Friday, December 28, 2018

Meet The Jacklins of Eclectic Vintage Design in Oceanside

Meet Kim and Rick Jacklin of Eclectic Vintage Design in Oceanside!  Three years ago they purchased a building on Mission that sold used furniture. Their intent was to paint the beautiful furniture there and offer workshops to customers to teach them how to paint their own furniture. Today, you can find them in their brand new, beautiful location at 4259 Oceanside Blvd where creative classes are offered and you can find the goods of dozens of local crafters and makers, as well as free-trade goods.
Rick, a San Diego native and SDSU graduate, wanted to return to North County after he retired from his CPA position in Northern Idaho. His wife Kim is a retired bank executive.  She has an extensive background in commercial and residential design. As an artist herself and with a large community of artists surrounding her, she understands the compelling artistic drive and passion to create. She also understands first-hand the frustration with the process of getting crafted goods to the marketplace. She believes that with so many cheap imports flooding our markets today, that our talented artisans and makers are often overlooked. Rick and Kim's goal is to help local vendors and the local community find each other! Their desire is to create a unique retail experience which is beneficial for both the artist and the shopper. Through various workshops and creative parties, they hope to help people enjoy their own  talents and learn new ones too.  Stop by soon and see what they are all about!  Tell them that you learned about them on Around The Town! Remember, when you shop at stores like Eclectic Vintage Design, you are doing the important and rewarding work of supporting local artisans and makers as well as local small business!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Setting Up a Household Emergency Kit

It's always good to be prepared for an emergency, so I just wanted to get everyone thinking about being prepared, just in case.  There are many situations that require an emergency kit for peace of mind and emergency preparedness ranging from big storms to wildfires. When an emergency situation strikes, time is of the essence. Find a sturdy, portable container or tote and assemble the following:

  • 3 days worth of food and water, and can opener if needed
  • first aid kit
  • battery powered or hand crank flashlights, radio and batteries if needed
  • duct tape and trash bags for sheltering (see for details)
  • regional maps
  • items for personal sanitation or specific family needs (hygiene, pet supplies, etc.)
  • medical masks to protect against air-quality issues and infections
  • small amount of cash in case ATM's are down (5 days worth is ideal)

Remember to keep your kit updated and fresh. Check twice a year or more if needed. Has your power gone out? not a bad idea to unplug appliances and electronics, turn off heating/cooling systems to avoid damages that come with power surges once the electricity is restored. Leave on one lamp so you will know when power has been restored. It is a good idea to make a family emergency plan that includes meeting places (one nearby and one further away). Keep a copy of this plan in your kit. Teach all family members to text. Even if phone lines are down or backed up, texting will usually go through. Being prepared = peace of mind.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Importance of Adding Local Theatre to Your Life

When I was a young girl growing up in the Bay Area, in order to get out of the neighborhoods and onto the freeway, you had to drive past this little old playhouse in the city of Lafayette. I remember the rustic wood shingled building and a sign that had masks on it much like this picture. I always wondered what went on behind those walls. I had no idea. I never met anyone that went to see a production there. I just knew that someday I wanted to find out what it was all about.

Flash forward, (I won’t say how many years 😉) and local theater has become a big part of my life. I’m very thankful that Moonlight Stage Productions, The Star Theatre, Vista's Broadway Theater, productions at local high schools and the former Avo Theatre have pulled me in. I can’t tell you what a treat it is that local theater has become a regular part of my life and something that I value and look forward to. I’ve seen some really amazing shows and I feel like I am greatly enriched because I have. I love that local theater gives local talent a chance to grow and bloom and we all get a first row seat. I also love that they provide so many opportunities to get our young ones involved, both on the stage and in the audience. I would like to encourage you to make local theater part of your life as well if you haven’t already.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Meet Carla and Linda of Carla and Linda's Walking Food Tours

1.  Tell us about yourselves:
Carla and I met 23 years ago in Victorville, CA. We have been a couple for 22 years. We have lived in North San Diego County for 16 years. We love food.

2.  What inspires you  about food in north county?
The young Chefs are not afraid to experiment with foods. Cheese does go with fish when done properly. I love that I met Chef Darryll (Masters) at Cyclops Farm. He was there because he wanted to feel the dirt from which his veggies were grown.  I love that a lot of the Chefs did other things before they found their calling; Chef Marc (Petite Madeline) was a nurse; Chef Willy (Mission Ave Bar & Grill) trained to be a mechanic.

