Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chocolate that's not only Good - but for a Good Cause - Divine Chocolates

The following public service announcement courtesy of Greta at Goodwin Procter:

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a chocolate called DEVINE… it had beautiful wrapping paper which is absolutely the reason I bought it in the first place BUT surprise, surprise mes amigos, the chocolate itself was absolutely delicious.
Naturally, because of my specialist interest in the subject, I researched it. And it turns out that this chocolate is not only delicious, but very, very ethical!!!! It’s sourced in Ghana and not only are the cacao bean growers (most of them women) paid fair trade prices, but they’re all shareholders in the company - not only ethical but very, very feelgood. It’s done wonders for female empowerment in the area and brought in money for medicine, water and education. I’ve been reading a lot about it and I just thought what a wonderful thing Divine are doing – changing the lives of women who had lived in appalling poverty while bringing delicious chocolate to the likes of us in the developed world. I mean, what’s not to love about this? It’s a win-win for everyone. (If you’d like to read more, you could look on Molly Stones in the city has it and here’s a list of other places in CA. J

Scenes from the filming of "Trauma" - On Location in San Francisco

A funny thing happened on the way to the Farmer's Market. . .I stumbled upon an "accident." Here are a couple of pix from the filming of the television series, "Trauma."

A car has plowed into the marketplace and two "male victims" are on the side of the road. . .filming continues through Friday, July 31.

For "live action," visit Justin Hermann Plaza at Embarcadero 5.

Monday, July 27, 2009

DO NOT BE ALARMED - this is only Hollywood :)

Please take note of the following announcement from the Embarcadero Center Management. Don't forget your camera phones ;0

Re: Filming at Justin Herman Plaza
Embarcadero Center
Beginning today, Monday, July 27, 2009 to Friday, July 31, 2009 an NBC TV series called Trauma will be filming at Justin Herman Plaza. We have received information that the production crew will film a scene of a car driving off Market Street into a crowded street fair in Justin Herman Plaza. The resulting action involves a number of emergency responders and a helicopter (there will be no live landing or takeoff in the Plaza). As the nature of the show requires that scenes look as though there has been an emergency, there will be ambulances, police cars and other potentially alarming content.
The production team does not anticipate this impacting public transportation as they will have clearly marked pedestrian signage and routing around the filming. Please be advised that we are sending you this notification so that you are aware that this is not a real life event.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get Your "Look Good" On Without Leaving Home. . .

The following article which appeared in the July 22, 2009 edition of the Contra Costa Times is reprinted with permission of the author, Jessica Yadegaran.

D.I.Y. beauty is easy and natural
By Jessica Yadegaran
Contra Costa Times

YOUR HAIR color is fading, your unibrow is growing and you desperately need a pedicure.

In the age of do-it-yourself everything, you just need a refresher course in grooming. Channel your teenage years, when you and your girlfriends would host pajama parties just to braid hair and paint toenails. To help, we've gathered tips from Jessica Aguallo and Lisa Anderson, instructors at Marinello Schools of Beauty in Concord.

They have a combined 40 years of experience in cosmetology — Anderson owns Diva Styles salon in Oakland — and are proponents of using ingredients found in your cupboard or pantry to maintain hair, skin and nails. As our professional appointments become less frequent, we decided to get tips from these experts on grooming at home.


Anderson has been giving herself facials using natural ingredients for years. She recommends the following basic facial once every one to two weeks. All you need to know is your skin type — normal, dry, or oily.

Cleanse face with whatever you normally use. "Stay away from harsh soaps," Anderson says. She's a fan of softening bars, such as African black soap, or products by Eucerin or Neutrogena that won't overdry skin.

Once your skin is clean, make a natural steam to open up pores, she says. Bring a quart of water to a boil and pour into a bowl. While still steaming, place five tea bags

Anderson recommends camomile or peppermint — in the bowl, throw a towel over your head and breathe in the steam for three two-minute increments.

Time to slough off those dead skin cells. Make a scrub by mixing granulated sugar with olive oil. The consistency is up to you. "Just make sure it's not too gritty," Anderson advises. Rub the mixture on your skin and lips in an upward motion, massaging gently for one minute. Those with oily skin should focus on the T-zone. Rinse off.

Use a mask to close your pores. "If you have dry skin, use a thick face cream as your base and add a few drops of lavender essential oil," Anderson says. Oily types can make a mask from dry oatmeal and an egg white. Once you attain a consistency that is sticky, apply evenly to the face and leave on for 15 minutes.

Your last step is toner, which seals your pores. Anderson makes her astringent by mixing ½ teaspoon lemon juice with two teaspoons cold water. "Pure witch hazel or apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball works as well," she says. "So does plain old ice water." The true last step? Sunscreen. Never leave home without applying it to your face.

Nail care

Manicures are hardly the most expensive part of a beauty regimen, but every penny counts. You can do this simple nail care system as often as you like.

