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H.D. Living L OV E YO G A M A S S A G E • H O L I D AY D I N I N G S P O T S • M A N A N T I A L D E L F U E G O








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Help your teen start preparing now for financial success. Come learn about the many options available to prepare your teen for the future. To schedule an appointment, simply go to, call 1-800-35-WELLS, or stop by any of our High Desert area locations and talk with a banker today.

A Teen Checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100. An adult co-owner must be present at account opening and is required on a Teen Checking account. Available to account holders ages 13 – 17 (18 in Alabama). Printed materials expire on December 31, 2013. © 2013 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. (982514_08852)

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H.D. Living H.D. Living Magazine Volume 6, Issue 3, Winter 2013/2014 PUBLISHER/CEO Frank A. Castillo AD COORDINATOR/CFO Tiffany Santee MARKETING/CIRCULATION DIRECTOR James Piar : COPY EDITOR Susan Landers DESIGN and LAYOUT Everard Strong ADVERTISING DESIGN Kari Martinez, Chris Ackerman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tere Kidd-Darnell, Katie Chavez, Krystal Carrillo, Stephanie Morris, Elisa Urmston, Dr. Brad Hannon PHOTOGRAPHERS George Sillas | Susan Whitney | ADVERTISING SALES EDITORIAL/ADVERTISING INQUIRIES H.D. LIVING MAGAZINE INC. 6630 SVL Box Victorville, CA 92395 (760) 241-8475 HD Living Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published by HD Living Magazine, Inc.

2013 HD Living Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from this publisher. Photographs, graphics, and artwork are the property of HD Living magazine. HD Living magazine assumes no responsibility or liability for claims made by advertisers contained herein. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or its owners. HD Living is not responsible for typographical errors or omissions. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Subscriptions are $9.95 per year domestically only. To subscribe, please mail payment to address above, or subscribe online at

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FINDING YOUR BEAUTY SPOT Look your best in 2014.


2014 BUCKET LIST What not to miss in the HD this coming year.


BARSTOW COLLEGE A haven of knowledge in the HD. Also featues an exclusive interview with President Deborah DiThomas.


Oh! Christmas Tree, Delightfully Delicious macaroons, Manantial del Fuego, Fall gardening, Calendar of Events


40 DINING SPOTLIGHT ‘Tis the Season to Dine! 42 HD DINING GUIDE 44 WINE TRENDS Joseph Filippi Winery 46 SUSAN’S CORNER If Only




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In It to Thin It is a rewards-based program that is designed to assist local high school students with weight loss, and the adoption of a new fitness lifestyle. Over the course of the program, participants also gain self-confidence and experience higher self-worth while becoming better citizens and students.

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ell, the weather outside may be frightful, but this time of year is usually a much welcome change from the high temperatures of the HD. From fall into deep winter, we seem to forget we live in the desert; occasional snowfall and overcast days that lead into dropping temperatures seem to make the holidays that much more traditional. While many HD commuters may not look forward to the weather that lies ahead, I for one enjoy this time of year and say bring on the chilly nights when a cozy fire and a cup of hot chocolate are the most fitting of activities. In this issue we bring you a look at gardening in the fall; heading into the cold of winter Elisa Ermston tells us how to get our gardens ready for the changing seasons. Tere Kidd brings you a great look at what not to miss in 2014, and Susan Landers gives us an inside look at all the great things happening at the growing Barstow Community College. As always, we feature some great events and things to look forward to for your lifestyle in the HD so enjoy, and have a Happy Holiday.

Frank Castillo, Publisher & CEO


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Macaroons are the new cupcakes





ooking for that perfect pastry to take with you to your holiday party or get together? How about French macaroons? Considered traditional Holiday pastries, macaroons come in a variety of colors and their one-bite size makes them the perfect holiday treat. French macaroons were initially conceived by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, who, at the beginning of the 20th century, joined two meringues and filled them with ganache. Now a Holiday staple, these delightful pastries can be found at many bakeries in the H.D. including M Cupcakes & Pastries, on Roy Rogers Drive in Victorville, where you can buy French macaroons by the dozen. — Susan Landers

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“OH!” CHRISTMAS TREE! With the Holiday season approaching there are plenty of festive, family fun things to do in the H.D. Each of the major cities and towns in the Victor Valley will offer their annual Christmas tree lighting. Each Tree Lighting Festival features entertainment, refreshments and may even include a special visit from Santa! The city of Victorville will hold their tree lighting on Wednesday December 4th from 6-9pm at City Hall. Christmas Carols, vendors and cookies & hot chocolate are sure to put you in a festive mood. The city of Hesperia will hold their tree lighting on Thursday December 5th from 4:30-8:30pm at the Hesperia Civic Plaza Park. Live music, popcorn & hot chocolate, “Spark of Love” toy drive, and much more will be offered. On December 7th the Town of Apple Valley will host the 6th annual Winter Wonderland at the Civic Center Park featuring train rides, inflatables, crafts, giveaways and even some falling snow! So grab the family and get in the holiday spirit at any of these festive holiday events.

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FLAMING HOT Local Band to Watch, Manantial de Fuego

Manantial de Fuego is an exciting, high-energy Rock en Español band that is out to blaze its way to fame. This five-man group is a homegrown phenomenon; all the guys grew up together and graduated from Hesperia High School. Comprised of lead vocalist Elias Valencia and Martín Coronado on guitar, Rafa Peñatello on bass, Gustavo Peña on keyboards, and Marko Ramos on drums, the band has been making music together since 2010. Meaning “source of the fire,” the band combines rock, Cumbia, ska, merengue, metal, and even a bit of rap into a thrilling, diverse fusion of music that garnered the attention of Radio Super Estrella in Los Angeles when the band entered a battle of the bands, and out of eighty competitors, placed in the top four. Their latest single, Amor Fatal, is in the station’s rotation. Rafa tells me that the band has played at the House of Blues in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the famous Conga Room, which is located steps from the Grammy Museum, where someday, perhaps these local talents will find themselves, and has opened for such legendary acts as Tierra. It’s clear these five hardworking young guys are out to make a name for themselves. The band has two albums out now: Deseos, and Amor Fatal, both available on iTunes. Don’t wait to discover this fabulous group for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. — Elisa Urmston

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Through Dec 22

January 26

January 25

High Desert Center for the Arts, 15615 8th St., Victorville Ca. It’s Christmas Eve at the Willow Inn. The hosts, Jenny and Tom, are having Jenny’s father, Art, over to see their bed and breakfast for the first time. There’s a snowstorm raging outside and three travelers are forced to lodge at the inn and wait it out. Their unexpected guests are Rudy and Marsha, who run a costume business and a mysterious but cheerful man named Mr. Smith, who claims to be in the delivery business ... but is he? What better way to get you in the holiday mood then to come see this sweet and funny tale of Christmas spirit.

