Sacramento's urban tattoos are a labor of love

This article originally appeared in Sacramento News & Review about 10 years ago. At that time, these murals were raising quite a stir, even at City Hall. The fear? Oh, that people would perceive them as graffiti. Imagine that! And now, well, now murals (urban tattoos) are totally the rage. Wow, why didn't I think of that? I photographed dozens of these urban tattoos before and after the article appeared. Sadly, many of them no longer exist. Painted over in the name of progress or simply a lack of vision. So glad these incredible works of art live on in my photo archives.

Marekt muralSacramento has finally come into its own. The Central City is evolving, and Midtown is emerging as a swish and swanky scene for every age (and not just the 20-something crowd). 

Urban dwellers and visitors ought to note there’s always something new to see. Lately, it’s been a visual cornucopia of what should be viewed as art in public places. Not the usual sort of government-commissioned art, but a collection of 21st-century murals cleverly and appropriately dubbed “urban tattoos” by Bonni Shasky, a local landscape designer.

One has to love this innovative wall art. Its edgy and funky appeal makes less attractive buildings seem born again. And our wonderful City streetscape is taking on a far-out chic appearance that is strangely reminiscent of the ‘70s psychedelic. 

Labor of Love 1 Credit Barbara SteinbergThe first of these urban tattoos appeared on an unsightly corrugated metal garage at 21st & O streets. Entitled, “A Labor of Love,” it pays homage to the nearby Limon’s Barber Salon. The artist, who prefers to be known as 2Hermano, was also working out some love issues of his own which he resolved through his own labor of love – painting. Whether it was timed or planned, this first urban tattoo inspired a collective of artists to get busy adorning structures throughout the city. 

AmerMarket 3 Credit Barbara SteinbergWith the approval of building owners, artists 2Hermano, Shaun, Daniel, Josh, Miguel, Steve, and Max (there may be others) have given everyone a new reason to walk. Not just during the Second Saturday Art Walk, but every day. Retro, free-hand spray-painted images now embellish Two Women & an Armoire and American Market
 & Deli. At Bon Air Market & Deli, their new urban tattoo playfully promotes sandwiches, sodas, and Sacramento’s skyline and includes the likeness of the store owner’s son.

A collaborative-work by Shaun, Daniel, and Miguel, on the 24th Street side of American Market & Deli, a peacock, a woman soulfully singing, and a modish chick – friend of one of the artists – is probably one of the most colorful tattoos. And the market’s shabby interior is enlivened by Shaun’s Frida Kohla 1 Credit Barbara Steinbergfanciful forest of trees with faces, blowing autumn leaves, and a young girl with wind-swept hair. A once less-inviting environment is welcoming and full of life.

Over on Del Paso Boulevard, the half-face of Frida Kahlo bedecks a wall at Sol Collective an arts and cultural center located at 2010. Other examples of this new urban street art can be seen on display inside. To be expected, not everyone embraces this art scene. Someone complained to the City about Frida, but fortunately she lives on. The artists have specifically chosen images to balance this art form so “not to frighten people” – to make it more acceptable. The point isn’t to encourage tagging and unsolicited graffiti. 

   Are You That Woman


There is wine and then the Amador cookie the best ever

BarberaJourneying today to the annual Barbera Festival, I have many things on my mind including the sights, sounds and tastes of incredible wines and foods at this highly-regarded event. The highlight, of course, is California's unsung varietal wine, Barbera!

The Barbera Festival is an outdoor wine and food festival highlighting Barbera varietal wines from more than 70 wineries from throughout California and beyond, including the Sierra Foothills, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Paso Robles, Livermore, Ventura County, Lodi and the Bay Area. In addition, noted area restaurants and chefs will again offer prepared gourmet food for sale, and over 60 vendors of art and artisan crafts will be showcasing their wares.

Nibby cookie Andrae's BakeryWhile I'm heading for a long day of festivities and feasting, my journey must include Andrae's Bakery in Amador City. I am really not big into desserts or chocolates; yes, I know it's sacrilege by some people's standards! But I have to tell you, Andrae's has created this irresistible Nibby Cookie- chocolate, hazelnuts, and cocoa beans -- that is just about the yummiest thing this side of Heaven. I will not be deterred. These cookies will be mine. Also, a stop at Fine Eye Gallery in Sutter Creek will round out a perfect day exploring Amador County.

That said, better get going. Long day ahead and my Subaru is waiting.

Are You  That Woman

Elk Grove Subaru

If my Subaru can't get me there, that's a good reason not to go!

