Pay It Forward – Bottlerock Candle Studio

Bottlerock Candle Studio Artisan + Home + Body + Soul is locally owned and operated by Jennifer Gayda; creating and providing exquisite and unique hand poured small batch coconut, soy & palm wax creations. Bottlerock boasts fragrance blends like no other – offering harvest pear + brandy, barnwood + berries, hibiscus + guava and an occasional Blackberry COBBler fragrance and so much more.

My Immigrant Story – By Martina Robles Gallegos

I was born and raised in a small, rural town in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. I emigrated to the United States just short of my fifteenth birthday, right after graduating from elementary school. I was the sixth of nine children, and there are three siblings younger than me, but my mom chose me to go with her to El Norte. I was surprised or shocked that she’d choose me instead of any of my three younger brothers.

Nostalgia on the Menu: Exploring the All-American Charm of Main Street Bar and Grill

Take a trip with me down memory lane for just a minute. It’s summer vacation and it feels like it’s going to last forever. You’re on a thrilling road trip with Mom and Dad. The wind rushes through the open windows, drowning out the radio as you lean out, basking in the early morning sun. You open your mouth only to have your voice and air taken out of your lungs, leaving them dry and pasty. You’re not just on the road; you’re soaring. You push the limits, leaning out a little further until Mom’s voice brings you back to reality. Seatbelt laws are a thing of the future, so you sit, squirm, trade seats, or lie down to pass the time. 

Exploring the Rich History and Ecological Significance of Putah Creek

Lake County possesses numerous creeks that lazily wind around our watershed.

Putah Creek is a key creek in our county. It can be found zigzaging down from the headwaters in the Mayacamas Mountains where it originates down to the Yolo Bypass tributary. The creek’s source is attributed to springs found on Cobb Mountain’s eastern side, set among the native alder and willow trees that shade the charming, cool pools which are ideal for trout. This watercourse surges through three counties: Lake, Napa and Solano.

What We Leave Behind – by Brian Sonia-Wallace

Burnt out from two years of pandemic Zooms and losing my housing, year after year, I started to paint again for the first time since I was a teenager. Acrylics. Bodies. Landscapes. Whatever was in front of me as my world shrunk and I struggled not to shrink with it.

My space over these years had become a doomsday bunker, as I, the millennial hermit crab, danced between sublets. I lugged around B-horror movie paintings I’d inherited from a mentor when I had a whole house to fill with art, shedding a few at a time as I crammed myself into increasingly smaller rooms. Rents kept rising. It was just over a year after my dad’s death and I was digging out who I was from the wreckage.

Stories in Every Sip: The Artisanal Magic of Rosa d’Oro’s Italian Wines

It’s a damp day in Lake County. The clouds hang low in the sky, hiding the top of Mt. Konocti in the distance. The rain is squalling, slanting sideways in the wind. But that hasn’t slowed down anything at Rosa d’Oro Winery in Kelseyville. Owner Nick Buttitta winds his way among the olive trees, turning his forklift into a garage as he sees our car park in the graveled driveway. “It’s bottling day,” he tells us as he slides off the seat, pulls his gloves off, and walks our way. “Let me make a quick phone call.” Phone cradled between his shoulder and ear, he walks to the tasting room/bottling shed, unlocks the door, and lets us in. It’s already clear that this experience is far different than tasting in Napa, where people elbow their way to the tasting bar to receive pours from people who don’t know anything about wine. No, the experience here is personal, intimate, and uniquely refreshing. 

Pay It Forward – Infinity Consignment Boutique

Infinity Consignment Boutique is locally owned and operated by Kimberly Reichmuth; providing affordable thrift and consignments items – even some new items with tags. Infinity supports local artists as well: carrying a wide variety of gifts and accessories. You can also shop their Instagram and Facebook with the option to have your order shipped to you door.    

Five Great Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in Lake County

It’s that time of year when winter never seems to end, and Spring seems to be in no hurry to arrive. Sure, there are things to watch on TV, books to read, and board games to play, but sometimes it’s best to get out of the house, even if it is windy and raining. If you’re ready for fun, here are a few great ways to break the monotony of winter.

Pondering the Night Skies of Lake County and Beyond

In between storm clouds, we enjoy night views of the inconceivable vastness of space here in Lake County, thanks, in part, to our own Friends of Taylor Observatory and their pursuit of Dark Sky Certification from the International Dark Sky Association. Friends of Taylor Observatory (foto) works in partnership with the Lake county Office of Education by enhancing STEM education opportunities for Lake County’s K-12 students.

The Ultimate Burrito

Now, I’ve been in pursuit of the perfect burrito, and it turns out I’ve already found it! 
It’s a hot summer’s night on Main Street in Kelseyville, Lake County, when the air is still, and vapors of sunlight have already saturated the earth. Music plays from the stage where friends gather, swaying to the tunes. Patrons enjoy local fairs before joining in the fun at one of the Keleyville’s Kickin’ it in the Country street dance. My family and I are one of them. And at every street dance, we get John’s Market Taqueria burritos.

Pay It Forward – Sexton’s Detailing & Wash

Sexton’s Detailing & Wash is locally owned and operated by Travis Sexton and is one of the largest full-service facilities offering everything from basic car washes to full details. He offers high-quality hand washing and interior detailing and can also accommodate large vehicles, such as RVs and boats.

