Are you done with your holiday shopping yet?

Is your email inbox full of marketing emails from national retailers? It’s hard to resist because we’re all busy…it’s so much easier to just buy your present from a big box store or national retailer when they’re offering BIG discounts and even free shipping/guaranteed shipping before Christmas.

We hope you consider SHIFTING some of your spending this holiday season to a local business because…

shop local this holiday season


Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving 2014Growing up, thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I think it’s because my birthday usually lands on Thanksgiving weekend.  Nothing beats good food (including birthday cake) and time with my family.

We usually spend Thanksgiving with my uncles, aunties and cousins.  I come from a big family – my dad has 9 brothers and sisters so you can imagine how many cousins I have – and scheduling time to meet up with everyone is pretty difficult.  Thanksgiving was the only holiday that we could count on where usually, everyone can make it.

Has anyone else noticed how corporate America squirmed its way into this holiday? Many retail chains are open during Thanksgiving now and I feel sad for retail workers who HAVE to work this holiday season.  As consumers, are we really that hungry for sales?  Do we really need one more day to shop?  Our society has moved away from thanksgiving being a national holiday to be spent with friends and family into the biggest shopping weekend. What do you think about this? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving?

Whatever you do, we hope that you and your loved ones have a wonderful thanksgiving.  We really are thankful for your support of Shift Local and we hope that if you do shop this weekend, you make your way to local and independent shops.

Love Mari

Bar study at a Local Cafe that Supports Local Vendors

Bar study had not been a pleasant way to spend my summer and there’s been a few days when I don’t even bother leaving my apartment because it feels like such an effort to change out of my pajamas…but when I do, I try to find a good local cafe to study and support local businesses. I discovered Sonoma Coffee Cafe today and I was glad to see that they have free wifi and that they support local vendors.


Anyway back to my practice multiple choice exam and I hope you have a wonderful day!

You are what you eat

Marc and I were pretty active in high school.  We both played sports and I was part of a Filipino Folk Dance group.  Then we went to college and we definitely gained more than the average college student, probably because Berkeley has the one of the best locally-owned eateries in the Bay!

Since hitting our mid-20’s, Marc and I realized that our bodies can no longer process the food (and alochol) the way it used to and we’ve become more conscious of making sure we exercise.  We regularly go on runs, hikes and we just try to incorporate physical activities in anything we do.

Here’s a picture from a hike that we did in Maui.

I think where a lot of people struggle is eating properly.  Marc and I love to try new restaurants and different types of cuisines.  Another reason why shifting local and away from chains is because we really don’t know what these big box stores put in their food.

When you go to locally-owned restaurants , you can ask the owners where they get their products from.   Similarly, buying local produce present less of a health risk than food grown somewhere else because they are sold directly to you by the farmers who can inform you about the chemicals on their product.  So next time you eat out or buy produce, make sure to ask because as they say, you are what you eat!

Here’s Marc checking out yummy fruits at a local fruit stand on our way to Hana, Maui.

Also as promised, I found an awesome list of the East Bay Farmers’ Market on  Check them out and let us know what goodies you found!

Heart of the City Farmers’ Market

I’m finishing up my third year at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (UC Hastings).  UC Hastings is in the heart of the Civic Center/Tenderloin area hence the nickname, “UC Tenderloin.”  While tour busses and tourists flock this part of town, if you’re not familiar with the Tenderloin, I wouldn’t recommend walking alone especially after dark.

But like any other urban setting, there is a rich and unique culture waiting to be discovered.  The proximity to the court house and city hall make it a hub for local activity.  From Off the Grid food trucks operating twice a week to Little Saigon which has the best selection of locally-owned Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area, the Civic Center/Tenderloin area has a lot to offer shift local supporters.

One of my favorite features of this neighborhood is the farmers’ market in the U.N. Plaza (7am to 5pm every Wednesdays and Sundays).  Off the Civic Center BART station, local vendors provide fresh produce and other goods like dried fruit, nuts, kettle corn and more.

Here are pictures of the amazing garlic/onion and jalapeño pistachios that I bought today:

I just realized I do not patronize East Bay farmers’ markets enough, mostly because I don’t really know the schedule.  I’ll do my research and be happy to share it with you all.  Where is your favorite farmer’s market?