 

 

 


Mickey Abbey, Artist, Custom GlassWorks at High Hand

Mickey Abbey and Wonder Woman Credit Are You That WomanMickey Abbey, a Sacramento native and Midtown dweller, started his stained glass art business more than 40 years ago at 18th and L streets. Next door to Mario’s Italian Cellar, now Crepeville, Custom GlassWorks survived changing times, while other familiar Sacramento haunts faded away. Mickey’s Wonder Woman (circa 1982) which graced the Crocker Museum and the glass canopy over Kupro’s Craft House are Midtown landmarks.

In his own words:  "I took a painting class at San Francisco State and discovered my art DNA. After four years working in Macy’s Union Square display department, I returned to my Sacramento roots. You come home because it’s comfortable.  Back in the day, Midtown was happening. We were just a group of guys doing a craft shop – Beginning – with woodwork, metal, sculpture, and stained glass.  There was nothing else down here at that time. 

I have come full circle doing today what I did in the '70s. Work and live in my studio, the doors open, impromptu music. It hasn‘t changed much. There weren't so many people living down here and everyone gathered at a handful of places – most no longer exist. Now, the choices are unlimited."

Mickey GlassNever one to be idle, Mickey continues to create and share his art. A new display at High Hand Nursery & Cafe in Loomis features more than 20 original stained glass works of art. All pieces are available for purchase or have the glass master design something custom. The possibilities are endless. You'll be smiling wide the first time sunlight shines through and streams a rainbow across the room. Find time to visit Mickey at High Hand Nursery & Cafe. It's a true destination – art gallery, cafe, nursery, flower and gift markets – a day-trip adventure.

 

 

Are You  That Woman

Elk Grove Subaru

If my Subaru can't get me there, that's a good reason not to go!


Relax Sacramento Spaaaaahs

Day spas and resorts promise to set you free to release and relax from daily hassles. In our hurried world, close your eyes, breathe, soak, massage and meditate your cares away. Here are some of Sacramento’s best, newest and trending spa escapes. An hour, afternoon, overnight - you deserve it!

My Sacramento – Cori Martinez, Owner
Asha Urban Baths
2 Cori Marinez owner Asha Urban Bath Credit Evan E DuranBathhouses are a rich part of many cultures throughout the world. A place to gather and socialize or peacefully retreat, the Greeks thought tidal waters were blessed by gods for healing. Asha Urban Baths, Sacramento’s first and only bathhouse has created a sanctuary to sooth your cares away and, yes, heal body and spirit. Therapeutic steam or sauna, cold plunge and sea salt waters are healing and invigorating. On a quiet alley off Broadway, the baths and yoga studio raised the bar on relax Sacramento. Cori Martinez, owner, had a dream 20 years in the making. Close your eyes and say, “SPaaaaah!”

After college, we moved to Hawaii and opened a yoga studio. Seven years later, my husband and I returned to Sacramento to be near family. Within a year we opened Asha Yoga. Now there are so many yoga studios, I became interested in creating inspired fresh spaces for community and so Asha Urban Baths was born. It took a lot of years of entrepreneur to build up the courage to do a project this big. It took six months to find the right space.  This building was perfect and gave me a clear indicator to make that leap of faith. My vision was to create the new happy hour. Do something that’s healthy, a place to socialize and have quality time with friends Asha Urban Bath Credit Evan E Duranand feel great the next day. This is not a spa, but another option for self-care. You can get a massage and make a whole day of it. I hope this area stays a little funky, but additional urban and cultural blends would be nice. 

We’re really happy here – the health and food scene has grown and both are things we enjoy.  However, it’s really the gigantic family and friends community that we love best.
2415 – 27th Street, Sacramento, CA

(916) 837-3290
Tuesday-Sunday 10am to 10pm

Spa at Thunder Valley
Spa at Thunder Valley Massage Courtesy of Thunder Valley Casino Resort
AAA four-diamond rated hotel and spa, no detail has been overlooked. Every spa guest is a VIP at this suburban oasis. Wrap yourself in a yummy Boca Terry robe and unwind in the Meditation Room.  Not just traditional luxury treatments, they embrace holistic practices. Aromatherapy, a wellness therapy, is added to all treatments at no charge. Wine-inspired grape seed-crush body scrub restores and leaves skin baby soft. Chocolate is trending in the spa world; ask about decadent Esthechoc – blessed by gods. Spa guests lounge at the resort pool and can reserve cabanas and cabeds. Skip Las Vegas and make Spa at Thunder Valley a weekend escape.
1200 Athens Ave, Lincoln, CA
(916) 408-7777
Open daily 10am to 7pm

