Central Coast Kind

Page 1





Founder Kim Iribarren

To help spread kindness

Central Coast of California

CENTRAL COAST KIND'S MISSION STATEMENT: Our goal is to spread good, local, kind news across the community, to increase the energy of the Central Coast by paying it forward with kindness, & to inspire kind acts and recognize those who participate in life with love.



his publication was started by Kim Iribarren, who took a negative situation in her own life and turned it into a positive opportunity to help inspire others. Iribarren has worked in advertising throughout her life, but her inspiration to start this magazine came after a health scare. Earlier this year, Iribarren had a spot on her face that was discovered to be cancer. “I began to wonder what have I given back? What is my contribution to the earth with this time I had been given?,”Iribarren explained. “So it was time for me to step out on faith and take a chance and spread some good news.” Born in California, Iribarren’s family currently lives in Texas but are looking to retire to the Central Coast. Years ago, her job gave her a four-month assignment in Arroyo Grande, where she fell in love with the gorgeous

surroundings and charitable communities in the area. “I never forgot the people and places during my stay on the Central Coast,” Iribarren said, “I met people in the Santa Maria area that were involved in charit y organizations and just gave from their heart in a consistent matter to all these different charities. The stories of giving and sense of community could go on and on, of people doing kind loving acts in this majorly blessed area.” It was friends in Santa Maria that encouraged Iribarren to push forward with her dream to start her own publication. And so, this magazine, Central Coast Kind, was born.This issue has been distributed from Solvang to Avila Beach, primarily focusing on the Santa Maria area. “The distribution includes high trafficked areas such as doctors’ offices, beauty/spa salons, ORIGINATED BY Molly

boutiques, dentists, advertisers, automobile dealerships. Places where people will sit and wait for a service and be able to read about the community,” Iribarren said. “Also the publication is free to take home and keep.” This publication is also available digitally at www.centralcoastkind.com. “My goal is to create a chain reaction of love," Iribarren said. “To focus on positivity and remind people of how wonderful life is, that there is still good in the world and life it is what you make it!” This issue of Central Coast Kind has sections on locals, wellness, family, feast and the future. For Iribarren, it is a very personal issue. Iribarren hopes this publication can help others become inspired by the spirit and giving community of the Central Coast the same way she has. 

Schiff, Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce EDITED BY Kim Iribarren






Central Coast Kind Magazine 805.862.9595 PO Box 6555, Santa Maria, CA 93456 www.centralcoastkind.com

H OUR STAFF Kim Iribarren, President kim@centralcoastkind.com Beth Johnson, Managing Editor beth@centralcoastkind.com Macy Haffey, Creative Director macy@centralcoastkind.com

CONTRIBUTORS Bob Cane, Photographer Coach C, Writer Dennis Eamon Young, Writer/Photographer Garden Dude (David Georgi), Writer Georgina Phelan | Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, Writer

i! My name is Kim Iribarren. First I want to thank you for taking a moment to read the wonderful things happening right here in the Central Coast. You’ve heard the saying, “I left my heart in San Francisco,” well my heart belongs in the Central Coast! I have met the most amazing and talented people along this journey and have dreamed of sharing these stories for quite some time. As you read through this publication, you will find that these amazing people are making this world a better place. Where can you go to see such beautiful landscape, with peaceful and kind generosity f lowing through the veins of these communities? Central Coast of California! I want to reach out and personally thank some of the investors who had never heard of me, but believed in the concept of spreading kindness!

Healing Touch Day Spa, Submitted article Judythe Guarnera, Writer Kevin Steele, Photographer Marji Hernandez, Writer Sandra Fuhring | CALM, Writer Teresa Gasca-Burk, Writer


Living Grateful 2016


"What an extreme and wonderful experience this has been!"

Mr. Dennis Young, President of SLO NightWriters, our main writer and contributor, never hesitated to be involved. He was always patient and kind and acted with heart and amazing talent!

And a very special thank you to Gary and Teresa Gasca-Burk from Costa de Oro Winery whom I will say have been more than supportive in so many ways and also assisted me in finalizing the first issue.

Mr. Kevin Steele, award winning photographer who has kindly allowed gorgeous photos to be published in this first issue.

A huge thank you to my dearest, sweetest friends, who without their love and support, this could have never been possible. Rudy and Marji Hernandez, Dan and Peggy Blough & Bill and Patty Santmyer have watched me laugh, cry, chase my tail, and go in and out of reality, yet they continue to fill me with hope while persevering, never giving up on me, and pushing me forward to publish this dream. Â

Mrs. Nancy Boster of State Farm Insurance in Santa Maria, whom I met at a CALM fundraiser, sharing the table in the Santa Maria Country Club. George and Kim Smith of Mobileworks/Tintworks from Santa Maria, whom I stumbled upon cold calling and welcomed me with loving arms and gave me leads to follow up with. Dino and Timmie from Grocery Outlet who instantly wanted to be involved with the magazine and concept, and I met them at the Rotary Club of Santa Maria's annual Barn Party.

My family, who I have missed tremendously, but have gracefully received their love and support, as well. They have picked up extra responsibilities at home while I’ve been pursuing this dream.

My very special, loving, loyal and kind husband. Who has believed in me from the get go and allowed me this gracious opportunity, I love you babe! I truly hope you enjoy reading about the love in your own community and will look forward to the next issue. With Kind Love,

Kim Iribarren Founder

A HUGE thank you to Marji and Rudy Hernandez! I am forever grateful for your love, friendship and support!



Spread the Love


We challenge you, Central Coast, to get out there, and make the world a better place!




o you realize that YOU can make a difference? It doesn't have to be some grand cancer-curing-deathending-world-changing-earth-shattering act either! You don't need all the answers and all the money in the world to alter the universe. You can do it in your day-to-day living, through small actions and kind words. Everyone loves a friendly little challenge, right? And we want to get the ball rolling here! Throughout this issue, you might notice a little heart icon. That's the "Spread the Love Challenge" icon. On these pages, you'll find small challenges that we hope you are up for! So let's get to it.. let's up the love, one day at a time! ď Ž

Share this magazine with someone. centralcoastkind.com


WE ASKED, YOU ANSWERED. We asked our facebook friends to share a random act of kindness that has happened in the Central Coast. Here's what they had to say: Big Brand Tires in Santa Maria has awesome customer service. They were so kind. They go above and beyond.

I recently visited the Santa Maria Jeep Dealership. I’m a single mom of 3, and they noticed my water pump was badly leaking during an oil change. I didn’t have money to fix it, so the service manager paid for it HIMSELF and got my only vehicle back on the road the next day. I believe in miracles now.

One Sunday after church, we picked up an older gentleman walking down the middle of Clark Ave very disoriented and looking very tired. He had no idea where he was going or where he had come from. My husband and I, knowing the Alzheimer’s home was not far from where he was, decided to take him there to see if that’s where he belonged… he was such a nice man but very confused. Sure enough that was where he had walked from. We were extremely happy to have helped this kind gentleman find his way home.

– Danielle Raymond

– Debbie Johnson

Praying with a random stranger in need in Santa Maria.

Today in Grover Beach, I was given help when my truck died.

– Kendall Kline

– Kathleen Moore

– Nickolas Ortega

I have just moved here and had my bike on a rack behind my car. I had stopped to unload my things and noticed the bike was barely on the rack. I freaked that it could have come off on the freeway causing an accident and/or serious injury. A woman was driving by and saw me struggling with the bike and bike rack. She stopped and asked if she could help. I’m from LA…. No one there would have been so thoughtful.

I was loading some very large ceramic pots into my car. I was rolling one up a hill and “Tom” came out of nowhere and asked if he could help me. Saved my back. Blacklake area of Nipomo. – Marshalla Hickman

– Deborah Light-Pacheco

Together, we can make a difference. HELP SPREAD KINDNESS! Add us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/centralcoastkind), and be on the lookout for our next 'We Asked, You Answered' question!




LOCALS 14 Writing Away the Darkness 18 Gratitude for Valor 20 You Can't Teach Heart 22 Keeping CALM in Santa Maria 26 The Inspirational Heart of Destry Ramey 29 One More Time 32 Rosalind


Living Grateful 2016

contents 70

18 35








36 Can I Borrow a Kidney?

46 Kevin Steele

64 Fruits of Labor

48 Dennis Eamon Young

70 Sweet & Spicy Chickpeas

74 Central Coast Happenings

40 Get Back on Track after Vacay 42 Thicker Hair through Styling


50 Mending Misha


75 Love Is in the Air

54 Garden Dude 57 A Voice for the Voiceless


Central Coast Kind would like to congratulate Cici & Kevin Steele on their recent nuptials. Photography by Anna J Photography / www.annaj-photo.com




Waiting in a line of traffic? Let someone that needs over merge in front of you. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


14 Writing Away the Darkness 18 Gratitude for Valor 20 You Can't Teach Heart 22 Keeping CALM in Santa Maria 26 The Inspirational Heart of Destry Ramey 29 One More Time 32 Rosalind



Catherine Ryan Hyde,

author of Pay It Forward (novel turned movie), sits down for an interview..