Carpinos’ Christmas Trees, Bear Valley & Fish Hatchery Rd., Apple Valley Ca. The circus is coming to town as the Grimaldi Family Circus looks to entertain you with their all new motorcycle extreme globe riders. You’ll have plenty of fun under the big top as they perform amazing stunts; there’s also a dog show and horses performing tricks. The circus is set up next to Carpinos’ Christmas trees, so you can take the family out for an evening of holiday fun while choosing your tree and enjoying the circus. .

(Presented by Victor Valley Community Concert Assoc.) VVC Performing Arts Center, 18422 Bear Valley Rd., Victorville

High Desert Eent Center, 14800 Seventh St., Victorville Just get engaged? Once again the Tux Ego Bridal Fair brings vendors from the High Desert together under one roof for all your wedding event needs. Looking for a great photographer, DJ, facility, caterer and more? You’ll find it at this weekend event held at the High Desert Event Center. The event, which is in its 24th year, has been an H.D. staple and is one of the longest running Bridal Fairs.

You Better Watch Out

Grimaldi Family Circus

Umi Garrett in Concert

A piano prodigy at eight years old, Umi Garrett’s break out per for ma nce on The Ellen Degeneres show has skyrocketed Umi’s career to performances world-wide. Now at age 12, the award winning pianist is studying with John Perry at the Colburn School of Music. She actively participates in international music festivals and competitions such as the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, the Chopin International Competition in Budapest, and the 13th Osaka International Music Competition in Japan.

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On Saturday November 2 the Route 66 Museum in Victorville celebrated their 18th birthday. The event, held in Old Town Victorville, included a car show contest showcasing pre-1975 Corvettes and other cars, as well as trucks and motorcycles. The celebration also featured vendor booths, food, music, prizes and more.

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San Bernardino County is a wide and vast region. And for many years, the area has been considered one of the nation’s top minor league sports markets. Three minor league baseball teams, a minor league hockey team and successful small college sports programs. But the one thing the region has been missing is professional soccer. Not any more. The Ontario Fury has started its inaugural season as an expansion team in the Professional Arena Soccer League, playing its games at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena. And the expansion was a perfect fit, considering the growth of the area commonly known as the Inland Empire, said Bernie Lilavois, the Fury’s president and head coach. “It was just ‘Wow, this area is just huge and thriving’,” said Lilavois. “ Coming from the San Gabriel Valley (where Lilavois grew up), it was always the Inland Empire was the growing side of things. People were starting to move out here and build houses and starting to develop. Not until we came out here and watching some Reign games, and the thought was a little more serious that we were going to put the team here that I saw the potential. And then, really, since we’ve been here that we’ve announced the team, we’ve moved here, we’re working here day to day that we really see, ‘Wow, this a whole different world.’ ” Lilavois has been involved in indoor soccer since 1994, first as a player, and became a coach in 2007. While coaching, he stepped into a minority ownership role with the California Cougars, which was based in Stockton. When the team in Stockton was forced to fold, Lilavois started looking for a new market to start his own team. He eventually landed in Anaheim, but it wasn’t necessarily his first choice. “My first initial thought when I wanted to put a team in Southern California was in the Inland Empire, in Ontario,” Lilavois said. “I saw they were building the building. It was almost a replica of Stockton Arena, which is where I was playing and coaching and partowner at the time. I thought it was a perfect natural fit. When I was done with Stockton, I wanted to put it here. And I reached out to (Citizens Business Bank Arena officials), but they said they weren’t really ready yet. They were concentrating on hockey, and to get in touch with them in a few years. “It was always in the back of my head that, man, Ontario would be such a perfect fit. And I reached out to them about mid-season last year, and took a meeting with them. They were more accommodating; they were like, yeah, now the timing’s right, we’d love to have you.” And the timing looks to have worked. The Fury drew 5,285 spectators to its first-ever game – a 16-8 preseason victory over Toros Mexico in October. The crowd got an up-close look at indoor soccer, which has been played on and off in Southern California since 1982. For those new to the game, it can be best described as hockey on artificial turf. Teams play with six players a side (five on the field and one goalie), and field players are free to substitute at any time. The game moves quickly and goal totals often reach double digits. And while bringing and exposing the Inland Empire to professional indoor soccer is a main goal for the Fury, Lilavois said he hopes to help the community as well. The team has started initiatives that give back to schools and nonprofits. The team’s “Health A Kick!” program sends members of the Fury to schools to discuss proper nutrition, staying in school, getting a good education and staying away from drugs – while also giving soccer lessons to students. And the team also offers ways for groups to raise funds through ticket sales, as well as opportunities to play at Citizens Business Bank in front of the Fury’s crowd. “We know that no matter how we do on the field, if we haven’t connected with our community, than we will have failed as a franchise,” Lilavois said. “That’s why it has been important for us to be out at AYSO’s, offering clinics and going to community events – we want to be a successful part of this community for a long time.” But, Lilavois said, that’s not the only success he wants to see from the Fury, who will play a 16-game regular season schedule in the PASL. “For us, our goal from day one is going to be win a championship as well,” he said. “If we shoot for anything less than that than we’d be doing a disservice to the fans, and our organization and owners and sponsors and everyone involved. Our goal is going to be to try and win a championship. “But more importantly, as an entire organization, we want to be the best we can be in every area. Meaning, community relations, we want to be the best indoor soccer team in the country at that. Having the most sponsors, and good partners, we want to be the best in that department. And I think one of the biggest keys, kind of similar with the (ECHL’s Ontario) Reign, is we want to show that pride of Inland Empire, and have the attendance records, lead the league in attendance. I think championship level and top level on every one of those flights is what we’re looking for.” Written By: Bill Norris (Media Specialist for the Ontario Fury)

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FALL Gardening By Elisa Urmston


all is a bittersweet time of year in the High Desert. We are relieved to see relief from triple digit heat, and look forward to the autumn festivities, but for those of us who garden, the onset of cold weather means trees going dormant and gardens being plowed under. Somehow, for me, this has always felt like a symbolic little death. Maybe it’s all the pop-up Halloween shops and other ghoulish events of the season that make me feel so gloomy, but there you have it. What can gardeners do to keep from feeling so morose? As with any malaise, the key is to stay busy. Here are things that can be done in the fall to ensure a beautiful spring garden.

