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STYLE, ART, CULTURE, + EVENTS OF THE SOUTH VALLEY JUNE 2016

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HOME TOUR

GOING FOR THE GOLD

THE RAMIREZ HOME

Lauren Billys’ Childhood Olympic Dream Becomes a Reality

Blending Families to Create Home

Lifestyle caught up with former Visalian Lauren Billys to learn more about her journey to the Olympics.

8 Letter from the Executive Editor 10 Wordplay

EPICURE

SIZZLING FOR SUMMER Sa-Trés Bien Tailored Cuisine

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Chef Elaine Dakessian created a Tex-Mex inspired grilled menu for your next summer gathering.

12 Reflections of Visalia: Taming Mill Creek – A Difficult Challenge 20 Literary Arts: Summer Lane – Prolific Young Writer Keeps the Hits Coming 46 Local Adventure: Dog Friendly Visalia 48 Charity: Power of the Purse Inspires Tulare County Women 50 Community: Baby on Base – Rawhide Hit with Baby Boom

TRAVELER’S TREK

52 Happenings

THE ISLAND OF TERCEIRA Family Reunion in the Azores

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A Tulare resident and her extended family spent several weeks on the beautiful island of Terceira to celebrate a 70th birthday.

COVER: The Tuscan style rockwork on the exterior of the home was inspired by a home Jorge saw in Bass Lake, where it looked like a river flowing through the rocks. ABOVE: The upper balcony right off the movie room overlooks the expanse of the backyard.


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DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 Karen Tellalian Kelly Lapadula Malynda Parsons Ross Yukawa Chris Bly Kaci Hansen Elaine Dakessian Diane Slocum Laura Pires Lisa McEwen Terry L. Ommen Malkasian Accountancy LLP Gary Malkasian CPA Jeffrey Malkasian EA Maria Gaston Melissa Olson Melissa@DMIAgency.com 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 Lifestyle@DMIAgency.com www.VisaliaLifestyle.com Issuu.com/LifestyleMagazine Facebook.com/LifestyleMag Instagram: visalialifestyle

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Franey's Design Center Fugazzis Glick's Old Fashion Meats & Deli ImagineU Children’s Museum Janeen’s Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Max's Cookies Metropolis Day Spa Michaels Jewelry Monét’s, Exeter Peacock Medical Pacific Treasures Pro-PT Renaissance Salon Sage Salon Salon 525 Sherman & Associates

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Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,000 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia and Exeter. An additional 2,500 copies are distributed at various distribution points around both communities. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers. Circulation of this issue: 15,500 © 2016 DMI Agency

All the exterior doors throughout the home are Knotty Alder wood, including the grand front door. 6 LIFEST YLE | JUNE 2016


FR O M TH E

EDITOR

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s we were nearing the end of another month of Lifestyle, we noticed what could be considered a theme throughout this issue. This happens occasionally, sometimes planned and sometimes by chance. This month’s theme happened to be the latter as we came across several stories of talented, independent, and empowering young women who are taking the community, and even the world, by storm. In the April issue, I asked you to stay tuned for more from us about Visalia’s

she has no plans of stopping anytime soon. But we’ll let you read the rest for yourself on page 20. Last month, the staff of DMI Agency and Lifestyle Magazine had the pleasure of attending the Power of the Purse breakfast, hosted by United Way of Tulare County’s Women’s Leadership Council. While the purses and mimosas were of course a major draw to the event, there was nothing quite like being in a room with 300 of Tulare County’s most powerful and inspiring women. We felt lucky to be among them. Oh, and

We are blessed to live in a community where women are valued and celebrated for their hard work and achievements, whatever their age or their roles in life may be

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K A R E N

T E L L A L I A N

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT A STORY IDEA, CONTACT ME AT KAREN@DMIAGENCY.COM

own Olympic-bound athlete, Lauren Billys. Despite her extremely busy schedule of fundraising and training for this summer’s Olympics Equestrian Eventing competition in Brazil, she took time to meet with Lifestyle, as well as a group of young equestrian hopefuls, to talk about her journey to the Olympics. With her encouraging words and unmistakable talent, we’re continually amazed by her drive and commitment to her sport and to the community she grew up in. Turn to page 16 to read more about 27-year-old Lauren’s determination to make it to the Olympics. If one is good, then two is better. In this case, it’s another “next generation” success story. Recently, we caught up with a local 22-year-old writer, Summer Lane, who has become a “Number One Bestselling” author on Amazon. To date, Summer has published 12 novels, and

