Made in Mountain View! Holiday gift ideas that support our community.Read More
Palm-lined streets and perfectly manicured lush lawns are becoming a look that is no longer en vogue as many California communities move towards planting environmentally appropriate, drought tolerant native plants. It seemed like a good idea in the 1920s to plant palm trees all over our state, but now they look out of place.
Non-native plants use much more water, don’t provide natural habitat for animals and birds, many require fertilizers, are more susceptible to pests than natives, and aren’t sustainable.
Mountain View has something similar happening along Shoreline Boulevard. It’s some 200 redwood and cedar trees that are at the center of a controversy, as Google plans on expanding their campus. The grove of redwoods was planted in the 80s, when that land was being transformed from marshland, into usable space for city growth. Many of the non-native trees are dying or dead, more of them will be most likely be unhealthy in the future, considering the fact that California’s climate is changing. They use much more water than native trees and they don’t provide natural habitat for birds and local marshland critters.
Yes, it’s beautiful to stroll through a little redwood forrest, but they seem out-of-place, much like those tall, skinny palm trees that are sprinkled throughout our city, they don’t belong here. I recently went on a tour of the delta by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and I was shocked and horrified by the amount of invasive water hyacinth in our Bay Area water supply. They told us that there was no know method of eradicating the highly invasive plant. The redwoods along Shoreline are not anything like the disastrous floating water hyacinth, but neither plant belongs in those respective areas. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society agree that the trees should be replaced with native species.
Our community is booming and we need more real estate devoted to bike and pedestrian trails. I think that right now is the right time to rethink the decision that was made back in the 80s to plant non-native trees. Google’s plan to replace the trees with native species has been approved by the city and will be moving forward. The local Audubon Society told me that Google has already added native trees in another area of Mountain View and that the birds have returned. Google has plans of offering bird-watching tours to the public in the near future. I’ll definitely find out the details and share with the community (add a story to this website).
This is a hot topic in our community and now is a good time to take a look for yourself. These are some photos that I took of the area last weekend. You can see that the area looks like an enchanted forrest at first, but then you start to notice how many of the redwoods are brown and dying.
Are you a gardener? Here are some places that sell native plants in our area:
Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay. My favorite plant in my yard is a manzanita bush that I bought from them a few years ago and it is thriving and looks wonderful.
Los Altos Nursery is amazing, but they’re closed for the winter, so you have to wait until March to visit them.
Summer Winds has a small selection of native plants too, as does any local Lowes or Home Depot.
Here are some definitions (from the EPA) that we should be using as we discuss this issue in our community:
Non native species: This term, along with the terms introduced species and nonindigenous species, is one of the most commonly used terms to describe a plant or animal species that is not originally from the area in which it occurs.
Native species: Indigenous species, one that occurs naturally in an area, and has not been introduced by humans either intentionally or unintentionally. In North America, a species established before the year 500.
And please remember that it’s not enough to plant native California plants, we need to plant the ones that belong in our hardiness zone. Here’s a link to the USDA website and you can find out what your zone is, but I think that Sunset magazine does a better job at describing Bay Area hardiness zones and offering gardening advice than the USDA website does. If you look around at those two websites, you’ll see that those redwood trees actually belong in the Santa Cruz mountains, but not so much along the bay in our little city. I love Mountain View.
Please tell me what you think about the plan to replace the dying redwoods.
Mountain View is very dog friendly. These restaurants all have outdoor seating and dogs are welcome. I asked them, all of them, just to be sure. So load your furry friends into the car and go get dinner!
Tied House Cafe and Brewery Bodacious brews. Exciting Eats.
Stein's Beer Garden A modern America biergarten.
Scratch American Comfort Food
Casa Lupe Traditional Mexican food
Bierhaus Brats, burgers and beer.
Gelato Classico Italian ice cream and sorbet.
Tea Era Flavored boba tea
Cafe Baklava Mediterranean food
Rumble Fish Japanese food
Clarke's Burgers Charcoal grilled burgers.
Paul Martin's Classic American Bar and Restaurant
Pacific Catch West coast style seafood and bar.
Sakoon Indian food.
Olympus Caffe & Bakery Mediterranean cuisine
Hobee's Casual, homey breakfast and lunch.
Ephesus Mediterranean cuisine
Stephens Green Irish sports bar and restaurant.
Ristorante Don Giovanni Authentic Italian cuisine.
Tapioca Express Exotic coffees and teas.
Dana Street Roasting Company Outstanding coffee and teas.
Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria East coast Italian cuisine.
New Mongolian BBQ Barbeque
Veggie Grill Vegetarian, casual.
Red Rock Coffee Caffeine, culture, community.
Pokéworks Hawaiian seafood.
Poké Bar Hawaiian seafood.
Omelette House Classic American food.
The Counter Custom built burgers.
And, of course, you can bring your dog to all the usual chains with outdoor seating, like: Chipotle, Panera, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, and In and Out Burger. We have plenty of places
Endicia figured out how to give us back hours that would have been spent standing in line at the post office.
