Hakone Gardens

I recently went down to Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA for a few hours. It was a lovely little day trip getaway.

Japanese Gardens

hakone gardens

Hakone Gardens is a Japanese garden. In fact it “is the oldest Japanese and Asian estate, retreat and gardens in the Western Hemisphere”. I really love Japanese Gardens and enjoy exploring the differences between them. I’ve been to Japanese Gardens here in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, in San Diego’s Balboa Park, in Los Angeles and in Buenos Aires. And now in Saratoga.

Bamboo Garden

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Scenes from Santa Cruz

I’ve only been down to Santa Cruz a few times but I always think of it as the perfect way to experience some summertime in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city itself is often chilly at this time of year but a quick pretty drive down the coast to this college town with a beach boardwalk makes for a nice summer getaway.

Antique Faire

When I went down there recently the first thing I did was check out the monthly Antique Faire downtown. It’s really more like a swapmeet but it was kind of cute to walk through and see what people were selling.

santa cruz downtown faire santa cruz downtown faire santa cruz downtown faire

Beach Boardwalk

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Bay Area Small Business: Makers/ Crafters Video Series

Little Paper Planes is a Bay Area based online store that also serves as a community for artists. They have lots of pretty products and a beautiful blog filled with terrific examples of great art and design. They recently co-launched a video/ multimedia series called Working Title that I’m loving.

They recently explained that Working Title is:

“a collaboration between KQED and Little Paper Planes, hosted by Kelly Lynn Jones of LPP and Andrew Martin Scott, co-owner of Needles and Pens. Through this program, which will include videos, interviews, articles, and essays, we will explore how local artist-entrepreneurs are re-inventing the American Dream, creating alternative economies and redefining success in the Bay Area.”

Needles and Pens is a cute little store in The Mission that I’ve stopped into more than once. They have zines there and it’s the kind of place I totally fantasized my own zines in 10+ years ago when I was an indie zine maker. I’m also a fan of the handcrafted jewelry that’s there; I’ve personally bought a few of their feather-decorated hair clips.

I love what Kelly says in the first video when she says, “There’s a subtle movement happening out there; people are choosing more unconventional career paths in order to have greater control of their lives. They’re re-engaging with artisanal craftsmanship … they are once again making things with their own hands and managing to sustain themselves while doing it.” Each episode celebrates one of these people.

The first episode is about Jay Nelson, a self-taught artist who builds tree houses:

The second episode is about Atelier Dion, a husband-and-wife-owned ceramics fabrication business:

I’m looking forward to seeing this program develop over time!


Nature in the East Bay

Usually when I go hiking in the Bay Area I go to the North Bay or somewhere else along the coast. I love the lushness of the plant life there and also love the views of the ocean on those hikes. However, I have been hiking in the East Bay a few times, which has a completely different feel to the nature. It is drier, yellower, flatter … Not in all parts, of course, but so far that’s been my experience of East Bay hikes compared to North Bay hikes in general.

east bay plains

east bay pond

hiking trail

red bark tree

tree in plains



yellow trees