Living Grateful 2016

Writing Away


Dennis Eamon Young

“I was in a very dark place for a long time,” Catherine tells me. “My writings were dark, short pieces. They were mostly disjointed. Disjointed and angry. I was trying to write my way out, but it wasn’t working.”


he writer, Catherine Ryan Hyde, sat in an overstuffed leather chair, facing me, in the soft light of the big picture window behind us. She leaned back, hands folded in her lap and smiling. The smile began to fade as she leaned forward, elbows on her knees, hunched halfway to her cowboy boots. I could picture her leaning toward a campfire, to partake of the warmth and light. “My first novel, Funerals for Horses, came out of that part of my life,” she continued. “That was when I got labeled a dark writer. People love to label writers, it seems to me and they don’t always like it if you change and go off in a new direction. It makes them uneasy.” We had met before, when she and her friend Anne Allen had spoken to my writing organization, SLO NightWriters, so we had no need to break the ice for this interview. I began by taking some photos in her writing cabin, which doubles as a guesthouse, overlooking the main house. Her dog, Ella, joined us as I took photos of walls full of book jackets in a wide variety of language editions, as well as pictures of her with President Bill Clinton. She had shared a dais with him for three speeches when she had spoken at the National Conference on Education at Cornell University. Afterward, she had been invited to the White House to attend a screening of the movie “Pay It Forward ”, based upon her novel of the same name. I asked Catherine what had inspired her to write her most famous book, which has sparked a worldwide movement and led her to start her Pay It Forward Foundation. I was tempted to ask about the urban legend, that she saw a bumper sticker that read “Think Globally, Act Locally,” but fortunately I held my tongue, only to discover a more intriguing version. “It really dates back to the 1970’s when I was driving a wreck that needed maintenance.” She leaned back and smiled again, “My car stalled out in a bad neighborhood, late at night, and smoke poured out from under the hood. Two men seemed to appear out of nowhere, running right at me, but stopped at my car. One popped the hood and the other smothered the smoke and f lames in the engine compartment. Then the Fire Department pulled up and in the excitement, those two saviors simply disappeared.”



(Writing Away the Darkness: continued)

“Those men had stopped, risked their lives and then just gone on their way.” At this point, Ella trotted over to curl up at Catherine’s feet, ears alert. “That event changed my life, as I became more aware of acts of kindness all around me every day and finally led to my writing Pay It Forward, which was published in 1999, moving me out of the darkness of my prior writing. A lot of fans were very unhappy about my change of direction and relabeled my work as ‘Capraesque’, referring to the folksy and positive movies directed by the late Frank Capra.”

Catherine's novel, Pay It Forward, was turned into a box office success starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, & Haley Joel Osment.


Living Grateful 2016

“I get softer as I get older. I find that I no longer have the patience to absorb so much violence, whether in the everyday world around us or in movies and on television. Every new book is written as an exploration and a celebration of people who bring hope and positive outcomes. Children thrive on loving, growing into life and exploring the world around them. They can be affected by that world, but no matter what happens there will always be that nugget of original goodness. That is what I want to show in my stories.” These days, some fans say Catherine has become “Commercial ”, but she’s not troubled by that because she feels that as she evolves, so do her characters. Time Magazine has accused her of dealing in “Idealistic Ponzi schemes.” That brings a laugh as she explains, “My characters couldn’t have a real sense of depth until I did.” Prodded by a local radio show host to give advice to f irst time best selling author and friend Jay Asher, she told him, “Just let the critiques f low through you.” She treasures hearing from her fans, because she f inds their comments to be more realistic than reviews. The last thing she is looking for is to have a reader stop to admire her prose and technique, at the expense of being caught up in the story. “It’s all about the story,” she tells me.


Her stories range from wildly optimistic, such as Pay It Forward, to practical examples of how differences may be overcome, such as in her nonfiction children’s book Paw It Forward, a takeoff that substitutes animals for humans.

Her idea of therapy and fun is riding Soul, her Belgian Warmblood horse and extreme hiking exploits such as the Peruvian Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the rim trails of the Grand Canyon.

She prefers to write the story out completely. She will then do any additional research that might be necessary. Her most extensive research was done for Second Hand Heart, which focused on the body’s cellular memory as that which we refer to as the human subconscious. She even knocked J.K. Rowling out of the # 1 spot with Walk Me Home.

Her foundation has been providing copies of Pay It Forward to schools across the country, and in 2014 they came to an agreement with Simon & Schuster, who hold the rights, for Catherine to pen a special Young Readers Edition. All donations go toward getting more copies out to school kids, in order to inculcate a sense of giving and paying it forward in our younger generations. 

Catherine writes two books a year and believes that pushing to produce more would only dilute the strength of her work. Her newest is Leaving Blythe River, which debuted in May of 2016. This December, Say Goodbye For Now will be released.



were assigned to do naval exercises in the Atlantic during the Cuban missile crisis. “Charged with safeguarding classified documents from my ship to an aircraft carrier, I was hung swinging below a helicopter in a harness there and back,” he tells me. “The guys on both ships were very amused, but I was not. I just knew I had an assignment to do.” Joe tells me this with a big chuckle, though. The man does have a good sense of humor. In 2011, Joe became aware of the fact that our W WII veterans are dying at an alarming rate. “I sat and cried when the realization hit me that they could soon all be gone. I felt that I had to do something, at least get recognition for these brave men and women to whom we owe so much, and yet know so little about.”



Dennis Eamon Young

’ve had a lifelong love affair with the U. S. military,” Joe Brocato tells me. “There was a big commotion one night in 1943, in my small Sicilian town of Cefalu. We all climbed up to our terraces to watch a sea of lights approaching from Messina. It turned out to be the Germans trying to re-enforce Palermo against General Patton, to no avail.” “Afterward,” Joe continues, ”Patton left a squad of soldiers in town. We all


Living Grateful 2016

just fell in love with those guys. They were wonderful, especially to us kids. They became our heroes and our friends.” Lt. Joseph E. Brocato, USN, kept his admiration for those soldiers and the country they represented, as his family moved to the United States after the war. When he graduated college in 1961, he joined the U. S. Nav y OCS, becoming a communications specialist off icer with the Second Fleet on a NATO Command heavy cruiser. They

Joe is a former Commander of the Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars (MOW W). He firmly lives by their motto, “ It is nobler to serve than be served.” They actively support their communities and its citizens, young and old. He enlisted the aid of Dana Cummings, director of San Luis Obispo County Veterans Services in order to reach out to the community of veterans. When he and his wife Diane Blakeslee spoke with the San Luis Obispo Country Club to arrange a W W II Veterans Recognition Luncheon for October 30, 2014, they had not expected more than thirty veterans. The f inal number was 110 veterans, for a total of 250 people, packing the hall out onto the patio. An Honor Guard presented the f lag, Andrews sisters songs were convincingly performed by a trio of ladies and each veteran was presented with a citation and a book based on their W WII battles.

Much of the extra expense had come out of Joe’s own pocket. “I was glad to do it,” he tells me. “I was able to do it exactly as I wanted, even presenting each veteran with a collage that included photos of them, including medals and citations. I felt it was the least I could do, to show them that they had not been forgotten. I got much more from that than I gave. It was a day I’ll never forget. There were even guys who had served on the same ship and never met until this luncheon. Imagine that!” Not content to know he had created a Woodstock for the W WII generation and brought veterans out into the light for such a special occasion, Joe and Diane immediately set out to plan for the next one. And so, on October 29, 2015, the W WII and Korean War Veterans Tribute was held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo. It turned out to be a canny move, as 240 veterans attended with family, for a total of 650. “More veterans are coming forward all the time now,” he explains, “volunteering to uncover memories long covered over or brushed aside. There are so many who came home from horrors they could not forget, but would not burden their loved ones with. A lot of those folks paid for their bravery in battle over and over again with a life of torment and depression.” “I found it really heartbreaking,” he told me, ”to have so many who had given over their innocent years and dreams somehow think that if they were not in big battles or wounded, that their service meant less. They did not feel that they had done enough to be so honored. I feel deeply honored to meet and speak with them. This might have started out with my admiration and love of the American military, but more and more it is about the whole

community coming together to show their love, respect and gratitude for them. We need to hear their stories while we still can.” This October 27 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center, Lt. Joseph Brocato hosted the Vietnam War Veterans Tribute,

with W WII and Korean veterans in attendance. This year over 1,000 people, including 40 0 veterans, gathered together. You can see his heart swell as he recites so many of the names that he has been able to put a face to over these last few years. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Email Joseph E. Brocato at: jebrocato@gmail.com

You Can't Teach Heart STORY & PHOTOS BY

Dennis Eamon Young


t’s pretty intense to do the outreach we do,” says Lisa Ray from Children’s Resource Network.” Anyone on my team must come from a place of kindness and love. They must have a heart of compassion, respect, and a strong loving desire to please the children.” “As an eight year old, I watched Sally Struthers on television, you know, the one where she’s asking people to help other children in third world countries. I told my mother one day I would do this when I grew up. That dream translated to having my own children first, which began the journey to where I am today.” When another school mom told her about a struggling young mother, Lisa, along with her son and daughter, gathered clothes for that woman. Lisa posted the need on her Facebook page and friends responded by dropping bags of clothing on her doorstep. The front of her house and part of her garage are usually covered with bags of clothing to this day. From working out of her garage in 2009 she has grown the enterprise to a group of Teen closets in collaboration with schools around San Luis Obispo County. Teenagers can come in and pick out fashionable clothes in a warm and cheerful environment, where they can feel comfortable and accepted by Lisa’s cadre of volunteers. Her Children’s Resource Network also brings Christmas to migrant families and disadvantaged people living on the fringes of a wealthy society. I was fortunate to witness Lisa at this event last year and the sense of excitement she feels while providing what she can for these families is amazing. She is so pumped with excitement it makes it difficult for her to sit still. She’s constantly in motion, hugging and kissing friends, volunteers and the families she considers her real life’s work. They are all extended family to her and you can see in their eyes how special she makes them all feel. Local people gather early to watch the colorful truck and trailer arrive, much like kids anywhere might watch


Living Grateful 2016

the circus roll into their sleepy town. But this is a traveling show on a mission forged by this woman ringmaster. There are little girls dancing barefoot in the dirt and young boys playing King of the Mountain with dry branches. Many of these children and their parents might not have anything to celebrate on the hot Christmas Day to come, if not for Lisa and her loving troupe. They have gathered here by the side of the road to await the magic of the Annual Holiday Giveaway that she brings. Lori, another team member (volunteer) mom who manages Lisa’s original Teen Closet in Arroyo Grande, which was partnered by Dignity Health, espouses Lisa’s mantra, “You Can’t Teach Heart.” That’s where it all begins and that’s what makes it all tick. Her latest venture is a partnership with the Marion Regional Medical Center’s High Risk Infant

program. She will be supplying rolling racks of clothing to be kept in a special room and handled by hospital personnel with items for the infants and their families. Lisa is constantly searching for new ways to expand her programs. Most recently she started a “Dress for Success” program for older teens and family members to help prepare them for job interviews. She has partnered with Cal Works Moms who teach work skills to go with those clothes, so her people are prepared for

the job market. Always on the go, ever ready to give of herself, she has been dubbed ‘A Ray of Hope’ for an often overlooked part of the community. “This is not an act of charity,” she tells me as we walk along a growing line of people young and old, with a variety of different color faces, wearing huge smiles, and an ambiance of peaceful gratitude, “This is an act of sharing love.” 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Lisa Ray can be reached at: (805) 709-8673 or lisa@childrensresourcenetwork.org