The holidays are here and most of us are getting ready to ship packages to family and friends, and send out cute Christmas cards. Endicia will make your life so much easier; no standing in line at the post office! They’ve partnered with the USPS to create mailing and shipping solutions you can track packages, get signature confirmation, send domestic and international packages, print postage, and run postage reports from your home or office.
Endicia's shipping solutions are used by individuals, sellers on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, and businesses of all sizes. They have solutions in place for individual sellers, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies, major retailers in multiple locations. Some of their larger customers ship more than 10 thousand items each day. Ujena Swimwear in Mountain View uses them to ship hand made bathing suits all over the world.
If you frequently ship packages to Brazil and Mexico, Endicia Global Service can serve as a good option for your online business. With Endicia Global Service, packages clear customs in hours instead of days, typically arriving in the customer’s hands in eight to 10 days.
Endicia is on Castro Street, but you won’t ever need to go there. It’s just fun to know that they’re in the same space that used to be Meyer Appliance. It feels good to do business with a company that’s based right here in Mountain View, and of course they’re supporting our local downtown restaurants.
And stamps, can we talk about those cute custom stamps? Amine Khechfé, founder of Endicia, showed me around and the best part of the tour was the massive printer that makes the custom stamps (PictureItPostage). He told me that pictures of dogs are one of the most popular custom items for the holidays. So what did I do? Went home and uploaded a photo of my dog in her camo hoodie and she looks adorable on a stamp! I flipped through a big stack of custom stamps that were about to be sent out to Endicia customers and most of them were company logos, family photos and a few monograms for wedding invitations.
Now that I know that I can use Endicia, and not ever have to stand in line or deal with trying to park at the post office downtown, I’m inspired to sell a few things on eBay. In the past, I’ve done it, but I would always say "no international buyers" on my listings because I didn't want to stand in line at the post office. Problem solved!
Endicia has been is business for over 25 years and they keep evolving and developing new technology in order to keep up with demand. Their solutions have helped thousands of large and small businesses print more than $14 billion in postage and they're right here in downtown Mountain View. When I learn about companies in Mountain View solving problems for people all over the world, I feel proud of my community and of the technology that makes it happen. I love Mountain View.
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has birding walks along the bay and they’re a nice way to get to know what kinds of birds live in Mountain View and get to know some nice people along the way. I went on one of these bird-watching tours. It started at Charleston Slough, which is right at the border of Palo Alto and Mountain View, at the end of San Antonio Road.
There were 6 people in my group when the walk started, and a few more people joined the group along the way. Everyone brought their own pair of binoculars. Apparently, the people who do this kind of thing regularly have scopes (which are more powerful) on tripods, but it was going to rain and binoculars are better for rainy days.
The walk moves along very slowly. Everyone stops to look at every bird along the way. The leader of the walk that I was on was Allen Royer. He tells the group where to look and what they’re looking at. I’ve walked this same route probably a hundred times before, but never noticed how many birds were around me as I did when I had someone pointing them out to me.
They’re everywhere you look and they’re used to all the people and bikes in the area, so they aren’t shy. I was under the impression that we would all have to whisper to each other if we were “birding” but that’s not true at all. A few times someone in the group would even shout “LOOK! LOOK!” and point at something as we all turned to see the excitement.
Some of the people on the walk were experienced, and others weren’t. It would be a nice morning activity for anyone, for a date, or for the entire family. It’s friendly and leisurely and would be a great way to meet people.
Several ravens flew by and Allen talked about the difference between a crow and a raven. There were plenty of Crowned Sparrows, some Snowy and Great Egrets, a giant line of Avocets, a big group of Pelicans on a sand bar, and some Black-crown Night Herons, just to name a few. Believe me, there were way too many different kinds for me to write down.
I really enjoyed Allen talking about the plants and fish as well. He told us that a Leopard Shark was recently found in Palo Alto part of the bay. He said not to worry about it biting people; it just came so it could eat the local mussels.
He also pointed out a spectacular Snowy Egret posed close to us and told me that one type of bird was the reason that the Audubon Society was formed. In 1898, two Massachusetts women set out to protect the birds from being killed. The feathers were used to adorn women’s hats and at one point in history the white feathers of a Snowy Egret were worth more than gold. Unbelievable.
The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is nestled in McClellan Ranch in Cupertino. It’s so close to the craziness of Silicon Valley, yet I felt like I was stepping back in time when I visited the 18 acre nature preserve ranch to find out about local bird walks. The ranch has a community garden, nature trails, a playground and farm animals. Here's a link to the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society event calendar. There is a nice little nature store at the ranch that is run by Audubon Society and they have bird houses, bird feeders, books, and local tour information. They're located at 22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino.
It's nice to enjoy mother nature and step away from the laptop sometimes.