3.  How did you get your start?
When we first moved here going out to the Olive Garden was something special. We now know what real good food tastes like and we will never go back. We want other people in our community to know what good food we have right here in our own back yards. We support local food, chefs and farms. Oceanside had a bad reputation for a long time so the food scene kinda surprised a lot of people. We are happy to be part of the explosion.

3. How does a walking food tour work and how much does it cost?
We charge $49 per person. The tours run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30pm in Oceanside and Saturdays from 1:30 to 4:30pm in Vista as well. We spend about 30 minutes or so at each place so you can get a feel for the restaurant. We do private tours during the week with certain minimums. We walk you around to 4 restaurants and provide all of the food, beverages are available for purchase at the restaurants. We have great relationships with the Chefs/Owners so we get off-menu dishes from most of our establishments. We also give fun facts about the area as well as telling you about the restaurants and Chefs.

4.  What are your favorite parts about running a walking food tour business?
The people. We love to share our experiences with others and this is the perfect stage. We are excited about food and love when we can share it with others. We have made many friends. It gives us joy when we have people return to take another one of our other tours.

5.  If someone wants to take a food tour, how they go about that?
They get on their computer or phone and sign up. or Linda's private cell number is: (760) 401 5968. They can use code: fun10 to get $10 off. If you want a private tour you will need at least 4 people and pay full price. You will get to choose what day and which tour...the times stay the same at 1:30 to 4:30pm.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

An Interview with and Tribute to Nancy aka "Farmer Jones" of Alta Vista Botanical Gardens

Nancy, tell me a little about yourself, your background and how you came to work with Alta Vista Botanical Gardens.

I was born in San Diego and raised in Lemon Grove, attended UCSB (with a year in Germany) and earned my teaching credential at SDSU.  I finished my MA in Special Education in 1979. Don and I have been married since 1974; our two sons grew up in North County and have graduated from UCSD and UCLA respectively.  After 28 years in the classroom, I retired from teaching elementary school in Vista Unified in 2006.  I was asked to come to AVBG to help start their Children’s Garden in 2008, I joined the AVBG Board, and “Farmer Jones” ended up as Chairman of the Committee.  We ran a contest to name the Children’s Garden and chose “Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies.” In addition to the existing small Earth Day Festival, we added the Fall Fun Festival in 2009 and are celebrating our TENTH FFF on October 20 this year.  It’s a great experience – creating scarecrows, bobbing for apples, decorating punkins, making crafts, and enjoying the ambience of the Gardens.  Vendors, food, and a plant sale are all part of the Fall Fun Festival experience.  Many student and adult volunteers – and our dedicated Board members – make it a super day!

About how many kids do you filter through your program each year and what brings you the biggest joy working with kids and in the gardens?

After our first FFF in 2009, we started monthly Kids in the Garden classes and still offer them on the second Saturday of the month from 10 am to noon for a low $5 fee; these classes are free for family members.  The schedule is listed on the AVBG website .  We also offer field trips for students in local elementary and middle schools, as well as homeschool groups.  We have served 4000 kids in ten years of Kids in the Garden and field trips.  My greatest joy is seeing kids relax, open up, hike to the bottom of the hill and back up, and make discoveries out in nature.

What are your hopes for the future with your program?
I hope that kids and their parents will become more familiar and comfortable in the outdoors, and appreciate the beauty and tranquility of nature.  There’s a BIG beautiful world out there and experiencing it first-hand is a million times better than on an electronic device!  We will continue to offer outdoor experiences and hope to expand programs as more teachers and families discover the Hidden Gem that is Alta Vista Botanical Gardens!

I see you also work with The Woman's Club of Vista. What does that program do in the community and how can someone become involved if they wish?

Membership in The Woman’s Club of Vista GFWC is open to all – women and men! I served as President from 2013-2017 and currently serve as Treasurer.  Our Club is 102 years old and we’re growing with active members who are ready to volunteer!  We work on projects with organizations in the community (such as AVBG, Operation HOPE-Vista, Women’s Resource Center, Gently Hugged, Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, Alabaster Jar, and many others), and we donate supplies and food. We celebrate our Donation Day every May when we donate to organizations suggested and supported by our members.  In June we award scholarships to students graduating from six Vista schools.  Our busy Club has won awards for our projects from our international Federation.  The Club’s website is .  Contact information is in the newsletter which is posted on the website.  All are welcome to visit and join!

What city do you reside in, and what do you love about it?

