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delta living JAN – MAR 2017


Inspiring stories across 1700 miles

TRUE FRIENDS LAST A LIFETIME Norma Arreguin Life with Autism 1

JanuaryFrerking-Ramos – March 2017 Ryan



Dresses 4 Paws 16 Kristine Cataldo



January – March 2017

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January – March 2017


Photo by JVB Photography

in this issue‌ Painted Bellies by Charleen Earley Photo by JVB Photography

42 Empowerment Project by Kristine Cataldo Photo by JVB Photography

30 Plates Eclectic Cuisine Photo by Carol Young


Feature Story

(L-R) Lillyana Caballero, Marisa Bonifacio, Sasha Vega and Leslie Perez (holding Ninja) model Dresses 4 Paws. (Photo by JVB Photography)

Dresses 4 Paws By Kristinie Cataldo

20 Delta Wines

Dennis Hall

8 Delta Beauty

Emily Woselek

22 Delta Musings

10 Delta Greens

Walter Ruehlig


Debbie Gatt

32 Delta Silver Linings 4

January – March 2017

Vinny DiNicola

dlm delta living magazine

from the publisher…

CONTACT US P.O. Box 395 Knightsen, CA 94548



PUBLISHER Charleen Earley - GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Conrad Borba - Jody Hanson - EDITOR IN CHIEF Rita Caruso - WRITERS Vinny DiNicola • Walter Ruehlig • Debbie Gatt Kristine Cataldo • Dennis Hall • Norma Arreguin Dr. Kristin Mattingly • Ryan Frerking-Ramos Silky Sahnan • Charleen Earley PHOTOGRAPHERS JVB Photography • Jody Hanson Carol Young • Russ Olney • Charleen Earley Selfies on grad day on Dec. 21, 2016 at San Jose State University with my professors and family. Top (L-R) photos with Dr. Diana Stover and my sister Rita Caruso, middle with my son Andrew Earley and Professor Scott Fosdick, bottom with Professor Richard Craig and boyfriend Mike Smith. My MS Degree is in Mass Communication/Journalism.

COPY EDITORS Rita Caruso • Tammy Borba • Walter Ruehlig • Ana Hurt DISTRIBUTION Barbara Ellison-Smith • Walter Ruehlig • Kristine Cataldo

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$5 each issue or $15 annual (4 issues a year) Mail check to: P.O. Box 395 Knightsen, CA 94548 Make check payable to: Delta Living Magazine

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Charleen Earley | Publisher




love how every issue morphs into it’s own core theme – it’s rarely planned. Sure I’ll have some sort of general direction I’d like to go in, but halfway through each production cycle, the issue begins to take on a life of it’s own, almost like a painting. It becomes something better than if it had been meticulously mapped out in detail. This issue is proof of that. It turned into a girl-power message, but it’s more than that, because the message transcends gender. The unintended theme became connection and growth. It focuses on friendships, career goals and dreams, empowerment, beauty and health care, especially for our seniors (see Vinny’s article on page 32). The outliers in this issue actually compliment the message of connection and growth, since Ryan Frerking-Ramos’ personal journey in living with autism (Pg. 26) highlight’s growth potential, while Walter Ruehlig’s musings about siblings (Pg. 22), as different from each other as they may be – in the end, still have an extraordinary connection. So just a tiny cliffhanger for our upcoming April – July quarterly issue; we have some BIG NEWS in store for you! I can’t say what it is, but announcements will come shortly after this issue “hits stands.” And no, it has nothing to do with earning my MS Degree in Mass Communication/Journalism at San Jose State University last month. I’m very proud of accomplishing this goal and now I’m working towards a second Masters Degree, this next one in speech. I hope you challenge yourself in 2017, to take that class you’ve always wanted to take, write that book, learn a new dance, play an instrument, volunteer for a good cause, help a person in need, get healthier, learn a new language or read a great book. Team Delta Living Magazine hopes you challenge yourself to connect and to grow in some way, big or small. Happy New Years!

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Delta Living Magazine is published quarterly on recycled paper. Copyright© 2012 by Charleen Earley. Single copy price $5 in U.S.A. on 100% recycled paper. $15 for annual subscription. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A. E-zine version available. Contact, 925.383.3072 or visit



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All rights reserved. No part of any issue of Delta Living Magazine, be it editorial content, photographs or advertising design, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or any other format, without the prior permission of the publisher. All facts, opinions and statements appearing within this publication are those of the writers and editors themselves and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions, views or endorsements by the publisher of Delta Living Magazine. Accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. Due to uncertain nature of U.S. Postal Service and third party freight services, Delta Living Magazine does not guarantee delivery of said publication by any specific date.

January – March 2017




Rita Caruso | Editor-in-Chief

Conrad Borba | Graphic Designer

Glenda Kugler | Executive Sales Manager

Rita, a mortgage loan consultant for Guild Mortgage, has been in the mortgage industry for over 30 years. She served two terms as President of the Discovery Bay Chamber of Commerce. With a deep love for journalism and an avid reader, she brings a love to her role as Editor-in-Chief. She's also an avid runner, hiker, cycler and caterer, who loves to spend time with her husband, celebrating 20 years together. Reach her at

Conrad is a graphic and web designer, who spent much time in his youth drawing and creating, with his earliest memories of working on a computer as a kindergartner. He studied graphic and web design at Modesto Junior College and the Institute of Technology of Modesto. With over 10 years experience in graphic design and six years as a freelancer, Borba stays abreast industry standards in order to provide his clients with fresh and new ideas. Reach him at

Glenda moved to the East Bay area from the Midwest in 2014. She has been in sales and marketing for 15 years. Taking pride in building lasting relationships with her clients, she also networks to help their businesses be successful. Professional and caring in all aspects of her life, she is an advocate of animal rescue work, enjoys cooking, ghost hunting and travel. Reach her at or 925.322.1936.

Liz Leppelmeier | Copy Editor

Jody Hanson | Photographer | Graphic Designer

Carol Young | Photographer

Liz is the Project and Marketing Director for Element Power Systems, a locally based renewable energy and solar company. She takes pride in being part of a quality driven company that shares the same level of professional values as those that are personally important to her. She loves meeting new people and has a passion for archeological artifacts.

