Foodie Walking Tours

Come join an walking tour with me through Localite Tours!

Localite Tours, my new tour company, wants to bring out your inner gawker by showing you around our favorite neighborhoods through the current culture and the narratives of the past. Tasting your way around town is the best way to become a local, we think.

Gretchen and I – she’s the co-owner, and we met because she was a fan of my books – host three-hour walking tours of Oakland and will soon expand our offerings to other Bay Area regions.

All of our theme-based tours look at places from dynamic perspectives; stories are told with the help of passionate local artists, chefs, historians, and enthusiasts.

Join us for your choice of the following tours: Saturday afternoon Pork Tour of Old Oakland and Chinatown, Saturday morning Maker Tour of Temescal, Wednesday evening Enchanting Dinner Tour of Montclair Village, Thursday evening Retro Cocktails Tour of Uptown, or our Sunday morning Picnic Tour of Lake Merritt.

Tours run every other week and can be booked hereContact Serena if you have any questions or want to book a group for a discount. If you’ve got six people together we’ll run any of the tours just for you!

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Some of the classes are taught in partnership with Urban Institute of Sustainability or other organizations, and locations vary. Most classes are taught in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. The exact location and directions are given upon payment and confirmation. Pay and sign up for classes on the Urban Institute of Sustainability website, above.


Lather 101 Soap Class! New Dates for 2013! April 20 before Mother’s Day and November 9th before the holidays, both from 2-6pm in Oakland. See class description, below.

I’m doing a new class, Toiletry Redux so you can stop buying and starting making all those bathroom cabinet essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, face masks, and more! Come join in October 10, 2013 in the evening from 6:30-9:30. You’ll go home with the things we make – they double as great gifts, too!

Sign up here, find the date you wish to attend and click for more details.


Lather 101: Cold Process Soap, Bar and Liquid – April 22 & September 22, 2012
Making soap is so much fun! Join Serena Bartlett, travel author and DIY maven to learn the cold process method for making soap. You’ll learn about the different types of bar soaps, how to balance your fats and alkalines with solid ratios, attributes of different plant oils, and fun things to add for various benefits like exfoliation or extra moisturizing. Then we’ll walk through the process of making a batch of soap. We’ll learn techniques for measuring and mixing, how to safely work with sodium hydroxide (lye), options for molding and details of the curing process . As an extra bonus we’ll see how to turn these cold process bar soaps into liquid hand soap or shower gel, and you’ll go home with samples and a cool recipe zine. Take this class as a stand –alone or as a pre-requisite for Lather 102. 2-5pm, $35-65 sliding scale plus $10 supply fee.

Lather 102: Hot Process Soap and Shampoo – September 23, 2012
This class will take you a step further into learning how to make artisan level hot process and castille soaps from locally available ingredients. Once you have mastered castille the possibilities are endless. Combined with herbal infusions, castille can be used as the basis for shampoo, liquid dish soap and pet shampoo. We’ll talk about which herbs are best for skin and hair and how to combine them for different types and purposes. Then we’ll learn the basics of how to grow, harvest, and prepare these herbs, and how to combine them with your homemade soap base to make a personalized product. During the class we’ll work on one batch of castille soap, learn how to make the herbal infusions and practice combining to make a sample shampoo to take home with you. Prerequisite : Lather 101–take them separately or all in one weekend as a mini-intensive. $40-70 sliding scale plus $10 supply fee

DIY Dog 

Joyous are the moments spent with my pooch. Cuddly and fuzzy, happy and sensitive, I love finding ways to pamper him back. Come to this 2.5-hour class to learn my tasty dog treat recipes. We’ll make two flavors of treats, neither of which include wheat or corn. We’ll do a fun re-use project to make a new toy for your dog and you’ll go home with the toy, a few treats, and copies of the recipes. We’ll also talk about dehydrating for your dog. All of these make great gifts for the holiday season for the dogs in your family and friends’ lives.

My dog has allergies, about which I have learned a great deal, so we’ll be sensitive to various doggie diets. However, if your dog has any medical conditions or severe allergies consult a vet on the diet and skip this DIY method without medical supervision. Meat will be handled in this class, although it is not a necessity for everyone to be hands on with it. Class size is limited. $45, register here including DIY Dog in the subject line.

Custom classes and DIY Parties here.

Lotions and Potions: Making Homegrown Shampoo & Toothpaste – Oct. 23rd, 3p

Intimidated by the long lists of multi-syllable, chemical ingredients in your toiletry products? In this class we will learn to make shampoo and toothpaste from affordable ingredients that can be found locally or grown in your backyard. After a discussion of the healthy benefits of making your own and some of the problems with store bought bodycare products we’ll dive in! The class will cover two methods of making a suddsing base, one from soapwort and one from castile. We’ll look at how to modify the base to create a number of different products besides shampoo including pet shampoo, face wash and dish soap. You will learn the basics of growing, harvesting, and preparing herbal ingredients, which herbs are useful for skin and hair, and how to combine them with your homemade soap base. As an added bonus we’ll learn about toothpastes and how to make them for yourself at home. You’ll leave with a comfrey or sage plant, a recipe booklet, a bottle of homegrown shampoo that’ll make your hair and scalp healthy and beautiful, and a sampler amount of toothpaste.

Nov. 2011: This class was a blast! I’ve been asked to teach a more in-depth 2-part soap and shampoo-making class next season for the Urban Institute of Sustainability. Here are a few shots of the fun:

hot process soap making supplies, check!

learning how to propagate rose geraniums and wild sage

I teach classes in various kitchen, crafting, gardening and DIY topics regularly. There is an updated schedule of offerings below.

custom design classes and DIY parties for your group of family or friends. I’ll come to you! Contact Serena to inquire.