First of all, I can’t believe how much stronger I am as a result of boxing. I can lift heavy items much easier and I have much more endurance. I can fly up the stairs when I park on the top level of a parking lot downtown Mountain View. Everything is easier when you're stronger and I feel like I just discovered the Fountain of Youth.Read More
It’s almost too good to be true. A partnership between an online University, a Mountain View start-up and the local Chamber of Commerce allows anyone who lives or works in Mountain View to earn a bachelor’s degree for about 90% off the normal price.
I had the honor of visiting Study.com in downtown Mountain View this week and heard all the details. It’s happening right now and once word gets around, this offer is going to be life-changing for some residents.
Here’s a link to the super simple application, just 5 questions—unheard of compared to other college applications, right? As long as you live or work in our community, you’ll get in. Your ‘Success Coach’ will help you come up with a degree plan. Then you take up to 75% of the courses online, through Study.com. Many students use simply their smartphone. Download the app and earn a degree. That’s what our world has come to! Earn a degree while you’re commuting.
There are proctored exams along the way and you’ll need a laptop (with a camera that faces you) to take the tests. You could even go to the Mountain View Public Library and use one of theirs, if necessary.
You don’t have to worry about purchasing text books, parking permits, fees per unit, required health fees, and all the other fees associated with college. It’s all included when you take courses through study.com and with this special Mountain View Working Scholars program, it’s almost free.
Once you’ve completed 75% of the course work through the study.com website, your credits can be transferred to Thomas Edison State University (TESU), a fully accredited East coast university, known for providing flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults since 1972. Complete the remaining classes online and your degree will be from TESU
The degree being offered in this pilot program from Mountain View Working Scholars is a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, but other options will be coming. A business degree is something that would make a huge difference in the life of a Silicon Valley resident.
This partnership, (Study.com, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, and TESU) is a model for the alternative credit movement. Imagine finishing college without being in debt and how much of an impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of students. This is turning the educational system upside down and freeing people from getting stuck in the student debt crisis.
People can actually focus on paying rent, saving for a down payment on a home, or starting a business, instead of leaving college with a ton a debt. It’s almost too good to be true, especially in a community where everything (housing, gas, water, parking, restaurants) costs more than what the rest of the country is paying. But it’s not “too good to be true.” It’s really happening.
Education is a critical factor in a person’s ability to greater contribute to, benefit from, and survive in Silicon Valley. Having a bachelor’s degree could increase your earning potential anywhere from 42-67%. That’s a monumental change for yourself and future generations.
I looked at the online classes for a few hours this week and found them enjoyable and rather entertaining with fun animation and pleasant voiceovers. The lessons are videos that are 5 to 8 minutes long. Study.com is used by over 25 million students and teachers every month. Some of their most popular courses are Psychology, Chemistry and US History.
If you know anyone who lives or works in Mountain View, whose life could be improved with a bachelor’s degree, please show them this article. They can start their online classes at any time that is convenient for them, unlike attending regular college. Register at study.com/mv to get started.
Want to help? The Mountain View Working Scholars program has a goal of raising enough scholarship funding to totally eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for participants, but we need help from corporate sponsors. If you support this mission to educate Mountain View and are interested in donating to the scholarship fund, please contact Mannie@Chambermv.org.
Did you know about the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center? I was honored to get to go on a tour of the plant this Summer and if you are able to do so, I highly recommend it. It’s the future of our water, it’s a drought proof supply, it’s controlled locally and it’s more cost effective than buying water from other area, which is what we currently do sometimes.
In the future much more of our local water supply will be purified so now is a great time to learn about it and help educate your friends and neighbors. The water that goes through the purification process is treated waste water.
It goes through 3 different steps; micro filtration, reverse osmosis, and ultra violet light disinfection. Currently the water is being used for irrigation and industrial uses, but the District has future plans to add one more step, advanced oxidation, and then mix that highly purified water back into our local groundwater supply.
Eventually, the plant, and other local purification centers, will produce up to 14 billion gallons of clean water for groundwater replenishment.
Right now, 55% of Silicon Valley’s water supply is imported from the Sierra Nevada mountains in an average year. The cost of the water goes up every year. It makes perfect sense to figure out a way to buy less or even none of it and create/make clean water for ourselves. I love this idea and I'm interested in this topic and have been my entire life. Anyone who grew up in California can tell you that dealing with droughts is just part of the price you pay for living here. I find it reassuring to know that there is some kind of amazing technology that can create safe, clean water for our future. Let's do it!
The benefits of having locally purified water are that it enhances our recycled water quality, it creates a locally controlled, high quality water supply, it increases water reliability, even during droughts, it helps reduce our dependency on water from the Delta, it protects the environment by reusing a precious resource, and it reduces waste water discharge to the San Francisco Bay and the preserves and tidal habitat.
I got to drink some of the water and it tasted great. It was crystal clear and sparking clean. Here’s a link to Santa Clara Valley Water District for more information about Drought Watch. For more information or to take a tour of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, contact Marta Lugo at 408-630-3533 or go to purewaterSV.org.