Jody’s a small town Colorado native who loves the outdoors. Whether it’s the Rocky Mountains or the California coast, she is drawn to the visual stimulation of nature. Jody found her zest for life behind the lens of a camera while attending Brooks Institute of Photography. She loves photographing people and capturing the variety and beauty this world has to offer. Visit her at

Born and raised in the Bay Area, newlywed Carol Young is sought-after for her creative images and sparkling personality. With an uncanny way of putting people at ease and connecting with her subjects, whether at the studio or on location, Carol has a sincere enthusiasm for photography that is truly inspirational. Contact her at 925.586.0555 or

Ryan Frerking-Ramos | Writer

Vinny DiNicola | Writer

Dr. Kristin Mattingly | Foodie Writer

Ryan is a senior at Liberty High School. Since his sophomore year, he has strived to build an extensive portfolio and learn about all aspects of journalism. At Liberty High, he’s in the First Priority Christian Club and has written for The Lion’s Roar for the past three years. He plans to make a career in journalism after graduation.

Vinny is a Certified Senior Advisor® and owner of HomeLife Senior Care in Brentwood with wife Angela, a provider of professional, dependable in-home senior care. Vinny graduated with honors from Menlo College, Atherton, CA, earning a Bachelors degree in Management with a focus in International Management. Vinny’s passion is providing world-class home care for their elderly clients. Reach him at

Kristin grew up in Antioch, CA, attended St. Peter Martyr School and Carondelet. She earned her BS at UC Davis and her Doctor of Chiropractic at Life West in Hayward. She is from an Italian family and food is part of her family traditions. She loves her job as a chiropractor at Oakley Chiropractic, but is passionate about food and wine. She’s co-founder with Michelle Mankewich of the Facebook page East County Restaurant Review (ECRR). Reach her at

Kristine R. Cataldo, MSCIS, MAed | Writer/Blogger

Dennis Hall | Writer

Walter Ruehlig | Writer

Kristine is a proud mama of two, a college instructor and curriculum developer. Her passion as a blogger, author and speaker is etched on her heart. She uses her story to inspire, motivate and empower women to live healthy, happy lifestyles through mind, body and spirit. Kristine is an avid cyclist, hiker and adventurous free-spirit. Reach her at or

Dennis Hall is co-founder of Avere Group with his wife Dana, a business focusing on the wine industry, craft breweries, cider, distilleries and diverse productions. Sip California and Brewery Card increase customer traffic into the tasting rooms of California wineries, breweries, cider and distilleries, and fundraising for nonprofits. Dennis earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

Walter graduated cum laude with a degree in English from the State University of New York at Albany and career counsels adults with disabilities. He’s the former President of the Antioch School Board, founded the Antioch Music Foundation, and is the 2012 Antioch Citizen of the Year-Lifetime Achievement award recipient. He regularly contributes to three local newspapers. Email him at

Delta Living Magazine Vision Delta Living Magazine is an artery of hyper local and regional feature articles, photography and businesses, sharing information to promote improved lives to our families and environment. It specifically focuses on inspiring, motivating, educating and entertaining our surrounding communities to encourage dialog, build unity and reach a bit higher in creating our ideal lives. 6

January – March 2017

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January – March 2017


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By Emily Wesolek


t seems that with the beginning of every New Year, we make a lot of New Year’s resolutions. We try to lose weight, eat right, go to the gym, spend more time with our family and friends the list goes on and on. But what about a simple resolution, like making more time for you?


January – March 2017

As a young adult, I work full time, go to school (almost) full time, and on my days off, my boyfriend and I fix up our house. So when do I ever really get a day off to myself, to do something either for me or something I enjoy doing? It’s definitely a rare occasion these days. As a hairstylist, I truly love making people look great and feel great, too. When clients sit in my chair, most of the time they have a crazy, hectic schedule. Believe it or not, even some of my retired clients are super busy! It seems quite a few of my clients work a lot of hours during the week – sometimes with a long commute. They have parties and events to attend, while also taking and picking up their kids from school, along with after school activities. When do people really have some time to themselves? So what’s time or the New Year got to do with getting your hair done? It’s just that – a resolution to make time for you! Why not allow yourself some quiet, relaxing, pampering time at the salon? Even if you just go to get your hair cut, splurge a little and get your hair washed and styled too. Not only will you feel good because your hair is done, but you’ll get that little extra you-time that you work so hard for all year long. You deserve it! dlm

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January – March 2017 2017

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facial tissue, paper towels, cigarette smoke, and heating and cooking fuels, such as natural gas and kerosene. This chemical can irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. The disease most often attributed to it is asthma.

lants can clean the air we breathe. There are many chemicals lurking around in everybody’s homes.You may think you’re keeping your house clean, but you cannot see Top indoor plants that decrease it. You have no idea you breathe formaldehyde and by what percentage: them in everyday. There have Aloe Vera - 90% been many studies done over the Spider plant or chlorophytum elatum years and are still going on today. and elephant ear philodendron - 86% The scientist responsible for Lacy tree philodendron - 76% kick starting the study is Dr. Corn plant or Dracaena massangeana - 70% Bill Wolverton. He was hired by Golden pothos (popular household plant) – 67 % NASA to find out why the Sky Arrowhead plant - 67% Lab 3 was contaminated with Dragon tree or Dracaena marginata - 60% more than 100 chemicals. He Peace lily or Spathiphyllum and Warneckii or was asked to find a solution. This Dracaena deremensis – 50% lead to an 18-year research to prove houseplants could remove substantial amounts of benzene, trichlorUsing some of the plants listed above ethylene and formaldehyde, as well as for decreasing formaldehyde will also deother chemicals. crease other chemicals such as: benezene He started his research in 1973. Back and trichlorethylene. It is not necessary then, most people thought he was a little to have a jungle in your house! Dr. Wolcrazy, and now he’s well known for his verton suggests one plant per 100 square discoveries. His studies are the holy grail feet is a suitable air purifier. Two snake of interior plantscapers for which plants plants could remove the pollutants in a help in purifying the interior air. It was his 10’ x 15’ x 8’ room. studies that led to the Arizona Biosphere So get out and buy some natural home 2, using plants as the primary means of life purifiers! Plants will give you both physisupport and the sole source of cleaning the cal and mental health benefits. dlm air and purifying wastewater. The chemical found in almost all indoor environments is formaldehyde. The For more information on major source of this chemical is foam inplantscaping, visit Debbie Gatt sulation, particle board and pressed wood at products, grocery bags, waxed papers,

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January – March 2017



Great schools in Brentwood for children K - 8 By Dana Eaton, Ed.D.

