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Poking Around the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

I love tidepooling at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve near Moss Beach, but it is no easy feat to get my beloved out there to explore these unusual aquatic habitats with me. Not because he isn't just as amazed as I am to observe live starfish, hermit crabs and sea urchins in the rocky reefs, but because, as a staunch champion for the cause of helpless creatures great and small, it pains him to watch me poke the otherworldly sunburst anemones with a stick. I, too, strive to be a defender of helpless creatures great and small, but the prodding—it's like an involuntary reaction. Spot anemone with tentacles wide open, vulnerable; proceed to jab with stick. Needless to say, don't follow my abhorrent example.

More Capoeira! Shoebox Studios Expands

It looks like the popular Shoebox Studio—a dance, fitness and performing arts venue in the Mission—has outgrown its namesake and its digs. This weekend, the body-positive community center moves into a new location on Folsom with more square-footage for classes, rehearsal space and a new artistic residency for emerging choreographers. The payoff: More opportunities to practice your Afro-Brazilian martial arts at a capoeira class or perfect your hip swivel during a belly dancing session. To celebrate your impending smooth moves, join local band Rhubarb Whiskey and a collection of worldly performers for a silent auction and gala on Apr. 3.

864 Folsom St., 415-861-5976, shoeboxsf.com

The Frisco Kid: Parenthood by Zip Code

The result of sex in the city? Urban parenthood—an opinionated world often divided into two Type-A tribes: The uptowners ($750 strollers, night nurses, feeder preschools) and downtowners (doulas, slings, ironic onesies). Wherever you fall, though, we’ve got you covered.

ALT BABY

What’s in a Name? A sampling from the roster of a liberal Mission District preschool: Atticus, Huxley, Calder, Arlo, Harper, Coyote, Alabama, Lola, Hero, Emilia

The Recessionist's Guide to the Golden Gate Headlands Marathon, Half Marathon and 7-Mile

This Saturday's official Golden Gate Headlands Marathon, Half Marathon and 7-Mile (yes, that is a trademarked title) has been sold out for awhile now, but these days the debts are high and the funds are low, so no one can blame your for putting that $40 that you might have spent on entry fees toward oh, you know, rent and groceries. Still, this doesn't mean you can't run the route on your own time. Sure, you'll miss that infectious runners' camaraderie, the free-drink stations, the souvenir t-shirt, the race number to proudly display on your refrigerator. But, picking your own sunshiney day to run on near-empty trails is priceless, both literally and figuratively.

Behold Wine Country Wildflowers

If you're anything like me, you're no stranger to missing out on Spring wildflowers in their full glory simply because you've taken their brief lifespan for granted. Stop the senseless cycle of botanical procrastination. Sign up for the wildflower walk at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen this Saturday, March 27. A guided hike over a few of miles of moderate terrain gets you up close and personal with the park's flora (more than 350 species of flowering plants) and fauna (130 species of birds, plus a healthy population of bobcats, foxes and coyotes). Don't forget to bring a bag lunch, plenty of water, a dose of a non-drowsy antihistamine and, as if you need a reminder, your camera.

Go Chasing Waterfalls: Our Favorite Cascades in Northern California

Who doesn't love waterfalls?  There are a bunch of places within driving distance where you can get your feet wet. Here are our favorites.

Berry Creek Falls, Big Basin State Park

Beached Art

What do star-crossed lovers (thanks, Shakespeare), a black fly in your chardonnay (merci, Alanis) and Santa Cruz artist Jim Denevan's elaborate sand drawings have in common? They're all prime examples of beautiful irony. Denevan's doomed artistry—which can be found, on any fair-weather day, on SF's Ocean Beach or Santa Cruz's Cowell Beach—is front-and-center in this month's Sunset magazine.

SF's Alite Brings Delight to Camping Gear

With so many great natural spots within an hour or two of driving, the Bay Area is a camper's paradise. But even as we pack our organic local edibles, throw on our Timbuk2 backpacks, and cover up with a locally-designed raincoat, the gear we take with us is pretty much the same as the rest of the country's: blandly designed, more functional than fun. That's why we were excited to see the new spring product line from Alite, a Mission-based manufacturer of outdoor gear. Founded by three Stanford grads, the company's manufacturing life began with colorful butterfly chairs, which roll up to the size of a burrito (SF-style, of course) and fit easily into a bag.

Find a Climbing Partner (And a Date) at Planet Granite

Imagine, if you will, a world where shortly after being introduced to your future sweetheart, you are forced to view their bottoms. I'm proud to say that my local rock gym, Planet Granite San Francisco, has invented a version of speed-dating (whereby belay-certified lovelorn singles are randomly assigned to climb with other belay-certified lovelorn singles) that makes this normally covert act of tush-peeping not only possible, but necessary.

Get Blissed Out at Yoga Mandala's Workday-Friendly Urban Yoga Retreat

Let's be clear: I'm not dedicating my first official post as the new travel/outdoors/any-pursuits-of-the-active-kind blogger to yoga because I'm some kind of self-proclaimed guru who finds enlightenment through sun salutations. Oh, no. I trudge to class three days a week and subject my body to all manner of torturous twists, bends and inversions only because I'm chasing the flexibility I attained in the summer of 1985 when I took gymnastics classes in a misguided attempt to become Mary Lou Retton. This is not to say that I am not open to finding enlightenment in my practice, which is why I'm contemplating the five-day Urban Yoga Retreat at Yoga Mandala in Berkeley (which starts today!

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