Everyone Is In For A Huge Treat!

Heather, Aron, and I have been working on getting them into a commercial space at the Rossmoor Village Shopping Center on Tice Valley Blvd. There, they will be opening The Yogurt Spot (targeted to open later this summer). It has been a lifelong dream of Heather’s, who previously worked in events with Prima in downtown Walnut Creek.

A signed lease was just cemented in March. It will be a family-owned business serving the highest quality frozen desserts, from gelato and shaved ice, to many different flavors of frozen yogurt.

Heather and Aron are excited about being part of the community. Their son Aiden plays varsity football for Las Lomas and are very much looking forward to supporting the team along with a few other organizations near and dear to their hearts (such as Underdog and ARF).

The Yogurt Spot will be tucked between Starbucks and BurgerIM.

I can’t wait to see what they do with this small business yogurt stop and taste some of their frozen desserts!

New coffee shop just opened!

It looks like a new coffee shop just opened in downtown Walnut Creek! Good for them for opening during a lockdown, when so much is up in the air. I truly hope they do well! I saw their sign up in the Schroeder Insurance building a few weeks ago, but they hadn’t yet opened. I hav always admired this brick building it has such a cool architectural vibe, with the faux metal panels at the front entrance to the color of the bricks and now it is open for all to enjoy.

Now, according to their website and their Instagram, they are officially open for business, though at limited hours due to the pandemic (I’m guessing). The menu looks fantastic, and I really can’t wait to walk over and give it a try. Tellus Coffee is all about the healthy, good vibes. I mean, check out that plant wall!

That reminds me a lot of Rooted Coffee, which I’ve blogged about before. They found a brick-and-mortar home in Pleasant Hill after years at the Farmer’s Market. It seems like Tellus Coffee also has a ton of potential. Their menu includes everything from coffee to avocado toast to empanadas.

Here’s to hoping that COVID ends soon and we can all give Tellus a try indoors! For now it might just be grab and go. I know I’ll be placing a to-go order and visiting with my mask in the near future. I always love seeing what a new neighborhood coffee shop can offer our community!

A new mural at Mel’s

I wrote about the new mural in downtown Walnut Creek recently. What I did not go into detail on was that Local Edition also put up a mural outside of Mel’s Diner! Check out the pictures below – it’s a really interesting, visually stunning piece, in my opinion!

The installation outside of Mel’s was created by an artist at Local Edition named Masaka. According to the Local Edition website, “the canvas framework was inspired by whimsical 1950’s themed notes tying into the present day. The curvature and canvas layers throughout the art lures viewers in with curiosity as eyes start to wander from one layer to the next. The layers tell a story that is sometimes not conveyed through flat art. The tangible nature of the piece invites you into the artist’s process, build and passion with wonder.”

The artists has extensive experience in woodworking and carving precision from his days as a craftsman and dental technician, respectively. That experience, combined with a background in graffiti, led Masaka to this fusion of cutout pop art.

Local Edition writes that the purpose of the piece outside of Mel’s is to revitalize memories of the downtown Walnut Creek leisure experiences and incorporates landmarks from as far back as 1889, like St. Paul’s Chapel, El Rey Theater, Shadelands Ranch, the Lesher Center, and Century Theaters. Magnificent!

A new mural downtown highlighting diversity

I was stunned by a new mural on the side of Cheap Pete’s downtown the other day, while walking over to La Scala for a coffee. I had to stop and take a few pictures! Lucky for us, one of the brains behind the wonderful artwork provided some insight about the inspiration:

Sage at Local Edition Creative said he conceived the mural concept, which was pained by the agency’s lead artist, David “Hyde” Cho. Sage lives in Walnut Creek and says he wanted to add some more contemporary art that also incorporated something representing a different culture, as a way of indicating that Walnut Creek has a growing, diverse population.