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did I mention the purses were modeled by some of the most handsome men in the county? Quickly turn to page 49 to see photos from the event. As a final ode to women this month, we’re sharing a fun story about how the Rawhide Baseball family is experiencing somewhat of a baby boom, as four team and staff members are expecting babies – all in the month of July! To celebrate, our friends over at the Rawhide stadium are doing something extra special for expecting mothers in July, and you can learn all about it on page 50. While it might have been by chance this issue of Lifestyle became focused on women, we are glad it worked out that way. We are blessed to live in a community where women are valued and celebrated for their hard work and achievements, whatever their age or their roles in life may be.


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WO R D PLAY News on writing, books + the world of publishing

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his month’s Literary Arts features a young Reedley author, Summer Lane, and her apocalyptic stories. Other apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian novels to try out include California (Little, Brown and Company, 2014) by Edan Lepucki. In this debut novel, a young couple, Frida and Cal, have escaped devastated Los Angeles for an isolated, wooded existence. Their survival depends on Cal’s agricultural talents and staying away from marauders. They learn of a strange community surrounded by a maze of spires built from discards and are warned not to go there. But they do. The Shore (Hogarth, 2015), the debut novel by Sara Taylor follows different generations on the small islands in Chesapeake Bay from the 1800s to a post-apocalyptic 22nd Century and adds magical realism to the mix. A family tree helps keep the Day and Lumsden families straight as the stories unfold, not in chronological order, but as secrets of pregnancies, murder, and dark magic appear. Taylor’s next book, The Lauras is due out this summer. The world of The Giver (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993) by Lois Lowry seems much nicer by comparison. Everything is perfect. Or maybe too perfect in this thought-provoking dystopian novel. This Newberry Medal winner tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas who lives in a highly structured black and white (literally) world until he is selected to be the next “Giver.” He starts to see color, and everything changes. LIBRARY EVENTS For teachers and students, summer is a good time to read just for fun. The Tulare County Library offers teens personalized book recommendations. They can click on the box at tularecountylibrary.org, and it will take them to the site where they can answer a few questions about 10 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

what types of books they like. The library will then put recommended books on hold for them, or just email the titles of the selections. Adults can join the First Tuesday Book Club, which meets from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at the Visalia branch. The Independent Film Movement Series is also offered at the Visalia branch beginning at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesdays. BOOKS FOR WRITERS An informal survey of authors’ favorite

in April and the clocks were striking 13. (*answer below) WRITERS’ CLUB Dating from 1909, the California Writers Club is one of the oldest professional clubs for writers in the country. It was founded by Jack London and others who had been meeting at the home of poet Joaquin Miller to picnic, share ideas, and socialize. There are branches throughout California from Mendocino to Orange County. There is even one east of the Sierra in Ridgecrest. A writers’ club in Stockton is in the process of joining. The closest clubs to Visalia are currently in Bakersfield and Sacramento. With so many talented writers in Tulare, Kings, and Fresno counties, it’s surprising there isn’t one here. WRITING CONTESTS The Comstock Review 30th Annual Poetry Contest will receive submissions until July 15. Poems must not have been published in any medium and cannot exceed 40 lines. Submissions by mail preferred. First prize, The Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award, is $1,000. Entry fee: $5. Details at: comstockreview.org/annualcontest.

books on writing shows that the top selections are: Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Not far behind are: William Zinsser’s On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Others whose works were helpful to multiple authors were Donald Maass, Sol Stein, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, James Scott Bell, Brandilyn Collins, and Julia Cameron. FAMOUS FIRST LINES Who wrote : It was a bright cold day

WRITING RESIDENCIES The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts offers juried residencies from two to eight weeks for writers and other artists. Each resident receives free housing, a separate studio, and a $100 per week stipend. Application deadline is Sept. 1. Details at: khncenterforthearts. org/application_process.php THE LAST WORD “In the year 2025, the best men don't run for president, they run for their lives.”–Stephen King, The Running Man *George Orwell in 1984, one of the seminal dystopian (formerly known as anti-utopian) novels.