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Put your garden to bed by tidying up for winter. Face it; none of us like to be out in 40-degree weather during winter wind advisories, so we might as well take care of it while the days are still warm. Autumn is the perfect time to pull up plants and rake up leaf litter. If you experienced pest problems this year, be sure to dispose of it in the trash, not the compost pile. This will prevent eggs and larvae from overwintering in the garden and inflicting themselves on your plants next year. Plant trees and shrubs for fire-smart landscaping. Remember that pines and other high resin trees are more flammable than leafy deciduous plants. One plant I’ve always had great luck with in this fickle climate is the desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), which requires little water and attracts scores of hummingbirds with its beautiful, orchid-like flowers that bloom from late spring to midautumn. Make sure you scatter wildflower seeds by mid-November, and remember to plant your spring-blooming bulbs. But what else should a gardener be doing during these crisp fall days? For that, I turned to Linda Riddle, president of the Desert Crossroads garden Club. One thing she told me something people forget to do is to plant for fall color. Fall, according to Riddle, can be the most beautiful time of year here. She recommends California fuchsia, cosmos, which get a second burst once the heat of summer eases up, and marigolds. An often overlooked visual treat would be chrysanthemums—which she says you can buy at any grocery store, stick in the ground, mulch, and have a gorgeous plant for years. Go for a hike in a natural area, or visit local public gardens and notice what seasonal changes you see that might work in your own landscape. Take pictures of particularly impressive blooms, then visit local nurseries that specialize in native plants and consult the local garden clubs for advice. She also suggests visiting local nurseries, because they often have a better understanding of what will survive in the region, and are great sources of information on how to make your garden the best it can be. I have often seen lovely plants at the big chain stores that I know will not survive the winter here. Some of Linda’s local favorite nurseries are: Cal Herbold’s, Mark and Nellie’s, and Oak Hills Nursery. Finally, Riddle recommends joining a local garden club. Local garden clubs include the Cactus Wren Garden Club, Desert Crossroads Garden Club, and the Hesperia Garden Club. These organizations’ goals are to help us better understand what grows best in the High Desert, serve the community through garden related projects, and practice and encourage environmental protection. Guest speakers knowledgeable in pruning, planting and other gardening issues are there to answer questions. You will also meet some really nice people in the process. Crossroads Garden Club is active with youth, sponsoring FFA reforestation projects and a school garden at the elementary school. Riddle strongly encouraged readers to check out the water awareness garden that features plants that require watering only once or twice a week. FOR MORE INFORMATION California Garden Clubs,, (888) 702-2075.

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I had been happy with my former yoga studio, but the owner decided to sell it and move to greener pastures, leaving me to sort out and follow a practice on my own. This worked—with varying degrees of success— for a while—but still, I really craved the guided practice an instructor offers, as well as the motivation one feels from being accountable to someone by the simple act of showing up. I count on yoga for the benefits I have experienced: reduced stress, increased strength and energy, flexibility, a calmer, quieter mind, as well as the general sense of well being one feels after a good practice. I had heard rumors of a new studio opening, and relished the chance to check it out. Little did I know I would find myself there through a combination of unfortunate happenstance and necessity. Sometimes good fortune appears in the oddest ways. I woke up one morning with a vague ache in my hips. By that evening, I was in the emergency room with what turned out to be a damaged ligament from a sports injury that had enraged my sciatic nerve. The prescribed medication did little to dampen the pain, and left me in a fog. I quickly abandoned it. Acupuncture was helpful momentarily, but by the time I reached the parking lot, the misery had returned. I found myself a prisoner of my bed for a week, watching endless loops of Home and

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Garden Channel and cable news, too pain-addled to seek the remote. During this time, a friend had been offered a job at Love Yoga and Massage as a tai chi instructor. He asked if I would like to get out and see the place with him, and I thought it sounded like an excellent idea, having grown weary of the view out my window. We arrived at the clean, sun-filled studio, which was still warm from the hot yoga class that had ended minutes earlier. The impeccably clean wooden floors, and the gentle, soft-spoken staff at the desk impressed me. Bridget, the massage therapist suggested I try a Thai yoga massage therapy for the sciatica. The idea terrified me. I feared that, once on the floor, in the condition I was in, I might never get up. She assured me I had nothing to worry about, and proceeded to work on me for nearly an hour. I emerged feeling better than I had in a long time. She was gentle and intuitive, and the experience was a positive one. I was indeed, for the first time in over a week, able to move unassisted afterwards. In addition to expert massage treatments, Love Yoga Massage Studio offers all levels of yoga, from beginner to advanced, Zumba and yogalates, as well as tai chi—the slow, beautiful, almost meditative martial art discipline, on Saturdays. I am a fan of yoga and tai chi because I like the non-competitive, non-judgmental mindsets that go along with the practice. They quiet the mind as they strengthen the body. – Elisa Urmstrom


12420- Amargosa Rd., Victorville Hours: Mon–Fri 6:30am – 10:00pm Sat–Sun 8:00am – 7:00pm (760) 241-8424


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HD HEALTH MATTERS and faster cell regeneration was noted; since that time there have been multiple Russian studies in regards to the benefits in children treated with spirulina following radiation exposure




lmost another year gone by, and another New Year’s resolution will soon be upon us. It is likely your resolution, like many other people, is a resolution for better health. Well, spirulina algae is one healthy addition to your diet you should consider. Spiru... what? You may say. Spirulina is part of the cyanobacteria family, which is classified as a bacteria. However, because it grows in warm, preferably alkaline, water, spirulina is often referred to as a blue-green algae. Spirulina, like a plant, captures light for photosynthesis, contains chlorophyll, and grows into large colonies; biology recap: photosynthesis is a process by which some plants, algae, and bacteria use the sun’s energy, with carbon dioxide and water, to create energy for the cells and oxygen as a by product. Spirulina, due to its photosynthesis and large quantities around the world, is responsible for a large amount of the world’s oxygen. Spirulina has been documented amongst ancient civilizations as a food source for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that we saw commercial production.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA Like much of what we have discussed in this health column in the past, this is an ever changing, or evolving, science. Currently, there are not many