CALM’s mission is to prevent, assess and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County. For more information, please visit us at www.calm4kids.org

CALM- Santa Maria


210 E. Enos Dr., Suite A Santa Maria, CA 93454


604 E. Ocean Ave., Suite G Lompoc, CA 93436

CALM- Santa Barbara

Ph: 805.614.9160 Fax: 805-614-9363

Ph: 805.741.7460 Fax: 805.736.6495

Ph: 805.965.2376 Fax: 805.963-6707

Living Grateful 2016

1236 Chapala St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Fuhring, CALM

Adopt a Family CALM’s 7th Annual Holiday Gift Giving Program Adopt a Family is a wonderful way to involve your family, school, club, or work group in the spirit of giving. In 2015, over 300 families requested assistance during the holidays. With your help, 2016 promises to impact even more.

One Family’s Story Jennifer is a three year-old who lives with her grandparents. Because of violence she witnessed when she was under the care of her parents, Jennifer experiences separation anxiety, severe night terrors, and difficulty interacting appropriately with her peers. Her grandparents are bringing her to CALM to receive help and learn how to empathically respond to her emotional needs. Because Jennifer’s grandparents have suddenly taken on the care of her and her siblings, they are unable to afford gifts for the family during the holidays this year. With the support of our generous donors, this family will still have a merry season!

Sample Wish List 3 year old girl:

Warm clothes, dolls, doll stroller, “Frozen” toys.

46 year old grandmother:

Body lotion, wagon to walk with grandchildren, f leece blanket, family movies.

To Participate Visit us at calm4kids.org or contact Sandra Fuhring, North County Development Associate, at sfuhring@calm4kids.org or 805.614.9160. You choose whether you adopt a small or large family! Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.



(Keeping CALM in Santa Maria: continued)

In 1969… Claire Miles, a local nurse, learned that an overworked and emotionally stressed father had, in a moment of desperation, shaken his infant son to death. Claire took immediate action and put a phone line in her living room, then took out a classified ad in the Santa Barbara NewsPress urging stressed parents to call for help. The phone rang almost 30 times that first month. She enlisted her friends to help answer the calls, with the hope of helping parents in crisis before they hurt their children. From there, an agency committed to our county’s children and families was born. For the past 45 years, CALM has been on the cutting edge of the child abuse treatment and prevention f ield. CALM has led the nonprof it community in adopting evidence-based practices in our treatment and prevention models and using assessment and data to evaluate our effectiveness and improve our work. 

We are proud of our success stories! • Joey*, age five, was exposed to severe domestic violence from the time he was conceived until he was four years old. Joey was expelled from two preschools for his aggressive behaviors and his mother was incredibly stressed due to her difficulties with his tantrums, anger, and opposition. With CALM’s help, both Joey and his mother received help in recovering from abuse and learning how to cope with and manage Joey’s rage.

• After giving birth to her son, Courtney became very depressed and anxious and began having thoughts of harming her child. Courtney was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was at risk of harming her infant if she did not receive treatment. At CALM, Courtney accessed the treatment she needed to raise a happy, healthy baby.

• Three year-old Julio and nine year-old Yolanda witnessed their mother’s boyfriend sexually abuse and attempt to kidnap their mother. Both children had emotional difficulties after witnessing the incident. With counseling at CALM, Julio was able to reduce his aggression and oppositional behaviors and Yolanda addressed her depression and suicidal thoughts.

* All names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of our clients.


Living Grateful 2016

• After being released from prison, Joseph found out not only that he had a daughter, but that he was awarded sole custody of her. Having no knowledge about raising a child, he was referred to CALM by Child Welfare Services. After graduating from CALM’s parenting program, Joseph has an unbreakable bond with his daughter and became a parent advocate for Child Welfare Services.

EVENT: Jack's

Helping Hand Annual Fundraiser 2016 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Bob Cane Photography





estry Ramey is in her seventh battle with cancer and about to begin work on her fourth book. Her children’s books reach directly into her readers’ hearts to teach valuable life lessons through the adventures of a group of pugs. Her background as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner allowed her to express her compassion and give of herself in service to others then and informs her writing now. “Think before you act, everything we do impacts us and others,” opens her 2012 book, Kippy’s


Living Grateful 2016

African Adventure, about four pugs on a journey through Africa. The book was written after Destry and her son Chris made a trip to Kenya and Uganda to bring suitcases of medical equipment and supplies to those in dire need, as they had done previously in Cuba and Ecuador. That trip gave her a new opportunity to reach out and share her love and compassion. After visiting a local orphanage to meet the children, she and Chris sponsored six-year old Frank and seventeen year old Emmy (Emmanuel). Destry uses skype



Eamon Young

San Diego. She adopted them all from Central Coast Pug Rescue. “The pugs exemplify unconditional love, acceptance, optimism and a healing energy that defies physical challenges,” she says.

Meet Destry, Feather & the pugs at


to stay in touch with Emmy, who is now going to law school and watching over Frank. She sends money and clothes directly to Emmy, considering him and Frank to be her other two sons. Destry donates money from her book sales to Pug Rescue, Ending Poverty Together and the Children of Africa Foundation. She also donates as many books as she can to orphanages. The four pugs live with her son, Chris, in

Destry’s award winning 2015 book, The Brown Paper Bag, takes the young (and old) reader through the tale of how Chris and the pugs rescue a shy little puppy that had been stuffed in a brown paper bag and thrown out of a passing car. ”It is important to recognize the value of the gifts you hold in your hand. The most amazing treasures come from the least likely places,” she writes. After a series of adventures for the little pup named Feather and her new friends, the reader sees acts of kindness and compassion played out, as well as the importance of love and determination. They accept her even though she is not a pug like them. The real life adventure took an even more dramatic turn after Feather came to live with Destry, becoming a Medical Alert Service dog. Exhibiting unusual behavior, Feather drew attention to a new cancer tumor, which Destry had no idea of at that point. This early detection may have saved her life. “What a wonderful world this would be if we had the attitude and lived in the present as do our canines,” she says.

Feather became models in a fashion show as a fundraiser for the NOOR Foundation, which provides free medical and dental services for those who cannot afford them. Her sunny attitude and lively way of living gives no trace of what she goes through. Always ready with a warm hug and a kind word, she spreads good cheer and a bubbly enthusiasm for life to those she encounters. She accepts her cancer tribulations as a gift because of all the people and experiences she would not have had otherwise. She bursts with excitement to get started on that next book which will stretch her in a new direction, telling children the true story of a silverback gorilla that spent a life in captivity. She intends to draw upon her own experience of a trek through an African highland jungle to see gorillas up close, as she works with her collaborator. Always ready for a new adventure, much like her family of pugs, she dismisses any thoughts about her nemesis, the cancer. “I cannot pay attention to that,” she says with a wave of her hand. “I’m too busy and have so many things to do.” As I watch her and Feather start their second walk of the day, waving at everyone, I smile and feel sure that her heart and message will go on. 

Arranging her trips to a clinic in Mexico to fight the new round of cancer, Destry still manages to do for others as a normal approach to living her life. She and




Let someone vent to you & just listen. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


Dennis Eamon Young

Can a Chinese martial arts superstar find love, happiness and fulfillment in the happiest city in America?



(One More Time: continued)


n the case of Liu Yu, everyone’s favorite Taichi Chuan Sifu (Master) in San Luis Obispo, the answer is a resounding, "yes". Since 1992, she has been helping make this city happy while fulfilling her own dreams. She nurtures her students like an awardwinning gardener tends her precious f lowers. Growing up in Baoying, China, she had longed to live some day in a simple place, with good people like her family, living and giving in an open hearted way. The guiding light of her life has always been her grandmother, Nai Nai, who had gone from living with bound feet to living with bound mouth. During the times of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, no one could afford to act or speak openly for fear of being reported to the authorities. Her grandmother nourished her spirit at every turn. “The Chinese say small town residents have narrow minds. This,” Liu Yu says, “is not true of San Luis Obispo, a city teeming with a variety of talented people who inspire me and enrich my life. I’m more comfortable here than anywhere I’ve lived before. Since the birth of our daughter, Han Ling, my Mama has visited me for extended periods. We got to know each other here for the first time.” After ten grueling years of harsh martial arts training, Liu Yu was at the pinnacle of her athletic wushu form and her well-honed spirit needed to

escape the bonds of political infighting and distrust around her. After managing the unprecedented feat (for an athlete) of fulfilling her wish for a full education, she met Norm Petredean. Norm fell in love and courted her. He helped her escape to America. They were married, lived in his hometown in Wisconsin, and then found an opportunity to teach in Los Angeles. Liu Yu still wished for that smaller, loving community and so they moved to the Central Coast where she opened her Wushu Taichi Center. Taichi is known as Moving Meditation and is meant to focus the spirits’ internal energies into the physical channels of the body. As alignment occurs, the mind becomes less scattered and energy becomes more focused and self-directed, allowing body memory to take hold in a relaxed and peaceful manner. Liu Yu guides her students through the taichi forms with gentle direction, using a firm, but soft voice and goodnatured humor. Often heard is her guiding mantra, one more time, to us all or to a struggling individual. Her gentleness and constancy helps her students keep their eyes on the eventual goal. Like an ideal mother, we all know she obviously has eyes in the back of her head. “My taichi students make my life joyful,” she says. “They have become my extended family. Here I can read any