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TAM I N G M I LL CR E E K

A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE M ill Creek enters Visalia from the east and meanders its way through downtown before it leaves the city on the west. This historic waterway has been both a blessing and a curse. As an asset, it supplied lifesustaining water to the early residents and drove the water wheel for the important flour mill. On the liability side, the seasonal creek often gave off an obnoxious odor as stagnant water puddled in a bed of rotting garbage. Then there were the large, biting mosquitoes living in the nasty concoction that feasted on the flesh of many Visalians.

But of all the problems associated with Mill Creek, the most bothersome was its inability to oftentimes keep water within its channel. During these times, water overflowed the banks, and the town flooded. A big part of the problem was that the subterranean creek did not run straight, but rather wandered in an irregular pattern throughout the town, requiring bridges and structures to be built over it. As the town grew, so did the number of buildings and bridges, and with them the number of wooden pilings driven into the channel to support the structures also increased.

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They became collecting posts for debris that choked off water flow and caused flooding. Over the years, attempts were made to fix the various problems with the creek. Redwood planks at one time lined some of the channel as did bricks. Other repair work many times caused more problems than it solved. By 1908, Mill Creek had again become a topic of conversation helped along by the devastating floods two years earlier. At one of the Board of Trustees (City Council) meetings, Morve L. Weaver, City Engineer, was asked to draw up plans to line

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Workers preparing Mill Creek for concrete lining in 1910. Photo courtesy of Guy Shelley.


GIVING LIFE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY’S CANCER PATIENTS KAWEAH DELTA INVESTS IN ITS CANCER PROGRAM FOR THE COMMUNITY For most people colonoscopies begin at age 50. Melissa Serda’s was at age 36. It would have been a year earlier if she wouldn’t have backed out. “I was scared,” said Melissa, who had quietly struggled with abdominal cramping, shooting pains while walking and blood in her stool. After a colonoscopy revealed an 80-90 percent blockage, she was admitted to Kaweah Delta Medical Center where her doctor removed a tumor and part of her colon, which were later diagnosed as stage three colon cancer. After five weeks of radiation, and eight months of chemotherapy, Melissa can see the light at the end of the tunnel. May 5 is her final chemotherapy treatment and she is going to celebrate. “Maybe we will go to the beach,” Melissa says excitedly. Melissa credits her physician, nurse, and staff members at Sequoia Regional Cancer Center (SRCC) and Kaweah Delta Imaging Center for helping her find hope and health through her journey with cancer. Melissa wants to help people get over fears of going to the doctor or colonoscopies. Since hearing her diagnosis, people have told her they've gotten physicals and blood work.

I’m glad I didn’t go to Bakersfield for my treatment. I stuck with Visalia because it just felt right. Everything and everyone is really nice at Sequoia Regional Cancer Center. Everything you need is right there.” -Melissa Serda


Mill Creek to form what was called a conduit. They rationalized that by lining the channel, water would flow more smoothly and quickly through the town. The Board knew the plan would be expensive, estimating it would cost between $50,000 and $60,000. Weaver submitted his plan. It called for smooth concrete walls 8-inches thick, a concrete bottom in the shape of an inverted arch, and a top slab 12-inches thick. The Board of Trustees accepted it and decided to go to the voters with a bond. In 1910, a $70,000 bond issue was approved by the electorate, and the plan for creating the conduit for the nearly ½-mile stretch of Mill Creek was put out for bid. Ten bids came in, one from as far away as San Diego and another

the time limit. The size and unusual nature of the project attracted considerable attention. The local newspaper reported, “On account of the novelty of the structure, it being the largest known open conduit built of reinforced concrete, it has attracted much attention among builders and engineers and has been inspected by many of these eminent in their profession both from this state and elsewhere.” On December 1, 1910, the Tulare County Times newspaper reported that the job was finished and the last bucketful of concrete was poured. According to their reporting, the completion “marks an epoch in the industrial progress of the city” and they

work. He was, however, critical of the numerous areas within the channel that were rough and lacked the smooth plastering of concrete that the contract required. On December 21 at an open trustee meeting, it was revealed the Keating Company and City Engineer Weaver had, outside the contract, agreed to waive much of the plastering and smoothing of the walls as required by the agreement. When the Board of Trustees heard of the side agreement, they were not happy. The next day Trustee Lucier, Engineer Weaver, contractor Keating, R. J. Bagby, J. M. Nelson, and others personally walked the channel and agreed on a completion plan. Certain areas would be required

