If you’ve never heard of Stern Grove Festival, you should definitely check it out! It’s a free music festival in San Francisco that features some great bands. They even have kid-friendly activities, free yoga classes (BYO yoga mats), food trucks, and more!
The best part, though, is being able to just sit out in the sunshine or not so great in fog, in a beautiful part of the city and enjoying a day off. You can bring in a picnic (with certain limitations, of course) or reserve a picnic table ahead of time.
The venue itself is really beautiful, and located at 19th and Sloat in SF. The free music starts around 2 p.m. each Sunday and the season runs from June 16th to Aug. 18th. The SF Symphony, Psychedelic Furs, and Pink Martini are the ones I am interested in, but a day in Stern Grove, no matter who is playing is always a good day. Hope to see you there!
Normally, we reserve event updates for our monthly round-up’s on Saturdays. However, the Walnut Creek City Manager newsletter for April was so chock full of great events coming up in the next week or so, we couldn’t resist sharing a few of them with you. There is a lot of stuff happening in Walnut Creek, so here’s our best all-things-WC blog. Check it out!
April 13: 2nd Saturday Spotlight
A 90-minute walking tour of Shell Ridge is followed by a visit to the Lakewood neighborhood, where the effort to preserve open space in Walnut Creek gained traction decades ago. Register here!
April 13: Family Yoga
Let’s stay at the Shadelands for a family-friendly version of yoga from 10:30-11:15 a.m. on Sat., Apr. 13th! Onsite registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and it’s a $20 suggested donation per family. BYO yoga mats!
April 20-21: Easter Weekend
Boundary Oak Golf Course is hosting an Easter egg hunt on Sat., Apr. 20th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. This is a free event, featuring an Easter Bunny, jump house, and face painting! On Sun., Apr. 21st, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., you can enjoy a champagne brunch ($40 adults, $20 kids, plus tax and gratuity). Make reservations at (925) 934-4775 (ext. 20).
These four places are in the works to replace Lark Creek Cafe, Momo’s, Chevel, and Salon 13, respectively. We’ll have a more thorough blog about these soon. Bier Haus is German fare like Wienerschnitzel and German Beer, Galpao Gaucho is a Brazilian steakhouse, Burma might be like Burma Superstar, and Burgerrim is already in the renovated Rossmoor Plaza with another one downtown. It will be interesting to see how they all get received in Walnut Creek!
You can never have enough pho! Mangosteen just opened next door to Havana and I’m excited to try it. It doesn’t hurt to have a delicious pho restaurant right in the middle of downtown.
Just Be Yoga
Just Be is moving to where Diane’s Swimwear used to be on Locust St. next door to Peets as they lost their lease on Blvd Circle! They will have two yoga rooms, thus two classes at the same time or overlapping.
As the long, successful winter melts into Spring around the Bay Area, it’s time to get off the mountain and onto the water! Last year, I went on an unforgettable day trip to Alameda, that you simply must try.
I took a sunset, full moon SUP Yoga class with Lilly Manderville from Yoga Treat Fitness Studio who collaborates with Mike’s Paddle Boards in Alameda. First, we paddled through the waterway and homes into the bay and back into the cove where we proceeded to take a yoga class on the board.
It was awesome! We had wetsuits, beautiful views and a full moon, not to mention a really good yoga class. Of course, I pushed the envelope and fell into the water. I hopped back on the board and finished the poses! A picture says a thousand words and with the weather getting warmer now is a good time to look into doing a class or getting a group to try it.
Check with Mike’s Paddle Boards to see what classes are coming up or call me if you want Lilly’s info to schedule a full moon class with her.
The lot just off Olympic Blvd. before you go under 680 toward Parkmead has changed many times over the years. A long time ago, the lot was occupied by Walnut Creek Sports & Fitness. A few years ago, new owners came in and created Forma along with many great changes. They also added healthy options for food on-the-go to take to work. Now you can grab a green smoothie as you are walking out the door.
That is the gym I most often go to – not just for its proximity to my neighborhood, but because the new owner has done a fantastic job remodeling to make Forma appealing to everyone!
With a new gym coming in over by Zara, Orange Theory getting people all fired up, and other big-name gym chains popping up around town, there’s probably a little fear of competition for Forma. But, whatever it is, they’ve done a marvelous job with the gym.
Now, Forma has cryogenics (which is amazing if you haven’t tried it!), a jiu jitsu room, childcare, classes, a weight room, the pool, and more. They took out the racquetball courts, sadly, but it created a ton of room for other things. Forma still attracts the older Rossmoor crowd, but has also become more contemporary to attract a younger crowd.
Among the classes they offer, there is a mind/body studio for yoga and barre, with a separate area for spin. They have a spa with facials and massages, too! And one of the coolest things about Forma is their involvement with the local community. They sponsor the Turkey Trot, WCEF, food banks, etc. around town. They host golf tournaments, art days, and a kids club.
They also have Project Walk, which helps people learn or re-learn how to walk! I can’t say enough good things about Forma Gym, and if you’re looking for a community-oriented, affordable place to work out, this is the spot!
About 1 1/2 years ago, I joined Just Be Yoga after I went on a Just Be and Dragon Fly Yoga retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica. I went with my favorite yoga teacher who I originally met at Forma Gym, named Kelli.