First, clean up nails. Clip and shape them, making sure to file one corner at a time and even out in the middle. "Do not file straight across because that splits the nail," Anderson says.

Make a nail conditioning treatment by using a few drops of olive oil or your favorite essential oil. Saturate cotton balls with the oil and press against each of your nails. Wrap your finger with the cotton ball and cover in tin foil. "This allows the oils to penetrate your nail plate, which keeps the nails healthy and prevents hangnails," Anderson says. Leave them on for five minutes, then remove. Wipe clean.

Anderson doesn't encourage pushing back cuticles, unless you know how. "The white moon shape area, the lunula, is where the nail grows from," she explains. "If you push it down too far, you can damage your nail growth. You can also get a lot of hangnails."

The best way to make your nails look great is to buff them. "Buffing is very underrated," Anderson says. "I don't think people realize how shiny their natural nails can be." Get yourself a soft buffer and run it several times along the entire surface of your nails in circular motions.

Apply base coat, two coats of your favorite polish and follow with top coat. To pamper dry skin in winter, Anderson likes adding a few drops of olive oil to body lotion and applying that to her hands and feet at night. She puts on socks and mittens and goes to bed. In the morning, hands and feet are soft and smooth, she says.

Hair cut

Aguallo is not a big advocate of cutting one's own hair. But if you have to do it, keep a low maintenance haircut that's one length, she says.

Bangs can be easy to trim at home when it's absolutely necessary. Invest in a quality pair of shears, which should cost about $15 at most beauty supply stores, she says. Again, wear your bangs long.

To cut, wet hair and comb all bangs forward. Gather in the middle and decide where you want them to hit when they are dry. Cut across carefully and slowly. Touch up when dry.

Because the sides "traveled farther," they'll be a little longer and will frame the face nicely, Aguallo says. She recommends a bias bang — which can be pushed off to either side — because it falls evenly both ways.

Hair color

Women have long colored their hair or touched up their roots at home. It's not difficult. Just find a color you like and make sure to wear gloves and a cape to cover up while you apply color, Aguallo says.

Here's an easy color tip: If you're just touching up your part until you see your colorist, you can buy color wands at most pharmacies. They work like mascara on the hair, Aguallo says. Since they wash out, wands are best for short-term touch ups.

If you're touching up the outgrowth at home, follow the directions on the box of color. But do not apply the color to your previously colored hair. It will cause a color build up on your ends, resulting in color saturation there. Instead, if previously colored hair needs to be refreshed, comb color through the ends during the last five minutes of the coloring process.

Need a simple way to prolong color? Use a shampoo and conditioner with pigment in it. They come in all colors — blonde, red, and shades of brown. Also, Aguallo adds, use a shampoo free of sulfates, the ingredient that strips hair of color.

Because roots are so close to the scalp and heat permeates from it, you can develop "hot roots," where the color ends up lighter, Aguallo says. To avoid this, apply color a half-inch from the scalp. Then, go back and apply color to the scalp.

Finally, if you're covering gray, start your color application process in the front, as this area is usually the grayest, Aguallo says. "Gray hair is resistant so you should leave the color on 45 minutes from the time you last applied the color," she adds.

Beauty school services
Can't afford your salon and don't trust yourself to do your own grooming? These East Bay beauty schools offer hair cuts, colors and other services performed by supervised students. And the prices are right. Call for appointments.
Paul Mitchell the School: Cuts start at $10 and color starts at $25. 100 Crescent Drive Pleasant Hill. 925-691-7687. www.eastbay.paul
Marinello Schools of Beauty: Offers more than 50 services. Cuts start at $5; styles start at $8; semi-
permanent color is $19; basic manicures are $7. 849 Willow Pass Road, Concord. 925-685-1885.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Free Stuff - Tuesday, July 21, only

Get a free pastry to go with your coffee at Starbucks. See the link below for more details.

My personal favorite is the blueberry muffin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mocha Choca-Latta-Ya-Ya - Monday Mocha Madness at McDonald's

McDonald's is giving away free Mochas and Iced Mochas from now until August 3 - between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

No purchase necessary. For more information, go to their website below:

If there's anything I like better than coffee - it's free coffee!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

As Good As It Gets

There's nothing worse than waking up on a Saturday morning and discovering you're out of coffee.

I got up, took a quick shower and jumped in my car to head to my local roastery. Well, talk about every cloud having a silver lining. . .I stumbled upon Timber roasting a fresh batch of Chiapas! It was SO fresh that I didn't brew it yesterday (wanted to let the flavors settle), but I brewed it up this morning and all I can say is "OLE!" :)

By the way - I picked up some of that sweet "Lola" yesterday also.

If you haven't tried Catahoula - you haven't had real coffee. . .

Catahoula Coffee Company & Roastery

12472 San Pablo Ave
Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 235-0525