Dear Matilda


Dear Matilda,

We have an issue with a careless neighbor and her little gray dog. Every morning this woman allows her dog to take a poop on the pathway to our front door. And sure enough, every morning my kids find it on their way out the door for school and proceed to spread it all over the front pathway…

On the few occasions when I have been up early enough to catch this jerk, she just smiles and walks away, leaving a steamy pile of poop gracing our entryway. We love dogs and always pick up after our own animals. There is also a leash law in our town that this lady seems to have decided to ignore. I’m not sure where this person lives, and I don’t want to start unnecessary conflict, but I’m sick of this crap. Any advice…?


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Dear Matilda

Social Civility

Dear Matilda,

Every year my husband and I throw several large social events at our home. Some for simply gathering good friends, others for networking with colleagues and fostering professional relationships. Over the years, we have adjusted our guest lists and removed those that became socially challenging for us to ‘manage’ during various events (i.e. basic rudeness, over-indulgence, or any socially inappropriate, embarrassing behavior that may reflect poorly upon us.)

On several occasions, guests that were removed from our invite list called or emailed to ask why they didn’t receive an invitation, or worse, showed up uninvited with the assumption they were welcome. This has proven to create an awkward situation for us. Is it just me, or is it the height or rudeness to assume you are invited to an event, even though you didn’t receive a formal invitation? Are we duty-bound to entertain people simply because they had the privilege of attending one of our gatherings previously? Please Matilda, share with us your sage wisdom on this matter…

– Irked in Arkansas

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Dear Matilda

Thelma & Louise

Dear Matilda,

One of my best gal pals from college lives across the country. We have remained very close over the years, talking several times a week by phone and Skype. Two months ago, we decided to plan a road trip to Colorado to visit her niece, whom I’m very close with. We’re both really excited to have a bit of quality face-to-face time together while traveling. So, we’ve been enthusiastically planning excursions and adventures into our 6-day journey, including museums, shopping, a girls spa day, hiking a few national parks, fun restaurants to visit with her niece, etc.

Then, about three weeks ago, I was contacted by another friend from college whom I have consciously maintained little interaction with over the years. She informed me that she’d heard about our road trip and invited herself to join us.

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Dear Matilda


Dear Matilda,

Any idea how to clear a clogged drain without using harsh chemicals? I’m in a real pickle right now.

– Hairballs



Dear Hairballs,

I appreciate your desire to find a solution that isn’t going to harm the environment or corrode your household plumbing. So, let’s approach this as women in my Grandmother’s era managed their own ‘lady plumbing’, with a wee bit of vinegar…

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Dear Matilda

Oh Deer!

Dear Matilda,

We recently installed an 8ft. deer fence around our back yard with the hopes of growing a beautiful picking garden that would not become a gourmet salad bar for our lovely local deer population. Unfortunately, the gate was left open, and now I have two female deer that refuse to leave my gated yard.

I don’t want to hurt them, I just want them gone, immediately if not sooner. Any advice…?


Oh My Deer,

My very first thought was a cross bow, though you kindly stated your lack of interest in venison sausages. (Rats!) So, I’ll share with you a little trick I learned on the family dairy farm when the cows would raid Mum’s garden.

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Dear Matilda

Beautiful Girl

Dear Matilda,

I am a 14-year old girl with terrible acne. I’ve tried all the products at the store and nothing works. My face has red, puffy volcanoes all over it! Is there anything you know of that can help me? Please!!!!

– Zitted-out & feeling awful



Dear Beautiful Girl,

Thank you for writing to me with your facial issues. Puberty can feel like such a betrayal of the body, yes? Hormones are awakening within the body and mind, and it’s truly quite overwhelming at times. I recall my face looking like a constellation in the northern sky when I was about your age. My dear Mum had a few farmhouse remedies from the old country I’d be happy to share with you. We’ll have you radiant and clear-faced in no time my dear, no worries.

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Bulbs 8 May 20152 E1434494905920

Le Voov! Garden – Planting Bulbs With Otter!

