The Sonoma County that we love!

hand fan hand fan museumI was in downtown Healdsburg, CA and spotted in a shop window a beautiful butterfly shaped hand fan. I wandered inside a small fantastical space that was filled with art. I had no idea that The Hand Fan Museum was there! In fact, it’s the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to hand fans and displays a permanent collection in addition to having a rotating exhibit.

The builder/owner of Hotel Healdsburg, Pamela Sher, has been a fan collector for over 30 years and is a member of Fan Association of North America. Open since 2002 and now a part of the h2hotel, this museum is a physical example of Sher’s desire to educate the public about the cultural significance of the hand fan as fans are snippets of our world culture and artistic representations of time.

The director, Liz Keeley was lovely to talk with about the beauty of what I was seeing as well as helping me understand the differences between periods and designs. Even though the space is small, about 1000 sq ft, the impact of these functional pieces of art is not lost on the visitor. Though the inexpensive but colorful folding fans brought me in, the displays of history took my breath away. Many are for show, some are for sale, the gift table is where I spent my money. With lots of options for the casual buyer, I bought a $1 fan for my little one and a more expensive Japanese inspired fan for myself. See my Flickr set of photos.

If you have the chance, drop by this free museum (non profit 501c3), learn a little and support their art programs for students. Or simply cool yourself off.

Shannon Kavanaugh HouseThe Shannon Kavanaugh house is the anchor home of the most famous Painted Ladies in the world. Painted Ladies exist elsewhere and it describes brightly painted Victorian and Edwardian homes. Michael Shannon bought the anchor house at the corner of Steiner and Grove Streets in San Francisco in 1965. The Shannon Kavanaugh house (built 1892) was the personal residence of the builder, Matthew Kavanaugh, who owned all the adjacent lots to the south. When he finished his home, which is different from all the rest, he built three more on spec and finished them in 1896.

See my photo set on Flickr.

This ornate Queen Anne Victorian with Italianate touches sits across from Alamo Square and is well known for being featured in the opening credits of the TV sitcom “Full House”. Though the show never specifically references which home is supposedly theirs, if you were to say to someone “the Full House house” they’ll know what you mean. Featured in many other films, tourists are across the street and on the near sidewalk taking photos of the location all day, every day.

Author Alice Walker lived next door and offered to sell it to the owner about 1995. He regrets not buying it as the price increased dramatically by the next sale.

Postcard Row | Painted Ladies

The Shannon Kavanaugh is 1000 sq ft larger than the rest and has four bedroom, 3.5 baths. It has a garden au pair apartment and gas lamps. I stayed in a private suite which featured a king size bed, two sitting areas, a walk in closet, a large tiled bathroom with full tub, steam room shower and ornate finishing. Even the entertainment system was amazing with every attachment you could want.

I was blown away by the wallpaper details, the molding, fine furniture, and the amazing pictures in the bathroom. I just sat there staring at everything around me, feeling luxurious and spoiled by decadence. The experience was like staying in a hotel with all the creature comforts but also stepping back in time. Staying in a landmark that is upgraded for beauty and function spoils me for staying in a regular “box” hotel. They even gave me a balloon and sparkling wine to celebrate my birthday just days later.

Bathtub | Painted Lady

I met the marketing coordinator for the property in a social media class and we’ve worked together on multiple projects. He asked for my assistance in building a social media plan for the owners and partners in the property. My stay was trade for my services. But you can stay there too! It’s available on AirBnB, check it out.

This blog is normally about Sonoma County but we are so lucky to be just an hour away from some of the most amazing sites in the world! Occasionally I’m going to write about places that are within driving distance.

Here are some links to learn more about this house and it’s history:

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_ladies

SF Gate http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Largest-of-S-F-s-Painted-Ladies-up-for-sale-3198728.php

See my photoset on Flickr.

The Living Room Center

The Living Room NeedsI recently met a woman that volunteers at The Living Room Center where they provide day services for women and children who are homeless. I told her that I had been wanting to donate some of my time to teach the ladies how to use LinkedIn to help in job searches. I was warmly welcomed and took a tour yesterday.

It’s located on Cherry Street in Santa Rosa and was quite active. It felt like a living room. Lots of chatter, activity, visiting, computer time, checking in with the volunteers, food, and support. Not all of the women are homeless but all need help in one way or another. LR gave referrals to community resources, including shelters, housing, food programs,  employment counseling, health and mental health programs and more.

I am so excited to have something of value to offer these ladies in the form of digital literacy, job search assistance, communications, computer skills, and personal confidence. I will be teaching small classes once per month and I can’t wait to get started. I had a tough period in my life, that if I’d chosen a slightly different path, I’d be in a completely different place in my life. I survived and am doing well so I want to help.

If you would like to help, check out this page Urgent Program Needs that shows ways they need help such as personal items for the women and needs for the children they love. They also need volunteers.

The Mission of The Living Room is to ease adversity and promote stability, dignity and self-reliance for woman and children who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, in Sonoma County.

