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Life & Style

Nebraska Worth a Visit

Californians, confess: You’re so weary of crowds, condescension, and fennel-infused hipper-than-thouitude that you yearn to run screaming to a simpler place where history meets wildlife meets world-class, free-admission museums. You want to wave at strangers while driving straight spotless roads through serene structureless landscapes sprawling clear to the horizon under caramel- and Aqua Velva–colored country skies.

Hope for Borrowers

During the last boom, financing a home loan was pretty easy, with buyers needing little or no money down to qualify for conventional loans. Then came the bust, and with it tightened regulations that required a down payment of 20 percent. Today the going rate is 10 percent down—still hardly chump change where Bay Area housing is concerned.

Blast into Placerville's Past

The stained-glass windows gracing the lobby in Placerville’s Cary House Hotel (www.CaryHouse.com) tell of wagon trains crossing the Sierra Nevada, prospectors panning for gold, and fruit orchards bursting into bloom. Placerville began with the Gold Rush. As the rush slowed, the farms and timber continued, but this foothills town, a two-hour drive from Oakland, never lost sight of its history. From its 1857 origin as a stage stop and Wells Fargo office, the Cary evolved into a cozy hotel whose guests enjoy wine-tasting and Wi-Fi amid quaint Victorian décor.

Nebraska Worth a Visit

Californians, confess: You’re so weary of crowds, condescension, and fennel-infused hipper-than-thouitude that you yearn to run screaming to a simpler place where history meets wildlife meets world-class, free-admission museums. You want to wave at strangers while driving straight spotless roads through serene structureless landscapes sprawling clear to the horizon under caramel- and Aqua Velva–colored country skies.

Popular Powder Rooms

Does this sound familiar? Years ago you bought a great house. It has a sunny living room, a sizable yard, and enough bedrooms to fit your family. There’s just one problem: It could really use another bathroom. You’d consider moving to a bigger place, but with the market the way it is, that’s not an option. And you just can’t stomach the thought of a major renovation. So what to do? One solution will make your day-to-day much easier and substantially increase your home’s value: adding a powder room.

School Smarts Demystifies AUSD Classrooms

On a recent Tuesday night at Alameda’s Maya Lin School, 25 parents sit attentively despite being squished into small chairs. Instructor Gina Acebo stands at the blackboard under a rainbow, next to a column of international flags, and asks, “How do we increase face-to-face communication?”

Oakland Slow on Urban-Ag Incentive Front

Oakland food-justice advocates have long dreamed of turning local vacant lots into small farms and community gardens. At the end of last year, many hoped that AB 551, a new state law building incentives into urban agriculture practices, would be the push needed to turn Oakland’s blighted land into blood oranges. But those eager for speedy implementation will have to exercise patience.

Berkeley’s Westbrae Wakes Up

Once known as Ocean View for its sweeping views of the Golden Gate, West Berkeley has been many things: a stagecoach stop, an offbeat arts community, an industrial hub, and, most recently, a premier East Bay shopping destination, thanks in part to Fourth Street’s still-growing stretch of stores and restaurants.

Décor Tips Tips for Your Big Day

"It’s your day.” That’s a common refrain for any big event: wedding, bar mitzvah, and quinceañera alike. But how do you design a celebration that really feels like you?

Backyard Beekeeping Gains Fans

You don't need your own beehive to enjoy honey anymore in the East Bay.