We have lived in rural Vista since 1987, and we love the open spaces and parks for hiking and nature experiences.  I love the people I am privileged to work with – curious kids, caring parents, and devoted volunteers.  It’s small-town Vista every day, with many opportunities to grow and serve – which is how I fill my days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Tours

Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, located at 640 Alta Vista Drive (across from the Civic Center) is a beautiful, fascinating, historical adobe dating back to 1845 that has been preserved for your viewing pleasure by the city of Vista. In fact, if this adobe had not been built, the city of Vista as we know it would not be established today as the surrounding area was built around it to support its function!  Learn about the history of the adobe and the many families that lived in it, as well as what life looked like on this homestead. Also onsite are a lovely gift shop and art gallery with rotating presentations.

Tours are provided for a nominal fee on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 10am and 3pm (last tour starts at 2:15).  Guided tours are also available. Admission: Adults $4, Seniors $3, Students $1 and children 12 and under .50.  The adobe also has field trip opportunities for local schools as well as summer programs. Different events are held on the grounds throughout the year and it is also available for wedding and special occasion rentals.  What a beautiful backdrop it is!  If spooky is your thing, join in the Spirits of The Adobe tours ($25) that take place select evenings once a month. For more on that, call 760-643-5275.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Carla and Linda's Walking Food Tours (Both Vista and Oceanside Tours Available)

Boy did I have a fun afternoon on my first ever walking food tour! I recently went on the maiden voyage of Carla and Linda's Walking Food Tours NEW Vista tour with a group of wonderful food-loving people. We started our tour at Starbucks in the village where we all assembled and introduced ourselves. Our first stop was Belching Beaver Brewery Tavern & Grill, where after a brief walk we enjoyed crispy plantains topped with pit-roasted mojo pork and dressed with cilantro, citrus sauce and me so honey cream. Next visit was Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen for house-made pasta with veggies, sausage, micro greens and a carrot reduction sauce. Next we looped around to When Pigs Fly BBQ for a smoked rib with slaw. We finished our tour by walking back to Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen to indulge in our choice of cupcake. I selected chocolate peanut butter and it was divine. 

All along the tour we were blessed to be able to chat with the chefs and owners/operators and find out more about them, their food and restaurants. While on the walking portion of the tour Linda told us great little facts about different pieces of art and businesses along the way. One of the fun things about these tours is that ahead of time we have no idea what we will be served. We just show up and enjoy!

I highly recommend this experience and you might want to know that they have an established Oceanside tour as well. I definitely plan to do this again in the future. Find out more at

Friday, September 14, 2018

More on Artisan Shop Lotus Moon Market- New to Downtown, Historic Vista

I thought I would introduce you to the talented and delightful Sophia, owner of Lotus Moon Market that just moved to 347 Main St in downtown, historic Vista, and help you get to know her and her mission.

Tell me about yourself Sophia: I grew up Navy and was raised in a small town an hour west of Seattle. I went to college at the Art Institute of Phoenix, worked full time as a Graphic Designer, and finally moved to Vista in 2015!

How and when did you get started with Lotus Moon Market? I started off making crystal jewelry (Sup Goods) as a part time gig while I worked full time; I did street fairs and local markets throughout Phoenix and carried it over when I moved to California. I was a vendor at local street fairs and even did a few in Temecula. Along the way I've met so many talented artisans that I thought it would be nice to have a shop dedicated to makers (for those who have missed the markets).

At the end of January 2018, the company I was working for closed and laid everyone off. That's when I decided to make Lotus Moon Market come to life! It's funny because the universe really works in mysterious ways! I had this makers market shop in the back of my head for probably over a year before I actually made it happen. I even had my logo and name drawn out already!

What is your goal for the store and what are your future plans?
90% of the shop is handmade. I work with a lot of local artisans (around the US) and work with global artisans as well. The global artisans are all fair trade meaning they get a fair wage for their creations living in underdeveloped environments so that they are able to sustain jobs feed their families and communities. That's really important to me. My goal is to help small businesses and artisans by showcasing their hand made creations.

The future of Lotus Moon Market has so much potential, especially in this new amazing location. I really want to really bring in the community. I eventually want to host workshops to learn how to make macrame, jewelry, essential oil rollers, etc. I'd like to host events like plant swaps, maybe have a farmers market type thing a couple times a month. So many possibilities! 

Why Vista and what do you love about the city?
I chose a location in Vista because I live here! I also think there is a need for a handmade focused shop here. I've seen similar stores in the coastal cities, but nothing in Vista (or not to my knowledge) I have been a vendor of the Vista Vintage Makers Market multiple times (now Artifact), Vista Night Out, Winter fest, and Alley Art Festivals so I know there is a market here. There is so much talent and art in Vista and I am thrilled to be located here.

