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Treat Yourself…Oakland Style

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Since I am the mother of two little ones, it is a day where I have a free pass to do as I please; to indulge, rest, rejuvenate, reflect.  Since my kids are still young, they don’t quite understand that being on their best behavior and honoring all that their momma does for them are required for the day.  So while I do plan to spend time enjoying their company, my true intention is to use this day to take care of me.  Guess what?  You certainly don’t have to be a mother to chose this for yourself.  Furthermore, you certainly don’t need a special day of the year to do it.  I try to find moments in time throughout busy days to take pause, to enjoy something as simple as a sound, smell, or sight.  If I have more moments free that can be laced together to create “me” time, some of the below are at the top of my list for spending time to take care of me, my senses, my mind, myself.  Oakland is full of ways to treat yourself…be inspired to do so, you deserve it.

Walk Lake Merritt.  Maybe grab a chocolate thing at Arizmendi to nibble on as you go.  Find a bench along the way and sit on it.  Watch people go by.  Ear buds with your favorite mellow tunes are optional.

I love bookstores.  If you do too, go into one.  Wander, skim, buy something and don’t think about how you could get it for less on Amazon.  If you like Walden Pond Books on Grand Avenue like I do, turn left when you exit and eat lunch on the back patio of Boot & Shoe Service, start reading.
(Alternate route: turn right and wander down to Ordinaire Wine and grab a glass, sit at the bar, and again, start reading)

Morcom Rose Garden is in bloom.  Go sniff the roses.  Bring the book you just bought.  If you happened to be at Boot & Shoe, its only .6 miles to get there so consider walking.  There is a lovely stretch of lawn that runs down the center aisle as you enter that is perfect on a sunny day.

Piedmont Springs Hot Tubs.  No, they are not sketchy, they are a hidden gem and an oasis in this city.  Plan ahead and book one.  They get busy because so many of us know they aren’t sketchy.  Consider booking one in the evening, its amazing.  If you have the time and money, book a massage for afterwards.

Go eat a meal by yourself.  I love to eat lunch by myself.  It took a long time to feel comfortable doing so, but it is awesome.  Sit in front of the open kitchen at Oliveto Cafe.  Sit on the patio at Toast.  Sit on the patio at Boot & Shoe Service (did I mention that already?).  Sit anywhere.  Order the second glass of wine.  Order dessert.

Go walk around Mountain View Cemetery.  Look at the angels.  Don’t think about dead people.  Sit somewhere.  Enjoy the quiet, peacefulness and beauty of the space around you.  Maybe bring the book you bought.

Read your favorite magazine cover to cover in one sitting.  Sit in the sun, sit in the restaurant you chose to eat lunch at.  Sit in the cemetery.  Eat a cookie while doing so.  Eat two.  If it happens to be the double chocolate one from Firebrand Artisan Breads, you are doing it properly.

Blue Bottle mochas have recently become my obsession.  I am not a coffee connoisseur, which should be clear since I am drinking mochas.  I have been spoiled by the experience of drinking these to the point where I once ordered a mocha at another cafe, and it tasted so subpar I poured it in the gutter and drove to Blue Bottle to get another one.  Go get one.  Order an espresso fudge macaron, dip it into the mocha, and bite into it.  I do this sitting in my car before I pull away.  Its one of those moments in a day that keep me sane.

Buy yourself flowers.  Don’t think about how you are spending money on something that is going to die in a few days.  There are so many wonderful florists throughout Oakland, find one; Oakland Flower Mart is also fun to visit.

Please for the love of all things toast, go eat toast at Pizzaiolo.  Just do it.  Pizzaiolo in the late morning is special.  Peek at the dinner prep operations underway as you wander to the back patio.  Sit in the sun.  Sit in the shade.  Daydream about what they are prepping for dinner.  Get messy eating toast.  Go back and get another slice.