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studies done on humans to make solid recommendations beyond that of: spirulina is high in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, full of plant based protein, and is low in calories. This makes spirulina a good healthy addition for many people. There are reports suggesting that spirulina has the following properties: • • • • • • •

immune system boosting properties supports the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut helps with allergy symptoms like rhinitis, congestion, sneezing, and itching a study out of Mexico showed 4.5 grams of spirulina daily helped regulate blood pressure another study suggested 8 grams daily helped lower cholesterol spirulina reportedly helps the body detoxify from heavy metals it has been reported that after the Chernobyl disaster, a British company sent shipments of spirulina to clinics where 5 grams was given daily to children and the doctors reported the children treated with spirulina showed faster recovery of white blood cell count, radioactivity levels in the urine was reduced,

Spirulina is available in powder, capsules, tablets, and flakes. But remember, being a living algae, grown in water, it is important to get spirulina from an organic source; just like with fish, the quality of the water is important for the quality of the spirulina. Spirulina is about 70% protein by weight, and a more complete protein than beef or lentils. Spirulina contains all the essential amino acids. Recommended daily intake, for an adult, is about 0.5-5 grams. Nutritionally, spirulina contains B vitamins, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, zinc, GLA fatty acid, and antioxidant carotenoids. Personally, I like to add spirulina to a green smoothie; but be careful the flavor of spirulina can over power just about anything else so try adding small amounts at first. There are no known side effects of taking spirulina. But like always, check with your health care practitioner before adding spirulina to your diet. It might be kind of mind blowing, the thought of eating algae for better health, since most of us avoid bodies of water with algae. But spirulina, is quite nutritious. Spirulina isn’t the only algae gaining in popularity recently; you may have also heard of chlorella. Watch for the next issue of HD Living magazine, where we will cover spirulina’s cousin, chlorella.



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Finding Your Beauty Spot By Elisa Urmston


ooking and feeling beautiful is an important part of our lives. Here in the Victor Valley, we are fortunate to have many talented experts who can make sure we look our best, literally from head to toe. A sampling: Athena Jean Salon and Day Spa is the lovely creation of Jean McSwain, a beautiful dynamo of a woman, who is as full of joyful energy and ideas as she is poise and good looks. At Athena Jean, any one of the talented stylists is allowed to take care of you, even making sure you are fed if your service runs long and you find you are hungry. Of course, it isn’t just the service and attention to

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detail; beauty is everywhere you look in her salon, from the flowers to the refreshments to the artwork. The salon has flourished over the past three years, winning awards, such as the Daily Press Best of the Desert for two years running now. Her stylists have to be not only talented, but kind, empathetic, and understanding in order to make the cut, pardon the pun. The salon’s reputation has gone global, with requests for gift certificates coming from as far away as Korea. Esther Castanon of Rock Star Toes is the embodiment of artistry and caring attention to customers. I was very curious about what Rock Star Toes was all about, so I made my way to Wild Hair


Company Salon, where Esther works her magic. What girl with—or without— a guitar doesn’t want to have a little “rock star,” after all? Esther learned about the Rock Star Toes process at an Orange County Hair show, and perfected her artistry in a spa at a five-star hotel in Newport Beach. The process uses a gel that lets the nail bed breathe, and promotes beautiful, healthy nails, unlike acrylics, which can damage the nail bed. Another upside is the absence of fumes. Not even a nail polish scent was detectable. The process is quick and pleasant, and the effect is long-lasting, and protects the nail. Esther truly cares about her clients’ wellbeing, even purchasing a special LED light instead of the UV lamps that are commonly used, when concerns about the safety of UV lights were discovered. She was the first one to bring the Rock Star Toes phenomenon to the High Desert. Her designs run the gamut, from wild, free-hand zebra stripes to the letters of the alphabet, to a very feminine rock-star corset design that Lady Gaga or Gwen Stefani would want to rock, but the signature look is an almost effervescent glittery look, each a one-of-a-kind effect created by layering of colors, sort of like a sparkle-finish drum kit, but better. The surface of this process is as smooth as a lacquered guitar. After your nails are rocked, be sure to make an appointment with Milly Cintora at Wild Hair Company Salon to give your hair the rock star treatment. Milly cuts, colors, styles, and otherwise performs magical feats with the tools of her trade: comb, shears, brush and blow dryer. Milly and all of the stylists at Wild Hair Company are friendly, creative, talented, and ready to help you achieve your best look. You’ll be welcomed with a cup of coffee and a smile; the atmosphere is unhurried and sure to offer you a relaxing and comfortable beauty experience. Another High Desert beauty expert, Ruth Howell, has been doing hair in

the high desert for 23 years, 22 years at Reflections by the Marina, in Spring Valley Lake, and currently at Hair Precinct. Ruth worked in Diamond Bar, her home town, for 5 years, making a career of 30 years. She loves doing variety of haircuts, colors and perms including spiral perms. What she loves most about her job is to make her clients look and feel great. She is the stylist for several local entertainers, who count on her for stage-worthy great hair.

ATHENA JEAN SALON AND DAY SPA 17260 Bear Valley Rd., Victorville (760) 241-5888 WILD HAIR COMPANY 19063 Outer Hwy 18, Apple Valley (760) 242-2907 HAIR PRECINCT 12170 Spring Valley Lake Pkwy Victorville, (760) 243-1600

High Desert Living magazine 31

Bucket List the 2014



lot of times, what you’re looking for is what you’ll find. ‘Who was that Early Sodbuster?,’ one of many poems written by poet Carl Sandburg, puts things into perspective in this poem. When a stranger comes across the prairie stopping to ask what the people are like in the area, the local man replies with a question, “What were they like where you come from?” The stranger says “They were mostly a lowdown, lying, thieving, gossiping, backbiting lot of people.” “Well,” the local man replies, “I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.” After a while, a second stranger comes along, to ask the very same question, the local man replies as before, “What kind of folks was there in the country you come from?” “Well, mostly decent, hardworking, law-abiding, friendly lot of people.” “Well I guess,” the local man replied, “that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.” This is a list of things the second stranger would find entertaining and notable. We at H.D. Living think you will, too.

WOLF MOUNTAIN SANCTUARY Lucerne Valley (760) 248-7818 (by appointment only) Wolf Mountain Sanctuary rescues wolves that have been mistreated, injured in some way, hunted, suffer from loss of habitat or those that were pets whose owners couldn’t handle them. Tonya Littlewolf, who runs the sanctuary, has been around wolves since the tender age of 2. Her Grandfather rescued wolves, as well. So Tonya, who is of Apache descent, has been taking care of wolves virtually all her life. She says the wolves see her as the alpha female of the pack which helps her with handling them. Tonya or one of her assistants will give you a tour. Because the sanctuary is funded only by donations, she asks that you donate $25 to the sanctuary at the beginning of the tour.

