Beauty & Fashion, Health & Fitness

Hair Matters 101 – Healthy hair lifestyle

Maintaining healthy luxurious hair is similar to maintaining a fit and healthy body. Results don’t happen overnight and it’s not a hair diet – it’s a lifestyle.

My clients find my salon through Google, Yelp, Styleseat and word of mouth. Most are searching for a stylist to manage their mane and nurse their hair back to health. Ailments range from poor nutrition (internally and/or externally), poor care and commonly, over processing.

In my last post, I discussed internal nutrition. Ingesting nutrients, like Biotin (B7), B-Complex, Omega-3’s, and ample amounts of protein are essential to long-term healthy hair. In this post, I condense a 30-minute consultation into a 7-minute read. I offer the same advice I share with my new clients during their first visit.

Let’s say this is your hair (or something similar). It’s long with split ends & over processed, but you don’t want to chop it off because your 20-year high school reunion is fast approaching. Or a classic case, you are getting married within a year – your hair is long, with split ends and neglected from using bad products. It’s also damaged from heat tools and over styling.

Before and After Taken One Year Apart – Photo by Courtney Paige

Don’t panic, in most cases nursing your hair back to health won’t take a year. Each situation calls for its own evaluation and everyone is different. Set realistic goals for optimal hair satisfaction. And yes, there are times you must chop it off and start fresh. Alas, I offer the following regime before doing anything drastic.

Experiencing noticeable effects from adjusting internal nutrients can take up to 3 months. There are however very important external hair habits you can implement right away.

13 Hot Tips to Healthier Hair

Brush 

  • Brush before you wash. Detangle hair so it isn’t stretched to its limit when wet. A boar hair brush is the ultimate. Prices vary. High end – Mason Pearson $100 or the more reasonably priced Cricket $14 – pictured here. Benefits: Natural scalp oils coat mid and end strands.

    Cricket Boar Hair Brush - Photo by Courtney Paige
    Cricket Boar Hair Brush $14Photo by Courtney Paige

Wash

  • Product matters. Check your product ingredients just like you do food labels. Sulfates are not your friend. Sulfates are a detergent, an ingredient used to create suds. An effective metaphor is – if you’ve ever used kitchen soap to wash a car, you see streaks. Detergent eats paint on cars – just think what it does to your hair. Get off the sulfates ladies! Davines is one of my favorite sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free shampoo lines. 
  • Wash only your scalp and hair at roots. When using sulfate free shampoos, use a nickel size amount with a bit water in the palm. Emulsify. If hair isn’t suds’ing up, simply add a bit of water to your scalp. Don’t wash ends, only roots. Naturally, soap runs down the hair’s shaft when rinsing. Use hot water to wash well and rinse shampoo. Benefits: Hot water opens hair cuticles -this cleans excess oil & dirt while leaving hair cuticles open for the conditioner to set.

    Davines Minu Shampoo $26 (8.5 fl oz) for Color Treated or Processed Hair – Photo by Courtney Paige

Condition

  • Use a quarter size amount of conditioner. Apply primarily on mid-strands and ends. Avoid conditioning roots. Let set while doing other shower duties. Rinse hair with cool water. Benefit: cool water closes hair cuticles locking in moisture and conditioning nutrients. Closed cuticles reflect light, manage frizz and create shine. If roots feel dry or you feel you must put ‘some’ conditioner at the roots – only use water diluted conditioner.
  • Do not towel dry hair. Unless you want volume or frizz, towel drying creates friction on fragile cuticles. It also damages hair, making it prone to breakage. Simply twist hair up in a towel to absorb excess water.

    Malibu Miracle Repair $5 (per pack) for Damaged Hair – Photo by Courtney Paige

Pre-Styling Products

  • Product Matters. Two key pre-styling products I prescribe that will nurse your hair back to health are a milk and an oil. Even if you have fine hair, these products give your outer strands the nourishment they need.

Pre-styling products: Marrakesh Leave-in Detangler $16 & Marrakesh Oil $24Photo by Courtney Paige

Comb

  • Comb pre-styling products through hair with a Wet Comb. The one pictured here is my fav.
  • Marrakesh Leave-In Treatment & Detangler – apply all over to damp hair. Apply to ends first. One spritz at the roots. My favorite comes in a mist bottle.
  • Marrakesh Oil – apply after leave-in treatment, mid-strands to ends before blow drying. Then once to ends after styling.