Superintendent Brentwood Union School District


he Brentwood Union School District is a proud district with dedicated professionals committed to providing high academic standards in a safe and nurturing environment. It has a rich history in our community and began as a single schoolhouse in 1886. The district has grown to serve over 9,000 students in 11 schools, serving students from preschool to eighth grade. Our schools continue to demonstrate improved student learning. Through rigorous standards, professional learning for teachers and enhanced instructional strategies, students continue to be better prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century. We are proud of our award winning music programs. Our middle school bands and choirs are often selected for traveling performances and high honors. In addition, each elementary school has a thriving Art Docent Program that is supported by the Brentwood Arts Society. We are committed to technology instruction.Technology is taught by certificated teachers and is reinforced through middle school electives and 4th/5th grade computer teachers. Over the past three years, 5,700 Chromebooks were implemented in our classrooms and is a continuing financial commitment of the Board of Education. 12

January – March 2017

Bristow Middle School students packed meals for starving children through Kids Against Hunger, lead by Bristow Teacher Gina Terry every year. The students raise their own money to pay for the food and shipping of thousands of meals. Photos taken by Bristow Middle School students who are part of the Bristow Productions team, led by teacher Heather Jeffrey.

Members of the Adams Middle School Unified Basketball team. Unified Sports, a program through the Special Olympics, combines special needs students with general education students on teams. Our Middle Schools were the first in California to have this program and we have spread this year to include Byron and Oakley School Districts.

We take tremendous pride in hav- and schools as needed to accommodate ing beautiful, well-maintained facilities. growth. Our schools embrace the notion that The school board has a philosophy to our students are highly caprovide equitable facilities at all pable of giving back to schools. We have continued their community. All to modernize older faof our schools parcilities in conjunction ticipate in service with the construction learning activities of our many new throughout the campuses. The reschool year includcent passage of the Measure B Faciliing the Brentwood Regional Comties Bond will almunity Chest, low us to mainKid’s Against Huntain the high qualger, Operation ity of our physical campuses, Creekside, Jump Rope for Heart, while allowing Visit our website at to learn more and much more. us to add addiabout the Brentwood Union School District. Students have tional classrooms

opportunities to participate in a variety of after school sports programs. The goal is to emphasize sportsmanship, skill-building and an enjoyment of physical activity. The program is dedicated to the promotion of personal and school pride. We are very proud to be one of the first districts to create a middle school unified sports program, which gives our students with special needs the opportunity to participate in team sports alongside their classmates. The Brentwood Union School District is a highly desirable place to work. We are proud of our numerous awardwinning staff members, including multiple regional, county and state teachers of the year. Our staff members are dedicated to the students and families they serve. The school board has maintained a long history of conservative financial practices that have allowed the district to protect programs in times of financial uncertainty. The financial stewardship has provided consistently high bond ratings, responsible reserve levels and positive audit reports. Our bond rating was just raised by Moody’s to one of the highest levels possible for a California School District. The district continues its mission for excellence with a commitment to “provide an exemplary education to all children in a safe, student-centered environment designed to nurture the whole child and partner with families to prepare globally productive citizens.”

January – March 2017


Big Daddy Burger is 8 oz. angus beef stuffed with fresh herbs and bleu cheese on a bed of arugula and tomato topped with sautĂŠed mushrooms and Swiss cheese on a brioche bun with garlic aioli.


January – March 2017

Antioch’s new foodie hot spot:

Plates Eclectic Cuisine Chef Dawn Bass of Brentwood opened Plates Eclectic Cuisine with business partner Tony Loinab last year, August. Dawn creates and offers their guests an eclectic array of cuisine to include Mediterranean, Italian and American.

Available for Private Parties

Beer and wines offered at Plates include Oaktown Brown Ale, Modelo, Coors Light, Stella Artois, Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams, Storypoint chardonnay, DeLoach chardonnay, Michael David cabernet and Michael David Earthquake Zinfandel, and much more.


By Kristin Mattingly

lates Eclectic Cuisine is located in downtown Antioch on W. 2nd Street in a building previously known as the historic Potato Barge.The Potato Barge was located there for several years and was known as a great lunch spot for locals in Antioch and Pittsburg. Plates Eclectic Cuisine is now taking over that legacy. Before dining at Plates Eclectic Cuisine, I had seen and heard many great reviews from several well-respected people in our community.These reviews enticed me to go and see this diverse menu and the appetizing offerings at Plates. Plates Eclectic website states, “We pride ourselves on offering an eclectic menu making us the desired location for all ethnic backgrounds,” and they make good on that promise. This restaurant offers a wide variety of choices from Mediterranean, Italian and American cuisine. Vegetarians and vegans are welcome, since Plates Eclectic offers foods to suit their dietary needs. With a beer and wine bar and a great

Photos by Carol Young

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap made with fresh spinach, cheese, roasted red bell peppers and grilled Rosemary chicken, wrapped in a warm tortilla with sun dried tomato basil aioli.

appetizer menu, Plates proves to be a great hot spot for local happy hour. The average price of an entrée ranges from $10 to $19.

Chicken Kabob Plate is marinated grilled chicken with basmati rice, grilled tomato and chutney yogurt sauce served with naan bread, also available with steak.

My first experience at Plates Eclectic Cuisine was with a great friend of mine for lunch. We went on a weekday toward the beginning of the lunch hour and were seated quickly. The building had modernized décor with an old fashion twist. There were quite a few tables already seated and one waiter handling these tables, including ours. We learned later our friendly waiter and host was Tony, one of Plates owners; the other

owner is Dawn Bass, a local restauranteur. We ordered drinks and entrees then sat and chatted while looking out the back door at the beautiful scenery behind the restaurant. Tony came out with a smile with drinks after a few minutes, told us our food was on its way. I ordered the Big Daddy Stuffed Burger, which was Angus beef, herb bleu cheese, sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, arugula, tomato relish and garlic aioli. My friend ordered the Mediterranean Chicken Wrap, which had grilled rosemary Dijon chicken, roasted red bell pepper, provolone cheese, wrapped in a spinach tortilla. Our food came out quickly and looked delicious. My burger did not disappoint. It was flavorful, juicy and one of the best burgers I have had. My friend’s chicken wrap was also flavorful and met her expectations of the fresh flavors that were in it. Unfortunately, we left no room for dessert, however there is always next time! dlm January – March 2017


(L-R) Leslie Perez, Marisa Bonifacio, Lillyana Caballero (Pina's daughter) and Sasha Vega, all pose with Ninja, Pina's office cat.