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IDLE SPURS STEAKHOUSE 690 Old Hwy 58, Barstow (760) 256-8888 The restaurant, originally a small café and living quarters, grew into its own when Morgan Ray and his wife turned it into a large rustic, cowboy sort of place. Originally there had been rodeo grounds just down the street. As the story goes cowboys would ride the rodeo and then drop off old spurs at the restaurant when they came to eat. Thus the present day Idle Spurs Restaurant was born. Ray also operated a butchery right on the premises. Therefore, the restaurant always served the freshest, best meat around. The late Morgan Ray was what you might call a tinker. He was fascinated by whirly gigs and other types of contraptions and designed some truly fantastic ones. End your visit with some irresistibly fresh peach cobbler topped with ice cream.

O.K. CORRAL OSTRICH FARM 8308 E. Puritan St., Oro Grande (760) 951-5180

VICTOR VALLEY MUSEUM 11873 Apple Valley Rd., Apple Valley (760) 240-2111 • If you are the least bit curious about nature, and where you lay your head at night, get out and have a look. A great place to start is the Victor Valley Museum. The museum, which was taken over by the county a couple of years ago, installed a fantastic Death Valley exhibit which includes the geology, flora, and fauna of the area. Upcoming exhibits and events: Tule Springs, Nevada is an example of a riparian habitat in the otherwise arid desert, as well as a safety event entitled “Lights, Sirens, and Safety.” Don’t wait to see the museum, exhibits do change periodically.

Although the farm no longer offers tours, you can call to arrange a “tour” from the road. They do not have facilities for the public and cannot accommodate guests. You can buy ostrich meat, jerky, eggs and what they call blown eggs – eggs that have the contents removed. Ostrich meat is low in fat and high in protein. One egg will feed a whole family and then some. It is fun to watch these gangly birds, but you’ll want to keep your hands to yourself. They have very powerful legs and lots of curiosity. They are as interested in you as you are in them.

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BARSTOW RAILROAD MUSEUM AND HARVEY HOUSE 681 N. First Ave., Barstow (760) 255-1890 • Barstow is rich in museums. The railroad museum is a must see for railroad buffs and those interested in the history of the railroad and its impact on the desert and the development of the west. Without the railroad the development of the west, particularly California, would have been much slower. In conjunction with the railroad, Harvey House hotels and restaurants afforded travelers of the late 1800s accommodations and food in a clean comfortable setting thereby making travel by rail more enticing. Casa del Desierto - desert house or house of the desert - was the name given the Barstow Railroad station’s Harvey House because it reflected its locale. Admission is free and the museum is open Friday through Sunday from 11a.m. to 4 p.m.

BARSTOW ROUTE 66 MOTHER ROAD MUSEUM 681 N. First Ave., Barstow (760) 255-1890 The Route 66, Mother Road Museum, is located at the other end of the same building as the Barstow Railroad Museum. This museum is open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CALICO GHOST TOWN Calico • If you are a big cowboy/cowgirl fan, you don’t want to miss Calico. It’s commercial, but its roots are firmly grounded in its history. Silver was mined here, and all sorts of characters showed up either to mine the silver or to sell goods needed by the miners. When the silver ran out or it was not feasible to mine it anymore, the town died quickly. There are special events all year long including reenactment of the Civil War. Find more information about Calico in our story Calico Ghost Town - Shoot! Shoot! Bang! Bang! in this issue.

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CALIFORNIA ROUTE 66 MUSEUM 16285 D St., Victorville (760) 951-0436 •

FOREVER WILD EXOTIC ANIMAL SANCTUARY 8545 Buttemere Rd., Phelan (760) 868-2755 • Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary rescues exotic animals such as lynxes, alligators, and exotic birds, as well as a wide variety of big cats. Everything from black panthers to bobcats to tigers and lions. They generally come from situations where they have been neglected, abused or abandoned. Some come from owners who simply cannot care for them anymore. The sanctuary, also, has a collection of snakes - mostly venomous. Founders Chemaine and Joel Almquist were lucky enough to be given a make-over by the television show Extreme Home Make-Over that improved the property greatly making it more accessible to the public. Among all the wonderful changes made: paths were widened to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Before going, be sure to call. The sanctuary is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5p.m., but as the seasons change so, too, do the days and times they are open. Be sure to wear closed toe shoes for safety reasons. Rates: adults $8, seniors $6, Ages 3 to 12 $4.

Both young and old are drawn to the 66 museum. The young out of curiosity. The older crowd to reminisce. This museum has one of the best collections around of the old memorabilia that so distinguished the Mother Road. Opened November 11, 1926 it served travelers until the great eruption of freeways in the 50s and 60s. The Victorville museum has a flower decorated Volkswagen bus and one of the old teardrop trailers that are sure to evoke some nostalgic memories for the older group. The museum hosts about 10,000 visitors a year. Many of the guests come from other countries. Some start where it all began - in Chicago - and drive or ride motorcycles all the way to the end in Santa Monica. The museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Sundays the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

DESERT DISCOVERY CENTER 831 Barstow Rd., Barstow (760) 252-6060 • The mission of DDC is to develop and implement a comprehensive formal and informal education center with programs focusing on the natural, cultural, and historic resources associated with the California desert. The idea is to acquaint students, teachers, and parents with their public lands. This is one of only a handful of places in the world where the Mohave tui chub is found. The center offers a self-guided tour of plants that populate desert areas. You can also take an upclose view of the Old Woman metorite, which at 5,100 lbs, is the largest meteorite found in California and the second largest in the United States

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A haven of knowledge in the HD: BARSTOW COMMUNITY COLLEGE — Susan Landers


top a hill, overlooking a vista of colorful desert landscape sits Barstow Community College. The view gazing outward from the college is spectacular; the view within the college is unexpectedly lush, but it is the world view that students are invited to take that is the most important view of all. Though established in 1959, the campus was built in 1964 and serves a diverse population of students who are seeking an associate’s degree or certificate in a variety of occupations or to pursue transfer to university. Barstow Community College (BCC) provides a delightful surprise of wide expanses of grass, towering trees, and a rose garden with gazebo that would be at home in far less arid climes. Any given day, one might see students lounging in the shade of tall pine, cypress, and palm trees, books at their sides, enjoying the intimate collegiate surroundings or walking the winding paths to one of the buildings housing classes. From Cosmetology and Psychology to Natural Science, the Humanities, and more, BCC offers a variety of courses and degree plans for students who need to complete their education, prepare for the work force, or enrich their intellectual lives.