    Wet Comb $8Photo by Courtney Paige

Dry

  • I can’t stress enough how important this next step is – it’s so important that if you do all the previous steps religiously, but don’t implement this next step, all your efforts will be for nothing.
  • Tools – using the proper tools for your hair is just as important as using the right tools to build a house.
  • Blowdryer – invest in a bio-ionic blow dryer with a cool button. A good one will last you 10 years. A bio-ionic blow dryer dries hair from the inside out. This way, you aren’t cooking your hair on the outside while trying to penetrate heat to the inside core.

Style

  • Stylist Brush – a bio-ionic styling brush is the same concept as the bio-ionic blowdryer. The key is heat dry hair up to 90%. Finish with a round brush by starting style with heat and end with the cool button activated. Most of my clients are surprised to learn the “set” in wash, style & set is the cooling down process. Hair’s ability to maintain its style depends on how well the set is implemented.

    This client followed the 13 Hot Tips to Healthier HairPhoto by Courtney Paige

Good internal and external hair habits are connected. One without the other will defeat your efforts. It’s important to know that healthy hair is a lifestyle. Be good to your body. Be good to yourself. Be good to your hair.

~Courtney Paige

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Beauty & Fashion

Hair Matters

Travel and lifestyle writing is a passion of mine, but what some of you may not know about me is, I moonlight as a hairstylist. Or, is it the other way around – a hairstylist moonlighting as a writer? However you look at it, I love both! Interestingly, doing hair gives me insight into so many people’s lives which helps to keep my finger on the pulse.

My clients offer inspiration, ideas and information which helps me to understand this mysterious world of ours. Since beginning the blog, I’ve primarily written about travel, food and wine, but today we are going to switch gears.

My goal for the blog’s beauty and fashion category is to share my written words with followers as if you’re sitting in my chair getting your hair coiffed.

So with that said, I’ll get straight to the point. Hair matters. Hair matters because it can be the difference between a good or bad day. A good hair day elevates our self confidence. It also reflects the health of our body, internally and externally.

Before and after are one year apart. Photo by Courtney Paige

As much as some of us would like to deny that fact, it’s true. The health of our hair is a direct indication of how well we take care of ourselves regarding nutrition, stress and our mental wellbeing.

What influences healthy hair growth? There are actually multiple factors that can have an impact on the health of your hair and hair growth. Unhealthy hair or hair loss can be related to several reasons: over processed hair, stress, poor nutrition, genetics, surgery, pregnancy, poor maintenance and/or over styling with heat tools.

This post focuses on internal nutrition. Believe it or not, the scientific study of nutrition and how it affects our health has only come to light within the last century. Even more unbelievable is how scientific studies have only recently began to realize the relationship between hair and nutrition.

It seems as though common sense would guide us to realize the health of our body goes hand in hand with the health of our hair. However, people generally believe they are stuck with the hair they were born with, and in some cases, yes, this is true. In many cases though, simply changing a few poor habits can set you on the right course.

Beginning in the early twentieth century, scientists determined protein, good fats and healthy carbohydrates are essential for a well-conditioned body.

And, only recently have scientific studies established hair thrives with a plentiful supply of specific nutrients from certain types of vitamins and minerals. For example, Biotin and Omega-3 fatty fish oils immensely improves the health of hair and nails. Biotin is simply a form of vitamin B7. Biotin and Omega-3 fatty fish oils are available at most drug stores, including Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

If your diet lacks these specific nutrients, as a professional cosmetologist, my suggestion is to take the recommended dose of Biotin along with a multi-B-complex and an Omega-3. If you have extenuating circumstances, consult your doctor first before beginning any new supplement regime.

Note: best to take Biotin and a B-complex in the morning with a small breakfast, as taking vitamins on an empty stomach is no bueno! Also, keep in mind Biotin and B-complex vitamins give you an energy boost – bonus! So you may want to adjust your caffeine intake.

Of course, beauty is only skin deep, but healthy hair begins from within, so why not start now?

This blog post focuses on internal nutrition for your hair, so next week we’ll discuss how you can make simple changes in your daily routine for the external health of your hair. Why? Because hair matters and the matters of hair is quite complex.

Feel free to comment or contact me through any of my social media outlets (located in the blog’s top menu) if you have questions or need guidance with your hair.

-Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure

Cultured Burbs

Sonoma County is a quaint sleepy community with seemingly more vineyards than people. At first glance, things may appear a tad western here, but given a closer look, Sonoma County lights up the senses.

Nine incorporated cities sprinkle the county and each have an incredibly charming square or downtown. Except Santa Rosa. For decades, Santa Rosa has lacked in comparison to its quaint neighbor towns, until now.

With the new controversial downtown square complete, the rightful county seat just may have a chance to shine. After all, there’s more to Santa Rosa than the Old Courthouse Square. So giddy-up! Here’s some inspiration for local day tripping.

Set a goal of three wineries max. St. FrancisLandmark, and Chateau St. Jean are the most convenient and stunning local wineries. All are located in Sonoma Valley on Hwy 12 east. Check with the California Welcome Center in Railroad Square – they offer locals buy-one-get-one free tasting at select wineries.

St.Francis Winery – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

St. Francis Winery Courtyard – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

Landmark Winery – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

Landmark Winery Courtyard – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

Chateau St. Jean Winery – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

Chateau St. Jean Winery Cabana – Photo by Courtney Paige

 

Plan in advance and reserve a massage between 4:30pm and 6:30pm at Me Spa. A luxurious day spa located in Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village. Their zero-gravity chairs are divine. The perfect way to wipe away worries…if only for a moment.

Darling Gifts at Me Spa – Photo by Courtney Paige

Make reservations at Monti’s for 7:30 pm – giving ample time to refresh from the spa and wander around the darling outdoor shopping village. Keeping with a serene atmosphere, Monti’s offers tranquil outdoor dining. Small plates with fantastic wine pairings are the usual.  Alas, Monti’s is located just steps away from Me Spa.

Monti’s at Montgomery Village – Photo by Courtney Paige

Santa Rosa’s new Old Courthouse Square is merely a moment away and is currently celebrating a renaissance revival. The new square is rapidly creating an eclectic hustle and bustle. With over 40 sycamore trees, bundles of redwoods and embedded benches dolloped around the square, it’s the perfect place for stargazing.

La Rosa on the square – Photo by Courtney Paige

Let your hair down with one last stop at La Rosa’s esoteric upstairs bar for a nightcap. The rare brick mission style outdoor porch and dining area never disappoint. All bartenders are consistent with each well crafted cocktail. The margarita menu is my favorite. It’s no wonder they call La Rosa bartenders mixologists. DJs spin urban beats that makes you want to get up and shake off your dinner…and the extra wine you consumed throughout the day.

La Rosa on Fourth – Great Happy Hour – Photo by Courtney Paige

Savor a county seat experience right here in urban-farm central. It’s right here in our own backyard. New restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and live music are popping up like little gems all over town.

Cheers ~

Savor Life and Enjoy!

by Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Home & Garden, Spirituality & Community

Whittling Water Worries

In 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on more than $1 billion in spending for water projects.

Hundreds of millions of those dollars are allocated for long-term projects associated with flood control, desalination, water recycling, and conservation.

Gov. Brown’s water fund measure is one piece of a much larger effort to help those most impacted by the drought and prepare the state for an uncertain future, Brown said during a press conference in spring 2015.

However, State Water Resources Control Board authorities said Californians have fallen short of Brown’s goal of reducing water use by 20 percent.

One particular project currently in the water works is Southern California’s plan for desalination by turning 50 million gallons of the Pacific Ocean into potable water per day. The plant opened in December of 2015 as the first in the state to tap an ocean for drinking water. More than a dozen other plants in California are in the planning stages.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Schwab via Huffington Post

Even though Governor Brown is working to prevent another water shortage on a large scale, there are profound practices we can put into place as individuals in order to conserve. The question you may ask yourself as you read this article is, “Why would I need to conserve if California is currently enjoying a water surplus?”

The answer is quite simple, with an exponentially growing population, if we use more than mother nature replenishes, we’ll be right back where we started – sucking our resources dry to the bone.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Rolff via Huffington Post

If you typically shy away from math you may actually be surprised at how easy it is to discover your rainfall collection potential. You can find the formula equation at the end of this blog post. I personally shy away from math and numbers, so I was astonished by how easy it is to solve the puzzle. Mapping out the measurements, researching the source of rainfall in your area, and solving the equation can actually be fun.