Otter-Pop the dog really enjoys the flowers of springtime, particularly the Daffodils and Narcissus. With the lack of winter temperatures or rain due to California’s forth year of severe drought, planting season came earlier than usual this year. So, I picked up a bag of 50-bulbs for Otter-Pop to decorate throughout the garden.

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Dear Matilda

Full House

Dear Matilda,

My generous in-laws invite us to use their luxurious cabin in the mountains, rent-free, a few times throughout the year. We usually invite another family to enjoy a holiday with us, and divvy up the meals and other costs accordingly. Most, if not all of our guests go out of their way to pay for restaurants, etc. as a token of their appreciation for the invitation to join us at the cabin. This is certainly not expected, but always appreciated given the rental rates for cabins in the area are seriously off-the-charts $$$!

Recently, I invited a friend & her family (2-adults, 2-kids) to join us for our upcoming holiday at the cabin. We agreed on the dates and began planning our adventures. A few days later, while attending a charity luncheon, my friend invited another woman and her family, whom I am not acquainted with, to join us at the cabin for our upcoming holiday. I was without words and unable to respond before she audaciously stated she was sure it wouldn’t be a issue because there was enough room for their family of four (bed-wise) to stay with us at the cabin….

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Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Picaro ? ?

We stumbled across this tapas restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. We weren’t even thinking about lunch, but the rich, earthy aroma coming from the kitchen lured us in like moths to the flame. The colorful, art-filled walls and the bustling atmosphere contributed greatly to the lively tenor. Our waiter Jose gave us a few thoughtful suggestions.

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LV Blog Dean Deluca FF

Travel & Adventure – Dean & Deluca Napa Valley ? ?

Dean & Deluca
607 St. Helena Hwy S, Saint Helena, CA 94574 (Just off highway 29!)

After our wonderful tasting experience at Prager Winery & Port Works, we stopped into Dean & Deluca for a bit of epicurean perusing. Dean & DeLuca is a chain of fabulous gourmet grocery stores for foodies. The first store was established in New York City in September 1977, in the SoHo district, a rather upscale area in lower Manhattan.

Known for it’s unique selection of meats, cheese, freshly baked bread, and of course, the vast array of gourmet chocolate truffles, this is the perfect place to pick up all the fixins for a decadent picnic in between visiting wineries.

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Le Voov! Restaurant Review: The Peasant & The Pear ?

The Peasant & The Pear

267 Hartz Ave
Danville, CA 94526 Ph. (925) 820-6611

This marvelous restaurant is one of my new favorite East Bay restaurants, Michelin recommended, and a prime example of 5-star dining. Under the guidance of owner Rodney Worth and his wife Natalie, the menu is dynamic, the food is unique in flavor, the ambience is lovely, and the service is impeccable.

A true Danville gem, this restaurant is quaintly hidden in a small plaza, so you may drive right past it without even noticing it. If you access the rear parking lot, it is quite easy to find.

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LV Blog Rombauer FF

Travel & Adventure – Rombauer Vineyards

Rombauer Vineyards

3522 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, CA 94574, Phone: (800) 622-2206

We headed North on the Silverado Trail for a tasting at Rombauer Vineyards. After driving up the curvy, narrow road to the winery, we were greeted by a few colorfully painted cow sculptures and gorgeous landscaped gardens. The winery is located atop a sunny knoll surrounded by giant trees that offer the perfect shield from the bustling valley below. As we stepped from the car, a tranquil, quiet peacefulness overcame our senses and the playful sound of songbirds danced through the air.

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LV Cha3 FF 2

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Cha Cha Cha’s

Cha Cha Cha’s (Tapas & More)

1801 Haight Street, San Francisco 415 386-7670

After visiting the San Francisco Botanical Garden during the annual ‘Flower Piano’ celebration, we headed over to Cha Cha Cha’s to experience incredible cuisine amid the chaos of blaring Latin music, devotional alters, and abundant laughter. The aromatic Cuban spices hang heavy in the air as the indigo walls of the restaurant envelop one’s senses. The kitchen is bustling with excitement while your stomach and your brain simultaneously define a divine hunger.