Go find the Kaiser Rooftop Garden.  I still need to do this, so tell me how it goes.  Apparently a hidden elevator in a parking garage is involved.  Bring that book, or the magazine.  Be amazed that you are in Oakland.

Go for a hike in Redwood Regional Park.  Stare at the trees.  Take a break on a bench.  Stare at the trees some more.  Once again, be amazed that you are in Oakland.

Go have a glass of wine along the Urban Wine Trail.  Have two.  Wander to Jack London and eat lunch by yourself.  Patios seem to be a theme I am following so try Boca Nova, its right by Miette and you can go get a macaron afterwards.

I used to take Restorative Yoga classes and I have begun to miss them.  They are amazing.  Stop thinking about how they aren’t “exercise” like other types of yoga classes are, its silly.  I’ve taken them at Mountain Yoga, Namaste, and Piedmont Yoga.  I am now looking into them at Anasa in the Laurel District; in fact…I think you might find me at the Restorative class on Mother’s Day.

Go see a movie by yourself.  I remember how strange it felt when I was 19, seeing a movie by myself for the first time.  Doesn’t it just make sense?  You can’t talk during a movie, so why not go by yourself?  I love doing this at the quaint Piedmont Theatre.  Eat popcorn.  Get the butter.  Maybe combine with a trip to a Piedmont Springs hot tub.  Don’t do the hot tub after eating a whole bag of popcorn though.

Did I inspire you?  Tell me more about how you treat yourself around Oakland.  I need some ideas that don’t involve patios and baked goods so I can mix things up a bit :o)




Photo Credits:

Top Row (left to right): Yellow Rose in Morcom Rose Garden – Adrienne Schell / Stacked (Walden Books) by Thomas Hawk via flickr / Hot Tub at Piedmont Springs – Instagram@lisesilva / Gondola on Lake Merritt – Hitchster via flickr / Breakfast at Toast – Thomas Hawk via flickr
Middle Row (left to right): A Resting Place (Mountain View Cemetery) – Sonny Abesamis via flickr / Firebrand Cookies and Sunset Magazine – Adrienne Schell / Blue Bottle roaster – Niall Kennedy via flickr / Flowers – Amanda via flickr
Bottom Row (left to right): Toast at Pizzaiolo – Adrienne Schell / Kaiser Rooftop Garden – Jess via flickr / Redwood Regional Park – Mike Linksvayer via flickr / Urban Legend Wine Glass – Instagram @superwinegirl

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  • Reply Michelle May 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Hi I found you on IG and im so happy i clicked your page. Im a 29 year old mom too! My son is 8 years old. I grew up in San Francisco up untill the last 8 years when my son was born. At first it was difficult for me to adapt to Oakland becase ive always been an SF girl. When I first moved to Oakland I lived on 29th and Fairmont between lovely Lake Merritt and Piedmont Ave. Broadway street was ghost town at 6pm and over the years I watched that area of Oakland grow into something beautiful just like San Francisco. 6 years into living and discovering Oakland i fell in love with your city. The last 2 years we found a beautiful home by Joaquin Miller and OMG I feel absolutely lucky to live here. My son and I have hiked most trails around here and enjoyed the views the park has to offer. There is a really nice pool and park inside Joaquin Miller called Roberts Pool. Paddle boats at Lake Merritt is also really fun. My coworker gave me a really cool book: Secret stairs east bay which is a walking guide to historic staircases in Oakland/Berkeley (this is how i discovered the rose garden) Adventure playground in Berkeley is a really fun place for kids and its free. I can keep going with all the amazing gems in Oakland that I have found over the years but don’t want to take up too much of your time. Just wanted to let you know I love Oakland just as much as I love SF and hope more people have the opportunity to enjoy Oakland like we do. Maybe we should invite Donald Trump so he can see for himself. … Thank you for sharing I look forward to reading your post.

  • Reply Lindsay May 6, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Ha! “Don’t think about dead people” …..funny. Another great post! so in the mood for some pampering now, even though I’m not a mama…

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