Emperia Wellness & Spa
Emperia Wellness & Spa Credit Barbara L Steinberg2This intimate boutique spa provides the perfect retreat for weary travelers. Just steps from Sacramento’s AAA 4-diamond Hyatt Regency Sacramento in the heart of downtown, peace and tranquility reigns at Emperia Wellness & Spa. Don’t be deterred by the fitness center entrance. Swedish massage spoken here – 5-star on the Yelp meter! Experienced therapists tranquilize tight muscles and reduce stress.  Grapeseed oil, aromatherapy and customized massages available. Room service? In-suite massages offered, too!
1109 – 12th Street, Sacramento, CA
(916) 321-3718
By appointment only: Tuesday-Thursday 10am to 7pm
Friday-Saturday 9am to 6pm
Sunday 9am to 1pm
Monday, closed.

Spa LaLe
Spa LaLe Meditation Room  Courtesy of Spa LaLeLocated inside the Westin Sacramento, this inspired haven embraces an unwind and recharge mantra. Say “Spaaaa,” at your next corporate event! Go all out with LaLe’s Golden Tao Body Treatment, 110 minutes of bliss. Wellness and hot stone massages or customized spa experiences practiced here. Spa guests access hotel pool and saltwater Jacuzzi to create a full-day of ahhh.  A local’s member discount includes monthly and weekday wellness specials. Enjoy a little retail therapy at Spa LaLe’s boutique and dining at Scott’s Seafood Bar & Grill overlooking the Sacramento River.

4800 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento, CA

(916) 379-5980
Monday-Thursday 10am to 7pm
Friday-Saturday 10am to 8pm
Sunday 9am to 5pm

Heavenly Salt Spa
Heavenly Salt Spa Credit Even E DuranWalls lined with iridescent pink Himalayan salt bricks are relaxing and restorative. Halotherapy (halo is Greek for salt) or salt therapy, lightly disperses a breathable salt mist good for many health issues including respiratory, skin, sleep and stress and remains a top spa trend nationwide. At Sacramento’s first salt spa, you’ll drift off on a pink cloud. Mined from deep within the Himalayan Mountains, the salt is millions of years old. Protected from modern day pollution, it is the purest on Earth. Infrared Sauna and massages are also available.

3325 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, CA
(916) 455-1525
Tuesday – Friday 11am to 7pm
Saturday 11am to 6pm
Sunday & Monday, closed

The Spa at Arden Hills
6Arden Hills Credit Barbara L Steinberg2
A suburban retreat, there are many options to relax at award-winning Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa. Sacramento’s only full-service spa is the play-cation for lovers, friends, bachelorette parties or just some personal pampering. Unwind in the sun-drenched Serenity Room. Savor a detoxifying steam or distress in the hydrotherapy whirlpool. Indulge in signature facial and mani-pedi to make this a daylong affair or extend your stay with an overnight at The Villas.

1220 Arden Hills Lane, Sacramento, CA
(916) 480-1150
Tues – Thurs 11am to 7pm
Fri – Sun 9am to 6pm

Happy Day Spa
Foot massage
Chinese foot massage is a centuries-old tradition. Reflexology focused, massages include pressure points in your head and feet. Not a traditional massage by any means, this clothed experience leaves guests stress-free and begging for more. In a communal setting, foot massages are a price you can’t resist.  Located in Little Saigon since 2008, Happy Day Spa has three locations – Little Saigon, Natomas Crossing and Folsom – to keep your feet smiling.
6911 Stockton Boulevard, #500, Sacramento, CA
3890 Truxel Road, #100, Sacramento
1004 Riley Street, Suite 3 & 4, Folsom
10am to 10pm


Sacramento Visitors Guide Summer 2017Originally published in the Visit Sacramento Visitors Guide Summer 2017
Digital version linked above


Barbera Festival Highlights California's Celebrated Varietal Wine

Barbera festivalCourtesy of Balzac Communications & Marketing

More than 70 California wineries will present their wines at the 7th Annual Barbera Festival, taking place on September 16, 2017 at Terra d’Oro Winery in the Amador Foothills. New this year, wineries will not only showcase Barbera varietal wines, but also a limited selection of other Italian varietals, such as Sangiovese, Vermentino, Montepulciano, Fiano, and Nebbiolo.