He says: “I chose a Japanese theme for the serenity and beauty that I believed would be well received, as well as playing off the Geishas’ masks in the time of COVID. The statement is the we all wear different masks in our lives and COVID is a physical manifestation of this. The title is “jiko-jitsugen,” and is Japenese for “self-realization.” The basis for the concept of the mural’s meaning was jiko-jitsugen – or, that each person has three faces: one they show to the world, one they show to their family, and one they show to no one.”

How cool is that? Thank you so much to Sage and Local Edition for reaching out to me and providing the extra information and for blessing that blank wall downtown with amazing artwork that we can all enjoy! What a great message! Local Edition also created a small mural next to Mel’s downtown, which I will share on a later blog.

According to the Local Edition website, this mural came about through the Walnut Creek REBOUND program that fast-tracked existing city money to help small businesses with parklets, new art installations, and other crucial things to keep people engaged during the hardships of COVID-19. Now that we are back to partially being open, I hope those reading this will take some time to go downtown, support our local business’ and take a walk past the mural, or maybe on your way to the farmers market on Sunday!

Duncan Arcade Murals!

Walnut Creek has one of the most amazing ongoing public art projects a city can have and another one has just been completed. Strolling through Duncan Arcade downtown (the covered passageway that connects Main to Locust by the Amplify Barber Shop), I was thrilled to see some beautiful murals on the walls!

From: Bedford Gallery

Bay Area-based artists Velia De Iuliis, Cannon Dill, Casey Gray, Sirron Norris, and Ricky Watts are responsible for the art and did so in partnership with Walnut Creek Public Art. The murals were described by Bedford Gallery as “dynamic and colorful,” and that description really nails it.

As for the future, the city plans to rotate murals regularly, to give new artists a chance to participate in the project. For now, I’d highly recommend making a detour next time you’re wandering downtown to see these murals.

This visually improved the walkthrough from Main to Locust! Check out the shops along the way, Norf London always has fun items, and now there is a photography venue focusing on baby pictures.

WC Community Service Food Drive done right!

The Parkmead community rallied with about 100 bags plus $$ donated for the Food Bank. I received some wonderful notes thanking me for giving them a way to participate, so I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of my Parkmead neighbors and friends who put forth a huge effort to take part in the Walnut Creek Community Food Drive last weekend.

The numbers for the city as whole are equally amazing. Over 6,100 bags were distributed throughout Walnut Creek and you can see most came back filled with food that packed THREE FULL Food Bank trucks. A total of $13,886 was raised and the cash alone translates into nearly 26,000 meals. 

I am so happy with the results and so proud of the community I live in!

A job well done for all your generous donations, and for showing up to help our community!

Join in the Community Food Drive!

As we move through 2020, we have come to the realization that nothing we do is the way it used to be. For me, the keyword(s) for the year are “pivot” and “flexibility.” As many of you know, for the last four years, I have done a pie party and donation drive for the Trinity Center. This year, I don’t see it occurring in our COVID environment.

Credit: Walnut-Creek.org

So, this year, I am pivoting. I’m being flexible. This year, I’m going to host a neighborhood food drive for Walnut Creek’s annual Community Service Day! If you live in my Parkmead neighborhood, you’ll be receiving a one-page flyer this week with more information on how to participate. If you don’t live in my neighborhood, I would be happy to coordinate.

Taking part is easy. Fill up a bag with non-perishable items and either call, text, or email me to come pick up your bag on your front porch (no contact pickup). Or, you can drop it off on my front porch. To get ahold of me, visit my website here.

Credit: Walnut-Creek.org

Another option, you can drop-off option at any one of the donation sites or on Saturday October 10th Walnut Creeks Community Service Day. I will be working at Heather Farms on the 10th helping to sort the neighborhood’s donations and will drive them all over that day. Thank you to everyone for participating! There are many ways to join in – visit the Community Service Day webpage hereĀ . You can also directly donate to the Food Bank with this link.

Downtown Walnut Creek scavenger hunt!