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Student success is at the heart of BCC’s mission and vision. How does the college help students succeed? Just ask newly appointed president, Debbie DiThomas. Dr. DiThomas says “We have a lot of good data on what students need to succeed and we need to rely on that.” In her job as vice-chancellor and vice-president in the Riverside district, Dr. DiThomas was involved in creating and implementing studies on student success. She says, “We actually did a regional study and a state-wide study ourselves for the state because they didn’t have the data to conduct the study at the time. What we found from that is that students need a plan. They need a goal. They need to see a counselor. They need to have follow-up services. They need all the things that matriculation does for students, but basically we discovered that the most highly correlated, single intervention is the development of the student educational plan.” Providing all of the necessary components for students will give them a solid foundation, but the “Bottom line is,” DiThomas says, “it’s still going to be up to the students to make that commitment, but once they understand what that commitment is and what they need to do to meet their educational goals, I think students will respond.” Another way to help students succeed is to ensure that they are ready for college.


One of DiThomas’ goals is to reach out to K-12 schools, especially the high schools, in the Barstow service area to better prepare students for college and give them the tools to better succeed once they are enrolled. One way to do this, she says is to “Get our faculty talking to faculty at K-12 levels,” to engage in dialogue aimed at student preparation and curriculum alignment. As a community college, BCC serves a wide variety of students, whether newly graduated high school seniors or returning students seeking new careers. One group that DiThomas says she is proud to serve is military service members and their families. BCC has a college presence at Ft. Irwin, where active duty service people and their families can attend college and earn their degrees. Dr. DiThomas says “I love what we’re doing out at Ft. Irwin…I’ve asked that we increase our commitment because I … want to support the work that [personnel at the fort] have done and really want the whole college commitment to this effort…I think our slogan should be ‘come to Ft. Irwin and leave with a degree from Barstow College’ because they’re there for two or three years and there’s absolutely no reason that they shouldn’t be able to leave with a degree.”

“What we found is that students need a plan. They need a goal. They need to see a counselor.” BCC’s role in the community, says Dr. DiThomas, is in its mission statement. She believes that BCC can be “the cultural center, the educational center, just the glue that can hold the community together.” She reminds the community that BCC can “respond to the needs of business; we can respond to the needs of industry; we can respond to our career-technical students who are coming to us to get out and get a job…and we can respond to the academic transfer needs of students so they can transfer and get whatever degrees they want.” This will be even easier to accomplish when the new performing arts center and new gym open within the next year giving the community greater

opportunities to engage in cultural, intellectual, and entertainment activities in beautiful state of the art surroundings. The Desert Heritage Writing Contest (DHWC) is yet one more way that Barstow Community College serves the community. Entering its 29th year, the writing contest accepts entries from local students ages elementary school through college and offers prizes and acclaim through the annual publication of the top winners’ works of fictional prose, poetry, and essay compositions. See the Barstow Community College website ( for more information on the 2013-14 contest dates. Barstow Community College is a growing part of a growing community continuing to serve the needs of those who live in the northern realm of the H.D.

High Desert Living magazine 37


A Conversation With Deborah DiThomas


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arstow Community College’s new president, Dr. Debbie DiThomas, brings with her a plethora of experience in college administration. Starting her career in the classroom at the K-12 level, DiThomas moved into counseling, then into administration at Inland Empire college districts and was quite happy in her positions. So, what brought her north to Barstow? She says, “For me, it’s the people…coming to Barstow College, that was one of the things I was looking for, you know, a small town, the interaction between the college and the community, the esprit de corps of the college. I really studied Barstow a lot before I decided to apply.” Barstow Community College (BCC), like many community colleges in California, had been put on warning by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC/WASC), the accrediting board that oversees community colleges in California, and had a number of issues to work on to keep their accreditation status, but Dr. DiThomas says that the reaction of BCC’s administration, faculty, and staff is one of the very things that attracted her to the college. “The college really came together around accreditation,” she says. “Because when I read the accreditation report, I thought ‘holy cow! How are they going to respond to all of these?’ There were thirteen recommendations…and then I read the college’s response, and I was so impressed with all of the work that the college did in such a short period of time…and after reading that, I thought ‘they have a great team.’ They came together like a team; they had good leadership. They seemed to have a great board. They really responded well. They didn’t stick their heads in the sand…”. BCC has impressed the ACCJC too and now has fewer than four partial recommendations to complete before coming off warning status. Barstow is a small town, which allows the college to play an important role in the area. Dr. DiThomas says, “The college is really the community college, and I’ve always felt committed to the community college and the role of the community college.” College played a big role in DiThomas’ family. Her parents raised a large family, with all fifteen children graduating from college, many of them going into education. It was either that or golf. “Golf…was my dad’s profession. He was a professional golfer, and he worked for PowerBilt…for fifty years. But my brothers, about four of them and one sister, are now still in the golf industry,” one as a PGA Pro-Golfer. The other siblings are either in academia or coaching in the Inland Empire. And, did we mention the teacher turned casino pit boss and the minister? Yep, it’s true; one of her brothers is a pit boss and another is a man of the cloth. And, her siblings are not the only coaches in her family. DiThomas’ husband is the football coach for Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino. This makes for a weekend relationship, especially during football season. When her husband comes up on the weekends, you’ll often see them in DiNapoli’s Firehouse, which is a favorite dinner spot for the DiThomases. As a woman in a still male dominated administrative position, what advice does DiThomas have for young women (or men) who would like to move up into leadership positions? Whether in meetings or get-togethers, listen carefully, even when you think that the information doesn’t concern you directly, and be present to what is happening at the time and don’t ‘zone out.’ “Because,” she says, “you never know when you’re going to need that information that was being discussed or when you’re going to need to call on how that was handled. You learn so much by your interactions with people, and I think the best advice to give is: where you are, BE, and then grow and learn and always be willing to listen and look at yourself and how you could’ve done things differently or better and then the next time you come across that situation, you’ll be ready…and be happy. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, do something else.” — Susan Landers


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Call (760) 951-8787 to set up a private appointment, for accommodation of persons with special needs at these meetings. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information. A salesperson will be present with information & applications.