More about San Diego Botanic Garden (Encinitas)

Can we talk for a moment or two about one of my favorite places in San Diego County, San Diego Botanic Garden?  Did you know that they were recently named one of the top 10 gardens worth traveling for in North America?  WOW! You might want to know that they have been around since the 1940's. It's a 37-acre "botanic wonderland" that features zonal plantings from all over the world, beautiful waterfalls, rotating sculpture gardens and a special Children's Garden with plans to build an educational center.  No doubt plants cultivated at the very beginning are still thriving. Did you know that some of these plants have lives that will outlive the average human, and then some?  It's truly amazing that this garden grows and develops with the decades that pass. Almost every time you visit, something will be new and different. For the last 24 years, Julian Duval has been at the helm serving as president and CEO. Julian has done tremendous, great work but is now retiring and passing the baton to Ari Novi.The two will work together through the transition.

San Diego Botanic Garden hosts a plethora of fun, festive and educational events throughout the year and you will be happy to know that if you are a San Diego County resident, you get free entry to the park every first Tuesday of the month. There is a small parking fee, but it is waived if you have four or more in your car.

Regular pricing is $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and active military and $10 for kids 3-18.  The garden is opening 9-5 daily except for Christmas.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cooking Classes with Treehouse Kitchen in Encinitas

 Treehouse Kitchen, Encinitas, CA

There is a new place in town to brush up on your culinary skills in North County. Its called Treehouse Kitchen and it's a beautiful, intimate studio in a residential neighborhood of Encinitas.  Skilled chefs are brought in to teach a variety of classes from making sweet/savory hand pies (I took this class), to making jams, krauts and pickling, Thai and French cuisine, pizza, grilling, sourdough bread, date night pizza night and more.  More classes are being added all the time and they are open to suggestions on classes that the community would be interested in.  The hosts are Stan and Mary, a great couple that work in tandem to help facilitate the guest chef of the day and keep things rolling behind the scenes. When we were short on plums for our sweet hand pies, Stan ran out to the garden to grab more. Handy, right?

In the class I took, we all jumped in and participated in prep work, and then we enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  We were sent home with detailed recipes and how to's so we could recreate the deliciousness at home.

If you would like to take a class outside of a commercial store or strip mall, not be pressured by sales, and support local, small business, this is your ticket!  Grab a group of friends or schedule a date night and see what Treehouse Kitchen is about. If you like to cook or would just like to learn something more specialized, I promise you will love these classes and the venue and walk away with new knowledge and skills in the kitchen.  You will probably have made some nice new friends as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience today and would highly recommend this business to all of you.  

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Reverse 911 for Emergency Alerts

Emergency alerts may save your life or the life of someone you love. Many don’t know that cell phone numbers aren’t automatically enrolled in the emergency alert system that most know as “reverse 911.”  You must register cell phones on this site (for San Diego County).
Hopefully watching the devastating fires of late and some of the most unfortunate outcomes, this will serve as incentive to get registered. If you live in another county, research your local alert system. Thank you Janine, former firefighter for the tip.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chuao Chocolatier Joy Factory Tours in Carlsbad

Did you know that Chuao Chocolatier offers tours of their Joy Factory in Carlsbad on select Fridays at 11AM and 12:30PM as well as select Wednesdays at 4PM?  The cost is $15 per person and is designed for those 10 years of age and up. Be sure to make your reservation early as these tours fill up quickly and are limited in size.  While there, take advantage and get some shopping done in their chocolate boutique which is open Monday through Thursday 11AM to 3PM and Friday from 10:30AM to 3PM.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

North County Yard Greetings to Celebrate Your Event or Share Your News

This is the perfect time of year for you to use this cool and inventive new business run by one of our own, Lindy O! Please take a moment to check out her custom yard greeting business and think about if you might have an upcoming opportunity to use her services. She's got you covered for a festive way to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, proms, new babies, GRADUATIONS, weddings and so much more! Also, consider following her on Facebook at North County Yard GreetingsFor website, click here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Queen Califia's Magical Circle Escondido- Beautiful Tile Sculpture Garden by Artist Niki De Saint Phalle

Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido is greatly expanding the hours it is open to the public. Currently the sculpture garden will be open from 9 AM until noon Tuesday and Thursday, weather permitting. It is not open when it is raining or when there is any puddling on the ground. It will also continue to be open from 9 AM until noon on the second Saturday of each month. 