I’m a huge fan of water harvesting. The entire process is fascinating. I admire other countries such as Australia that promote water harvesting in cities like Melbourne that started collecting water out of a major need due to an extended 10-year drought.

If you rent, you may not have control over implementing a water harvesting system, though you may be inspired after reviewing the Harvesting Rainwater website. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could recreate communities with solar rooftops and water collection systems?

Graphic courtesy of Harvesting Rainwater

The Harvesting Rainwater website gave me insight into how the simplest implementations can affect the amount of water saved by redirecting its flow to where it’s needed most. The website shows how slow water percolation positively affects soil, foliage and subsequently conservation.

If I had a water harvesting system, I would have been able to collect over 5,000 gallons of water so far this year. How much could you collect in a year? Feel free to share your potential.

With the possibility of having a few thousand gallons of water per year, it’s an astounding amount of water to me. If I had this option, I would use my harvested water for watering plants, doing laundry, cleaning and bathroom use.

Limitations associated with harvesting water within your geographical area may apply. Attempting to harvest water in a Mediterranean climate, for instance, has its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage would be that they can use water harvested in the rainy season for the non-rainy seasons.

However, this means the water must go through long stretches of stagnation and would need to be filtered, or it may collect mosquitos and bugs. Another disadvantage is in most cases a Mediterranean climate may not produce enough water even during the rainy season to sustain the residents’ needs throughout the year.

Photo courtesy of Home Depot Niagara Conservation Shower head only $6.99

California is approaching its dry season, yet, this is a great time to begin conserving. Starting now with simple summer plans can include changing your shower head to a water efficient spout and installing a low-flow toilet. Not only will these two simple adjustments conserve water, but you will immediately save money on your water bill. And in most areas, your county offers a rebate with proof of conservation installation. 

If you’re interested in discovering your rainwater collection potential take a look at this quick and easy formula.

Determine your collection area in gallons of water:

* Rooftop Collection Area (sq. ft) x Rainfall (inches so far this year) / 12 (in/ft) = Cubic Feet of Water/Year

* Convert to gallons of water:

* Multiply your Cubic Feet of Water/ year (answer above) x 7.43 (gallons/cubic foot) = Total Gallons/Year.

* For example, a 500 sq. ft roof that gets 36 cubic feet in one total year has the potential to collect 1,500 Cubic Feet or 11,145 Gallons of water that year.

~by Courtney Paige

Food & Wine

Technology is chomping at the bit

America’s eating habits are changing as fast as technology changes while gourmet meal delivery has people taking a byte out of traditional meal planning.

We’ve come a long way since ‘Super Size Me’ hit the mainstream and created a cultural culinary shift with how we view nutrition as a nation.

People are trading their microwave instant dinners and quick on-the-go pre-made Whole Foods meals for gourmet, organic, home delivery meals. Quick, frozen food dinners are taking a backseat to fresh ingredient service meal companies like GobbleSun Basket, Blue Apronand Hello Fresh.

Families are busier than ever, so the need for effortless meals hasn’t changed. What has changed though, is the demand for fresh healthy ingredients. The anxiety that accompanies planning healthy meals weighs heavily on the average person’s mind. Thinking of new original recipes is a constant challenge – especially if you are cooking for more than one person.

From New York to San Francisco, gourmet innovative fresh meal services have taken the stress out of dinner planning for millions of Americans across the nation. Many people describe the experience like it’s a weekly Christmas gift. Each delivery includes a fancy recipe brochure for each meal with step-by-step instructions and cute little-labeled ingredient bottles.

My friend Catherine likes Gobble. She said her husband – who never cooked in the past – now has dinner waiting when she arrives home from work. As an added bonus, he tries to match the meal to the brochure picture. She said, “He’s often spot on, and, if this gets him excited in the kitchen, I’m all for it.”

Photo courtesy of Gobble www.gooble.com

Yet, home meal delivery isn’t for everyone. Susan, another friend of mine said with Blue Apron, she feels as though she can easily gather the ingredients and craft recipes herself. For Susan, all the packaging is a waste, and the concept is pointless.

My neighbor Jennifer however, loves the convenience! She’s a single mom with a demanding job and little time. She settled on Hello Fresh, and said, “It’s the best innovation in the world.” Jennifer thinks the best part of using the service is the amount of time she saves by not schlepping to the grocery store for obscure ingredients. An added perk; recreate your favorite meals from the reusable glossy recipe brochure. The icing on the cake; she’s saving money due to less waste from over buying or rotting food.