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Liu Yu can be reached at: liuyuwtc@sbcglobal.net or www.wushutaichicenter.com


Living Grateful 2016

books I want, express different views, and even play guitar. My life is so full here and our daughter has so much opportunity, too.” In October of 2013, I had the honor of being part of a small group of students to accompany Liu Yu on a twenty-day trip through China. One experience among many others, which bordered on the mystical for us all, was performing our taichi form on the Great Wall. Hundreds of Chinese people smiled, waved and even took pictures of us, as we were, for a change, the different ones. As can be imagined, herding a group through a journey in a foreign land could be a taxing experience for anyone. We saw Liu Yu stay level and calm, no matter

whether dealing with a student sick from imbibing local water or another she needed to rush off to a local hospital due to an asthma attack. An impetuous tour bus driver trying to impress us all even left her behind. When she rejoined the group, she compassionately calmed his fears first, worried for him, rather than be angered. If the incident had been reported to his superiors, he may never have worked again. On an early morning walk I took with her, she stopped to chat and share techniques with a local master and his adherents, gracious in her delight of giving, as usual. We passed by a stadium in which she had become a champion and pointed out a building where her

husband had been staying when they first met. When we returned to the sports hotel we were staying at, there was no word or hint of recrimination for the others missed opportunity for a morning form. Much as her grandmother had nurtured the f lame of her exquisite spirit, so she strives to do for all those who come to her. Students come to learn the forms of an ancient art, but learn so much more about how to stand in peace and be one with the world, with open hearts and as a special community of like spirits. She is the gentle guide in an anxious world that spins at a breakneck pace. Once a year, Liu Yu and Norm host an open house in San Luis Obispo, bringing other masters to perform their specialties for her students, who also perform, and the public. As everyone watches her f lying through the air with double hooks or swords, they are only seeing part of this compassionate and gentle soul. They see the various forms of martial combat, which is the result of a lifetime of study and dedicated practice, as well as obvious respect. As Liu Yu tells us all: “One more time”. In 1996, Liu Yu and her student, Dawn Cerf, began the epic task of encapsulating Liu Yu’s life and adventures into book form. The project was realized in 2010. Awakening The Sleeping Tiger is a comprehensive and enlightening look at the life and times of a spirited girl becoming a spiritual woman during one of China’s most historically tumultuous times. It is a must read for everyone. 





A magnificent woman, who stands above the crowd willing to inspire others while putting herself in danger of cobras and tigers to share her heart and implement kind acts for no other reason but LOVE.


’ve been blessed to know this woman for over forty years. I have been inspired by her courage and strength to move forward in her ambitions while she conquers her fears. NO doesn’t even exist in her vocabulary! Where there is a will, then there is a way! I met Rosalind many years ago when I was a young teen age girl. She inspired me then and continues to inspire me now. She taught me so many things in life about approaching people and opening yourself up to new adventures and opportunities. She was the first to educate me on nutrition and health. She would bring in cassette tapes for employee meetings and make us listen and meditate. There were times when all of us young women thought she was nuts. As I look back now, I smile at the positive impact I received by having her in my path of life! Her words and kind acts of love impacted others, too. Her lessons were calm and simple. She taught me things like how important it is not to sit or stand with your arms crossed because you block off the rest of the world, it’s like saying you’re not welcome in my space when


Living Grateful 2016

your arms are crossed. She taught the importance of touching someone gently on the arm, or if they are sitting down, just touching the knee when you meet them to disengage the uncomfortableness of the original introduction. She taught me how you never know how sick a person may or may not be, and so you offer your chair or try to make others comfortable and engage them. Her focus was never on self; it was always about others. Little things like this stuck with me forever. I am amazed to find that she now spends much of her time sleeping by cobras and tigers to supply food and housing for the less fortunate. I remember Rosalind, nicknamed R Star and the name given to her foundation, lived in a four-story gorgeous home overlooking Laguna Beach and I would walk through her museum of a home and just ooh and ah over her worldly collections; her taste is impeccable. But even then, she had

herself set up to help others. She has always been a teacher of sorts. Time has always been a value and wasting it was not an option. She taught me that lesson by showing me the value of using a Day-Timer and never putting off until tomorrow what can be accomplished today. She doesn’t live in a four story anymore as her efforts are in her true love of life, the women and children of Nepal. You can read more about her and help support her foundation at rstarfoundation.org. Rosalind explains about the birth of R Star Foundation, “Women Helping Women & children in Nepal started in 2003 by creating a beginning solution for the poorest of villages in the district of Kavre, Nepal which has always been a communist dominated district. We started with money for 89 goats; we were able with collaborations at Nepal’s federal level to get sufficient help to give 200 goats to

There were times when all of us young women thought she was nuts. As I look back now, I smile at the positive impact I received by having her in my path of life!

ROSALIND 2 diverse villages with a ‘pay it back’ program to those we gift. Since 2003 our program is attributed to over 15,000 goats with our original gifting.” In 2008, the foundation opened a school, TOW-Nepal (Top of the World-Nepal). In addition to traditional Nepali studies, they teach peace for 20 minutes a day by programs created by Rosalind and expanded by an intern from SOKA University. Student created peace f lags are sent to Nepal by American students who learn of our work by our presentations. In return, the TOW-N students create peace f lags as part of their learning, which Rosalind brings to the USA. The villagers and other government schools are now joined in their peace efforts. The above average students teach peace to the government schools, which adds to their reach to peace in a long-standing warring area. Scholarships are provided to females, because they would not otherwise be permitted to attend due to being considered of lesser value. The boys pay only half the usual fee of government schools. The benefit to all is the children remain in the village without the perils of being attacked by tigers, vipers, weather or 2 legged predators for heinous activities. To assist others in knowing about the peace program, Rosalind wrote the little book REACH TO PEACE to share their efforts. Through collaborations with Nepal, the school has graduated nearly 2000 women from literacy classes. The kindness that flows through the heart of one woman has now impacted an entire generation of young people, both near and in far-away lands. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? You can read more about Rosalind and help support her foundation at rstarfoundation.org.




36 Can I Borrow a Kidney? 40 Get Back on Track after Vacay 42 Thicker Hair through Styling






ight years ago, when my personal career took an unexpected turn, I was given the chance to retire early. One of my lifelong dreams came true when I began working with my father, brother and husband in construction. My father’s health was beginning to fail, and my husband had the opportunity to advance his career. As a result, we moved to Santa Maria around the corner from my father and brother. For the next couple of years I worked side by side with my husband and father on construction projects developed by my brother. Soon after the death of my father, my husband went to work for an electrical contractor constructing the new kidney dialysis center in Santa Maria. Little did we know, we would soon be needing their services. In August 2011, my husband was diagnosed with a very rare kidney disease known as Fibrillary Glomerulonephritis (GN) where his body produces protein fibers that attack the kidney. His kidney was functioning at 11.5%. When the kidney falls below 10%, the only alternatives are dialysis or kidney transplant. There is no cure.

We immediately contacted UCLA transplant center to inquire about our transplant options and how to get on the list. We were presented with two options: Find friends or family with the same blood type who would be willing to donate their kidney or get on a waiting list to receive a kidney from someone who had died and donated their organ. On average, organ donation can take eight to ten years. This was a very diff icult time for us. I constantly felt like I was grasping for air and searching for answers. I was completely overwhelmed by the diagnosis and things were happening so fast. I wouldn’t let the fear of losing my husband enter my mind. Each morning, I thought, “Oh hell, no. This is not going to happen on my watch.” I dropped everything and was willing to do anything to make his health my number one priority. On one particular occasion, my sister called and asked me how I was feeling. I don’t know if I didn’t have time or was incapable of feeling, but my training at PG&E taught me to keep my feelings out of the crisis and prepare for plan B.


At this time, we recently moved into our current residence from the North end of town. We had met several of our neighbors and started playing golf at Santa Maria Country Club. Rick Bendle was one of our neighbors that we visited with often. He soon found out that my husband, Rudy, was on dialysis and that I was attempting to become a paired donor since Rudy and I were not a blood match. This means I would pair up with another blood match and donate mine in place of a blood match for my husband. I was on a mission to find a kidney. On one particular afternoon, we had just returned from the orientation at UCLA where I was moving forward with phase 1 of the scheduling for the testing to become a paired donor. We were visiting with neighbors, the Bendles, and they inquired about becoming kidney donors. I told them what we had learned, but encouraged them to contact UCLA since their strict regulations prohibited us from making recommendations of possible donors. I went on to mention that Rudy’s blood type was O negative. Kelli jumped up and said, “Mine, too! I want to be a donor!” The next thing I know, we received a call from UCLA saying they had a match. I knew it was Kelli Bendle. At this point, I knew I needed to make a decision to continue as the donor or let Kelli become the primary.


(Can I Borrow a Kidney?: continued)

I immediately called Kelli Bendle to discuss the risks and make sure she knew what she was getting into. She had two young daughters who would someday have children, and Kelli needed to consider her grandchildren, as well. There was also a possibility of her insurance company denying benefits based on donating a kidney in future issues. There were all kinds of risks for her to take in order to donate her kidney to a neighbor she barely knew.

Once again our prayers had been answered. Kelli Bendle gave us the greatest gift of HUMAN KINDNESS a person could ever give. Her kidney gave my husband his (our) life back. She is part of us; she became our God-sent miracle. Looking back, I can see that Rudy and I were in an emotional state of panic and fear, but we were given hope and courage from Kelli as we traveled through each process of this journey. Had we not made the move to Santa Maria in 2008, this story would not be written the same.