 

Walking a Labyrinth

I am a seeker. I’m looking for understanding and awareness of the universe around me. I’m also a big reader.  A few years ago, I devoured at least 10 metaphysical books in a row and one of them featured the concept of mindful walking, a practice that can be more accessible than meditation with similar results. It also talked about the mindful walking of labyrinths. This blew my mind. The title of the book escapes me now but it mentioned a famous design right in my hometown at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa! I followed the source link in the book and it took me to the Santa Rosa Labyrinth Foundation. I read about the designer Dr. Lea Goode-Harris and her most famous design, the Santa Rosa Labyrinth*. (Learn more about what labyrinths are and their mysterious place in history.)

Yew Hedge Maze

Yew Hedge Maze by Ayla87 on stock.xchng

I had no idea that labyrinths can be flat to the ground. When I hear the word labyrinth, I think of tall hedges and mazes. I think of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie. Ever since I read the book, I’d been meaning to take that mindful walk but had never gotten around to it. Santa Rosa Labyrinth’s office is in the center of town and often, when I have a meeting closeby, I’d see the door to the office and it would remind me of my desire to take that walk.

A friend of mine invited me to attend a service at the Center of Spiritual Living one recent Sunday. As I waited for her outside the front door, my eyes sought out the pattern on the ground (the labyrinth outside is not designed by Dr. Goode-Harris). Once I saw it, I thought, “Should I walk it now?” I decided I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, unrushed during my exploration. Not 48 hours later, labyrinths found me.

I’m a social media trainer by trade and just two days later I taught a Pinterest class for the City of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department. The next day I received an email from Dr. Lea Goode-Harris. She had attended my class the night before and had questions about my services. When I saw the web link at the bottom of her email, I knew immediately who she was. I told her how I’d been thinking about her design for years and had spotted another labyrinth just days before. We both marveled at the way the world works. She even invited me to walk the pattern at her own home. I’m excited about that as I imagine the conversation she and I will have before and after.

Santa Rosa Labryinth Center of Spiritual Living

A Labyrinth at the Center of Spiritual Living

In case you are wondering, I walked a labyrinth for the first time just days later. I’ve walked it several times since and I invite you to slow down and experience the journey.

Center of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth

My journey to the center of a labyrinth

*The Santa Rosa Labyrinth has now been made throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia, and travels through Wales on canvas. Major installations with the Santa Rosa design include a reclaimed hazardous waste site at Standing Bear Native American Park, in Ponca City, OK (Installation by Marty Kermeen), Minitab Statistical Software Company in State College, PA, and the American Psycholigical Association eco-friendly green roof top garden in Washington, DC.

TWiT.tv Studio Tour

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The Mac Computer Expo was held in Petaluma, CA on October 6, 2012. Leo Laporte, the host of TWiT.tv and a Petaluma local, gave a tour to the vendors and speakers of the Expo. I was there for my second time as a speaker, this time I was on a panel about Women in Tech and I also spoke on Reputation Management.

We first had dinner at Cucina Paradiso then walked to the TWiT studios. It’s a tv studio and a technology museum. I absolutely love old tech and new tech side by side. I was so excited to visit and was in geek heaven the whole time! Thank you, Leo and Lisa for the tour! #geekout

See the full Flickr set here.

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I have one word – Beignets!

There’s a booth that serves them at the Redwood Empire Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building. I would have taken a picture of the ones I got but you know the story, I ate ’em the second I got ’em. Next time, I’ll get a good shot. Yea, right.

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Girls Day 2012 Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County

When I heard the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County was hosting Girls Day at the Santa Rosa Junior College, I was “in”. The morning of the event, I was so excited. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I knew I was in for a good time.

It was a beautiful morning jam packed with young girls and female mentors from all over Sonoma County. We got paired up and were given an objective: participate in activities; learn about the others by asking questions regarding school, career, and healthy habits; and have fun! Hula hooping, sack races, zumba dancing, bean bag games, art activities, dress up photos, and face painting. Whew! It was full of fun. See my Flickr photo album of the day.

As an adult, I don’t get to play very often but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to do so. The chance to have fun, get exercise, hang out with active young ladies, and enjoy the company of women that took time out of a lovely Saturday to affect the lives of young girls made the day a favorite memory of mine and I’d love to do it again! Thank you for such a great day, BGCCSC!

Text from the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma Countywebsite about the event: “This one-day event is aimed at empowering young women through mentorship and fun with women in Sonoma County.100 Women will spend the morning with 100 Club girls. On September 29, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM at the Santa Rosa Junior College, women & girls will join together for lighthearted games, activities, food, & fun! Event activities are structured around Boys & Girls Clubs 5 core areas: Sports & Recreation, Character & Leadership, Education & Career, Health & Life Skills, and The Arts.Girls Day aims to expose these young women to a variety of female leaders who will inspire them to grow up to becaring, productive, responsible women. In addition, funds generated through Girls Day help us offer character education programs to young women all year long. Programs like Smart Girls, DateSmart, Career Explorers and many others help our Club girls learn to be their best selves and make a smart plans for their futures.”

Best Game

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