The Barbera Festival is an outdoor wine and food festival highlighting Barbera varietal wines from more than 70 wineries from throughout California and beyond, including the Sierra Foothills, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Paso Robles, Livermore, Ventura County, Lodi and the Bay Area. In addition, noted area restaurants and chefs will again offer prepared gourmet food for sale, and more than 60 vendors of art and artisan crafts will be showcasing their wares.

“While Barbera becomes more and more popular in California, these wines still remain fairly obscure,” says Brian Miller, founder of the festival. “We started the festival several years ago to draw focus to this delicious varietal wine, and it’s grown into a huge success. Each year is a sell-out and we constantly get feedback from wine enthusiasts how much they love it.”

Barbera originated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. John Doyle (Cupertino Wine Company, and later Las Palmas Winery) first imported Barbera into California and produced his first Barbera vintage in 1884. Post-prohibition, Louis Martini was the first to produce a varietal Barbera (a wine labeled as Barbera) in 1954. Today, about 7,000 acres are planted in California and nearly 200 California wineries produce Barbera wines. Barbera can also be found from Washington State, Australia, Argentina, and South Africa.

The 2017 Barbera Festival will again be held at Terra d’Oro/Montevina Winery, from 11:00am to 4:00pm on September 16, 2017. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased online in advance at http://barberafestival.com. Tickets include admittance, wine tasting, and commemorative wine glass. Food is sold separately. Free parking is available on-site. Attendees must be 21 or older to taste or purchase wine, and will be required to show photo I.D. as proof of age.

Check here for lists of participating wineries, artists, restaurants, and musicians.

All proceeds from the festival benefit the Amador Community Foundation.

Terra d'Oro Winery
20680 Shenandoah School Road
Plymouth, California 

Balzac Communications & Marketing


Sacramento's Best Cookies

Goodie Tuchews wears the crown for more than 35 years! 

It’s shocking tGoodie Tuchewso hear that some of you are not into sweets! A box of expensive chocolate truffles holds no fascination and luscious cakes aren’t your Achilles’ heel. You don’t wait breathlessly for all those candy-laden holidays – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, or Christmas – to be swept away into a sugar coma. However, on the rare occasion when your sweet tooth is itching to be scratched do you know where to go? A place – special above all others – called Goodie Tuchews. Sacramento’s bona fide cookie castle and where Terry O’Reilly, owner and lone baker, reigns as the Cookie Queen.

It’s amazing – nay, stunning – that longtime downtown residents and workers say they’ve never noticed the cookie heaven at 1015 L Street (circa 2007)-- and for many more years at 10th & J streets. Terry’s love affair with cookies pre-dates Goodie Tuchews’ 1981 opening. For five years she honed her cookie skills as a regional manager for Cookie Magoo, a Berkeley cookie chain (which eventually succumbed to the wilds of Mrs. Fields.) Terry had a short-lived break on the road to cookie connoisseur when she went to “live” in Europe . Three months later she was back in Sacramento working at the family-run Goodie Tuchews.

Terry’s dad came up with the 10th Street location. Though lackluster, the rent was cheap. And the name? Just a fun play on words, Goodie Tuchews, it was somehow fated. They found out after the fact that people use to call the Cal Western building the “Goodie Two Shoes Building ” because it housed so many non- profits. Terry, along with her father, Gerald, and six siblings crafted their cookies. Six Cookie Magoo recipes (Terry was granted these as long as she stayed out of the Bay Area) evolved into 19 and a local cookie legend was born. Eventually the other family members left the business and Terry became the cookie maven in 1994.

In more than 25 years at her 10th Street shop and now 10 years at 1015 L Street, Terry has baked thousands and thousands of cookies. About relocating she said, “Everything happens for a reason. The new space is luxurious by comparison and a better location.” Though she’s joined the ranks of prettier storefronts, her cookies will never be cookie-cutter. Each one is made with love. The most popular cookie is always the semi-sweet, chocolate chip without nuts. The only cookie to ever be retired was the gingersnap – due to lack of interest. And rumor has it that the chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips is a real “adult cookie”…try it with red wine. My personal favorites are Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut!

Quoting the Cookie Queen:  “People said, ‘We thought you’d never make it!’ I never imagined after more than 35 years that I’d still be doing this. I made myself a job that I love. My motto has always been, Peace & Cookies on Earth!”

I say, "Amen to that and eat more cookies!"  You can also enjoy Sacramento's Best Cookies and Ice Cream Sandwich!