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LV Blog Rangoon Ruby FF Final

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Rangoon Ruby ?

Rangoon Ruby, (Burmese) 680 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070

Traditional Burmese food is quickly becoming the rising star of Southeast Asian cuisine, surpassing even sushi and Thai food in popularity throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Under the experienced guidance of Chef Max Lee, Rangoon Ruby captures the pure essence of authentic Burmese cuisine with flavors influenced by Thai, Indian and Chinese traditions. The plates are served family style (shared) and beyond being delicious with great, unique flavors, the presentation is lovely. Similarly, the décor of the restaurant is elegant and well thought out.

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LV Boon Fly Cafe FF

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Boon Fly Café ? ?

We began our second day in Napa with breakfast at the Boon Fly Café. This contemporary roadhouse restaurant has a fun, bubbly atmosphere and an eclectic menu full of scrumptious culinary options. Our morning dining delight started with an order of the signature Boon Fly mini-donuts. These cute, mini-sized wonders proved to be an excellent dipping partner for their rich, dark roast coffee.

For my meal, I ordered the Chilaquiles with scrambled eggs. To my surprise, the eggs were outrageously light and fluffy, pairing beautifully with the deep seasonings and the freshness of the accompanying salsa. This combination made the dish a true winner in my book.

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Guess Where I am…? ?

We had an enchanting visit to Safari West in the heart of California’s Sonoma wine country recently, where this picture was taken. Commonly known as the ‘Sonoma Serengeti’, Safari West is comprised of 400 acres cradled in the mountainous area above Santa Rosa. Visitors are welcome to wander the trails and partake in the open-truck safaris to experience over 1000 exotic African species of mammals and birds within the natural habitat of this beautiful wildlife preserve.

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LV Chez Panisse FF

Le Voov! Chez Panisse – Black Truffle Event ? ? ?

Le Voov! Local Culinary Adventure – January 2015

I am very fortunate to be married to an incredibly thoughtful man. Early last winter (late January 2014), I told Brian that someday I wanted to attend Alice Waters’ Black Truffle Dinner Event at her world famous restaurant Chez Penisse in Berkeley, California. Well, guess what? Eleven months later, I received an invitation to attend the 2015 event from my amazing hus-Bee. He remembered!

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Otter-Pop’s Squeaky-Ball Drama… ? ?

You know something is desperately wrong when your 70-lbs. Chocolate Labrador/German Shorthaired Pointer pup climbs into your unsuspecting lap and gives you this look. Something truly dreadful has happened and they need your help. NOW!!!

During a recent construction project at the house, an abandoned heater vent was discovered tucked deep under the lath & plaster. Apparently no one had bothered to inform the dog about this new gaping whole in the wall, and just guess what happened…?

Yep, Otter-Pop’s favorite and most cherished toy, her obnoxious yellow squeaky-ball, found it’s way down into that naughty hole in the wall. Rats! ?

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LV Blog Domain Carneros Layout FF

Travel & Adventure – Domaine Carneros By Taittenger

We had a few beautiful days to spend in Napa during the month of January. Our inspiration you ask? Seventy degree weather in the middle of winter! Frequently I forget that Napa Valley is just over an hours drive from the San Francisco Peninsula (approx. 70-miles). So, my partner in crime and I packed a small overnight bag and headed to the wine country!

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LV Cafe Capistrano

Le Voov! Restaurant Review: Cafe Capistrano ? ?

Café Capistrano, (Yucatan/Costa Maya) 523 Church St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 (650) 726-7699

It was raining cats and dogs, but we decided we were going to trust the weather report and headed over to the coast despite the very wet conditions. The forecast was for clear skies by noon. As we approached the western edge of the North American continent, where the Pacific Ocean tickles the charming town of Half Moon Bay, the gentle rain had turned into a deluge. (I’m not complaining. We desperately need rain given the California drought of the last 4-years!)

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