The owner of Just Be Yoga, Jenny Wendell, has created an amazing community. The people and the instructors there are incredible. The yoga studio itself has a 2-door glass garage that opens and shuts whenever necessary. They have heated classes, a little courtyard outside of the studio, and multiple yoga retreats per year from Yosemite to Hawaii, among other domestic and international locations. Another of my favorite instructors, Malia Hill, even offers an occasional SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga class in Alameda! This summer she is headed to Croatia for a SUP/Yoga retreat.
I think my favorite thing about going to Just Be Yoga and the retreat in Costa Rica, were meeting all the great people and instructors and just feeling like I belong. The benefits of learning to breathe, sweat and get that afterglow/relaxed feeling is a big release from the stress of daily life as a real estate agent.
A big benefit to yoga, in general, is that they really get you in touch with your body. I had no idea how much I lacked in range of motion and flexibility. Kelli’s classes often focus on areas I never knew I could stretch like hips, IT bands and sides. These tend not to be the Deep Yoga class, but they have some great Vinyasa flow and I love the Yin classes. Just Be Yoga is located right behind Wish downtown. Check them out, try them out and come be part of this wonderful community. You can do an introductory trial month for $39.
As for the retreat, we stayed at Blue Spirit and I stayed in the Eco Hut. I thought it meant “eco-friendly hut,” but I was wrong. Oops! It had no A/C, it was a shared room, and it was more than 100 uphill steps to get to the yoga studio and it meant economy hut ;-).
Despite all that, the experience was unforgettable! There was evening meditation, yoga twice a day and plenty of time to enjoy the beach (which was right next to our resort), horseback riding, surfing and more. Check out this slideshow below!
Up until this winter, recent ski seasons had been unseasonably warm and extra frustrating for those looking to shred powder around Lake Tahoe. As anyone who has read this blog knows, I love to ski, so I’ve been taking full advantage of this winter’s El Nino storms and going up to the Sierra’s as often as possible.
A couple of weekends ago, I went up to Tahoe to ski and attend a Wounded Warriors event at Alpine, only to find the recent warm spell had turned all my favorite runs into ice and slush. We were debating what to do, but we punted and instead went to yoga and then had a wonderful lunch at Dockside 700. Of course, with that name, we were right on the beach with a great view of the lake.
When I got home, I ran across this article about things to do in Tahoe if you don’t ski or snowboard. The author nails a few good ones, and I picked out the best five for those of you who find yourself in a similar situation as I did last weekend (or those of you who just prefer not to ski at all!). Now with the recent storms and more than three feet of new snow, I don’t think I will be doing much other than hitting the slopes. But for those who don’t ski or ride…
Ice skating: at many large resorts in the Tahoe area, they have fairly inexpensive access to skate rentals and the village rink. It may only last a half hour or so, especially if it’s cold outside, but it’s hard not to have fun when you’re out there zig-zagging across the ice!
Spa day: Many nice hotels around the Tahoe area have spas inside to pamper their guests. But even if you’re not staying at one, you can pay for a day pass to get your massage, hot tub and facial on while everyone else freezes on the mountain.
Casinos: This is an obvious one, but why not try to make back the money your family spent on their pricey lift tickets by playing a few hands of blackjack on the Nevada side? It’ll be warm, social and entertaining at the very least. And who knows? Maybe you’ll win big!
Other snow activities: snowmobiling, sleigh rides, sledding and snowshoeing are just a few of the fun activities you can pay for at many of the bigger areas in Tahoe. You still want to be out in the powder, just don’t feel like strapping into a board or skis for the day? Here you go!
Yoga: I’m biased, as yoga is my go-to relaxation activity, but it’s something you can find studios for all over the state; even up in the mountains. If you want to just take it easy and stay warm and dry inside, might as well stretch yourself out and enjoy a moment of zen while you’re at it.
Of course, if these options don’t appeal, you could always just enjoy a classic – laying by the resort fire with a good book and a hot chocolate, waiting for everyone else to finish up their day on the slopes.
I periodically send out the American Lifestyle Magazine alternating to past clients, friends and potential clients. I decided to share the introduction I wrote for the latest issue in this blog post. The theme is about the ways in which people go to great lengths to relax. Each pursuit is noble and all the tales are interesting, but you don’t need to ride across a desert or build a boat, like some folks do in American Lifestyle, to find your path to a happy, healthy life. In fact, for me, it’s much simpler than that.
We’re all busy, so sometimes just taking a moment to breathe is helpful. I work a lot of hours and juggle many responsibilities, so lately I have found yoga to be a big stress reducer with its emphasis on breathing. It allows me to disconnect, take a deep breath and just relax for a while.
At one point in my life, when I was trying to work on my marriage, we attended a weekend retreat and they asked us to write down five things that were important to us. I wrote out my list and skiing was one of the things on it. Then they asked us how often we did those things, and when was the last time? I was astonished to realize I had not done something I was so passionate about for more than two years. I made a change; I love to ski, and this year I hedged my bet with El Niño and got a pass to Squaw Valley. (note: picture to the right is taken on 1/15/16, my ski birthday weekend, bluebird day, waiting to ride up Siberia for fresh tracks at Squaw)
As I get older, I find it is extremely important to take more time to disconnect and get away from everything in order to regroup and start fresh the following day. As we approach Valentine’s Day, I’m sending out my love with a reminder to share yours with the people you care about, and take the time to disconnect, relax, breathe and do those things that are most important to you.
I would love to hear some of the things you do to disconnect and relax! Please e-mail me your ideas, and they could be featured in one of my next blogs here on WalnutCreekLifestyle.com.