Kelli and her entire family sat down and discussed the options, and they were in agreement and supportive of Kelli’s decision. The exhausted emotional relief and expression of love were overwhelming; there are Today, in 2016, my husband has fully recovered. He is working full time and our no words to describe how life is back to normal. Rudy and I felt. To put it simple, God had answered KELLI BENDLE We can never repay or our prayer. thank Kelli Bendle and her GAVE US THE GREATEST GIFT family enough for giving Over the next nine months, OF HUMAN KINDNESS my husband back his life. we had several setbacks/ A PERSON COULD EVER GIVE. The fact that part of her miracles as a result of UCLA’s lives inside of him comforts rigorous screening process. HER KIDNEY GAVE MY HUSBAND and makes us family. We T hey d iscovered colon HIS (OUR) LIFE BACK. know that wherever life cancer which would not takes us, she will forever be have been otherwise diagSHE IS PART OF US; SHE BECAME with us. nosed in timely manner. We OUR GOD-SENT MIRACLE. were told that had they not Kelli and her family have caught it when they did, a since relocated to another kidney transplant would state and are doing well. have been the least of our God will surely continue to concern. During his stress test, the cardiologist asked bless such a giving family and they will always be Rudy when he had a heart attack. You should have recognized as our angel of HUMAN KINDNESS. seen the look on his face. We found out he had 99% blockage in his corroded artery. The colon cancer was The Bendle family participates in donating blood removed and three stints were inserted in his main platelets and giving to nonprofit programs, sharing artery. We went home to wait, praying that Kelli didn’t their time, energy, and money. Their youngest daughter reconsider and decide she wanted to keep her kidney. is in her second year the University of Texas at Austin and plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Finally, on October 1st, 2013, the phone rang. My husband answered the call he thought would never Many of us ask neighbors for a cup of sugar, a couple come. As he talked, my strapping 6 foot tall, 250 eggs or a cup of coffee. Which neighbor gives/gets pound husband who doesn’t show much emotion a kidney? Kelli Bendle and Rudy Hernandez of broke down in tears. The doctors had called to say Santa Maria, California, that’s who!  his transplant was scheduled for October 16th, 2013.

Thanks for sharing my Kind Story, Marji Hernandez | The grateful wife


Living Grateful 2016

Get Back on Track after Vacay STORY BY Coach



o you went away, saw a new part of the world, and now you’re back. You ate, you drank, you relaxed, and then you ate some more.

And now it’s time to face the music. As you wake up on Monday morning after your week of lessthan-healthy eating… Your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight. Maybe you are feeling that way right now.

Here are 5 steps to get you back on the fitness fast track after your trip.




Your vacation happened. You ate things from the “never eat these” list, you drank more than you should have…but now it’s over.

While travel days can take on many forms, the end result is most often dehydration and water retention. The only way to restore your balance is to get hydrated.

For your first few days home I need you to be extra picky about what you eat. Stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Whole, real foods will help to restore balance and block out cravings.

Draw a line in the sand. You’re back home so the bad eating stops now. If you’re serious about your f itness goals, then your vacation was the exception, and not the rule. Don’t beat yourself up for letting loose on your trip. Simply get back up, dust yourself off and get focused.


Living Grateful 2016

Your first priority in getting back on track is to drink plenty of water throughout your first few days home. Start with a tall glass of water in the morning, and carry a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day. Don’t add any artif icial sweeteners or stimulants to your water – these will sabotage your hydration efforts. For f lavor, add sliced fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables to your water, just like at the spa.

Don’t eat any packaged foods for the next few days. This means no snack foods, processed meat slices, dairy, baked goods or alcohol.


You may feel tempted to skip your workout the day after you return home from vacation, but be warned that it’s a slippery slope. After all, you’re tired, you have unpacking to do and you’re stiff from the ride home. That day slides into the next day and the next day. Before you know it, you’ve been

home for a week and still haven’t gotten in a workout. Jump into your workouts immediately once you return home. Sure, you’re going to feel a little rusty on that first day back, but remember that the sooner you get back into the swing of your routine the better. You can do it!



As relaxing as vacation days are, most end with the feeling of exhaustion. Make catching up on sleep a priority over the next few days.

It’s time to sweat out all those vacation indulgences. So lace up your shoes and put on your favorite gym clothes. When you start your first workout, ease in slowly. Take the time to warm up and stretch your muscles before powering up to a solid 30-minute routine. 

When your body is low on sleep, it becomes easier to make poor eating choices. You’re also less likely to get back into your workouts if you don’t give your body a chance to rest. Aim for getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night.

Turn to page 71 for my Chili Roasted Chickpea Poppers recipe!




Thicker Hair Through Styling STORY & PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY

Healing Touch Day Spa | Nipoma, CA

Surprisingly simple secrets to turn up the volume on fine or thinning hair


hile a great haircut and the proper hair color application are surefire ways to help skinny strands look beautifully thicker, there are also a few fast and easy styling techniques to help hair look more lush.

Here, Allen Ruiz, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Hair Styling, gives the lowdown.

TIP 1: Handle with Care

Thin hair is delicate, so treat it as gently as you can. To avoid unnecessary tugging, try detangling while you’re still in the shower. Apply conditioner to wet hair and then use a wide-tooth comb to carefully detangle any knots, working from the ends up.

TIP 2: Focus on the Ends

Applying too much conditioner on the top of your hair can weigh it down, so focus the application from the mid-section to the ends. I always recommend Invati™ Thickening Conditioner or the new Invati™ Thickening Intensive Conditioner, to guests with thinning hair because they’re formulated with soy protein and naturally derived amino acids, which mimic hair’s building blocks, so it weightlessly thickens hair from the inside out.

TIP 3: Soften Up

For added fullness—not frizz—try blotting hair dry with an absorbent old T-shirt rather than rubbing it with a rougher terrycloth towel. T-shirts are gentler on hair because they don’t have the grooves that towels often do. Also they will only absorb the excess water, as opposed to all the moisture from your hair. That moisture is needed to help hair look its best.


Living Grateful 2016

TIP 4: Rise to the Occasion

Use your fingers to lift your roots up and away from your scalp as you blow dry. Since hair stays where it dries, this technique will help create some height and the appearance of fullness.

TIP 5: Stay Loose

When you wear a ponytail or bun, steer clear of tight elastics, which can cause breakage. Look for ‘safe-grip’ versions and wear them loose enough that you can slip them on and off without breaking your hair. Aveda Artists are always ready with solutions to help thinning strands look thicker with styling tips and tricks. Expert strategies also include incorporating the wisdom and healing power of Ayurveda with our Invati™ System. 


Heading to the grocery store? Ask your neighbor if there's anything you can pick up for him/her. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


46 Kevin Steele 48 Dennis Eamon Young 50 Mending Misha 54 Garden Dude 57 A Voice for the Voiceless




KEVIN STEELE As I ventured through this desire to put together a KIND magazine, I quickly realized a photographer was a huge part of the success of the magazine.


y designer sent me some local links in which case I met with a few and then realized WOW this is way out of my budget! I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I had prematurely (without investigating his work) sent an email to Kevin Steele, not realizing how amazing and expensive he would probably be. Like so many other times, I had put the cart before the horse! Then I reviewed his web site and found out he was shooting for American Express and traveling the world with huge clientele and phenomenal photography skills. I was very weary and had all but give up, when he replied and requested a phone call for the following day. When we spoke, I immediately apologized and told him he was way out of my tiny budget. He said, “No, you don’t understand, I want to help you. I had a near death experience and by no means should I even be here today.” He went on to share an experience from 2 years ago where he had fallen fifteen feet backwards and landed on a rock during a shoot in Cabo. He broke his back and basically should have died and or been crippled. I was simply beside myself! His phone call confirmed that I was headed in the right direction with this magazine.


Living Grateful 2016

We scheduled to meet in Santa Barbara on the pier for coffee. He came casual and was completely down to earth. I instantly liked him. We laughed and talked, and he told me about how exciting his life is now that he had met his true love. He has healed from the painful and devastating experience that almost ruined his life. We shared some photo ideas, exchanged some thoughts and agreed to move forward on figuring out what the f irst issue should have on the cover. I must have sent him twenty-five to thirty different ideas. He would always kindly reply and give me support and positive feedback. He never seemed tired, but always supportive and excited to be involved. He reached out to some of his celebrity friends and models for future opportunities. There were times when he was out of state on shoots and extremely busy, but he always found the time to respond. He truly acted out of generosity and kindness. More time went by as I struggled on the marketing end of things, (nobody had a clue who Kim Iribarren was or why she was in Central Coast doing a magazine) so I thought for sure he had given up on me, but no! He was still prepared to be involved. He sent over f iles and consistently followed through with his kindness. By surprise, I found out that he was going to elope with his love. I was certain that a picture from this event should be on the cover. That’s exactly the type of story I want to share with the community. This kindness does not come around every day all over the world, but when it does it is important to share it with everyone. I have been blessed and honored to have so many people in my life this year, and Kevin is a fine example of one of them. I am thankful for Kevin, and his kind acts of love have paid off! His back has been healed and his heart has been rewarded with happiness and love. It is people like this that make the world a better place. He didn’t know anything about me. He just knew of a concept that this unknown lady wanted to share during her time on earth. I hope we can all learn to share in kindness the way Kevin Steele has done for me.  Photography by Anna J Photography / www.annaj-photo.com



Dennis Eamon Young STORY BY Judythe



ot one to sit still for any length of time, Dennis Eamon Young can usually be found ser ving his communit y in one capacity or another. He shares his photography and writing skills to support many charitable organizations in the SLO community. One of his favorite tasks has been to serve as President of SLO NightWriters (N W ), the Premier Writing Organization on the Central Coast since 1988. The organization, which has grown significantly during his tenure, not only serves the needs of local writers to improve their writing skills, but its members have also participated in local service activities. These include gathering Toys for Tots, serving as judges for a county schools’ writing project, collecting books for elementary school children, and a sponsorship of the annual Central Coast Writers Conference. As NW president, Dennis writes a monthly inspirational column for their newsletter. A perusal of a few columns looking for quotes gave evidence of his propensity for making comparisons. Usually they compare life to writing skills, but one seemed appropriate to cite in a publication celebrating kindness. “My mother used to make a lot of our wonderful meals using a pressure cooker, forcing all the individual ingredients to insinuate their various flavors one into another. Instead of a cacophony of competing flavors and odors, the completed dish became an entrancing medley of complimentary tastes, ready to tickle our palates.” What came to mind when I read this, was that Dennis, like his mother, is always looking for ways to tap into the variety of causes, talents and opportunities in the community and to do what he can


Living Grateful 2016

"The twinkle in his eyes puts the stamp of his Irish heritage on everything he accomplishes."

to bring them together and advance the causes of service agencies. People are drawn to Dennis’ smile and genuine affection for those with whom he comes in contact. At first contact, ‘kissing the Blarney Stone’ comes to mind, but that quickly turns to something more when the genuineness of his caring takes center stage. The twinkle in his eyes puts the stamp of his Irish heritage on everything he accomplishes. When asked to photograph a non-profit event, he often manages to squeeze it into his busy schedule. The recipients of his volunteer efforts often walk away with the impression they’ve done him a favor, given his joy in serving.

