The Man from Marin

27 10 2008

A hysterical nod to our friends in the north.


If there were a Man or Woman from San Francisco, what should they sing about?  Comment below.


Helping Yogis Everywhere

14 10 2008












Some of you know that this summer marked the publication of my first book, The Little Book of Sanctuary: A Beautiful Home is Simply a Choice. While it still hasn’t been officially launched, it is available from the publisher, Our Little Books, and from a number of other outlets. 

I just got word of it being included in a “Sanctuary Gift Bag”  at the Urban Yogis website. How cool is that?

Massage Heaven for $19

11 10 2008

Did you know that feng shui is one of the Eight Rays of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?  Feng shui, acupuncture, chi gong, food energetics, herbal medicine and several other specialized disciplines are all based on the same ancient cosmological and earth-based knowledge of how to manipulate energy flow for health and wellbeing.

The Chinese massage I just got at A New Generation Health Center may or may not be aligned with these same ideals, but I’ll tell you this… I couldn’t wait to get home and tell you all about it!

For just $19, I had a great massage. I went in expecting “just” my feet to get taken care of. Instead, I got an hour of professional attention, starting with my face, head, neck and shoulders while my feet soaked. Then a long time on each foot – maybe 15 minutes each, and I thought I was done. Nope. Legs, arms, and then I turned over for back and butt.

This is not a spa — it’s caddy corner to Popeye’s on Geneva at Mission (919 Geneva), not Maiden Lane. No scented products, no fancy robes or slippers, and heck, no English! But accessible (they’re open 10am-9pm, 7 days a week), cheap, and good!

(No website either, but here’s their phone number, in case you speak Mandarin: 415-239-9668.)

The CultureBus

26 09 2008

Well, here’s a good idea! 

Last weekend, Muni started a new eco-friendly bus line, the 74X CultureBus. For $7 you can ride all day and see a lot of San Francisco’s major arts and culture institutions around the City ($5 for seniors, youth and disabled people; free for children under 4). 


Check out all the places it stops:

Yerba Buena Cultural Institutions

California Historical Society (
Cartoon Art Museum (
Contemporary Jewish Museum (
GLBT Historical Society (
Museum of the African Diaspora (
Museum of Craft and Folk Art (
SF Camerwork (
The Society of California Pioneers (
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (
Zeum (


111 Minna Gallery (
Aurobora Press (
Baer Ridgway Exhibitions (
Braunstein/Quay Gallery (
Catharine Clark Gallery (
Chandler Fine Art (
Crown Point Press (
Modernism (
RayKo Photo Center (
Sculpturesite Gallery (
The Artists Alley (
Varnish Fine Art (
Visual Aid (
Other Yerba Buena Arts and Events (

Civic Center

Asian Art Museum (
City Hall (

Golden Gate Park Museum Concourse

de Young Museum (
California Academy of Sciences (
Japanese Tea Garden (
Conservatory of Flowers (

The Story of Stuff event

4 09 2008

A couple times a year I teach an 8-week class about clearing clutter out of your life. Earlier this year someone sent me a link to the incredible 20-minute video, The Story of Stuff, which is now mandatory viewing for my students, clients and for anyone else who cares to listen to me. Just as its website explains, the video is a “fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”

Annie Leonard, the creator (and movie star!) of The Story of Stuff, will be a guest of the American Jewish World Service and AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps next Wednesday, September 10, 6:30-9:00pm, at The Women’s Building (3453 18th Street). You can join them for what promises to be a lively evening of a viewing of the video, great discussion, and Q & A. RSVP here, or contact with questions.


What do you think about this video? Comments, please!

Dwell Well: Alison’s Newsletter

7 08 2008


Every few months I put out Dwell Well, a newsletter that celebrates all the different ways we create beauty and order in our homes and work environments. To sign up, click on over to my website and you’ll see the sign-up box. Expect a new edition any day now!

Subscribe to Dwell Well.

Website of Inside Out Design Coaching.

Alemany Farmers’ Market: Farmers in the City, Take 1

3 08 2008

One of the great things about living in California, of course, is the abundant, fresh produce year-round. It’s also a great place to live if, like me, you care about eating healthy, local, organic food (in between the trips to the taqueria, of course!). There are several great farmers’ markets around town, where one or two days a week, local growers bring in whatever’s ripe and fresh.

My neighborhood market is the Alemany Farmers’ Market, a bustling slice of San Franciscania, with great deals on delicious goods to boot. Take a look at this… I bought all this goodness for $24 (all organic except the flowers and long beans). You can often find prices on organic produce at about a fourth of what you’d pay at Whole Foods or Rainbow!

The Alemany Farmers’ Market has a long and important history. According to an article on the City’s website, “The San Francisco Alemany Farmers’ Market has been the most successful operated market in the United States, and is a model for other markets nationwide.” Who knew?

The New York Times did an article about the City’s farmers’ markets in May. Here’s what they said about Alemany:

At 7:30 a.m. on a spring Saturday, clusters of Chinese shoppers were already jostling for the freshest bok choy and choy sum at the market on Alemany Boulevard. Others headed for Maria del Carmen Flores’s grilled pupusas, a tasty El Salvadoran corn cake filled with beans and cheese. Danny Grossman, a shopper, discussed his morning finds — a bouquet of rainbow-stemmed chard for $1, organic strawberries for $3 a pint.

If the Ferry Plaza is the prince of the city’s markets, displaying its produce like buffed jewels, Alemany is its down-home uncle — a place where a panoply of fresh food and flowers are sold in a bustling parking lot. “No porcini ravioli here,” Mr. Grossman said. “There’s still dirt on the leaves.”

The scene is San Francisco eclectic. As sweatpants-clad shoppers mingled, the Prairie Rose Band, its lead singer dressed in cow-pattered fake fur chaps, twanged bluegrass tunes on a banjo and fiddle. Patrons in knit caps joined impromptu drum circles. Asian grandmothers stared at a tattooed man with a giant iguana on his bicycle handlebars. Hand-painted murals of produce, flowers and the Buddha adorned the selling stalls.

Founded in 1947 and run by the city, the Alemany Market consists of two parallel rows of light blue truck stalls and a third row of vendors under white and green awnings. Sorting through the more than 100 stalls, you’ll find tangy October-pressed olive oil, honey so rich it won’t fit through the squeeze bottle, navel oranges with an unusually sophisticated flavor and fresh cheddar cheese infused with sage. Don’t miss Café GoLo’s flaky, sugar-encrusted pastries, or a loaf of its yeasty olive bread for a picnic, so weighty and warm it feels like just came off a kitchen windowsill.

Open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday, the market is south of the city’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, just off the junction of Highway 101 and Interstate 280. It is difficult to get to without a car, and parking can be tight. If you have any questions, “just ask the farmer,” said Carla Borelli, 43, another Alemany devotee. “It’s more like a community here.”

I have so many great photos for this post… please indulge me!