Some people know, early on, where their talents lie. In the case of Oakland's Rebecca Ferris, her interest in hair goes back to her childhood, according to big brother Mitch. "We (my two older brothers, myself and our dad) would go to sleep and wake up with rollers and make up on," he remembers. "I think she was around 8 years old when she did that. We have photos somewhere."

Fast forward to today and the Rockridge hairstylist is being honored, for the third year running, as the winner of the SF A-List Best Haircut in San Francisco award.

"It's an amazing honor for me to be included with all the talented hairstylists we have in the Bay Area," she says, thanking her College Avenue clients for supporting her in the online competition. For more information about Ferris, go to http://rebeccaferris.com/.

Pie-eyed: It's true what they say about big things in little packages. I discovered Jaynelle St. Jean's pies last week, and with one bite, was smitten. The owner of Pietisserie, 444 Oak St., makes a mean Meyer lemon custard in a graham cracker crust. The $5 pie is wrapped sweetly in its own little box -- a perfect presentation both inside and out.

Power lunch: You know business is picking up when there's a queue for boxed lunches near Oakland City Center. District in Old Oakland is selling gourmet to-go lunches from the back of its popular Washington Street restaurant from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The District Carriage House (most of the old hotels in this neighborhood had carriage houses) packs up pizzas, soups, salads and signature sandwiches (the El Cubano and Buttermilk fried chicken are favorites), just like they do out of their San Francisco to-go cafe, Ironside.


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High note: Montclair's talented singer/songwriter Caren Armstrong is bringing Her Nashville-inspired Celebrating Songwriters back to Berkeley. She'll be at Freight & Salvage on April 11 along with singer songwriters Keith Greeninger and Steve Meckfessel. I'm a huge fan of their play-in-the-round, storytelling style and thrilled to see Armstrong continue this 15-year tradition, especially in a world-class venue like F&S.

Animal tales: What do you get when you mix a brown nosed coati and a cotton-top tamarin? A lot of hooting and hollering, I imagine. The Oakland Zoo is the first-ever to manage these two species as "roommates." The coati are raccoon-looking mammals and the tamarin are petite, one-pound primates who can deliver a loud territorial song if excited. They're both active during the day, so the chances of seeing the tamarin get worked up are pretty good.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.