The prospect of this publication, Central Coast Kind, focused on kindness and caring intrigued Dennis. His antenna went up when the publisher asked him to help get the ball rolling. His charitable activities have put him in close connection with other special people in the area. The idea of interviewing and sharing the stories of those who devote their time and energy to help those who are less able to advocate for themselves appealed to him. Already familiar with a number of these caring individuals, he offered their names as potential features in coming publications.

of whom he is inordinately proud. He met his current wife, Carol many years ago, but they went separate ways. Determined to re-awaken that early love, he kept in contact with her over time. His persistence paid off and he moved to the West Coast where Carol lived, and they have now been happily married for nine years. The concept that if one wants a job done, give the job to a busy person suits Dennis. Like many who contribute to their community through acts of kindness, he would be the first to say volunteering paid him well. 

Dennis hails from Brooklyn, New York, where he raised his daughters,

Judythe Guarnera, editor of the “nightwriter” column in Tolosa Press for five years and the editor of the SLO NightWriter Anthology, has been published in local publications and in six anthologies (including Chicken Soup for the Soul). She has been a frequent winner in the Lillian Dean Contest at the Central Coast Writers Conference and a finalist in the NW Golden Quill Contest. She is a Mentor Mediator, which gives her more opportunity to connect, as she does through her writing.  Her first novel, Twenty-Nine Sneezes, is available at:amazon.com/author/judytheguarnera




Living Grateful 2016


Phelan, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society

A man walked in with a box of strawberries and gave Santa Maria Valley Humane Society one of the best days we have had in animal rescue.


isha was relinquished to SMVHS in 2012 because his owner’s son was scared of him. Like any cat, Misha has his moods, and he swatted and nipped the toddler when Misha was annoyed. That one incident scared the young boy, and he refused to leave his room because he didn’t want to be near Misha. It became an untenable situation with the boy too scared to leave his bedroom, even for potty breaks. The parents tried to work with their son, but being so young they could only reason with him so much. The tough decision to relinquish the cat they loved for seven years- since he was a kitten- was made. His owner came in everyday to see him for months, until he was adopted late in the year. Misha was adopted into a home with cats that he didn’t get along with (he prefers to be up high and watch the action rather than join in) and came back after a few days. Shortly thereafter, he was adopted again to a new home and was happy there for a few months until the owner was injured and could no longer care for a pet. As Misha grew older here, he developed significant health problems. In 2013 he lost a significant amount weight, had major skin issues and fur loss, rotting teeth, and lethargy. Clearly some-

thing was very wrong! We discovered that Misha had hyperthyroidism, which caused much of this weight loss, patchy fur, and lethargy. It took months to get his thyroid stabilized. Once Misha’s was healthy enough for surgery, he had multiple tooth extractions performed and was treated for severe gingivitis that required daily medication and care. Misha became our longest-term resident and a staple at SMVHS. He spent his days in one of our community cat rooms monitoring the other cats from a high perch in the morning, and sun bathing outside in the afternoon and peacefully watching the younger cats play nearby. An animal behaviorist worked with Misha to help socialize him with other cats so he could live peacefully in a room with them. We made every effort to make sure that Misha was happy living here, and it paid off. He was usually the first to greet anyone who entered his room, ready to say “hi” and get some chin scratches and affectionately rub his head all over you. Misha’s steady temperament won him lots of fans among staff and volunteers. He became our go-to guy for training new volunteers about cat behavior and how to socialize and interact with him. In early 2015, things had finally started to settle down for Misha and a loving family wanted to give him home after all of his years in the shelter. Unfortunately, Misha and the other cats in the home didn’t get along, and he wasn’t happy there. Third time wasn’t the charm in Misha’s case. The year only got worse from there- Misha’s thyroid medication was no longer effective. Our



(Mending Misha: continued)

Your support saves lives! Visit smvhs.org to donate. Medical Director discovered a tumor on his thyroid and removed half of his thyroid as well as the tumor. While recovering from surgery, a new volunteer fell in love with Misha. He would greet her with affectionate head butts and meow at her to turn on the faucet so he could get a drink of water. She started to seriously think about adopting him. Just when things were starting to look up for our favorite boy, Misha got the fungal infection, ringworm. Misha had to be isolated so he wouldn’t spread the infection to other cats. It took months of treatment to get it to heal. Our volunteer decided to adopt him and continue to care for him at home. All of the cleaning and medicating she did for him wasn’t enough, the fungal infection got worse and he was brought back in. We continued to treat his infection, and started him on antifungal pills in addition to topical treatments on the spots that were infected. The months of medical care and isolation started to wear on him, and Misha began to refuse food. Clinic staff thought it was depression and set up an isolation area for him in the clinic where he could watch the action. He loved having people around and seeing the hustle and bustle going on in the nearby surgery room. Misha really perked up and started to get healthier. We continued to monitor his infection and after four long, tedious months Misha was finally free of infection! During these months of treatment, we began to get phone calls in a heavy Russian accent asking about Misha, which was odd as only staff and volunteers knew that he was here. The frequency of calls picked up and one day the man said he wanted to adopt Misha. Our suspicions arouse


Living Grateful 2016

that this was his original owners, but when pressed all our caller would say was that Misha used to be the cat of a family member. We kept updating him about Misha’s treatment, until we could finally say that Misha was cleared for adoption. A man walked in with a box of strawberries and said in a heavy Russian accent “I am here for my cat.” Misha’s favorite treats are strawberries, but few people know that. That could only mean one thing- his original owners came back for him! We lead the man to his old cat and Misha froze when he saw him, like it couldn’t be real. The man cut up the strawberries into tiny pieces for Misha and shared them, confirming their old bond. The man came up front and asked what he had to do to get his cat back. He filled out the application and told us that his family wanted the cat they had owned for several years to come home. They missed their cat dearly and now that he is old, they thought it was time he come back home, especially now that their son was old enough to learn to not be scared of a cat and Misha had dealt with so much. Misha had been through enough and deserved peace and love. We told them all about Misha’s time with us over the years and all of his health issues, and they quietly took notes and asked questions to make sure they knew exactly how to care for him. A soon as the adoption contract was signed, his owner broke out in a huge smile, clearly relieved that Misha was once again his. Staff and volunteers all said their good byes to our beloved Misha, but nobody was happier than Misha’s owner. He kissed Misha, whispered quietly in his ears, scratched him under the chin, and all the while Misha blinked contentedly. The family was finally back together again, and we can’t think of a better ending for a remarkable cat! 


Pick up someone else's trash & dispose of it properly. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


Georgi, The Garden Dude

size, they become huge and fiberous. When this frustrates me enough, I sometimes plant polebeans of other colors, purple, yellow and a variagated variety called “rattlesnake.” But I always go back to the the runners because of their f lavor.


hortly after the fog receeded, I went out in my backyard to visit my polebeans feeling the sun on my face and seeing it ref lect off the green leaves and red blossoms. Just like people, plants thrive when not limited to one pathway; they enjoy having a complex scaffold so they can play with different routes as they climb. Polebeans grow more that twelve feet tall and only take up a square foot of space. When they are young, I often find a vine venturing into space with no support. In such cases, I tell the bean, “Let me help you find a solid path,” and weave it among the established vines. The bean and I have a mutually satisfying relationship and I sense its gratitude. Scarlet runners are my favorite beans, being not only delicious but also large and abundant. I grow them outside my living room windows and love the green screen that forms with hundreds of red/ orange blossoms that ultimately become beans. Squash plants happily climb along with the beans, enjoying eaching others’ company. “It’s good to see you two getting along so nicely,” I tell them. I feel them beaming back. As in most relationships, they have some friction. The beans are the same color as the leaves and are easy to miss. If I let them go a day or two past their ideal


Living Grateful 2016

Toward the end of the polebean’s life, I let the final pods dry out and use them as dry beans. I pick the best for the following year’s crop. I actively began exploring the conscious implementation of kindness when I was a high school teacher. The f irst few years, I thought I needed lots of rules to keep five classes of thirty-six students in order. I kept shortening the list until there were only two. The first was “Be kind.” I explained that the root of the word “kind” is kin, and that in all my classes we would practice kindness by treating each other as brothers and sisters should ideally treat each other. The students were organized into learning groups of six. If I noticed a student being unkind, I would ask the offender “What class rule was just broken?” She/he would invariably look down and say, “I was being unkind.” The students soon found that it felt good to practice kindness. The second rule was “Stay on task.” It usually took a couple of weeks to establish these norms before the classes got down to cooperating effectively.