from nearby Exeter. On July 21, the R. Keating & Sons Co. out of San Francisco was awarded the $53,975 contract with a commitment to have the work completed by the end of 1910. On August 7, the Bay Area contractor had its equipment and work crew on the ground in Visalia. They wasted no time. They began by tearing down and hauling away old planks, pilings, and lumber from the channel. It was a big job. In all, 35 wagonloads of earth were hauled away after deepening, widening, and straightening the creek. A total of 1,600 bags of concrete, 3,000 cubic yards of broken stone, 3,000 cubic yards of sand, and 240 tons of steel rods were used on the lining project. By early October, work was progressing to the point that everyone was confident it would be done within

added that it meant “probably no floods can hereafter…sweep over any portion of the city’s streets.” But soon a group of citizens responded to the Times and said, “Not so fast.” They were not satisfied that the Keating company had completed the job to the specifications required. Specifically, they argued that the entire surface of the creek channel wall had not been lined. Inspector R. J. Bagby agreed with the concern and on December 15, the Visalia Morning Delta published a front page story with the headline, “Bagby Hints That All May Not Be Right With Mill Creek Conduit.” J. E. McCabe, former Visalia city engineer, was asked to inspect the conduit. He agreed, and after his inspection, he was generally complimentary about the overall

of Keating to fix, however, all parties agreed there was no need to have the entire length of the conduit plastered. By the beginning of 1911, with final repairs in place, the conduit was formally accepted by the city and the Keating Company was given their final payment. Did the work on Mill Creek solve future flooding problems? No. Flood waters continued to plague Visalia, and Mill Creek continued to be defiant.

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LEFT: Workers can be seen on Center Street looking east to Church Street. The Masonic Temple is the building on the far left. RIGHT: Workers preparing Mill Creek for concrete lining in 1910. Courtesy of Guy Shelley.


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PICTURED: Lauren Billys will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics with her horse Purdy.

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RIGHT: Lauren Billys competing last July in Toronto, Canada at the Pan American games.


GOING

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LAUREN BILLYS’ CHILDHOOD OLYMPIC DREAM BECOMES REALITY

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auren Billys, a former Visalia resident now hailed as one of the top equestrians in the Western Hemisphere, took time out from her whirlwind Olympic training and fundraising schedule to share her story with local riders last month. Lauren, 27, and her Irish Sporthorse, Castle Larchfield Purdy, will ride for the Puerto Rico equestrian team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August. The games will be the culmination of an intense fiveyear effort to prepare to compete in the eventing category, but also serve as a reminder that the formative years of a child’s life can help them achieve a lifelong dream. Lauren told an audience of about 15 students, their parents, and fellow horse lovers on May 11 that not long ago, she was just like them. Standing just feet away from her original riding instructor, Laurel George, who continues to give lessons to children and adults at Sequoia Hills Stables in Elderwood, Lauren encouraged the students to remain focused on their goals. “Driving out here tonight was just like when I was eight-years-old,” she said as the sun set at the foothill facility, her face lit with a smile. “It was the place I was most excited to come to. It was a place where I had a pure experience with

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horses, and where I first jumped with a horse. I never wanted to leave.” Lauren is referring to Mountain View Corrals in Woodlake, where Laurel ran a riding school for 24 years. Lauren was one of her first students who took weekly riding lessons. Watching her grow into a woman and witnessing her achievements is emotional for Laurel. “I am so very blessed, it makes me cry,” she said. “I know I started her with horses, but she has always been such a neat girl. She had the love for horses, and then when she was a teenager, that’s when the drive started and she knew what she wanted.” In fact, Lauren credits Laurel for her solid foundation in horsemanship, noting that through Laurel’s lesson program, she also learned responsibility and humility.