Betrayal and Resurrection

You look in the mirror, and you can almost see the spot. Somewhere floating between your heart and your gut. That is where betrayal lodges once you realize the rug had been pulled out from under you, the wool was pulled over your eyes, the sap was you.

Power Nine: Part 1 – Food

Well, I thought we’d get the “diet” out of the way when I tell you about my two-year Blue Zone journey with food–one of the Power of 9 principles. Two things that I love about the Blue Zones are that it’s carb-friendly and loves wine. Whew, that was a close one! First of all, this is a lifestyle, not a diet. Instead of forcing you to remove carbs or drink shakes, Blue Zones encourages increasing your plant-based foods while eating smaller portions of meat and dairy. I realized I had to live with the changes I made forever, not just for a short time like I would on “diets.” That took some real thought. And here are some tricks I’ve learned so far.

Preserving Heritage, Embracing Nature: Exploring Xabatin Community Park

I took the opportunity while visiting Lakeport to check out its newest park, Xabatin Community Park with some friends not long after its grand opening. We had some time before attending a performance at the wonderful Soper Reese Theater. As we strolled the park’s grounds, we noted that the park was well-attended with people who spanned the spectrum of age. There were kids having a blast riding their skateboards in the dedicated skate park, folks enjoying the lake view from a cozy park bench, dog walkers promenading with their leashed pooches, picnic areas, a basketball court, and more!

Evie & Will: a meet-cute

Evie Macomber watched as a big rig truck, then a massive, articulated tractor, and a few cars passed, going either north or south on Main Street. A girl born and raised on the edge of town in a single-wide mobile home, Evie seldom ventured far from home by herself, never farther than her school.

Hidden Valley’s Culinary Gem: Exploring Alvarez Restaurant’s Irresistible Mexican Seafood Delights

Tucked away in a shopping complex behind Hardester’s in Hidden Valley Lake, you’ll find some of Lake County’s best Mexican seafood. You’ll have to look for it; it’s in the Coyote Valley Plaza, situated between a salon and a doctor’s office. But once you find it, you won’t be disappointed. It has food that’s fresh, bright, and overwhelmingly tasty.

Pay it Forward: Saucy Bowls and Juice

I am happy to present to you our twenty-sixth local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Saucy Bowls and Juice.

Our recent Lake County business featured was Middletown Antiques and owner, Laren MacPherson, shared her 5 star antique and vintage shop with us all.

The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.


The interplay of land and fog,

Multiple micro-systems

Display dissimilar versions of vapor.

In places it floats, or rolls, billows or mists.

Energy captured and released in slow motion,

Vaporous kaleidoscope of muted winter colors:

Tan, brown, beige and grey.

Fog descends, deep penetrating cold,

Infiltrates my lungs, clings to clothes.

Drive Soda Bay Road for snapshots

Of a cotton-covered lake,

Panoramic Mt. Konocti framed by fog,

Wild nature sound of coots muted

As they disappear in a wet cloud.

Fog fades, a lone kayaker materializes from the mist,

Fog filters, sifts the past into the present,

Nature’s timeline.

Fine Feathers

A feather is a teacher. Finding a single feather along a trail is a lovely gift from nature. Changing seasons can bring about a transition in the life of a bird. Birds molt or drop feathers as their plumage breaks down, typically in spring or summer, however some, such as tree swallows drop some of their feathers prior to winter migration, then miraculously resume their molt as they reach their desired destinations.

Pay It Forward – Middletown Antiques

Middletown Antiques is a locally owned and operated 5-star-rated antique and vintage shop with a wide variety of treasures. They offer upcycled, recycled and resale home décor and gifts – everything from unique patio sets to shabby chic furniture to spectacular patinated pieces!

Time Has Come: Revelations of a Mississippi Hippie

Some of you experts on new directions in Black music might be familiar with Betty Davis, née Mabry, the second wife of trumpet icon Miles Davis. Regarded largely as the Queen of Funk, Ms. Davis enjoyed a brilliant, genre-defying, standard-setting career and blew out her own flame, seemingly prematurely.

The Power of 9: The Key to a Full and Happy Life

Well, it’s that time of year again. We’re either still fully committed to our New Year’s resolutions, we get to them when we think about it, or we just don’t get to it at all (We can live with the guilt just fine, thank you.) Or maybe you’re the one who is already living out your fullest potential! Wherever you are in the spectrum, have hope; this isn’t a diet article! The Bloom has partnered with the Blue Zones Project – Lake County because it’s all about living the fullest and happiest life possible. That doesn’t mean focusing on clothes size but rather considering all aspects of our lives, including our mental and emotional well-being.

For the next few months, I’ll be exploring the Blue Zone’s Power 9 principles. And did I mention it’s not a diet? Well, I’m saying it again. Rather, it’s a total well-being process. Look at the nine principles and see for yourself.

Coffee Cake to Impress

Nothing says comfort food more than what comes out of the oven, right? One of our family’s favorite breakfasts starts with a Betty Crocker-inspired Sour Cream Coffee Cake. With the help of a bundt pan and a little glaze, it becomes nothing short of decadence not only to the eye but, most importantly the tastebuds. 

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