The Mountain View Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast is Saturday, October 1st. This is the 12th year this event has happened and it gets more popular every year. It benefits the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Here's more about that organization. The Breakfast will be hosted by Mountain View Fire Fighters Random Acts.
Their mission statement is "Creating a positive difference in the lives of individuals through random acts of kindness."
For well over 25 years, Mountain View Fire Fighters have been supporters of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. They've donated money and time to the organization. One of the many volunteer opportunities with the AARBF is Champ Camp. Other events include the Ski Trip to Bear Valley, the overnight at Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Outdoor Trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
From the AARBF website, "Champ Camp is a week-long, residential summer camp experience for child burn survivors ages 5-17, who have been treated at California hospitals or are current residents of California. Each year, approximately 130 children attend this week long summer camp at Wonder Valley in Sanger, California.
Champ Camp is free to all burn survivors and it is fully staffed by medical doctors, nurses, program staff, volunteers and counselors – many of whom are also burn unit nurses, burn doctors, adult burn survivors and firefighters. Activities at the camp include fishing, horseback riding, crafts, canoeing, archery, water slides, camp fire, a dance, and team building activities. The main focus of camp is for burn survivors to have fun and just be kids away from medical procedures and financial hardships. Camp provides a safe environment where burn survivors can play, learn, grow, gain self-esteem, and make new friends."
Jenna Graham, a Mountain View Fire Fighter, and other MVFD Firefighters (both present and retired) have volunteered at Champ Camp as Counselors for many years. All of the Champ Camp volunteers say that these were some of the most rewarding volunteer experiences they have ever had. It was during Jenna's camp counselor years, that the idea of having a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for the AARBF was born. Jenna, along with MVFD personnel, Vern Chestnut & Scott Williams, organized the very first Mountain View Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast. That first year, they were thrilled with the "huge turnout" of 500 citizens. They rented the griddles, figured out how to make a bunch of pancakes and sausage, and had a great time. The Pancake Breakfast has always been a good opportunity for our fire department to teach fire safety and share some of what they do with the people of the Mountain View community.
As the years have passed, the Pancake Breakfast has grown. They now serve approximately 2500 breakfasts each year. They've been very fortunate to have partnered with the Chef Team from FaceBook almost 10 years ago. Let's face it, how many pancakes can a bunch of firefighters make without the help of some pros. This partnership was a great idea. Now they can use their time to connect with the community, teach about fire and burn injury prevention as well as CPR training, rope rescue, fire extinguisher training and auto extrication demonstrations.
This year they will also have their Hazardous Material apparatus at the Breakfast along with personnel from Environmental Protection helping people learn how to keep our environment safe. I heard a rumor that we might be expecting a special appearance of Firefighter Paramedic Tim Howling with Tater and George who are our search dogs as well as Charlie, the new search dog in training. Mountain View Police Department will be there to answer questions.
There will also be a silent auction. Let's help the Fire Department make this event bigger and better than it's ever been! Bring the whole family and I'll see you at the 12th Annual Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast. It's from 8:00-11:00 at Fire Station #4 at 229 N. Whisman Road. Adults are $8.00 and kids are $5.00. See you at the Pancake Breakfast! I love Mountain View.
I did the 23andMe DNA test. The results came back in about 3 weeks, much quicker than I expected. You spit in a little plastic container, register your test kit so they know who the spit belongs to, and send it to them in their prepaid package. So easy. All of the results they give you are online. They’ll send you an email and a link to see your results.
The results are absolutely fascinating, even for me, at 99.7% European. You get 3 different kinds of information back from them: health information, where your ancestors came from, and some traits about yourself.
The European portion of my DNA breaks down into an interesting mix of British, Irish, French, German, Scandinavian and a little Iberian. I had to Google that last one.
The health information that 23andMe gives you is whether or not you are a carrier of 39 different variants that may not affect your health, but could affect the health of your family. This could be incredibly helpful if you were planning on having children.
23andMe researchers say that most people have a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA in them and my results showed that I have 253 variants of the 2872 Neanderthal variants that they test for, which means I have less than 80% of their customers. They told me that I have a specific variation that has “less back hair” than other Neanderthals. I consider myself lucky.
My results also tell me that I’m likely to consume more caffeine that the average person, I’m a light sleeper, I am probably tolerant of lactose, I have freckles, straight hair, a longer ring fingers than index fingers and some details about my earwax. It's all true and now that my DNA has confirmed my love for coffee, I think I'm drinking even more of it.
You can connect to your family members on 23andMe website and view their test results. The 23andMe website is outstanding and has an unbelievable amount of information on it. I've already spent hours on it and they keep sending me more information now that I've agreed to be part of their genetic research. The more questions you answer about yourself, the more points you can accumulate towards more "insights' or information about yourself.
23andMe is in downtown Mountain View and they love it here. They’re very close to the train station and encourage their employees to take the train or bike to work. They have indoor bike parking. They recently joined the Chamber of Commerce and one of their executives will go through the next Leadership Mountain View class, which starts in September.