Forty years later, after a wonderful career as a university professor, I decided to plan for retirement. Throughout my career I had taught environmental education, which included the idea that an ecosystem consisted of living organisms thriving together in an interconnected system. Humans can most effectively interact by being kind to all living things Plants are part of the kinship of all living things. I learned from Gestalt therapy that “awareness is curative.” I also learned that awareness could be gained by “making the implicit explicit.” Applying these principles to my garden plants, I have found that they respond to my attention, especially in the form of my speaking to their needs or current condition. I had always been a terrible gardener and decided to learn to treat plants with care and kindness as I learned to garden. To this end, I started a website “thegardendude.com.” I took on the persona of “The Dude” from the movie The Big Lebowski. The Dude has been compared to the Old Testament lamed-vavnik, one of thirtysix righteous men, usually simpletons or slackers, who live a kind life based on taking it easy. According to scripture,

it is their presence that keeps God from destroying humankind. The tagline for the site is “If The Dude can do it, so can you.” Then I began making videos of The Dude trying various approaches to gardening: growing, preserving, and preparing veggies. A central theme of the website was to make a small, urban-sized lot produce the maximum food possible. I soon discovered that three things helped productivity: growing vertical, using containers and learning what makes the plants happy. An early failure was trying to grow upsidedown plants. Several successes followed. Tree collards also grow over twelve feet and take a square foot of space. They are perrenial and one will feed a neighborhood. Walking stick kale have similar characteristics, but are not as tender or tasty as collards. I used one of the walking stick kale stems as a scaffold for polebeans, and they seemed to love it. I have learned that scaffolds can come from surprising sources. I have a twentyfoot-tall euphorbia and my dragon fruit has fallen in love with it, embracing it more than twelve feet high. I planted a squash near it and was happy to see the squash follow the dragon fruit up the euphorbia. Both the dragon fruit and squash made a dramatic plunge downward after reaching their maximum height. My neighbor asked me what the orange fruit was doing growing down into her back yard. I told her how to prepare squash so the plant fulfilled its destiny and my neighbor learned a healthy new skill. My tree tomato, also tall, perrenial and using only one square foot, recently blossomed and seemed ready for a large, continuous crop. I noticed that as it grew, its large leaves would fall off the lower part of the stalk. I said to the plant, “Thank you for giving me your leaves. They will be a perfect mulch,

into a handsome bulb.” They always do and after harvesting, can be kept for over a year in the cellar. keeping the soil moist as you like it.” My yard came with large fig and orange trees that yield huge amounts of fruit. I added containers to increase the orchard with two lime, three lemon, olive, and avocado trees. My gogi berry vines also grow over twelve feet tall, and produce some of the most nutrient-dense berries. Most people don’t know that the gogi leaves can be used in stir-fry dishes. I have an asparagus patch under the south-facing part of my deck, using its location effectively by partially using an area that otherwise would be unproductive. In early spring, I enthusiasticly welcome the new spears and as I harvest them, “Thank you for welcoming spring with such delicious treats,” I say. After a few months, I let them mature to fern so they can replenish the roots for the following season. Each of two garden towers use four square feet of deck to produce over fifty plants. I have many herbs that I dry and use throughout the year and am experimenting with addressing whole teams of diverse plants. The towers have large periferated tubes going down the center so I can add kitchen scraps to feed the worms. As I add garbage to each tower, I tell the assembled plants and worms “Here is some food that the worms will enjoy eating, and the plants will love the resulting worm castings, the best fertilizer there is.”

All the plants love having compost and worm castings regularly put on their roots. I have two worm farms and have learned that for my worms to be happy, I don’t feed them oily foods or hot plants like peppers. They consume all other kitchen waste. Much of plant trimmings and fallen leaves are composted in two revolving composters. Once a year, I make compost tea to replenish the communities of bacteria and fungi that live in my healthy soil. The key to successful compost tea is to mix pure water (I use rain water), commercial compost catalyst, nutrients like molasses and about a pint of my own compost and then put an aquarium bubbler in a five gallon bucked and bubble it for twenty-four hours. Every ten minutes the organisms double in number and enrich the soil because they provide two functions: they make many nutrients and also eat any toxic substances like petrolium or pesticides from street runoff. I address these communities as I annoint each container “I thank all you live forms for living in harmony with each other and the plants that thrive because you are there.” As the Garden Dude, I’ve learned how to garden and share my discoveries with thousands of people online. I have many friends with a similar online presence and together with fellow Rare Fruit Growers, we form a vibrant community that practices mutual learning and offers endless opportunities to share kindness with all living things. 

In the early fall, I plant elephant garlic under trees and just about anywhere there is space available. As I place each clove into a small hole, I tell it “I know you will love your new home and grow centralcoastkind.com



Bake something & bring it into work to share. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


Dennis Eamon Young

Grandmother spearheads fight for rights of rare disorder victims


ou feel Andrea Vergne’s warmth right away. You are caught up in the sparkle of her dark eyes even before you are enveloped by her hug. You realize that this is a person on a mission to bring love to everyone around her in her fight for the rights of individuals with Rare Genetic Disorders. She grew up in a large family in San Diego, caring for family members and sharing with those less fortunate, not out of a sense of duty, but from the love on which she was nurtured. “I often accompanied my father,” she says “A soft spoken boxer and ex-military man to school as he advocated for my brother, who had developmental disabilities. Dad told stories that made people laugh and sometimes cry in order to make his points and win administrators to his side.” centralcoastkind.com


(A Voice for the Voiceless: continued)

Andrea today uses the same technique to deal with people in her quest to win progress for the developmentally disabled. “These stories are from real life experiences and come from my heart.” As a breeze whips the exotic scents of her cooking through her homey kitchen, she explains that she grew up serving as her father’s right hand in all these family instances. She understood the specialized needs of the disabled and became adept at reading the subtext of conversations when dealing with various medical and business professionals. “I always communicate with their hearts first, so they will understand the truth of what I am telling them.” Later in life with a family of her own, one of her sons became a father while still attending school. Andrea and her husband took in the young mother until the baby boy, Cade, arrived, since the girl’s family did not want her to go through with the pregnancy. After the young girl returned to her family, went back to school and gave up the baby, whom they named Cade, he was lovingly accepted as part of their family.

“I always communicate with their hearts first, so they will understand the truth of what I am telling them.”


Living Grateful 2016

Andrea, who had been told she could have no more children of her own, later became pregnant, so they were blessed with Joseph in 20 0 0, after moving to the Central Coast. In 2005, Andrea and her husband, Joe, officially adopted Cade. Cade had his first seizure at three months of age. By the time he was two years old, Cade had begun to miss certain childhood markers, even mimicking baby Joseph ’s actions. He was diagnosed with an extremely rare chromosomal abnormality. Andrea credits Cade’s pediatrician, Dr. Amy Webb, of Pismo Beach and Dr. Mark Corazza, of Santa Barbara for spearheading work with Emory University for Cade. Dr. Webb considers Cade very special and agrees with Andrea that it is important for him to have the consistency of a doctor familiar with his case through all stages, which is why she has kept him as a patient as he grew older. Andrea has become a role model for the advocacy of individuals with developmental disabilities. She is a staunch proponent of mandator y newborn screening, which would help identify many conditions such as her mother’s Addison’s disease and the Chromosomal Duplication that caused Cade’s condition. Without Andrea’s constant advocacy, Cade would not have received much of the help he has been given. She is respectful, but adamant that those in power look beyond the rules to recognize the human imperatives involved. Not content to let others carry on this


important work, Andrea has searched the California coast to examine various sites for possible inclusive programs and designed an inclusive and comprehensive program. She rarely takes no for an answer, and then not for long. For example, she found a center in Sacramento that utilized electronics, such as those that allow the scientist, Stephen Hawking, to communicate and is anxious to see Cade and many others utilizing these devices. Her sights are not set on today, nor even tomorrow, but on many tomorrows ahead. Andrea has lobbied to form the Adults in Transition program in order to help students like Cade eventually become self-sufficient.

Due to technical procedural issues, Cade was not allowed to attend his high school prom, but Andrea managed to have him attend the Arroyo Grande High School Prom with her as his “date”. Cade interacted with his teacher, his principle and other students. To watch Andrea guide Cade across the dance f loor is to see a woman bursting with the passion of her calling and a disabled young man being accepted by classmates. Andrea Vergne is most certainly, as she has been called, “A Voice for the Voiceless”. 



INFORMATION FROM www.lifevestinside.com

Mission: To EMPOWER and UNITE the world with KINDNESS. Life Vest Inside inspires people to recognize the potential they have to affect real and positive change in this world through kindness. Life Vest Inside is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to spreading kindness, helping people recognize their potential, and building self-esteem.

Dance For Kindness

Project Hope Exchange (PHE)

In 2012, Life Vest Inside initiated Dance For Kindness, a WorldWide event in celebration of World Kindness Day. Groups from across the globe join together to perform a Kindness Freezemob/Flashmob to the same song, same dance, all happening on the same day.

Would just like to tell you about another amazing Life Vest Inside initiative called Project Hope Exchange (PHE). PHE is a story sharing community, where people anonymously share 30 second audio messages of hope based on an adversity they have overcome or may be currently battling.

Let's Unite! World Kindness Day!

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A FREEZEMOB/FLASHMOB?  Music fills the streets, as participants pose in acts of kindness positions, increasing people’s awareness of what kindness looks like, and the kindness opportunities that surround them. Immediately after, the Flashmob song begins, and participants unfreeze and break out into dance!

PHE allows people to openly share how they were able to persevere against all odds. Adversities range from physical health, to mental health, to life challenges. Whether you’re looking to give or get hope, this is an amazing Initiative and truly inspires those who need it most. Interested? Visit our website. Feel free to record your message of hope or send an existing message to someone who could use a bit of hope.

For more information, visit us online at www.lifevestinside.com


Living Grateful 2016


Write someone a letter, just because. PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


64 Fruits of Labor 70 Sweet & Spicy Chickpeas



fruits of We have been in the wine business for 22 years. In that time, Gary, my husband and the winemaker of our multi-family owned business, Costa de Oro Winery, has been interviewed many times. I have not. So, when I met Kim Iribarren out in front of our tasting room and she asked me if we’d like to contribute an article for the first edition of of her KIND Magazine, my mind started to race. “Wow, maybe this is my chance! Gary’s getting ready for harvest, and he won’t have time for this. I can take this opportunity to interview myself and tell my own story!” It’s sneaky, I know, but I think I’ve got a good story to tell!