How cool is this idea? There’s a Public Art Scavenger Hunt in downtown Walnut Creek now, where you can start at Civic Park and finish at Lesher Center for the Arts. It’s an easy, fun course that is only about a mile in total, and allows you to see a lot of the great local art that I like to feature on this blog (check out my Art Town blogs for more)!

You can find all the art by reading clues, and all of it is outside. What a perfect activity to do to get outside, social distance, get some exercise, and learn a little bit about our town’s art scene. Starting this month, and going until February, you can also enter to win a monthly drawing when you finish the scavenger hunt – an iPad will be given to a winner in February!

If you do the scavenger hunt, make sure to call the numbers on the plaques to hear more about the artwork you’re looking at. Also, if you take pictures along the way, make sure to use hashtags on social media of #walnutcreekpublicart, #walnutcreektogether, and #walnutcreekcreatestogether.

I did this last weekend with my friend Rebecca, it was during our recent heat wave, but we stayed masked stopped at Starbucks for a cool drink and had a nice day catching up. I’ve seen and blogged about most of the local, public artwork at this point (see some of my favorites in the slideshow above), but it’s one of the great joys of living in Walnut Creek – getting to see art all over the place, and watching as certain areas transform because of those works!

We ended our scavenger hunt with pictures at the new “Walnut Creek Together” mural by artist Ally McKay is on Cypress Street which is a symbol of Walnut Creek emerging from the aftermath of the pandemic into a new and changed world. It makes for a fun photo opportunity and post to social media.

Let me know if you do the scavenger hunt or find the Walnut Creek Together mural. Get out there and enjoy all that beautiful Walnut Creek has to offer us!

Watching Neowise in style!

I went up to Castle Rock Park in the Open Space the other day to try and catch an evening sighting of the Neowise comet! I decided I had to do it in style, rather than just hike up there to stand around!

So, I brought my dog, Bodie, a picnic, some wine (shh!), and a friend! The views were spectacular as usual with the twilight colors and a dim orange sun reflecting off Mt. Diablo. It was absolutely beautiful. We eventually found Neowise, but needed binoculars to see it, as the light pollution from Martinez refineries didn’t lend the naked eye a view. Though I was hoping for some spectacular images like those posted on Jackson Hole’s Twitter account, it was not meant to be in highly populated Contra Costa County.

Days earlier, I also took a hike in a different direction at Castle Hill Park to Pine Canyon where there is a rock formation where the Peregrine Falcon makes it nest (once an endangered species) and a bench that you can sit on and just take in the scenery and maybe see a falcon flying high above. It is a short walk in, but nice to take it all in and just be outside.

Ace is the place!

We didn’t have a hardware store for a long time in Walnut Creek. I think the closest thing to that that we had was a Simon’s, which was a sort of all-encompassing space that did sell hardware. But, now, we have a local branch of Ace, and I love it!

Ace has a little something for everyone, but also hits on all your hardware needs. They have really cute ideas for gifts. They do an especially wonderful job with cute gift ideas, from candles to dish towels, but they also offer everything from bird seeders to barbecues. Like any good hardware store, they are tools, cleaning supplies, key-making, patio/garden, paint, grills and accessories, and plants/soil.

My favorite aspect, though, is probably at winter time. They do an awesome job of providing holiday lights, decorations and of course Christmas trees, and will even have a tree delivered to your house for you!

It is just really nice to have a local hardware store that has so much more and isn’t part of Lowe’s or Home Depot. I recently had to run over and replace a bird feeder that my favorite yard squirrel knocked down and broke as he was swinging on the wire trying to get to the bird food (he might not be my favorite anymore) I used my Ace rewards and got $5.00 off! They are pet friendly and when I take Bodie with me he is always facinated by the train with a golden gate replica, blowing it’s whistle as goes along the tracks on the tracks above the store! How cool is that! Remember, especially in these times, SHOP LOCAL, if possible.