Have you ever wanted to just escape from it all?

Nostalgic serenity is what comes to mind when I think about Lake Anza, nestled in the Berkeley Hills. I spent many summers swimming in the lake, racing my sister, brother, and cousins to the raft in the middle, hanging out with friends on the sand, and hiking the beautifully scenic trails with my dog, Maxi.

Lake Anza, almost unknown to people outside of East Bay, is my escape.

Located within Tilden Park, Lake Anza is a spring-fed freshwater lake that is calming and refreshing. Connected to the lake is the perfect hiking spot to explore the peaceful atmosphere and lush greenery can feel magical.

A couple weeks ago I ran the Berkeley Trail Run. The 10K took me speed hiking up the hills scattered with wildflowers and huge oak trees, the ascend downhill felt like I was flying into a fairy tale.

Lake Anza was the first place to come to mind when deciding where in the Berkeley to shoot the Escape Collection. The five-piece collection includes this Enza Costa luxe, soft, stretch jersey, antique rose, almost nude lightweight bodysuit. I paired it with this beautiful light green and nude lush, crepe de chine Just Cavali blouse (it buttons up and pairs perfect with jeans and a blazer).

I also included this adorable blush Melissa Odabash wrap skirt. I love it with the bodysuit and this flirty, cropped, orange and cream, jacquard print, off the shoulder top by LemLem.

To amplify even a smidge of positive thinking, clear-headed decision making, ease you out of negative spaces, the escape collection accessory, these beautiful clear crystal and brass earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane.

When I was about 13, my friend Juani and I decided we were going to sneak to Lake Anza from South Berkeley. I told my mom I was going to her house, and she told her mom she was coming to mine. We strategically gathered enough money and took off to the AC Transit bus stop. We made the hour-long bus ride fine but forgot two important details, the entrance fee and snacks.

After paying to get in, since we were already short on bus fair, we decided to spend what we had left at the snack bar. As the day got later, “how are we going to get home,” we pondered. “Let’s go to Christina’s house,” our soccer teammate, “she lives close by,” I suggested. But from a car that three miles seemed so much quicker. By the time we arrived we were so tired, I don’t even remember the story we told to get our friends’ mom to take us back home, to South Berkeley. We prayed that she would just drop us off…when we pulled up to the house, she parked and told my parents just how we showed up on her porch, tired and hungry. We got in so much trouble but the escape to Lake Anza was worth it!

Every time I come back to Lake Anza, I feel at home – I also always find something new to enjoy. There are multiple trails around the lake for hikers of all levels, including the waterfront Lake Anza trail. The panoramic views of the lake and park’s landscape are breathtaking. This hidden escape treasure is only a 10-minute drive from UC Berkeley and 30 minutes from Oakland.

Living just outside of Napa has real life perks! Although I’m not a big drinker, when I do drink, my preference is a glass of Pinot Noir. So, when I was perusing Black Vines, my high school hommie’s dope space for all thing Black and wine, she shared a Black-owned winery list.

When I read that Fog Crest is a Black, woman-owned vineyard known for their Pinot, I was sold. A couple days later, hubby and I were there.

“The vineyard is situated on the Wilson Grove formation in a natural amphitheater of the Russian River Valley, whose soils have become recognized as some of the world’s best for cultivating ultra premium Pinot Noir grapes.”

The Fog Crest estate is breathtaking. The patio views facing east to Sonoma Mountain is perfect for sipping Pinot Noir. We have been to the vineyard quite a few times now.

I adore spending hours relaxing, tasting, and basking in this beautiful, idyllic setting. Check out this beautiful video featuring owner, vintner Rosalind Manoogian, produced by Calvin Gaskin, Bela’s brother.

Song: If It’s Magic (Album Version)

Artist: Stevie Wonder



I am a bonafede espresso junkie. I like strong, well roasted, sweet beans. I don’t like a lot of milk, and a warm 6 or 8 oz. size cappuccino or latte is usually my choice.

Rasa Caffe, Berkeley, CA

I vividly remember the first time I had a latte. It was late 2000. I was in Manhattan for New York Fashion Week buying for the soon-to-be opened Shikiri during the VERY beginning stages of this site.

For the boutique opening, thanks to my then NFL-salaried husband, I had a major budget and a four-woman buying team consisting of me, a Nordstrom’s Women’s buyer, a top LA stylist, and a good friend of mine.

After a night of table dancing, bottle poppin’, and clubbing, I was scheduled to begin buying bright and early the next morning. Our first appointment was for 8 a.m. “Who made that?!” I thought as I went to bed as the sun was rising outside my mid-town luxury W hotel suite. I was completely knocked out by the time the 7 a.m. wake up call rang only three hours after I made it back to the room.

I immediately hung it up and went back to sleep. About an hour later, the buyer I had paid to be there was knocking at my door. I still could not wake up.

In undergrad, I never drank coffee. I think it’s because I was pregnant twice with Maia in my freshman year, and Keyshawn Jr. senior year. The logic that the Cokes I devoured during finals was healthier now doesn’t sound right either.

I finally opened the door, slowly began to get dressed, and then the buyer handed me my very first latte at the age of 24. It was from Starbucks. That was all I needed . . . I was up, somewhat focused, happy, and ready to go.


Soon enough, buying for Shikiri took me to fashion weeks in Paris, London, and Milan! And honey . . . the espresso got better too! Now, 21 years later, I make it my business to research and experience the best espresso around the world.

As I focus on individuating, this month is centered on stories based on the city I grew up in, Berkeley, California.

Each café has a special story and place in my heart. Let me tell you why I love these places and where you can find them.

As an experienced espresso fan, these are my favorite spots to get my latte:

Rasa Caffe 140 Martin Luther King Way, (South Berkeley)
Highwire Coffee Roasters 2049 San Pablo Avenue, (West Berkeley)
Blue Bottle Coffee 2118 University Avenue, (Downtown Berkeley)