City officials said the new hours are an experiment of sorts, and that if problems such as vandalism arise things could change. The new hours reflect increasing public demand and interest in the garden. Queen Califia's Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle who died in 2002.  Group visits to the Garden may also be accommodated by making pre-arranged reservation by calling (760) 839-4519.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Making The Most of Your Entertainment Book Purchase

Entertainment Books are such a valuable form of savings around town and you can use them when you eat out, shop, bowl, go to a play, travel and on and on.  But to make best use out of them, you need to know how to use them and you need to use them often.  Here is a list of suggestions that I follow:

1.  Load the free phone app and USE IT.  Turn on push notifications and your phone will let you know whenever you are in proximity of a use.  Inside the app you can load and choose favorite offers.  You also score additional offers by using your app. My husband doesn't carry a book around, but he does use the app, so it's always on him.  For example, yesterday he was shopping at Big 5, checked his app, and was able to save $10 off his $50 purchase!  Very handy!

2.  I go through the book when I first get it and I tear out coupons that are favorites and places I frequent often.  I put them in my wallet, all in the same place, so they are on me at all times.

3.  When the family goes out to eat, I go through Entertainment Book offers FIRST to see if there is an offer we want to use.

4.  Buy an extra book and keep it in your car so you always have access to all your offers.

5.  Maybe the best suggestion is to go through your book often to remind yourself of what offers are available. Keep tearing out your favorites and make a point to use them!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Wine and a Sign with Far Away Hood in Fallbrook

Book your Wine & a Sign today with Far Away Hood and beat the heat!! For the first person to contact FAH and put a date on the calendar, an extra $10 credit will be added onto your hostess perks. Gather 8 or more friends/family members/neighbors and come have a blast!! Morning, afternoon, or evening slots are available.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

REAL ID Drivers Licenses to Be Implemented in 2020 and Info to Get Yours- Important for Travelers

Beginning October 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security requires your driver license (DL) or identification (ID) card be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board a domestic flight or enter military bases and most federal facilities. 

If you wish to get started on the paperwork so you are compliant, here is the link to get you started.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Clue Avenue Escape Room for A Fun Experience in Escondido Plus 25% Discount Code

I promised you that I would tell you more about my escape room adventure at Clue Avenue Escape Rooms yesterday. Clue Avenue invited me and some of my friends to come out and give their Villian's Lair escape room a go and to share my experience with you.

Going in, we were all excited for the challenge, but not one of us had any previous experience with an escape room. We learned that escape rooms require you to think outside the box, LISTEN, pay attention to details and work as a team through a series of cryptic clues. If you get stuck at any point, you can ask your moderator for a hint or whether you are on the right track (as long as the whole team agrees this is ok). We had a great time on our 1-hour experience working together to try and thwart the evil Dr. Delirium's plan of no good for San Diego. At times we were working in perfect harmony, and at other times it was a bit chaotic and we had to pull ourselves together and regroup. This is where the magic is- you have to unite as a team, each take an active role and learn to work in harmony. I don't want to give too much away, but we all had a blast together solving a series of riddles, puzzles, hunts and more. Did we escape in our allotted one hour? We did not (wah, wah), but I think we'd like to reassemble our team when Clue Avenue opens their next room, Dreamscape, and see if we can pull it off with a little more experience under our belts. 

Of interest:  Follow Clue Avenue Escape Room on Facebook and also on Instagram at @ClueAvenue.  Want to schedule your group?  Go to their webpage.  Use code: CLUEAVE25 to save 25%!  P.S. Did you know that Clue Avenue has a partnership with many businesses around them?  Make it a grand event by saving 15% off your order at 10 partnering restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. You can find out more about that on their web page. Cool, right?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Goat Yoga at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas Plus Code to Save $10 on Your Class


I recently started my day with joy and laughter doing goat yoga at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas! They invited me to experience their class so I could share my thoughts with you. I admit, I had no idea what it was about but yes we actually did get some yoga done and yes we also did quite a bit of laughing and snuggling as well. We even got to bottle-feed milk to the goats. While this type of yoga is maybe a little more down and dirty than you are used to, it also comes with towels steeped in lavender essential oil for your eyes during shavasana and chilled cucumber water when you’re finished with your workout.

Thank you Elizabeth for opening up your sweet farm to us and sharing your fruits, and thank you Beth for your instruction. Thank you for providing a professional photographer to catch all the magical (and funny) moments so we could hold on to the memories of the day! We had such a great time and you can bet we will be back!

Barb's tips: Leave plenty of time to get there and map your route out in advance. Maybe not wear your very favorite yoga outfit, you will be interacting with goats, afterall.  :)  I suggest leaving your yoga mat at home and using one of theirs for obvious reasons. Lastly, just be prepared for enjoyment, laughter and fun. EMBRACE the experience!

If you would like to give it a try, I highly suggest Sugar Sweet Farm and if you use code: BARB10 when you sign up, you will save $10!