When I tell people that I’m from Mountain View, I always say it with a great deal of pride. And one of the reasons that I have such pride in my community is because it’s the center of technological excellence. 23andMe is a good example of why I’m honored to say I’m from Mountain View. You can sometimes find the 23andMe test kits at Target and CVS, but you can always find them here.
I love Mountain View.
The Mountain View Art & Wine Festival is September 10th and 11th, 2016. It’s a seriously gigantic festival, in the middle of Mountain View, and over a hundred thousand people attend every year. It’s two unforgettable days of live music; rhythm and blues, classic rock ‘n roll, cool jazz, Motown soul, world-beat, Celtic folk and danceable party music. Fourteen of the Bay Area’s best bands play a non-stop, wide-ranging musical mix on the Linked-In Concert Stage in Civic Center Plaza and several street locations throughout downtown.
This year, they’re extending festival hours into the evening on Saturday until 7:00pm.
Tied House always makes a commemorative brew that they serve at the festival. This year’s special beer is their world-class Kolsch, along with their Cascade Amber.
The collectible wine and beer glasses are exceptionally cute this year. The beer glass is a glass version of the red plastic ‘Solo’ cup. It’s definitely going to sell out. There will be 7 different varietals of wine, 3 reds, 3 whites, and Sangria, garnished with fresh fruit. There will also be mimosas, which are perfect for those that feel guilty about drinking beer and wine before noon. There will also be Honeycrisp Apple Mules at the intersection of Mercy and Castro.
I was lucky enough to be on the panel that judged the wine for the festival. We selected Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay, 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon, Two Vines Red Blend, Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau St. Michelle Riesling and Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir. Be sure to help support Leadership Mountain View by purchasing Honest Tea or Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water at the festival.
There will be about 500 artists at the festival. It is an unbelievable selection of art, clothing, jewelry, pottery, furniture, garden art, footwear, hats, handbags, candles, so many other creative items, all handmade by artists from all over the United States. It’s always so nice to see some of the artists come back year after year. If you’re looking for someone specific, or a particular item, stop by the information booth at the California and Castro intersection to get their exact location.
The food vendors will be at most of the intersections as you walk down the street. These vendors are experienced and only the best are invited back over and over again.
Wear comfy shoes and sunscreen. The Chamber of Commerce loves dogs, but the festival isn’t a good place for them. Please leave dogs at home. If possible, ride your bike, walk or take public transportation to the festival. There will be a bike parking lot.
Parking in some of the lots around town will be $5.00. Those parking lots are managed by CHAC (Community Health Awareness Council). They’re a non-profit that does wonderful things in our community, including helping local children, so it feels good to pay the five bucks and know that it's going to a great cause.
If you like people-watching, you’ll have a great time at the festival. I’ll just leave it at that… I’ll be working all weekend at the festival and every year I find it so exciting to see the new art that has been created especially for us, listen to the music, visit with friends and neighbors that I haven’t seen in a while, and watch the colorful crowds dancing in the street.
Thank you to the 500 volunteers that help at the festival by working in the beer and wine booths. It wouldn’t be possible to put on an event of this magnitude without the help of so many generous people. I love Mountain View. See you at the festival.
INTENTIO is a gym in downtown Mountain View that has a different approach to fitness. Their clients are goal driven and motivated by the Intentio staff, a team of professionals who are trained to help them meet their specific, measured, objectives. It is very effective and they told me about some clients that have had wonderful results. I saw the numbers and it’s remarkable that these people have not only, lost a significant amount of body fat, but have gained muscle.
One of the first things they do at Intentio is find out what the client’s life would look like if they were able to do everything that they used to do, like tennis, hiking, and travel, whatever they used to do that they loved, but are unable to do now that they’ve gained weight and aren’t in good shape.
The program that INTENTIO will put them on will help them lose fat and gain muscle and increase metabolism. They’ll get one-on-one personal training, small group training, and nutrition coaching, as opposed to being given a list of foods that they aren’t supposed to eat. They actually learn how to think on-the-fly and change their mindset.
Two things that I thought were amazing are an anti-gravity treadmill that you get zipped into. It’s very helpful if you are over coming an injury. And they have a beautiful wooden rooftop patio where they offer yoga classes early or late in the day, since it’s in full sunlight. Besides, it’s quieter in Mountain View early in the morning or late in the evening. The massage room is peaceful and the private locker rooms are spacious, sleek and clean.
They have clients from lots of local tech companies including LinkedIn and Samsung, the kind of people who are incredibly busy and don’t have time to figure out how to get in shape and lose the weight on their own. The kind of people who work 50 hours a week and want a team of professionals to teach them what to do to get results. Many companies allow gym fees to be paid for with flexible spending accounts or reimbursements for health-focused spending.
Their clients don’t have to pick a coach; they get access to all of the coaches and knowledge. It’s interesting that they have an app that reminds their clients to do things like exercise, get enough rest, drink water, and be accountable for their results.
