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The Greenest House in California

What's both green and platinum all over? Why it's the Margarido House, of course, which officially became the first house to receive the Leadership in Environmental Energy Design Platinum certification (the highest level possible) in Northern California this December. Homeowner and head of construction Mike McDonald (with help from Whirlpool) recently created a video tour of the property, filled with tons of information and great images of the home.

Maus Haus Rings in the Indie New Year at Ghost Town Gallery

If this show was an accurate representation of what to expect this year in Bay Area indie, we're in for a hell of a ride.

Oakland four-piece http://www.myspace.com/chamberstheband " target="_blank">Chambers opened the evening with their ultra-rich brand of nu emo.  Think Yeah Yeah Yeah’s with a male singer.

Revolutionary Road's Michael Shannon Talks Oscars, Kate and Leo

You may not have heard of Michael Shannon, but it would be impossible to walk away from the Eisenhower-era marital drama Revolutionary Road without being shaken by his blistering performance as John Givings, a recovering psych-ward patient who might just be the sanest inhabitant of a Connecticut suburb where desperation and malaise seem almost universal.

10 Driveable Locations to Visit This Year, Part II

Don't let an unstable economy keep you at home this year. Instead, use it as an excuse to stay local and explore parts of your state you may have only ever seen on a map. Last week, we revealed five of our can't-miss spots for 2009. Read on for our remaining five picks of delectable escapes within driving distance.

5. The Shasta Region

Jamie Lauren On Top Chef-dom

How my life has changed since I started appearing on national television:

Until I got a spot on this season’s Top Chef, my job at Absinthe has always been behind the scenes. For the past year and a half, I’ve been going into work and prepping, cooking, expediting and hand-holding for about 10 to 12 hours a day (on average) before heading home.

Collecting Napkin Rings with Jennifer Sitko, co-founder of 2modern.com

Jennifer Sitko, co-founder of 2Modern, gives us a peak of her unique collection of napkin rings at her Mill Valley home. Ranging from quirky (think precariously perched pears) to exotic (a wooden giraffe carving), Sitko's collection adds a playful element to any table setting.

How did you start collecting napkin rings?

Wrap Star: Ali Golden Hoodie Wrap Vests

On a gray, chilly Monday after two holiday-heavy weeks, it can be easy to feel ho-hum about what is, for many of us, the official first day back. Stylish salve for our holiday hangovers comes in the form of local designer Ali Golden’s brightly-hued, warm, snuggly reversible vests. The dramatic hoods capping each of Golden’s one-of-a-kind, handmade wool wrap tops can be worn up (so you stay undercover and still turn heads) or down and draped softly backwards over the shoulders. But the best thing about the vests, says Golden, is their versatility. “They can be worn and layered in many ways. Since they are reversible, and at least one side is always solid, they can be worn with many colors and patterns. I have personally dressed these vests up and down.

Olive-Oil Ice Cream Comes to the Mission. Really.

And what's even more surprising, it's good. What's not surprising is the fact that the place—Humphry Slocombe, owned by Jake Godby, formerly of Coi, etc. etc.—is using McEvoy Ranch olive oil. The result reminds me of times I've had real, super-expensive balsamic vinegar dribbled onto vanilla ice cream...not shockingly savory but subtly vegetal, in a good way.

Home Movies: Natural Born Killers

Just as the Grateful Dead have been fairly and unfairly blamed for inspiring the aimless noodling and whimsical indulgences of jam-band progeny like Phish and Blues Traveler, so too has M. Night Shyamalan born the brunt of criticism for the blindsiding, 11th-hour twists popularized by his 1999 thriller The Sixth Sense.

It's 1995 All Over Again on Valencia Street

There was no valet parking on Mission or Valencia streets 15 years ago. No one was no waiting 10 minutes in line for Tartine or Ritual coffee. The only slightly gentrified business on the Valencia strip was Val 21 – (now Dosa) right next to the lesbian bookstore. 23rd Street was inhabited by Radio Valencia (serving up pre-mp3 mixed music), instead of people drinking absinthe at Beretta.

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