High Desert Living magazine 39




MAMA CARPINO’S 22010 US Hwy. 18 ooking for the perfect place to book your holiday party or New Year’s event? Need a Apple Valley, (760) 240-9664 place to get away between the hustle and bustle of the holidays to grab a good meal or find somewhere far from the rush for a few hours? Well, you don’t have to look outside the area to find that perfect place because Mama Carpino’s offers everything from catering FIRESIDE RESTAURANT and fireside dining on the patio to a lush, elegant bar area to enjoy your favorite glass of 14144 Green Tree Blvd. wine. Offering a ‘great room’ dining area that seats up to 100 or the outside ambiance of Victorville, (760) 245-4860 the enclosed patio with heat lamps and a fireplace, their facilities have all that you need for that upcoming event or evening out. On select Saturday evenings, Mama Carpino’s also hosts Fernando Harkless, who swoons dinner patrons as they enjoy jazz and R&B PAULINA’S MEXICAN GRILL influenced tunes from his days with the band WAR. They also have large array of Italian 14845 Monarch Blvd., Ste G offerings such as the cheese heavy Baked Ziti and Shrimp and Scallops for those who Victorville, (760) 951-2661 love their seafood. Once you’ve picked your entrée, don’t forget to treat your event goers or yourself to their wide variety of Italian pastries and desserts. There are also many other event and dining options to get you through the season in IDLE SPURS STEAKHOUSE & LOUNGE the H.D., below is a list of four venues that offer event gatherings, fine dining, catering 690 Old Hwy. 58 and more. Barstow, (760) 256-8888


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A warm and intimate ambiance in a confortable setting with plenty of tasty and satisfying food combine to make Mama Carpino’s one of the High Desert’s favorite Italian restaurants. Featuring live entertainment on select weekends.

22010 US Highway 18 Apple Valley CA 92307-3971 (760) 240-9664 Mon: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Tue: Closed Wed, & Thu: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Sun: 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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DINING GUIDE Fireside Grill 14144 Green Tree Blvd, (760) 955-6017


APPLE VALLEY Di Napoli’s Fire House 17856 US Highway 18, (760) 242-5802 Amy’s Mexican Restaurant 18768 US Hwy 18, Ste 170, (760) 242-1474

The following is a listing of select High Desert Restaurants. These listings are a free service provided by H.D. Living Magazine and are subject to change. This guide also includes wine tasting venues. If you would like your dining establishment considered, send information to, include your name, the name of the establishment, address, and contact information.

VICTORVILLE Thai Dawn Bistro 14317 Bear Valley Rd Ste 2 Victorville, (760) 244-7600 Paulina’s Mexican Grill 14845 Monarch Blvd, (760) 955-2661 Tokyo Steak 14317 Bear Valley Rd., Ste 2 (760) 780-1499 Yoshi Sushi 14177 Kentwood Blvd, (760) 241-1960 Chateau Chang Restaurant 15425 Anacapa Rd, (760) 241-3040 Divine Wine Bar 14845 Monarch Blvd. suite C, (760) 843-3888 La Casita Mexican Restaurant 14977 Palmdale Rd, (760) 241-0119 La Casita at the Lake 12170 Spring Valley Pkwy, (760) 843-0440 Poncho’s Salvadorian Restaurant 16427 Victor St., (760) 694-8943

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Tokyo Sushi & BBQ 14741 7th St, (760) 955-7123 Golden Gate Restaurant 15208 Bear Valley Rd # B, (760) 245-6189 Steer ‘n Stein Restaurant 12224 Mariposa Rd, (760) 241-0775 Marie Callenders 12180 Mariposa Rd, (760) 241-6973 Outback Steakhouse 12400 Amargosa Rd # B, (760) 962-1003 Mimi’s Cafe 12032 Amargosa Rd, (760) 244-6888 Original Roadhouse Grill 11940 Amargosa Rd, (760) 949-2308 Carino’s 11970 Amargosa Rd, (760) 949-2248 Crown and Sword Restaurant 14173 Green Tree Blvd., (760) 513-6046 Poncho Villa’s Fresh Grill & Tequila 11620 Amargosa Rd., (760) 981-1958

The Wine Seller Apple Bear Center, (760) 961-2500 Los Domingos Mexican Restaurant 17790 Wika Rd., (760) 946-5344 Oggis Pizza & Brewing Co 19201 Bear Valley Rd, (760) 240-8977 Mama Carpino’s 22010 Highway 18 (760) 240-9664 Viva Maria 20162 Highway 18 #D (760) 946-2087 Linko Sushi 12115 Apple Valley Rd. (760) 240-1125 Ninja Sushi 15850 Apple Valley Rd., (760) 242-3913 Mama Carpino’s 22010 Highway 18 (760) 240-0664 Marcelinos Mexican Restaurant 21510 Bear Valley Rd. (760) 240-4344

Havana Wine & Beer Club 13692 Apple Valley Rd., Ste 1 (760) 961-6800 Uncle Dittos Fried Fish & More 21520 Bear Valley Rd., Ste E (760) 961-2200 Apple Valley Golf Course Grill 15200 Rancherias Rd, 760-242-3653 HESPERIA Juliano’s Italian Restaurant 12052 Hesperia Rd. (760) 949-0595 Go Bangkok Thai Cuisine 15800 Main St Ste 200 (760) 947-9029 Cancun Mexican & Seafood 15550 Main St. (760) 956-7720 Italian Kitchen 16409 Yucca St. (760) 244-7757 Thai-Lotus Restaurant 12027 Hesperia Rd. (760) 949-9362 Wood Grill Buffet 14135 Main St. (760) 981-4418 Los Domingos Restaurant 15885 Main St. (760) 948-6161 Oasis Sushi Restaurant 12719 Main St. (760) 244-9608 Beef O’ Brady’s 12728 Main St., Hesperia (760) 948-8214

Carmen’s Ponderosa Restaurant 9544 Kiowa Rd. (760) 247-7727 Siam Thai Cuisine 18564 Outer Hwy 18,Ste. 203 (760) 242-5093 The Flame Broiler 18975 Bear Valley Rd., Ste. 301 (760) 961-7100


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High Desert Living magazine 43

