architectural past as you look at the Historic Adobe Building. Get your kids involved with Peninsula Youth Theatre. Visit the charming little Jehning Family Lock Museum. Enjoy the well known bookstores downtown: East West, BookBuyers & Books Inc. Learn about space exploration and all things NASA at the Ames Research Visitors Center. Swim laps at Eagle Park Pool or Rengstorff Park Pool. Enjoy shopping downtown at interesting boutiques and stores, like Boutique 4. Shred at Rengstorff Skatepark. Enjoy the nightlife on Castro Street at Opal, Stephens Green, and Molly Magees. Grab your lawn chair and watch free movies in the park during the summer. Go bird watching in the bay. Drink boba tea! Visit the Mountain View Public Library events page for a wide variety of activities. Attend the Technology Showcase for the latest tech gadgets being made in Mountain View. Bring your friends to the Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh and plan on ubering home. After writing this list, I can’t believe how proud I am to say that I live in Mountain View and I absolutely love our...

Allure Salon Jan29

Allure Salon

  Allure Salon has been in downtown Mountain View since 2003. That says a lot. You have to be good to stay in business in this community for over a decade! Mediocre establishments get swallowed up around here and only the best survive, especially in the downtown area. I’ve gone to Allure for haircuts and manicures, but never hair color. Until now. I went this week and changed my hair color from a red that I did myself at home to a beautiful mixture of browns, blonde and copper. The technique that Evelyn, the hair designer that did my hair, used is called “balayage.” It’s a French word and it means to paint the color on. It’s much more creative and Evelyn is an expert at it. She’s been working at Allure for 2 years and was previously at the Fairmont Salon. I asked her what she specializes in and she told me it was balayage. Lucky me. I love that she was real quiet while she was working on it; like she was so busy concentrating that she couldn’t make small talk. Fine with me!  She painted on 4 colors, very slowly and explained that she was going slow because it takes a bit of extra effort to cover the cheap boxed red hair color that I had used. Okay, she didn’t use the word cheap, but I was really feeling guilty about doing such a cheesy job all this time. It took over 4 hours, and my hair is in better condition now than when I went in and I love it! It’s hard to actually say what color it is because it’s so many different colors blended together. I brought in a photo of Jennifer Lawrence (I’m a little embarrassed to...

Chemila Collection Jan27

Chemila Collection

I stopped by Chemila Collection last week and met the owner, Chemila. The store opened in late 2015 and it is located at 143 Castro Street, next door to Olympus Cafe and Bakery. It’s a women’s contemporary boutique that carries a fashionable collection of clothes that have a fun, creative twist on tradition. Everything is based on Chemila’s travels to France, Italy, Nepal and India. The current collection is mostly neutral tones with a splash of color. Chemila likes that there isn’t a specific dress code for women in Silicon Valley and that her customers are just looking for something hip and professional, something like a little black dress, but one that is just as comfortable with heels as it is with sneakers. She has them and she showed me. The store also has a nice selection of accessories. There is a wide variety of scarves and pashminas, in everything from silk, cashmere, cotton, and blends. She showed me the difference in weight between a night time wrap and a daytime scarf. They’re all very nice and I could imagine someone getting off the train and wanting to stop by a grab a new scarf on their way to a downtown meeting. We’ve all been there… if only you had thrown on a scarf before you ran out the door. Some of the jewelry in the boutique is handmade by Chemila and the women in her family and special items or combinations of stones can be requested. Chemila has worked in retail for years and always dreamed of having her own boutique. She’s worked for both large and small companies and thought to herself what she would do differently if she had her own store. She’s a start up, right here in the middle...

West Valley Music

 I was walking down Castro street last week and noticed a well known local Jazz musician, John Worley, standing on the sidewalk drinking a cup of coffee. I introduced myself and told him that I’ve seen him on stage before and that I follow him on Facebook. No, I’m not a stalker. I asked him what he was doing hanging out on Castro street. He told me that he teaches private trumpet lessons at West Valley Music. John took me on a tour of the cute music store and introduced me to the owner, Diana Tucker. This the store’s 25th year in business in Mountain View. John told me a little bit about all the instructors as we walked down the hallway of the lesson rooms and I realized that they were all local celebrities. How did this little store manage to find so many talented instructors? I asked Diana to tell me a little bit about how she finds such outstanding music teachers and she explained to me that she’s been in the business for years. Her instructors are all working musicians who go on tour and have released CDs and teaching helps them pay the rent. Honestly, these people are the most talented musicians you will ever find and now is your opportunity to learn from them. Even if you just sign up for one class to give it a try and see if you like it, it might just be the best thing that ever happened to you. Please check their website for the class schedule. I saw a wide variety of classes offered, and about 30 instructors who offer private lessons, such as piano, guitar, ukulele, flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, trombone and violin and voice. John Worley is one of...