January – March 2017

Girls afford prom dresses through Dresses 4 Paws program By Kristine R. Cataldo Photos by JVB Photography


ttending a high school prom or formal should be a magical time for young girls. Unfortunately, attending a prom is not as simple as just showing up to dance these days. Prom dresses alone often carry a hefty price tag ranging from $100 to $500 and beyond. This does not take into account the often, customary hairstyling, makeup, flowers and accessories. Unfortunately, this is a luxury that can be difficult for families to fit into their budget, leaving many girls unable to attend these memorable events. Thanks to Erin Piña of Oakley, local girls can attend their prom dances in style, but the sweetest part is, the dresses will only set them back $20. Piña is owner of the non-profit organization, Furry Friends Food Relief Program, and in 2014,

Ninja, the office cat, came from a family in need of assistance with spay and neuter and couldn't keep the kittens. Pina took in the litter and adopted each kitten. The volunteers fell in love with Ninja, so Pina was convinced to keep him. "He is a wonderful volunteer with our program, helping type up emls and answering phones," said Pina.

their furry friends. To date, Piña has a closet of over 200 dresses rangRoaring ‘20s Benefit Dinner ing from sizes 2 to 24 and greatly welcomes formal Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 - 5 p.m. Shadow Lakes Golf Course dress donations. Girls can visit the Furry Friends of401 W Country Club Dr. fice and shop for the dress of their dreams, located at Brentwood, CA 94513 1300 Central Blvd., Brentwood, CA 94513. “Prom is an age-old tradition, and dresses have beshe decided to make a difference for Far East come unaffordable for many,” said Piña. “If it’s prom County girls. or any other formal dance that a girl wants to attend, “My goal was to help make young girls’ prom we have a dress for them!” dlm dreams come true by helping them attend their prom or formal, no matter their financial situation,” said Piña. Her past had a profound affect on her present. Raised by a single working mom, Piña was unable to attend her own high school prom due to her family’s tight budget. She calls her program, “Dresses 4 Paws.” Dresses 4 Paws was sparked when Piña ran across several, like-new formal dresses hanging in the recesses of her closet. She had the brilliant idea to not only sell affordable prom and social dresses for $20 each, but to donate 100% of the proceeds directly to her other passion – animals in need, through her Furry Friends Food Relief Program. Furry Friends offers low cost vaccine clinics and cat and dog food distributions to families in need in Contra Costa County. Funding comes from her Dresses 4 Paws program, fundraisers and individual donations, and covers medical supplies, flea treatment, food, bedding, collars, leashes, crates, and oth- (L-R) Lillyana Caballero (Pina's daughter), Sasha Vega, Leslie and Marisa Bonifacio model four of the 200 formal dresses er necessary items, in order to assist families with Perez Pina sells for $20 each to students for their prom dances. To donate dresses and for more information, visit or or call 925.240.3178 January – March 2017



More than a weight loss program | It’s healthy living for life By Charleen Earley


January – March 2017

Photo by Susan Evans

Photo by JVB Photography


hen Vanessa Gonzalez of Antioch found out that Delta Valley Health Club’s 20/30 Fast Track to Weight Loss program was more than just losing pounds, she joined. “Since I was a kid, I struggled with anxiety and never knew it until the age of 21,” said Vanessa, now 26. “Anxiety was controlling my life and preventing me from doing the things that I enjoy. When I heard this program was not just based on weight loss, but also helps with other health problems, I knew right away I had to try it.” After 30 days in the program, Vanessa lost 24.4 pounds and 29.5 inches. The weight loss didn’t end there, since to date, she’s now 52 pounds lighter and 42 inches thinner – but her excitement is mostly about the changes in her physical and mental health. “I feel AWESOME! I’m really proud of myself for this huge accomplishment. This is one of the best gifts to myself – my health. I wish I had done it sooner,” said Vanessa. “The health benefits are many. My levels of anxiety have gone down. I can say anxiety is no longer controlling my life; I have it under control.” “I am now open to new adventures and I love feeling ENERGIZED, being up and about all day, getting things done


Vanessa Gonzalez


and completing my daily workouts,” added Vanessa, who was born in Orange County, raised in East Contra Costa County. Three sizes slimmer, Vanessa said her self-control allows her to make healthy choices while those around her don’t. She’s also excited about bidding her over-sized wardrobe goodbye. “I had to get rid of so many clothes in my closet, but it is so rewarding to shop for new clothes and actually feel like I look good in them,” she said. Vanessa struggled with low self-esteem before the weight loss. “It’s gotten better. I feel accomplished, happy and determined on this weight loss journey,” she said. Once her family saw her level of commitment, they became Team-Vanessa. “At the beginning, I had a lot of pressure. Sometimes they would say things like ‘oh come on, just take one bite,’ or ‘one cheat day is not gonna hurt you!’ Or they’d bring junk food into the house and insist on sharing it with me,” said Vanessa. “After so much resistance from my part, they stopped persisting. Now they cheer me on and support me. Sometimes they even help me prep my healthy food. If we’re on a trip, they make sure to ask me ‘where should we go eat so you can have a good, healthy meal?’When we have family gatherings, they make sure to add healthy

THERE IS NO OFF SEASON! food choices to the table. I love how they look out for me now and help me stay on track.” One of the many benefits of joining the 20/30 program is the once-a-week, hour-long meeting to hear success stories and tips. Vanessa shares what works for her and what doesn’t. “One thing I was doing wrong back then was that I was rewarding myself with a cheat day on the weekends, or if I really craved something, I would take a small bite or two. But that just completely threw me off, and by the time I got back on track, it was cheat day all over again,” said Vanessa. “One cheat day turned into two cheat days and then three and so on,” she added. “So now I’ve learned that my body does not benefit from cheat days.” Her solution … she rewards herself with a list of things she wants to do, buy or try. “Things like a one hour full body massage, Quay High Key sunglasses, black jumpsuit, zip lining in Mexico, paddle boarding, learn to drive stick, etc.” she said. Vanessa encourages those around her to make healthy choices in life, for their body’s sake. “One of the best gifts to yourself is good health; it feels great and it looks great. Cherish God’s gift of life by taking care of it, not harming it,” said Vanessa. “If you create a mental picture of a healthy version of you that you dream of becoming, work for it now because it’s so doable. Aim to be healthy and don’t compare yourself with others – you are beautiful and unique!” “Start right now; don’t prolong it. Stop scheduling the start date to Monday – I’ve been there, done that,” she added. “Find your powerful why, your motivation!” For more information on the 20/30 FastTrack to Weight Loss and Health Visit or call 925.304.1004 and ask for Susan Evans or Lisa Shanahan