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She found her first horse, Ranger, in a Thrifty Nickel want ad. She rode him from age 13 to 19, developing her talent and competing throughout those years. “Horses were the one thing that stayed stable in my life,” she said. “My priorities were horses, family, and faith. Boys and drama were the last on the list.” She recalls sitting in a classroom at Green Acres Middle School, pondering a response to the inevitable question: What do you want to do when you grow up? “I drew the Olympic rings,” she said. THE LONG ROAD After graduating from Redwood High School, Lauren continued training and riding in upper level competitions while pursuing her college degrees at Fresno State University. In an article she wrote for California Riding Magazine, titled “The Evolution of An Olympic Dream,” she writes, “The spark of commitment was probably started while attending the majority of my college classes in riding clothes, stomping into class in breeches and boots, and packing my truck with biochemistry notes and crosscountry schooling gear.” She realized she couldn’t shake the horse “bug” when she would peel off her boots at the end of the day and

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A group gathered this past May at Mountain View Corrals in Woodlake to hear Lauren Billys speak about her journey to the Olympics.

park them in the hallway of her sorority house. Or when she got home from a horse show at midnight and she still needed to study for that chemistry exam scheduled for the next day. In 2010, Lauren earned a spot on U.S. territory’s Puerto Rican Equestrian Team, a position she is able to have not only because of her outstanding riding abilities, but because of her Puerto Rican heritage. It was in 2011, during the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, that Lauren rode into the stadium on her beloved mare, Ballingowan Ginger, simply known as Ginger. She told the crowd gathered in Elderwood that the moment was unreal: “Here I am, surrounded by 6,000 manic, neurotic people like me who love horses!” she said, eliciting laughs. “The most natural place I felt was on a horse. And I thought, if I can go to the Pan American games, I can go to the Olympics.” And that’s when the planning began in earnest. TRAINING A NEW HORSE A slew of competitions and intense training followed in an effort to qualify for one of three spots on the Puerto Rican team in individual eventing. Eventing is one of the most grueling of equestrian events, requiring horse and rider to be trained in three disciplines: dressage, stadium jumping, and crosscountry. As is often required in the world of horses, it also meant it was time to say goodbye. A change of horses is no easy task for a rider, as the duo often develops intense bonds of trust and love. But to continue competing in the highest-level competitions, Lauren had 18 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

to sell her two top mares: Ginger and Jitter Bug. Talking about that decision still causes Lauren to get teary-eyed. She acquired Marseille in England, who is a back-up to her Olympic partner, Castle Larchfield Purdy. She acquired “Purdy” in June 2014 with the help of an ownership syndicate. She likens him to riding a dinosaur. At 17 hands high, she said, “He’s a beast.” She also left Fresno (diploma in hand, with a double major in enology and chemistry) and moved her eventing business to Carmel Valley to be closer

to her coaches, Bea and Derek DiGrazia. Many riders haul-in to a private ranch she manages there to supplement their training. Coaching others and sharing her knowledge is a joy, she said, noting to the students that her college degrees helped prepare her for starting and operating her own business. By March 2016, after a grueling competition schedule, Lauren learned she had earned a spot on the Puerto Rican team. She and Purdy will continue training for the games by participating in prep events across the country, concluding with the Great Meadow CIC3* in Plains, Virginia. That will put them on the East Coast in time for the July 30 departure to Brazil. Competition

is scheduled for Aug. 5-6. In the meantime, she will also continue working with Marseille, her second horse. Lauren said in an interview with California Riding Magazine that she believes he is a good candidate for the 2018 Equestrian Games. Lauren shared with the students the ins and outs of international travel with a horse, from required quarantine periods to the huge ramps wheeled up to the back of 747s, where Purdy and other horses are loaded. She also acknowledged the expert equine nutrition and health guidance of Dr. Doug Anez, who owns Pacific Crest Equine in Exeter with his wife, Dr. Kelly Anez. It’s important to note that unlike most Olympic athletes, Lauren must not only keep herself in top condition, but Purdy, too. Through all of the competition, training, and travel, Lauren has remained grounded and committed to her horses, her supporters, and her family, including mom Betsy and sister Alyssa. This makes Laurel, her childhood trainer, very proud. “The thing that impresses me about her is she hasn’t forgotten where she came from,” said Laurel. “When riders get to this level, they can get arrogant and into themselves. I don’t feel like she’s ever done that. Just the fact that she took time out to talk to kids and parents at a little country thing, I think that shows class. I’m so proud of what she has accomplished.” Lauren told the crowd before concluding her talk, “This isn’t just about me. It’s all thanks to my community. I wouldn’t be here without the support and encouragement of everyone.” Follow Lauren Billys’ blog at the 2016 Olympic Games at laurenbillys.com. INSET: Lauren Billys with her first trainer, Laurel George.