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ver the meadow and through the woods…even better, just a 25 minute drive down I-15 and a skip and a hop down Baseline Road rests a magical kingdom for wine enthusiasts: Joseph Filippi Winery and Vineyards. Veteran vintner, Joseph P. Filippi brought four generations of winemaking experience with him as he, his family, an accredited winemaking team, and the City of Rancho Cucamonga worked together to rebuild and restore the historic Ellena Bros/Regina Winery. A successful transformation, Joseph Filippi Winery and Vineyards is a perfect blend of Joe Filippi’s established expertise with the innovative winemaking talent and artistic flare of fifth generation winemakers, Jared Filippi and Jared’s knowledgeable wife, Kristina. It’s a flourishing fusion of family tradition and contemporary zeal. From the moment my husband and I entered the winery for our first tasting, we were welcomed with open arms and treated like old friends. The staff is very accessible and willing to answer any questions about the wine, the vineyards, the history, and if you’d like a tour, they’ll gladly give you one. We soon became wine club members and recently had the pleasure of attending our first of many events, their annual Grape Stomp and Luau. The event included a tour, given by Joe Filippi himself, of the glorious vineyards that surround the property. He took the time, unaware that his winery might be the subject of a magazine article, to answer all of my questions as I oohed and awed over every detail. Kristina gave us an informative behind-the-scenes tour and shared a tasting siphoned directly out of one of the barrels.  During the grape stomping contest, Jared stood beside us, chatting about his much loved Bull Terriers and humbly discussing the beautiful artwork he creates for their wine bottle labels.  The whole Filippi family treated us as family. I never did express my desire to write about them, but they’ll definitely be aware now. Romantic, classy, warm, and so much fun, it’s the ideal milieu for a date, a party, or even a wedding. They offer a variety of appetizer plates to enjoy while tasting and have an amazing gift shop which includes everything from gourmet delights to domestic adornments to…well, far too much to detail here. Have I even mentioned the award winning wine?  The love and passion that the family puts into making the wine is quite evident in taste of the wine. It’s delectable. You need to try it. Enough said. —Stephanie Morris

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Tasting Notes


Joseph Filippi Vino Rosso A wine aficionado in training, Emily Keyes, would like to recommend her new favorite: Joseph Filippi Vino Rosso. Made from Cucamonga Valley grapes, Joseph Filippi’s Vino Rosso is a light bodied, delightfully fruity wine that is best served slightly chilled. It pairs well with arrabiata pasta dishes, barbecued meats and poultry fare. “As a 21 year old, new to the world of wine, I tend to head for the wines with a slightly sweet flavor. Vino Rosso is a flavorsome red that’s on the sweet side, without being overwhelmingly so.”

To get a small taste of what Joseph Filippi Winery and Vineyards offers and peruse their wine shop and coming events, visit: Better yet, go visit them in person! 12467 Baseline Rd., Rancho Cucamonga.  Cheers!


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High Desert Living magazine 45


IF ONLY by Stephanie Morris

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” A random Facebook post that hit particularly close to home for me apparently struck a chord for many others, as well, as the number of “likes” and affirmations that it received when I shared it was surprising and somewhat refreshing. In a day and age when many of us feel the need to hide behind the veil of our white-strip smiles, the (I’m-having-sucha-blast) pictures we post via social media, and the courtesy chuckles we hand out with ease, it’s as if we’re almost forced to uphold a phony façade of constant happiness to appear “normal” to our peers. Tears of a clown, right?  We don’t want people to know what’s really going on behind the veil. We fear appearing out of control, weak, having people worry about us…or worse yet, having our colleagues look down on us.  When in truth, so many of us are actually battling various levels of depression and/or anxiety.  And so we mask…  I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie Downer,’ but I do want to shine a light. As someone who recently lost three very loved, seemingly “together” people to suicide, I want the eyes reading this to know that if you’re feeling overwhelmed and just want it all to end, you’re not alone.  We’re all out of control wrecks, so you’re in good company. We all have a few of those destructive voices in our heads, and if you’re shaking your head in denial right now, your mask may be on too tight. And, I’m beginning to discover that those who appear to always have all their ducks in a row are often the ones who struggle the most because they won’t let their guards down, open up, and share their own pain.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that talking, expressing your humanness, really does help.  Admitting you’re not a superhero is okay, really; in fact, it takes great strength. It also allows others to open up, share, and feel needed—all of which can be extremely healing to the mind and soul.    The whole point of this piece is to raise awareness and encourage those who are contemplating suicide to reach out and give your family and friends a chance to help you. Think twice. One of the three loved ones that I lost recently left a note that said he was ending it because he couldn’t bear to disappoint his loved ones.  When he took his life, he left a wake of pain, anger, guilt, questions, confusion, and a whole heck of a lot of disappointment to all of the people he touched in his lifetime. By taking his own life, he inadvertently crushed the lives of those he loved—those who wish he had just reached out to them—those who didn’t see the signs—his loved ones who fell for that phony façade.  If only…  If you, or someone you know is going to that dark place, please reach out.  Let someone know. It’s okay to be real. It’s better than okay to be human. If you’re not comfortable talking to a friend, spend some time with a minister or a school counselor. Or, maybe pay a visit to, an informative site that offers suggestions, programs, and contact information. Available any time, night or day, you can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. You and those who matter to you are worth it.  Now, go give your loved ones a hug!  

If you would like to see something special featured in Susan’s Corner, or if you have a special recipe, drop me a line and let me know about it at: Susan Landers at H.D. Living Magazine 6630 SLV Box Victorville, Ca. 92395, or e-mail me at

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A High Desert Hero’s Story From Desert Valley Hospital ER to Humanitarian Missions in War Torn Africa

John Morris works in the Desert Valley Hospital ER and he is no ordinary nurse. He was recently named the “Hospital Hero” for San Bernardino County and with good reason. In the early 1990s he traveled to Africa on a humanitarian assignment with Bible Study Fellowship International where he served as a clinical instructor in a Heart Center in Ghana. The 2-year assignment turned into a lifetime mission of helping those in need and John eventually established an orphanage which now houses over 100 orphans. They continue to take much needed supplies, donated by his fellow Desert Valley staff members, to poor children and women in areas devastated by war and terrorism. It’s easy to see why Desert Valley Hospital is a Top 100 Hospital in the Nation when you consider that hospital staff members have won this prestigious “Hero” award three times. We are proud of John’s accomplishments and all of the selfless hospital employees who go above and beyond to help others. They are true heroes in every way!

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16850 Bear Valley Road, Victorville, CA 92395 760-241-8000

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