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Delta bridges honored through wines Visit Grand Island Vineyards Story and photos by Dennis Hall


ust cross the Paintersville Bridge at Courtland, turn left and go a short distance, cross the Steamboat Slough Bridge and you’ll find Grand Island Vineyards – is how Lorraine Scribner describes the way to Grand Island Vineyards. Lorraine and her husband Mark own Scribner Bend Vineyards, which is located on River Road near Elk Grove, CA. Lorraine is excited about the new winery adjacent to the picturesque Delta waterways, Grand Island Vineyards. Affectionately referred to as GIV, Grand Island Vineyards is profound. Owned by Enver Salmon (son of Joe Salmon, who planted the grapes in 1969), GIV evokes awe. It is truly grand in breadth with its scenery of vineyards and the Delta, its family history, architectural scope and immediate landscape. Wines are poured Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for special occasions, one in which they host the second Friday of every month called, “GIV After Dark.” GIV is a wonderful complement to all the other famous Delta offerings, from the exquisite Grand Island Mansion (only three miles away), Steamboat Landing Deli, Eatery and Bakery at the bridgehead, Clarksburg’s Old Sugar Mill, Julietta Winery, The Bogel Family Winery and Scribner Bend Vineyards, roughly 10 miles north. 20

January – March 2017

Upon visiting Grand Island Vineyards, you’ll encounter a brief staircase or ramp that takes you to the expansive grounds of manicured lawns bordered with walkways; you feel on vacation, with that resort ambiance. All brick pathways with sporadically placed benches – which lead to the tasting room threshold – invite you to commune with the vineyards at arm’s length. Chairs, benches and tables immediately outside, allow peace with your wines and food all'aperto. Entering the tasting room, there are immediately options for tasting the wines other than just at the main counter. Well-appointed seating areas tucked away in a boutique and out in the open room beckon you to relax with your wine. Framed artworks of local artists to study and admire adorn the walls. Grand Island Vineyards honors the Steamboat Slough Bridge, especially the massive cement counterweight structure at the bridgehead itself, which was built in 1924.The esteemed bridge is seen from their tasting room and is featured on some of their wines labels designed by a local artist, Dan Harris of Courtland. View Dan’s work at www.danharrisdraws. GIV’s wine offerings include Bridgehead Rose, Fiano, Symphony, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Sutter Island Red Blend. Collaboration production of the wines is done through Estate Crush in Lodi and more locally, with Scribner Bend. dlm

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January – March 2017


Two peas in different pods By Walter Ruehlig Photo by XiXinXing


ince Cain and Abel it’s the perennial parental head scratcher; what makes my kids so different? Even though siblings are 50% genetically similar, why’s one a Donald Trump, the other a Humble Pie; one a Madonna, the other a recluse? How can seeming opposites share the same genes, parents, home, neighborhood, schools and routine, yet often be more akin to a child growing up across the country than to one on the adjoining bunk bed? Social scientists consider four defining measures. As expected, there’s a good probability of reasonable mutuality in physical characteristics, intelligence and attitudes like religiosity or conservatism. The rub, though, comes on personality. Researcher Robert Plomin stunned the world with a 1980s study showing temperament similarity in only 20% of siblings. Why the familial Frik and Fraks? For years the theoretical pendulum swung between arguing nature and nurture. Now modern conventional wisdom respects the interplay of the two. Interplay is also evident between the role of parental role modes and the effects of peer groups. Today, as well, the dynamics of sibling gender and of birth order garner great attention. 22

January – March 2017

Unquestionably, it’s a complex stew, with other ingredients factoring in, such as length of gaps between births, single parent households, blended families, increased geographic and career transiency, etc. Here’s three major theories why one child might become the class clown and a fellow sibling dead serious; one a seeming born leader, the other an inveterate follower. DIVERGENCE Even with perhaps 50% of personality a born given, the irony is that similar environments might actually push children not to act the same, but to intentionally try to be different. This is the Divergence Theory popularized by Darwin scholar Ph.D. Frank Sulloway in his book “Born to Rebel.” Sulloway argues that competition steers evolution, be it in the wild or in a suburban ranch home. When competing for parental time, love and attention, a child follows the principle of divergence to minimize direct competition by developing a singular identity. If my brother is a tennis star, I might find my spotlight in, maybe, art. Increasing empirical evidence shows that birth order can also play a major developmental role, with children driven to carve out their own positional niche. After all, only one child can trump being the elder; only one can be the baby. First-born: Ruling the roost with undivided attention the eldest quickly learn how to please. They may become surrogate parents and are frequently conscientious, organized, reliable, structured and controlling. They oft gravitate towards government work, engineering and science. Interestingly, 100% of our astronauts in space were the eldest child or eldest son. Mark Walter Cronkite and Winston Churchill were firstborns. Middle: This group is difficult to neatly box, as there are no attendant special rights or privileges.They are often level headed, unbiased and good negotiators. They gravitate towards education, caretaking and law enforcement.

JFK and Martin Luther King were middle kids. Baby: The last-born usually receive the least discipline and responsibilities. They tend to be altruistic and rebellious and learn values of being funny and adorable. Attention grabbing compensates for being the last in the pecking order. The youngest gravitate towards art, sales and writing. In Sulloway’s book “Born to Rebel” he cites a long list of radical last borns, including Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx and Che Gueverra. Count the likes of Steven Colbert and Prince Harry as youngest. Only: They are typically mature for their age and at times high achievers, oft in government or commerce. FDR was an only child as was Elvis Presley. NON-SHARED ENVIRONMENT Things are never constant: the less so in this modern world. Parents divorce, leave jobs, move cross-country, have mid-life crises. Siblings, then, have different family narratives. EXAGGERATION All things are relative and families can be ‘exaggeration machines’ magnifying small differences. Per example, one sibling may be pretty sociable by any other standard, but compared to his more extroverted brother or sister, he may be considered quiet and consciously or unconsciously accentuate other traits to compensate for that tilted judgment. In the end, though, we speculate. Granted, more mystery here than science. The only thing we can say with certainty is that, different as they may oft be, siblings have an extraordinary connection. In the words of author M. Molly Backes, “How the hell do you sum up your sister in three minutes? She’s your twin and your polar opposite. She’s your constant companion and your competition. She’s your friend and the biggest bitch in the world. She’s everything you wished you could be and everything that you wished you weren’t.” dlm


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Antioch Downtown Merchants SHOP, DINE & ENJOY ANTIOCH RIVERTOWN!


elcome to the Delta Living section of the Antioch Downtown Merchants. Each quarter we will strive to bring you information, ideas and specials on each of these businesses and their owners who strive to make the downtown a better place. Looking for a monthly event? Well look no further! Each month in 2017, the downtown will host or co-host a variety of events. Please visit the local businesses on these pages and follow them on the Antioch Downtown Merchants Facebook for more details. When you visit and shop these great businesses, tell them you saw their ad here in Delta Living Magazine.