Photo courtesy of Hello Fresh – www.hellofresh.com

Organic gourmet dinner delivery isn’t a fad. It’s just beginning to simmer. For instance, Blue Apronlocated in New York, is one of the largest & fastest growing food technology companies. Proving this point, they recently purchased Niman Ranch, a local Bolinas cattle company that has been supplying high-end restaurants with grass-fed beef for decades.

I’m tempted to try Blue Apron. I liked their support of a local farmer concept. They’re implementing programs that operate more like a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) than a technology gourmet food delivery system. The fact that they purchased Niman Ranch is an incredible accomplishment and shows their commitment to quality products. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the original owner of Niman Ranch will stay on with Blue Apron as a quality control consultant.

Photo courtesy of Blue Apron www.blueapron.com

Sun Basket is a Northern California local company, but they had too many comments on their review page reporting bad customer service. For example, once they have your credit card reviewers say, you’re locked in, and no one responds to email inquiries.

Photo courtesy of Sun Basket www.sunbasket.com

After all my research, and despite Blue Apron’s accolades, my family decided on Hello Fresh. The reason is, Hello Fresh allows customers to refine menus to more than just vegetarian, organic or pescatarian. Hello Fresh seems to have the most options with the most flexibility. Prices on all services average around $60 a week for six meals. That’s about $10 for a gourmet meal you don’t have to shop for; count me in!

Photo courtesy of Hello Fresh – A weekly surprise

Our first delivery should arrive within ten days, so look for an update on our journey joining millions of Americans in this new food phenomena.

~by Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Travel & Leisure

Discover the day tripper in you

Do you know there are thousands of free views in the city of San Francisco, and driving a car isn’t the best way to take advantage of the region’s stunning natural beauty? Discover the day tripper in you, and follow us from Sonoma County to San Francisco.

With Sonoma County’s SMART train on the brink of passenger service, a day trip to the city without getting in your car will soon be a reality. Granted this day trip has multiple legs, but isn’t life all about the journey? And who doesn’t like a good set of legs?

Curious to see if a roundtrip venture from Sonoma County to San Francisco could be accomplished in one day without getting in a car, I felt compelled to try. One snag though, the train’s passenger service has been delayed until summer. So, I enlisted an adventurous travel companion and simply drove to the ferry determined not to let logistics get in the way.

Weekend parking is free at the Larkspur Ferry, so we convinced ourselves that perk will make up for the lack of train service. Another benefit Larkspur Ferry offers is the Clipper card – big savings! After jetting across the bay in a quick 35 minute boat ride, we fawn over majestic Coit Tower as the ferry floats into port.

Moments later, we disembarked at San Francisco’s famous Embarcadero ferry building and hit the city of San Francisco on foot with a general idea of our plans but no major commitments. 

The key to navigating the city is to equip yourself with good walking shoes, wear layers and plan the day in little spurts. For this day trip we incorporated intervals of floating, walking, eating, drinking and viewing.

Check out the video to get a more intimate visual on our trip. Enjoy!

We settled on massages at Hotel Vitale Spa located on the Embarcadero – a hop, skip and a jump away. Actually, it’s literally across the street from the ferry building. Even though this hotel caters to tourists, it’s a secret spot for locals who get chilled to the bone with the city’s moist cold weather.

The concierge at Hotel Vitale mentioned a bottomless champagne brunch at La Fusion located on the quaint European alley, Belden Place. An option one can’t refuse. This alley is a treasure trove of quint awning covered restaurants with cozy outdoor heaters.

Next we hopped the trolley for a mere $2 and jetted down to Museum of Modern Art on 3rd Street. MOMA is celebrating their one year multi-million dollar renovation at the end of April with a fancy soiree.

As much as we loved the rooftop massages and outdoor rose petal hot baths at the Vitale Spa, the piece de resistance on this day trip was the Conservatory of Flowers.

Located a few miles west of downtown, the Conservatory of Flowers links Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. With public transportation as our new BFF we rolled with the flow and stepped off the Muni into another world.

At the pinnacle of Golden Gate Park’s panhandle sits the Conservatory of Flowers. It’s the perfect place to warm up & snuggle on a cold foggy day. Inside, the atmosphere is surprisingly tropical – a sheer contrast to the cool gray city’s urban mecca.

Inspiration is everywhere, so get moving! The world is waiting.

~ Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Home & Garden

More blooms for your bucks

Spring blooms aren’t always about budding flowers. Get the best bang for your buck by cultivating indigenous drought resistant plants that offer vibrant color year-round. My clients often ask, “How do you plan your garden; where should I start?”

Planning a garden can be a daunting task. It was for me in the past. I had a brown thumb until I gained loads of knowledge through trial and error.

Succulents are full of life ~ Photo by Courtney Paige

As with any topic these days, gardening information is endless, so I share three tips to start.

1 ~ Create a balanced mix of annuals and perennials so you aren’t committed to start from scratch each year. Make a mental note of which plants thrive.  This simple habit will increase your bloom real estate each year.

2 ~ Watch your garden closely over the course of several days (or several seasons) to assess which areas are shaded or sunny.

3 ~ Take the time to get to know your plant’s watering needs.

All three points are vital, yet number three is essential. If you envision a dazzling garden,  you’ll need to assess your lifestyle. Do you travel, do you forget to water, do you live in a dry arid area, do you live in a foggy moist area or somewhere in-between?

With the basic three observation steps in place it’s time to commit and purchase your flowers. Deciding which plants to grow is a tad overwhelming. There are so many choices. Again, where to start?

Pansies & Petunias at Home Depot – Photo by Courtney Paige

Consider succulents. People tend to think succulents are fragile and difficult to grow. Actually, the opposite is true. You may be surprised to know most succulents thrive in full sun. A drought resistant beauty, perfect for California’s hot and arid weather. Cold and foggy mornings keep succulents happy & cozy. They also thrive in shallow dirt or sand which makes them easy to replant. 

Soft vibrant color year round – Photo by Courtney Paige

Succulents tend to be a bit pricey $$. So if your neighbor happens to have some, don’t be shy, ask for clippings as if you’re asking to borrow sugar.  Luckily, succulents are perennials and prolific. Here’s a link to Amazon, where the prices are reasonable if you have Prime and don’t have to pay for shipping. Otherwise, Home Depot is another option – unless you have a good neighbor. 

If your goal is to create a low maintenance garden, succulents are a perfect choice. You’ll plant them once and enjoy their beauty year after year, unlike annuals, which need yearly replanting.

Iceland Poppies & Marigolds at Home Depot- Photo by Courtney Paige

Blogged while listening to Sheryl Crow Soak Up The Sun and U2 Beautiful Day

~ Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Food & Wine

Perfect place to sip & see on a rainy day

Sunshine on a cloudy day – Photo by Courtney Paige

It’s been a long wet winter and most of us, I imagine, are ready for some heat. As I sit here pondering spicy things on a rainy day, Flying Goat Coffee calls my name. Today is a chai type of day, I say. When winter feels like it’s lingering on because a groundhog didn’t see its shadow, Flying Goat Coffee is the place to lounge sipping a hot chai latte while watching trains cruise by. The Goat, as it’s referred to by the locals, sits nestled in one of the oldest buildings in Sonoma County.  The stacked stone monolith, built in the late 1800s, stands majestically as commander-in-chief of Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square.

Flying Goat Coffee ~ Commander-in-Chief of Railroad Square Photo by Courtney Paige

The Goat lives just across the street from the old Santa Rosa Train Depot. There are also two locations in Healdsburg near the square. It anchors the railroad track as if it’s the end of the line. Reality is, the Goat is where everything begins. 

Back Patio at the Goat – Photo by Courtney Paige

It’s the perfect place to start the day – with a chai latte and a gluten free banana bread pastry perhaps. The Goat just may be the only place in town that crafts artisan gluten-free pastries. Their chai latte, consistently delicious, is made with all natural ingredients, and of course, the froth artwork is icing on the cake.

I like to say, “the Goat is the quintessential pinnacle spot in Santa Rosa where east side meets west side.” An unexpected surprise in an unexpected space. Give the Goat a whirl, I bet you’ll get hooked. The stark interior, restored to a 1920’s black and white art deco decor, pops with bright yellow accents and a 50 feet high ceiling that hugs its guests with a bright picture window enclave.

Flying Goat Foyer – Photo by Courtney Paige

On sunny days, a brick patio shaded by 150-year-old magnolia trees await your arrival.

Photo by Courtney Paige

For now, I’ll take the spice, skip the rain, pine for the sunshine and head to Flying Goat Coffee in Railroad Square.