INTENTIO is celebrating their one year anniversary with a Fitness Fair on Sept 15, 2016. It’s a great chance to take a look at the gym and meet the coaches and founders. You can get a free 20 minute workout, have some samples, enter a drawing that includes a Grand Prize of a Garmin Vivofit, a 3 month membership, plus many other offerings from their 10 partners. If you pre-register for the event, you get a free t-shirt. Intentio was also just named Best of Mountain View for Nutrition and Weight Loss Counseling, and also for Personal Training. Congratulations INTENTIO and thanks for the tour.
Have you been to a SETI Talk? They’re right here in Mountain View, at Microsoft and they’re free. I went to one last week. It was led by Andrew Skemer, an assistant professor from UC Santa Cruz. Here's a link to the talk on SETI's Youtube channel.
Here’s a link to more information about the SETI Institute. And here’s a link to their upcoming talks. It’s fascinating to hear directly from the scientists that are making the discoveries that shape research about the future. And I had just watched The Martian the night before I went to the talk, so I kept thinking about whether or not the exoplants that were being talked about could support human life.
The talks are held in the Galileo Room at Microsoft and it’s very nice. I went to another talk years ago at SETI’s office on Bernardo and they had a DIY peanut butter and jelly sandwich station in the back of the room since the event was at lunchtime. It’s not like that anymore… It’s way classier at Microsoft.
Andy Skemer’s talk was called “Characterizing the Coldest Exoplanets.” He shared with the group his interest in the specialized instruments that help scientists/astronomers talk photos of and study stars and planets in solar systems that are farther away than our own solar system. They’re both physically and chemically complex, which makes them fascinating to study. The main goal of his project is to show directly imaged planets. He was incredibly passionate about his work, and even though I have no experience looking at what he studies, he explained it in a way that I could understand and I really enjoyed it.
There were about 70 people in the Microsoft auditorium for the talk. Afterwards, one could venture into the Microsoft employee store or the cafeteria, which is where I headed. I just got in line where the line was the longest, because I figured that must be the best food. Turned out it was the Indian food section of the cafeteria and I was in line with a bunch of engineers. I had a huge plate full of Indian food for $5.50. What a great deal! I noticed that there were other people eating lunch on the patio who had also attended the SETI talk with me.
As I was driving back to my office I noticed that listening to the SETI Talk had given me a new perspective on my day, since I usually tend to think about the small picture and only focus on what is happening in my immediate area. But by listening to Andy talk about his research and new discoveries that astronomers are finding in other solar systems, it somehow made me feel like I didn’t need to worry about the little things.
The SETI Talks are weekly and free and right here in our community, "the center of technological excellence" according to Andy Skemer. I agree. It doesn’t get any better than this. I love Mountain View.
I stopped by 30 different places last week and asked them what drinks their customers like best. Most of them told me it was hard to pick just one, but I insisted. This is what they had to say…
Opal Nightclub: Jalisco Heat. It’s Don Julio Silver, muddled cucumbers and jalapeños, fresh lime, and simple syrup.
Tied House: Tied House brand Alpine Gold. It won a bronze medal at Great American Beer Festival last year. That’s the Olympics-of-Beer and there are thousands of entries.
Eureka: Holy Smokes. It’s Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Cherry Liqueur, and Chocolate bitters with real smoke added before the lid goes on. I can vouch for this one.
Agave Mexican Bistro: Guava Jalapeno Mojito.
Red Rock Coffee: Honey Lavender Latte. Obviously, the regular coffee and espresso drinks are fabulous, but that Honey Lavender Latte is new and you should try it.
Stephens Green: The best Guinness anywhere. “Poured the proper way, in the proper glass, at an Irish owned and operated pub.” That’s what he told me and I felt embarrassed for even asking the question.
Xanh: Lychee Kiss Martini. House infused sake vodka, lychee liqueur and fresh lychee.
Bierhaus: Stiege Pils from Salzburg, Austria. After a lot of discussion and several important people weighing in on the conversation, that’s what was decided.
Michael’s at Shoreline: Pearl Jam. It includes 3 Pearl Vodkas and, if at all possible, it should be made by Lenny, since he invented it.
Paul Martins: Champagne Lemonade. Champagne infused in house with local Meyer lemons and basil.
Pacific Catch: Spicy Pacific. Vodka, lime, passion fruit and Serrano pepper.
Cascal: Their house-made Sangria has a cult following, but you also need to order their Pisco Sour, the national drink of Peru. I had one because the bartender described it so beautifully. It might be my second favorite drink ever! First place still belongs to the Holy Smokes at Eureka.
Tea Era: Roasted Barley Milk Tea.
Peet’s Coffee: Black Tie. It’s sweetened condensed milk, cold brewed iced coffee, chicory infused simple syrup, and a float of half & half.
Verde Tea, either location: Taro Milk Tea, #114 on the menu. It’s a favorite with the weekend crowd.
Sakoon: Kama Sutra. Cranberry vodka and X Rated. That’s what they said…
Scratch: Firefly: Casa Noble Blanco Tequila, lime, lavender syrup, and fresh blackberries.