The Steampunk Event Scavenger Hunt Easter Egg Hunt|Prizes to redeem at downtown stores! May Wine Walk June Car Show|Cruise Night July 4th of July Parade August Hot August Nights September TBD October Adult Brewfest |Kids Trick or Treat Downtown November Customer Appreciation Days | Small Business Saturday December Holiday Delights, Parade Tree Lighting February March April

*Actual dates TBD | Follow on Facebook for event updates!

January – March 2017


Medication,Mental and Mainstream

Story by Ryan Frerking-Ramos High Functioning Austistic

Photos by JVB Photography


he hallways were long and narrow. The cracks in the sidewalk looked like paradise compared to what was going on inside me. They pointed and laughed. They may just have been kids, but I felt every word, every kick an d every comment they made. This was my world for years growing up. It was just school to them, but for me it was prison. I am Ryan Frerking-Ramos and this is my story of growing up mainstream and struggling with autistic spectrum. It started when I was four-years-old. I was diagnosed bipolar and put on medication that would turn my world upside down. This was the trend for the next seven years. All the way through elementary school, I went to therapy and was bounced around from medication to medication. I had no friends and no social life. Later on, my diagnosis would be corrected. The struggles during my third grade year


January – March 2017

were by far the worst. I tried to kill myself ministration. I can never thank Margo Oleafter my doctor did a medication roulette son and Rusty Ehrlich enough for their to start a new set, but little did we know help. I finished elementary school with that this would make me a ticking time A’s and B’s and middle school was no big bomb. I cannot recall what set me off, but deal. Just average bullying and being pushed I do remember the events that transpired around. Edna Hill staff did absolutely nothover that week and a half. ing to stop it. When I got to high school, I put a plastic bag over my head as my I would soon find out what real bullying stepdad came in. My mom contacted the looked like. mental health doctor I was seeing. As we My freshman year was by far the drove to the hospiworst of them all. I tal, I can still recall “I Know I am different but not less.” was put into a class the tears filling her - Dr. Temple Grandin called Intensified eyes and the conAlgebra. This meant fusion in my head. I was admitted and held I had it every day because of the schedule for 72 hours. I went home still not having system LUHSD uses. I had my first 4 perimy head on straight. I attacked my sister ods on my A-Day and my other 4 periods and she had to go to the ER. I was readmit- on my B-Day. All the kids cared about was ted and held there for seven days. that I was different and they could use it to A short time later, I had my first public pick on me. I complained to administration breakdown. I was talking during class and countless times. I walked out of class and was told to go pull my card; meaning that I got kicked out on multiple occasions. My was going to get a letter sent home to my parents went to the school and argued for parents. I snapped and went off the deep me to get out of it. It took three of the four end. I punched a dent in a filing cabinet quarters to get transferred to a different and threw a chair at my pregnant teach- class and by the time it actually happened, er Karen Peltz. I was re- the damage was done to both me and my moved from my classroom schoolwork. I was so far behind, that math at Brentwood Elementary was a foreign language. and kicked out of school. Sophomore year was more of a blessing I ended up at Tobinworld in disguise. I had a fall out with a kid at in Brentwood for the lunch one day; he ended up becoming my next year. I fell behind in best friend. He does not care that I have my studies and got worse autism.Years have gone by and we are now with my behavior. Due to like brothers.We can relate to each other so my test scores, I was put well.We have our arguments, but that is life. in the middle school class. However, the bullying continued and I was Eventually, I transitioned actually told to quit coming into the ofback into mainstream at fice and reporting the issues because it was Brentwood Elementary causing drama that did not need to happen. with the help of the adJunior year, people starting growing up,

but I was put in physical education because I did not have it my sophomore year. One kid in particular picked on me mentally day after day. One day he pushed me to my breaking point. We were playing a casual P.E. game of basketball. I blocked him from the ball and nudged him a little and he lost his mind and pushed me to the ground. I had never had this happen, so I did not know what to do. I got up and punched him right in the nose. At this point, my best friend pulled me off. I was suspended for three days. The vice principal assigned to my office tried to tell me I should have come in and filed a report and not have let it get that bad. It was the same people who said a year earlier to quit coming in and doing that. My mom came in and stood up for me. Not all of high school was bad though. My sophomore year I joined the school newspaper and got my first exposure to

Ryan Frerking-Ramos is a student at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA. His trials and tribulations have given him the tools he has used to succeed and reach his full potential. Reach him at

what would turn into my obsession. I loved writing and everything about the paper. I would go on to lead many aspects of the publication and learn more. I had been in the First Priority Christian Club since my freshman year and grew closely with the advisor. She would go on to become like a mom to me and we are very close to this day. I took my lack of social life and put that time into writing. I have now written and been published in the Brentwood Press, Discovery Bay Press, Delta Living Magazine, Oakley Press, and 110 Degrees Magazine. I have had a summer job cold calling and telemarketing at The Brentwood Press and Publishing Co. and have had an intern project for Delta Living Magazine. I have made bo th a little money and gained massive loads of experience. I would not trade my small town successes for social life memories any day. I could not have done any of this without my mom, who stayed at home with me all my life, and my stepdad, who stayed through all of this and filled a void caused by an absentee father. Now my mom helps other kids like me

ing as an ABA therapist. My stepdad also helps kids like me driving special needs buses for the Fremont School District. They both helped me and now do the same for others. I will never be able to repay my mom and dad for what they have done and continue to do. I appreciate the support my sisters Sarah and Brittany have given me too.They have put up with my outbursts and havoc for years, yet never turned their backs on me. Thank you all for the constant love and support. I hope that people read this and take something from it that may help their situations. Please email me with your comments or questions. The truth is, it gets worse before it gets better, but the outcome is always worth it. Kids with special needs have massive potential and you cannot under estimate that. Don’t try to fix them because they don’t need fixing. What they need is know how to embrace their gifts appropriately within society. I have ended up in college honors and am working. I never even thought I’d graduate high school. With all the help and pushing I have had, it made me do better. My life is not perfect, but it is good. dlm January – March 2017