Isabella Corsetry a Sacramento Maker

Isabella  Erin Bray croset designer and maker Credit Jim CoatsErin Bray, Isabella Corsetry designer and maker, was a stay-at-home mom who fell in love with period costumes and architecture. Her passion inspired a foundation collection of extraordinary modern-day and traditional corsets. You don’t have Isabella Corsetry Credit Barbara L Steinberg 2016to be a dedicated tight-lacer, but “waist cinchers” can trim up to 10 inches. Endless combination of fabrics, trims, buttons and bows, patterns are drafted by hand and cut based on real customers. All finish work is under Erin’s careful watch. The well-loved and most popular Josephine “under the bust” corset is ideal for daily wear.

Isabella Corsetry
2311 S St, Sacramento
(916) 612-4075

Open by appointment




World of Flavors in Sacramento

Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That Woman10Babylon City Market
1745 Watt Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 486-777
Six years young, this Mediterranean specialty market, bakery and café features halal meats, dairy, produce, spices, and traditional Iraqi breads prepared right before your eyes. You’ll swoon over fresh-baked samoon stuffed with chicken shawarma, pickled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Kabobs, falafel, chicken tikka, and hummus are all available to eat-in or takeout.  
Baking Samoon Bread Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That WomanAre You That Woman Tip:  Ask about the anise cookies.


Back roads lead to Vannatta Wine in Elk Grove

Vannatta winery Credit Are You That Woman 2016Sweet, warm, welcoming. Country charm, family-friendly, so unexpected! The back roads of Elk Grove lead to Vannatta Wine. So glad I took that long and winding Sheldon Road under oak canopies to their "front door". Jamie greeted me so fantastically -- big hug! Steve was hurrying behind the pour on this Harvest Festival weekend. A good crowd, but not overwhelming. Live music on the patio under shade and sunny, blue skies. Tiny feet tirelessly enjoyed their first time on the grape stomp while the adults savored reds and whites paired with handmade pizzas by Flour Dust Pizza Company. I sampled the Chardonnay 2015 -- peachy and tropical -- and the Batalla 2014 aged for 24 months in French Oak -- it's yummy!  This is wine country the way I like it -- slow and easy. Many people I spoke with said, "It's my first time - it's amazing!" I agree and I'll definitely be back. Bocce ball and dog lovers head this way! 
Tastings are $5. If you purchase a bottle, the fee is deducted. 

Hours
M-Th by appointment
F 5-9pm
Sa-Su Noon-5pm
8718 Grant Line Road
Elk Grove, Ca 95624

 
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Locavores love Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market

Old Town Elk Grove Credit Are You That Woman

Rating:  Star*Star*Star*Star*

Still uber cool, I know I must be getting older. How many times do I now say, "back in the day"?  Too many to count. So, back in the day...we use to go to Old Town Elk Grove! Comfy and quaint and ahead of the curve,we enjoyed Elk Grove Brewery brews and German food. That was then this is now. Lola's now lives at what was once the brewery. It's been too many years, seriously! Why? It's still so sweet and getting sweeter all the time. Motivated by news of a new farmers market, I made the short trek to Old Town Elk Grove and was not disappointed.
Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Marekt Sign Credit Are You That Woman
The new Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market is finding its way—just five months new—it will get there. Allan D'Anneo, Market Manager, Living Smart Farmers Markets, is bringing locally grown, locally made, locally good to Elk Grove. Watsonville, Capay Valley, Sacramento, Lodi, Escalon—all good things from the earth— raspberries, apples, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, cheese, honey, peppers YUM! Bread, baked goods, tamales, good dogs (and I do mean tube steak) kettle corn (of course) and more! Delicious homemade goodies for your pooch, handcrafted soaps and body products, colorful tees, sea glass jewelry, and exotic goods, Yes, they're off to an excellent start.

Fruit and Veggies Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market Credit Are You That WomanIt was quiet on this Labor Day Sunday—okay by me, but I know the vendors are eager to greet and meet you! Fabulous live music—this time the incredible and so mellow Jessica Malone and Matthew Hevesh!  More events coming to this corner including the 6th Annual Tomato Taste-off, September 18, 2016 and Pumpkin Patch and Paint, October 2nd and 30th.

The fifth star is coming for this rising star on the ag-tourism, farmers market circuit. And Old Town, I'll be back sooner than later! Are You That Woman is the ultimate omni-local. Lola's Lounge is now on the bucket list along with Bob's Club, a dive bar after my own heart. And just up the street, Boulevard Bistro! Stay tuned and @Visit Elk Grove