Sunshine served all day long – Photo by Courtney Paige
All Things Good to Know, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure

An irresistible wine country humblebrag

Follow me to Preston ~ Photo by Courtney Paige

Humblebrag: to make a disguised boast or brag, for example: He’s humblebragging about how tired he is from his world travels. bit.ly/humblebragdefinition.

Blog post created while listening to: Doobie Brothers ‘Listen to the Music’ Bottle Shock movie soundtrack. http://bit.ly/bottleshockalbum

For some reason, I think the word humblebrag is so funny. It’s one of those words the more you say it, the more it makes you laugh. The act of humblebragging dates further back than ancient Greece. Yet, the term itself, coined in 2011, had a bad wrap during its infancy. Most recently though, it’s finding a favorable place in our rapidly changing digital world. As with anything, there’s good timing and bad timing. Everything in moderation is always a good idea too, except when it comes to certain types of indulgences.

img_2289
Photo by Courtney Paige

There are times when one can’t help but boast about the geographical area with which they live. This is one of those moments. Spring is in the air whispering about the festivities on the horizon, and there’s a lot going on this week in Sonoma County. I’m bursting at the seams to share two annual events that will fill your belly and wet your whistle. You’ll want to permanently place both events on your calendar. Barrel Tasting and Restaurant Week.

Photo by Courtney Paige

If you’re a foodie and/or a wino…errr….wine aficionado, then these two events are not to be missed. There’s lots of land to cover in Sonoma County. It’s a challenge to navigate and pin down choices without spinning your wheels. Truth is, Barrel Tasting and Restaurant Week are the perfect reason to don your LBD (little black dress), get social IRL (in real life) and wiggle your way out of your comfort zone.

Barrel tasting kicks off wine season during the first two weekends in March. Here’s the link for the deet’s. http://bit.ly/SoCoBarrellTasting  Hot tip, remember, if tickets are sold out, passes are available for purchase at any participating winery. Take note, no food pairing during barrel tasting at the wineries. Pack a picnic, or be sure to make reservations at participating restaurant week venues listed here: Sonoma Insider

Sonoma Insider has a helpful legend to sort restaurant options by category including region, city and cuisine for over 130 Sonoma County restaurants. http://bit.ly/restaurantweekchoices

Barrel tasting and restaurant week are the perfect pair, like two love birds. Sip and swirl by day, and savor bits and bites at night. By the end of the evening you’ll humblebrag to your friends and family about how exhausted you are from over eating and drinking at barrel tasting and restaurant week. Enjoy!

~ Courtney Paige

All Things Good to Know, Travel & Leisure

It’s launch time for all things ‘Good to Know’

View from the Hotel Vitale
View from the Hotel Vitale ~ Photo by Courtney Paige

For those of you who know me, and, know me well, know this blog has been brewing for quite some time. I’ve left myself with no options of putting it off any longer. Such as life, eventually the moment arrives when we put ourselves in situations where there’s no turning back. This is one of those moments, as I don my brave hat.

My digital journalism degree requires a social media class where I commit to blog once a week. You all know how passionate I am about travel, hair, fashion, food and wine. I love sharing good to know info like my beauty secrets, travel tips, healthy habits, fun food facts and garden goodies.

So, I asked myself,  “How can I combine all my hot tips, giggles and journeys into a cohesive platform that cuts through the already noisy web?” After hours of brainstorming and bouncing lots of ideas off the wall, I decided to create a blog featuring all things good to know. The culmination of all my passions rolled into one destination.

My goal is to host a spot for interested readers to stop by and gather information, inspiration and links to the things you like. Topics will range from beauty & fashion, home & garden, food & wine, travel & leisure to community & spirituality. Girls, I know you can’t wait to talk about hair!

We don’t know what we don’t know, and there are lots of good things to know. Like things our mother should have taught us, or things every man should know (girls, we know someone needs to tell them), and random good to know things when traveling, or, where to donate time in your local community.

Just in case you’re interested, this post pic is a panoramic photo of San Francisco’s Embarcadero taken from the rooftop deck of the Hotel Vitale located at 8 Mission Street. Hot tip – curious visitors aren’t obligated to reserve a room in order to enjoy the rooftop deck. The hotel hosts a restaurant bar called the Americano Restaurant & Bar, and you can access the view from there. Enjoy!

~ Courtney Paige