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January – March 2017

Antioch eighth grade girls think beyond self-limiting beliefs the Antioch community included Dr. LaJuan Hall, DDS, owner of Brentwood Children’s Dentistry, Kathryn Mowrey, Photos by JVB Photography Operations Leader at Dow Chemical, Lynnette Giacobazzi, Vice President at n an assembly graciously hosted by Supply Chain, UPI, and Captain Diane the Rotary Club of Antioch, severAguinaga, Captain, Field Services Divial hundred middle school girls from the sion, Antioch Police Department. Antioch School District were treated to Students asked the women about their a dose of inspiration during an exciting education, lives, careers, inspirational figdistrict-wide Empowerment Project. As the young students filled the Black Black Diamond Middle School girls feeling the positive energy after watching the ures, and their favorite portions of the film. Diamond Middle School assembly room, Empowerment Project. During ‘empowerment hour,’ girls reDuring this high energy, inspirational Principal Phyllis James intrigued them For more information about flected on exactly what she would do if and fueled their excitement by first in- empowerment hour, impressionable girls The Empowerment Project moveshe weren’t afraid to fail? Who would she troducing a panel of local women, local were encouraged to think beyond selfment, how to host or attend a aspire to meet? What adventures would limiting beliefs and social conditioning. rotary members and other honored atgroup showing of the film, visit she take and career path would she The goal was to motivate girls to realize tendees. choose? What fears would she conquer? She explained the purpose of the Em- that there are a multitude of career opWhat dreams would she pursue? What powerment Project to the students who, portunities, including those traditionally Leaning into their belief that the pow- difference would she make in the world? with a sparkle of wonder in their eyes, held by men. “Later, kids have come to us and told er of cinema can be used to create social The girls learned how the sky is aceagerly listened. tually the limit as each pondered where change, the crew drove from Los Angeles us how they have joined high school rothe future would take her. This Second to New York, over the course of 30 days, tary, taken classes they were afraid to beAnnual Empowerment Project was also to film 17 positive and powerful women fore, gone out for sports, tried their hand presented to Antioch, Dallas Ranch and leaders across a variety of lifestyles and at an art, and doing research on the different careers covered in the film,” Parindustries. Park middle schools as well. “This project has been very successful. ham said. Next, the girls watched the 54-minute So, what would YOU do if you documentary, “The Empowerment Proj- So much so, that the schools want them ect,” (full length version is 99-minutes). yearly,” said Rotary Member, Hilda Par- weren’t afraid to fail? dlm The movie portrayed “ordinary women ham. Kristine R. Cataldo, MSCIS, MAed, is The documentary was created in a doing extraordinary things” through the an eLearning Manager, Empowerment eyes of five, female-only, young crew of format to be screened in a group setGuide, columnist, speaker and a Holistic filmmakers who journey across America ting, followed by a question and answer Wellness Advocate with a passion to with a mission to encourage, empower session. To further the inspiration, celeducate others on balancing the sacred and inspire the next generation of wom- ebration and empowering theme in the triad … body, mind spirit.Visit her at en to be bold, strong and reach for their movie, the panel of successful women holding powerful career positions in careers choices.

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January – March 2017


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Keep that New Year’s Resolution Fitness for seniors

depression and can lessen the symptoms of certain underlying diseases and disabilities. By Vinny DiNicola Staying physically active on a regular, manent basis improves cardiovascular fitPhoto by ness, reduces susceptibility to heart attacks and strokes, enhances metabolism, delays obert Butler, the first director of age related deterioration of some muscles the National Institute on Aging, and bones, and improves brain function. once wrote, “If exercise could be packed According to the National Institute on into a pill, it would be the single most Aging, each year, more than two million widely prescribed and beneficial medicine older Americans go to the emergency in the nation.” room because of fall related injuries. BalIt’s a fact that most adults don’t get ance and stretching exercises can help preenough exercise. With few exceptions, vent falls and avoid a disability that can nearly everyone can participate in some result from a fall. sort of activity that leads to improvement Muscles waste away if unused. Rein health if performed in the correct in- member the old saying ‘use it or lose it’? tensity and frequency, no matter your age. Humans lose 20 to 40 percent of their No group in our population benefits muscles as they age. Studies show that havmore from exercise than seniors. ing muscle mass may mean the difference Exercise improves mood and relieves between a senior’s ability to get up from a



January – March 2017

chair, or needing someone there to help them get up. Strong muscles reduce the risk of serious falls that cause broken hips and other disabilities. Tufts University conducted a study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, showing that gradual loss of muscle results in seniors burning fewer calories while at rest which can lead to weight gain. This study suggests that seniors can regain some of their more youthful resting metabolic rate and help avoid obesity with regular musclebuilding exercises. If you’re interested in improving your health through increased physical activity and diet, there’s a great website I recommend dedicated to exercise programs specifically designed for seniors.The program is called Go4Life and it’s made available through the National Institute on Aging.

The Go4Life program focuses on four key exercise categories; endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. You don’t necessarily have to engage in all four categories to receive benefits from their program. For example, maybe balance and flexibility interest you most.You can work on only those two categories of exercise. I encourage you to visit their website. You’ll find downloadable worksheets and tip sheets, visual examples of every exercise, goal setting and tracking sheets, tools and tips for healthy eating and more. The best part is - it’s free! You don’t need any special equipment and you can get started today! Visit Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. dlm

Vinny DiNicola is a Certified Senior Advisor® and owner of HomeLife Senior Care in Brentwood with wife Angela. Contact him at