Steins Beer Garden: Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen. It's a German Wheat Beer from the oldest operating brewery in the world.
Rumble Fish: Pineapple Soju.
Ristorante Don Giovanni: Ruffino Chiante Ducale.
Tapioca Express: Avocado Snow Milk Pearl Tea.
Fiesta Del Mar Too: Casadores Agave Margarita, I was told this from from a very reliable source.
Dana Street Roasting: House made Chai, with fresh ginger and local honey. Order early in the day… it sells out often.
La Fontaine: Basil Lemon Drop.
Bushido: Elderflower Sour.
Panotiq: Cold Brewed coffee. They swear it’s amazing.
Ephesus: Sweetened Turkish coffee.
Olympus Caffe: Turkish tea.
They aren't listed in any specific order, but all of them are worth the time and effort. When I look back over this list, I feel so grateful to live in such an amazingly diverse and interesting community. Food and drinks from every corner of the world and spectacular weather all year round. I love Mountain View.
Community School of Music and Arts is one of those special places in our community that makes me feel grateful to live in Mountain View. I’ve take Collage, Assemblage, Printmaking and Altered Books classes at CSMA and been to many events, both public and private, at the school, including performances in Tateuchi Hall and art exhibits in Mohr Gallery, and in the courtyard. The building, Finn Center, is spectacular and worth the visit. The front reception/gallery always has wonderful exhibits and the hallways feature artwork done by students.
There is an Open House at CSMA on August 20th from 11 am to 2 pm. It’s the perfect time to see art and music demonstrations, meet staff and instructors, and enjoy student performances. Please email email@example.com with questions.
The Fall 2016 catalog of classes is online and you can register for classes, camps, and workshops online. There are so many different activities happening at CSMA that you really need to look at their website and Facebook page to see for yourself, everything from private music or art lessons, after school art clubs and school music lessons.
From their website: Since our founding in 1968, CSMA has grown to be the region's largest non-profit provider of arts education programs, directly serving 20,000 people of all ages, skill levels and economic means every year. In 2004, CSMA opened its first permanent home at Finn Center, an award-winning facility providing lessons, classes, camps and workshops in music, visual and digital arts, as well as free concerts, art exhibitions and special cultural events. In the community, CSMA's Arts4Schools programs reach over 16,000 students at 40+ schools in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. CSMA is among the top 10 schools of its kind in the nation.
One question that I get asked often is about renting facilities large enough to hold corporate meetings. Yes, CSMA can be rented for special events/corporate meetings. Your guests will be quite impressed with the beautiful venue and outstanding acoustics. I love Mountain View.
I just ordered Zume Pizza for lunch. This was the first time I have ever ordered it and it came in 8 minutes. It was hot and delicious, and it’s obvious once you eat one, that it’s made with the highest quality ingredients available. Right when I was taking a photo of the delivery person, a Google Self-Driving car was passing my house. That photo is the future of food: fast, fresh, automated and the highest quality ingredients available.
Zume is doing something so different than other pizza companies, that it’s hard to imagine. Right now robots help prepare and cook the pizzas from an industrial part of Mountain View, but eventually the pizzas will cook in the delivery vehicles while they’re on the road, delivered to customers right out of the oven.
I was invited to go on a tour of Zume and see the whole process. The big robots squirting out the sauce and spreading it on the rounds of dough were really interesting, but honestly, I was more focused on the shelves of ingredients and the fact that everything they were using is what I use at home. The flour is King Arthur, non-GMO and never bleached, and anyone who bakes bread knows that it’s the best. Julia Collins, one of the co-founders, showed me the batch of “mother-dough” fermenting and told me how they feed the container of starter every night and let the dough rest and grow before it is used in dough the next day. It doesn’t have any chemicals or preservatives at all. As a result, the crust on your pizza is like eating real, handmade bread, as opposed to the puffy, chewy crust on the average pizza.
The cured meats come from Applegate Farms and Zoe's Meats. Both companies provide superior quality cured-meat with an emphasis on community and environmental awareness. Applegate Farms was one of the first companies to commit to exclusively use meat that is raised without antibiotics or hormones. The tomatoes are from Modesto. The cheeses are from dairies that use sustainable and ethical practices, no hormones are added to the milk. All the veggies are from farms right around us, you know, totally California grown. The futuristic looking pizza box is compostable, since it's made from sugarcane fiber.
Julia told me that it was her mission in life to figure out a way to get high quality food, made with the best ingredients out to everyone. She lived in Italy and saw the locals eating quality food, with no chemical additives, and eating plenty of it and not getting fat. Fast food doesn’t have to be bad for you, it’s just that we haven’t been given any options, until now. Zume Pizza is FAST and the best quality ingredients around.
There is no brick-and-mortar store front for customers to go to—like Amazon or Zappos, you just go online and place your order and awesome stuff shows up at your front door, in no time at all. I’m telling you, it’s the future of food. I look forward to seeing how Zume grows and transforms as a company. Right now they’re only in Mountain View and will very soon be opening in Santa Clara.