Living Grateful 2016





ary moved me to the Central Coast from LA in 1994. Gary, whose family is from Santa Maria, owns Gold Coast Vineyard along with the Espinola family, who were selling their grapes to local winemakers. I say he moved me facetiously, because though I had agreed to the move, when it got right down to it, I came kicking and screaming. I didn’t know much about the Central Coast and one of Gary’s biggest selling points was that the weather was “moderate”, which wasn’t enough to make me want to leave my beautiful family and friends in LA. The transition wasn’t easy. Our first home was in San Luis Obispo. In those first few months while I looked for work, though I enjoyed exploring the quaint little town and discovering fabulous places that I started to frequent, like Linnea’s Cafe, Finder’s Keeper’s and the Academy of Dance, Gary would often come home in the evening to find me homesick and in tears. Then two miraculous things happened that changed my life forever. We got pregnant with our first son and Gary began working at Au Bon Climat and Qupe Wineries. Obviously, having a child is a joyful, momentous occasion. It also helped to connect me to the Central Coast, my new home. But, little did we know how Gary’s chance meeting with Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat would inf luence our lives in such a positive way. The story goes that Gary, who is a musician, was playing with a band in Avila. Someone requested a song that none of the band members knew the words to, and Jim Clendenen jumped on stage and sang one of the best renditions of Wooly Bully I’ve ever heard. Gary and Jim’s friendship was struck. Their common love of music got them talking and quickly the conversation turned to wine. Within months, Jim was purchasing Gold Coast grapes. Jim invited Gary out to the Au Bon Climat/Qupe winemaking facility on the Bien Nacido property and it is there Gary was introduced to Bob Lindquist of Qupe Winery. Gary and Bob’s mutual love of the Dodgers bonded

them immediately. It was through the friendship and inf luence of these two very special, talented winemakers that Gary f irst got the light bulb, “Hey, maybe I can make wine!” Many have had that thought, but few dare to voice it. And of all things, Gary dared to share his dream with Jim, one of the greatest and most successful winemakers in our area and certainly one of the forefathers of winemaking in Santa Barbara County. I would have thought that Jim would have snickered,“Yeah, sure kid!” But instead, he said, “Come work for us; we’ll teach you.” Gary wisely took Jim’s offer and part of that package included making a small amount of his own wine. Our Costa de Oro label was born! The rest is history. For seven years, Gary worked under the mentorship of Jim Clendenen, Bob Lindquist and Jim Adelman. He learned everything from production to sales to marketing. He worked long hours, long days, long weeks, and long harvests. From my perspective, he worked and worked and worked. But here’s the best part, he made wonderful friendships, and his friends became my friends. And those friends had wives and they became my friends, too. And suddenly, I found myself in the midst of one of the greatest communities of people I had ever been a part of. The generosity and support that Jim and Bob gave Gary and me when we were getting started is both tremendous and touching. Not only did they teach Gary to make worldclass wine, but they opened doors for us to sell our wine to the finest restaurants, wine shops and hotels in the country. In addition, the professional contacts that they introduced us to have become some of our closest friends. Gary says, “Jim and Bob always encouraged me to show my wine at tastings. They were never worried about competition; it was always about showcasing Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast.”



(Fruits of Labor: continued)

There were many others in the wine industry that shared their knowledge and friendship with us, like Lane Tanner of Lane Tanner Wines, Frank Ostini and Grey Hartley of the Hitching Post, Bonnie and Jeff Frey of Frey Farming, and Dick Dore and Bill Wathen of Foxen Winery. It was always an honor to get an invitation to the infamous May Party! When it came time for us to open our own tasting room, we couldn’t have done it without the wonderful advice and support of Brian and Johnine Talley of Talley Vineyards. But it went beyond just wine. Raising a family when you’re in the wine business can prove challenging, especially during harvest time. It was Piper Adelman of Makor Wines (mother of four) who was my true, wise mentor. She was always there for me and always will be. The bonds we made run deep and are forever. Since those early days we have met so many special people in the industry who have touched our lives. There are too many to mention here, but you know who you are. We are so grateful for your friendships! It was my Mom who first called it to my attention. She and my Dad would come every harvest to help with our two boys, Eli and Raleigh, and to keep me company. She said, “You are so blessed. These people are like family to you,” and she was right! “Family is everything!” This is a very important motto in both Gary’s family and my own. We are so lucky


Living Grateful 2016

to have the love and support of our two families. But when you find a loving family in your work environment, I believe that is truly something unique. Today we have that familial spirit in our tasting room. In fact, our Wine Club Members and customers often boast that they are part of the “Costa de Oro Family”. We didn’t try to make this happen, it just did. Our warm and genuine employees create a friendly, homey environment to enjoy. Family is who we are. Also, over the years I have watched Gary mentor a few winemakers himself, including our talented niece, Jessica Gasca of Iter Wines. That makes me happy and proud. I’d like to think we are paying it forward. Gary often speaks of the same wonderful spirit of community that he experiences at Central Coast Wine Services, where we now have our wine production. “There is a similar sharing of ideas and passion for excellence as I experienced at ABC/Qupe. I love the creative energy of the communallike space.” I believe we owe our success to the friendships, love, support and kindness of our wonderful Central Coast Wine Community and family. There is no place else I’d rather work or live. And if you tried to get me to leave, I’d be kicking and screaming to stay! 

GROCERY OUTLET 101 Who are we? Grocery Outlet Bargain Market exists to save you money and help you keep your family healthy with quality products at deep discount prices. We’ve been serving the frugal-minded for many years. We measure our success by how much you save.

• You can tell what climate a wine comes from based on its color.

How do we do it? We source product opportunistically, buying only quality brand name products directly from their manufacturers for pennies on the dollar. When a manufacturer has surplus inventory from excess packaging, manufacturing overruns or a wrong forecast, they call Grocery Outlet first. Some of our greatest buys are in wine, health, beauty care, frozen foods, organics, produce and gluten free products.

Make us your first stop so you don’t overpay elsewhere for something on your list.

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• We definitely don’t understand it, but there are some folks out there who are afraid of wine!

• Red Grapes = Red Wine

1 Shop us first.

Darker shades of wine (dark reds and yellow whites) come from warmer climates, while lighter shades come from cooler climates. Also, the darker the more flavorful, the lighter the less lush.

The fear of wine is called “oenophobia.” Fascinating, right? That’s why Grocery Outlet has experts on site to help.


Interesting Wine Facts:

Red wines are red because the fermentation process extracts color from the grape skins. White wines are not fermented with the skins on, so they have no color!

• You might be holding your glass wrong. You should always hold your glass by the stem and not the bowl. Otherwise, your body heat will raise the temperature of the wine. Who knew?

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ost of the time cookie dough is an off-limits indulgence that you may dip into on a Friday night while watching a movie at home...only to wake up feeling guilty the next day. Sure, you know you should resist, but sometimes you simply need a sweet, satisfying treat. Enter this exciting new recipe for Guilt-Free Cookie Dough! It has all of the creamy, cookie-dough goodness that you crave without the regrettable ingredients. Instead of butter, flour and sugar this cookie dough treat is made with creamed chickpeas, peanut butter (or almond butter), stevia and a touch of honey.

Just one creamy spoonful is all it will take to convince you that you can have your cookie dough... and eat it too :-)

Coach C

Guilt-Free Cookie Dough Servings: 12

Here’s what you need... • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed • ¼ cup creamy, natural peanut butter or almond butter (no sugar added) • 1 Tablespoon honey • 20 drops liquid stevia • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 Tablespoon coconut milk • 2 cracks of fresh sea salt • ¼ cup Lily’s stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips Combine all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more coconut milk if needed. Transfer the dough to a bowl. Mix in the chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 197 calories, 6g fat, 25g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, 12mg sodium, 7g fiber, and 10g protein


Living Grateful 2016



hen you decide to get fit by eating healthy and exercising with intent, one of the first things you cut from your diet are the crunchy, savory snacks. Most snacks with a satisfying crunch are packaged, processed, made with refined grains and filled with additives that contribute to weight gain. And so, the crunchy and salty snacks that you once loved become a thing of your past once fat loss becomes your goal. Until now... Get ready to dive into a bag of these irresistible, crunchy, and savory Chili Roasted Chickpea Poppers! A handful of these wholesome poppers will give you the snacking crunch that you crave while delivering grain-free fiber and protein. It’s super easy to make too – simply rinse the chickpeas and coat with olive oil and seasoning then pop it in the oven.

Chili Roasted Chickpea Poppers Servings: 4

Here’s what you need... • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed • 1 Tablespoon olive oil • sea salt • chili powder • garlic powder • onion powder • black pepper Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pat dry – the drier the chickpeas the crunchier the poppers will turn out. In a bowl combine the chickpeas with the olive oil and generous amounts of the seasonings. Taste a chickpea to gauge the strength of the flavor and adjust as needed. Spread the coated chickpeas over the prepared pan and roast for 25 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Enjoy by the handful!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (about ½ cup) equals: 96 calories, 1g fat, 17g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 6g protein centralcoastkind.com



Know a parent that could use a break? Offer to hang out with their kiddo(s) & go do something fun! PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Kevin Steele


74 Central Coast Happenings 75 Love Is in the Air



CENTRAL COAST HAPPENINGS Maria Airport is now offering commuter + Santa flights to LAX with new airline. Friday nights at Costa de Oro Winery in + Fun Santa Maria. Great music and dinner from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

miss the HUGE holiday wine sale at + Don't participating Grocery Outlets in November! Visit the Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Lompoc locations.

Christmas at Madonna Inn. Friday, + Cowgirl November 25th from 10 AM - 5 PM. Saturday,

November 26th from 9 AM - 4 PM. 100 western vendors.

Maria Parade of Lights 2016. Saturday, + Santa December 3rd from 5:20 - 8:30 PM. Broadway Street, from Stowell Road to Main Street.

Julefest Tree Lighting Ceremony. + Solvangs Friday, December 2nd. Enjoy Christmas music, dancing ballerinas, and tap dancers performing along with the Christmas tree lighting.


Living Grateful 2016