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True friends last a lifetime If you’re having a bad day, a simple text or a call can make your day. There’s no one better than your girlfriend to cheer you up with a glass of wine. Or if you’re ere we are in 2017 and I never thought tired of being single, your girlfriend is alwe’d even make it this far in our modern ways the best matchmaker for you! world - keeping up with beautiful, long-lasting Truly, I cannot imagine my Sunday friendships. without brunch time with my girlfriends. It can be a bit challenging; just like the challenge No matter what, girlfriends play such of being a woman in today’s society, which requires an important role in our lives. They’re so much of us. Whether you’re a working mom, our confidant, counselor, shoulder to single working mom, stay-at-home mom, or you’re cry, our BFFs, and our Facebook long single – the challenges are everywhere. distance girlfriends. Honestly, no matter (L-R, front row) Karen McComb, Pauline Arias Allred, Elvira Moya, Sharon Norma G. Arreguin Zamora, Joni Smith, Jessica Johnson, Tamra GolWe (women) overwork ourselves and sometimes what you call them, our girlfriends are Duet, inveaux, Gilmarys Rivera, (L-R, back row) Giselle Rivera -Sanchez, Colleen even lose ourselves in what society wants us to be our warriors in life, so whether you have Samorano, Elizabeth Dailey, Tracie Zimmer Miga, Wendy McAuley, Maggie or the image society expects from us, but that’s the caregiver, crazy one, cool one, rock, Levy, Jennifer Hensen, Shannon Biggs. where our girlfriends come in. that really sticks out to me is that I truly believe real opposite, life long, honest, cheerleader, shy, know it all or your grief counselor women are not competitive with each other. You - a girl always needs her girlfriend to love your girlfriends and are genuinely happy and uplift her soul and make unforgettable want all good things to happen to them. There’s no competing with real girlfriends. memories that will last forever. Remember, friendship isn’t about whom you’ve With girlfriends, there is never discrimination. They come in all shapes and known the longest or who walked into your life sizes. They are all beautiful inside and first. True and lasting friendships require courage to out, genuine beauty far beyond perfec- be true, honest and vulnerable. Girlfriends are those rare people who ask how tion. Each one, a world of its own and you are and then wait to hear the answer with unwho makes your heart smile. They are conditional love, support, laughter and tears. Even angels in disguise. So if you have that special girlfriend, if my house is a mess, they don’t care. They are the consider yourself blessed and hold onto girlfriends we choose to make our family. Here’s to all those warrior girlfriends we have (L-R) Gilmarys Rivera, Giselle Rivera-Sanchez, Tracie Zimmer Miga, Pauline her and never let her go. Arias Allred, Sharon Duet, Elizabeth Dailey, Norma G. Arreguin Zamora, Colin our lives - may they always be the light in our There are so many things about friendleen Samorano, Jennifer Hansen, Shannon Biggs, Wendy McAuley, Jessica Johnson, Tamra Golinveaux, Joni Smith, Karen McComb, Maggie Levy, Elvira ships that are important, but one thing paths. dlm By Norma Arreguin Photos by Russ Olney


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How to get though the divorce civilly Be a Good Role Model When speaking together in front of the kids, stay calm, listen and make requests as needed. This is the perfect time to be a shining example of good behavior to your children. Remember that whatever your ex decides to say or do – good OR bad – his behavior is about him and what’s going on in his head. It’s not about you.You can’t control what he does, but you can control your own behavior. Stay calm and listen for the true meaning behind what is being said. Think about the most beneficial solution for your children and let that be your guide when you respond. If you have something you need to get out of the conversation, make it a request, rather than a statement or demand. It’s easier to say “yes” to something when it’s a request, not a requirement. Don’t talk behind your ex’s back If you’re frustrated or angry about something your ex has said or done, don’t share it with your child. She’s not your therapist and it’s never a good idea to make her feel like she needs to take sides. If you need to vent, call a friend or schedule an appointment with a coach or therapist. If you need immediate relief, write a letter to your ex. Pour out all of your feelings. Don’t hold anything back … then burn the letter with the intention of releasing all of your negative feelings. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel. Take care of yourself It is very important that you take care of you. Take time for activities that relax or reinvigorate you. Even if you’re on a tight budget (which often happens at first as a result of a divorce) you can pamper yourself. It’s much easier to stay calm and focused when your ex says or does something that “pushes your buttons” when you’ve taken good care of yourself. If you need assistance with your family law matter, please call the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan at 925.276.0789. 36

January – March 2017

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Painting babies before they’re born By Charleen Earley

Photos by JVB Photography

Article first ran: East Bay Times Jan. 6, 2016


ou don’t have to ask Angelique Estrada what to do with a pregnant mom’s belly – she’s got it all covered – in paint that is. Owner of The Beauty and Her Paint in Brentwood, Estrada, 23, loves to tickle the unborn and watch them wiggle with delight as she paints the bellies of pregnant mothers. “I’ve had a few moms tell me it tickles them, but it actually tickles the baby more,” said Estrada. “The best part is seeing the baby Artist Angelique Estrada (above) paints the bellies of her pregnant clients. Reach her on Facebook at move when I paint. It’s so beauti- Thebeautyandherpaint or by phone 408.628.3378. ful, you can see the baby rolling wildly different. and kicking where I paint.” “I wanted to offer a service to pregUsing non-toxic, skin safe, FDAapproved and hypoallergenic paints, nant mommies that was fun, creative Estrada, owner of The Beauty and Her and a memorable experience. I came Paint, got the idea to paint bellies al- across belly paintings and fell in love most two years ago. Pregnant with her with it,” she said.“Since there isn’t really second daughter Zelina, she wanted a anyone in our area who does them, I belly cast done, but couldn’t find a local just knew this was something I wanted to bring to the community for new person to do it. Estrada considered doing belly mommies-to-be.” Her fiancé, Danny Hurtado, had no casts herself, when she stumbled upon something just as remarkable, but clue Estrada was a painter with artis42

January – March 2017

tic abilities and they’ve been together for four years. A stay-at-home mom of Janessa (5) and Zelina, Estrada, who is mostly self-taught with basic art classes in school along the way, told him she wanted to paint. “He said ‘you don’t know how to paint’ and then challenged me to paint something,’” she said. She wowed him with a monochromatic pink cherry blossom tree. “He was blown away with what he saw and ever since, has never let me rest my brushes,” said Estrada, who also paints with acrylics (not on bellies), draws, sews, face painting, make-up artist and paints party photo props. Each belly takes about two to three hours to paint while the moms sit comfortably. A photo shoot takes place to capture the artistic memory, because in about a day, the memory will be washed away with soap and water and sometimes a little coconut or olive oil. “I’ve had moms painted at 9 a.m. and keep them on until their husbands got home around 5 p.m.,” said Estrada, who was born and raised in San Jose until age 15, when she moved to Brentwood. She graduated from Liberty High School five years ago. Her long-term artistic goal is about inspiring others. “My ultimate dream is to own my personal art studio and create beautiful things for people – and to be an inspira-

tion to younger people,” she said. Estrada hopes to teach today’s youth that being a young mom of two young kids does not have to end career goals. “Just because you start young doesn’t mean your dream has to be put on hold or that you have to stop reaching,” she said. “It should only make you want to work harder!” Belly painting costs $100, which includes a 15-minute photo session and up to four downloadable poses. Followup sessions for Watch Baby Grow, costs $60 each. Recommended for pregnant moms 25 weeks and up. dlm

Photos by JVB Photography Vanessa Rojas (above), a Brentwood resident and newlywed due in April, will have Angelique Estrada (artist) create a series of three belly paintings throughout her pregnancy.


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January – March 2017


Jan '17 Delta Living Mag is HERE!  

Print edition to follow in a week. Enjoy the electronic version NOW! Happy New Year!

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