When I walked in the front door of Zume, I felt like I was visiting any other tech company in Mountain View, with a bunch of engineers and computers, this one just happened to be making amazing pizzas in the back. It’s a nondescript building tucked away in the Shoreline West neighborhood.
No, they’re not taking jobs away from people because they have robots. If you’ve walked down Castro Street in the last year, you’ve noticed 'help wanted' signs at almost every restaurant. There is a shortage of service-industry workers at restaurants and Zume (although not really a restaurant) is creating jobs, paying their employees competitively, and inventing new ways to get high quality food out to local families, which is exactly what we want. When I hear about start-ups like Zume Pizza setting up shop in Mountain View, I feel proud of our community.
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its 25th Anniversary on August 6th, 2016.Read More
Century Cinema 16 solved everything that was wrong with going to a movie theater. The “luxury loungers” are as comfortable as sitting in your favorite recliner at home. The seating is no longer crowded together, so the people behind you can’t kick the back of your chair. There’s enough room in front of your feet, even in the fully reclined position, that people can easily pass in front of your chair.
When you go online to purchase your tickets in advance, you get to select the seats you want. That’s right, assigned seating instead of having to rush in and grab whatever seats are available. Brilliant. You don’t have to deal with someone telling you that “these 10 seats are all saved” for their friends.
You can print your tickets at home, but what’s the point in doing that when you can easily request them to be texted to your phone. Show the friendly theater attendant your phone, they scan the QR code, and you didn’t have to waste paper.
The bar has a nice selection of beer and wine and Starbucks is served: a cold glass of Chardonnay for me and an Americano for my husband.
It’s as if Cinemark asked people why some of them stopped going to the movie theater, they actually listened to what their customers had to say and they fixed all the problems.
I saw one cute little family in the lobby and each of the kids had their favorite blanket with them. Honestly, my favorite fuzzy blanket from home is the only other possible improvement that I could think of, but I didn’t have the courage to do that, not to mention, I’m pretty sure I would fall asleep if I had a blanket with me.
It was inevitable that the movie theater industry had to make some serious changes since they’re competing with so many at-home movie-watching options. It’s so easy to watch movies at home and since the experience of attending movie theaters was questionable (since you didn’t know whether or not you would enjoy the experience, or if the person behind you would make you want to scream and punch them) something needed to change.
Century Cinema 16, thank you for the wonderful improvements that you made to my local movie theater and I’ll definitely be back for more. Real estate in Mountain View is very expensive and we appreciate that you’re willing to let each of us have a little bit more room to relax while we enjoy the show. The old theaters had approximately 450 seats and the new ones have around 200, so it’s a drastic improvement. I’ll be back much more often, I promise. I feel like I just got reacquainted with an old friend. See you at the movies.
Wine Walk is August 11, 2016. If you haven't been to it before, now is the time to purchase your tickets to this sell-out event! Trust me, it's popular and people get turned away if they wait until the last minute.Read More
Have you used the Steven’s Creek Trail to get around lately? It’s more popular than ever. I conducted a very unofficial survey today to find out where 19 different people were going as they passed me on the trail this morning. Here are the results:
- 3 people were going to work at Google
- 1 person was going to Microsoft
- 3 people who work for smaller companies that are located in between Google and Microsoft were on their way to work
- 6 people that work close to the trail were getting some exercise with colleagues
- 4 people with small children were out with their children
- 1 person was going to the library and post office
- 1 person (apparently very confused) told me that he was going to Disneyland
Out of the 19 people that I spoke with, 9 were on bikes, and the rest were on foot.
These results show that the trail is used as a legitimate commute route, much more so today than ever before. The trail has more commuters during the morning and evening commute hours and more recreational users during the middle of the day and on weekends. It has increased traffic right before a concert since it leads right to Shoreline Amphitheater and I think you could probably get places much faster than if you were in a car during evening rush-hour traffic.
The trail is a nice way to go downtown for dinner if you don’t mind a bit of an evening stroll. It doesn’t drop you off downtown, but you would still be fairly close and could easily walk. It’s also a nice way to go to and from the Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.
Here’s a link to a map of the trail. If you want to drive to the trail and explore it from the middle, in either direction, I recommend parking at Landels Park and School orCreekside Park. Please notice that I’m referring to all of it as “the trail” but each specific portion of it has a different name and the map has them all listed by name.
Be sure to keep Trail Etiquette in mind as you enjoy the beautiful California scenery and Safety First, so no one gets hurt. Dogs on leash are welcome on the trail. Here’s a calculator that will show you the distance between two points (Mountain View area only) on the trail. Eventually, there will be 500 miles of trail that will run around the entire San Francisco Bay. Here’s more information on that project. Right now, there are 350 miles complete. When finished, it will run through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities, and across seven toll bridges.
I feel grateful to live in a community that has such nice weather, year round, that we can enjoy our trails 365 days of the year. I love Mountain View.