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LITERARY ARTS

SUMMER LANE PRO LI FI C YO U N G WR ITER K EEP S TH E H ITS CO M I N G

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any a 13-year-old may dream of having a writing career someday. Summer Lane didn’t see any reason to add the “someday” part of it. While she had been making up stories even before she could put them on paper, she began her writing career in earnest at 13 by submitting her work for publication. “I worked and worked and worked,” she said. “I was constantly writing books, short stories, essays, and whatever. I was contacting magazines. It’s really hard to break into, kind of like acting. It’s almost impossible to make it unless you’re relentless.”

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She sold her first freelance article at 17. Now, only five years later, she has published 12 novels, has two more coming out this year, and two already scheduled for release next year. At least four of her books have hit the Number One Bestseller position in their category on Amazon, and all have been in the top 10 or 20, she said. Positions on the list change rapidly, but on a recent day her latest book, Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, was listed as number three in its Kindle subcategory of Survival Stories, number five in Dystopian sub-category, and number four in Science Fiction subcategory. To put this in perspective,

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the number three position put her in line directly behind The Hunger Games and Mocking Jay. On top of that, she has her own online magazine, Writing Belle, writes for the Catholic magazine in Reedley, assists other writers, has published countless articles, and has turned her love of the written word into a full-time career. Summer was born in Reedley. Her family moved to Sacramento when she was in elementary school and returned to Reedley after she graduated from high school. By that time, Summer had sampled college in Sacramento and decided that going directly into

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developing her writing into a full-time career would be a better choice. “I started working for pennies,” she said. “I wrote thousands and thousands of words for anybody who would pay me. And then I got bigger clients.” “I did everything you could possibly think of,” she said, including ghost writing e-books and composing press releases for companies. “After that, I started getting into writing novels, which was what I always really wanted to do. I couldn’t do that right away because I needed money.” She developed her first novel from a character she’d had in her head since she was 12 or 13. The story varied throughout the years. At age 19, she felt her writing skills had matured to the point where she could better mentally grasp the story. It only took her about 22 days to get State of Emergency written. Her parents, Don and Kathy, reviewed it for her, along with several other people, who urged her to publish it. She edited it several times and some of her readers made editing suggestions as well. “I wrote the book and released it myself, independently,” she said. “And it just took off. I’ve been writing books ever since.” In the past, she had attempted to find agents or sell directly to publishers, but found the constant rejections too restrictive. She felt that if she could just get her stories to the public, they would like them. “I think my hunch was right,” she said. “I got up one day, and the book was selling like crazy. I thought, okay, this works.” One reason her sales picked up so quickly was that she had a base of online readers already familiar with her work through her Writing Belle, which she had started two or three years before. State of Emergency is the opening book in Summer’s Collapse series. There will be ten books by the time the series is finished next year. Summer describes the series as the story of a girl, Cassidy Hart, who struggles for survival during an apocalypse that includes an invading force taking over the west coast. During the course of the books, Cassidy grows up, becomes a fighter and a leader, and finds love. Each title in the series begins with 22 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

“State of…” and the series so far continues with Chaos, Rebellion, Pursuit, Alliance, Vengeance, and Obstruction. The eighth book, State of Fear, is due out this month, and the final two next year. In addition to this series, Summer has published The Zero Trilogy, another story that takes place during the same apocalypse. “The Zero Trilogy is about one girl, one sword, and one dog surviving in Hollywood,” she said. Like Cassidy, Elle Costas fights to survive through the rigors of death

and destruction thrown at her in Day Zero, Day One, and End of Day. In her struggles, she is joined by her brave companion, Bravo. And Bravo, the dog, gets his own story in Summer’s most recent book, Bravo: Apocalypse Mission, released in April. The Bravo stories take place before The Zero Trilogy and tell how Bravo became the dog he is. The second Bravo story, Bravo: Blood Road, is due out in the fall. Included in Summer’s first dozen published books is a graphic companion

Collapse: The Illustrated Guide. When seeking an illustrator, she asked the most promising applicants to draw his or her idea of Cassidy. “There was this one guy named Oskari Niittymaki who sent me a picture of Cassidy and I was like, wow, this is exactly what I wanted, that whole look, so I just hired him,” she said. Though the guide is intended to give “concepts” of the characters and scenes in her books, Summer defers to the imaginations of her readers as the best way to picture the stories. Summer writes diligently to keep this prolific pace. “I generally work in the morning,” she said. “Depending on what I need to get done, sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes eight hours. Once she meets her selfimposed daily, weekly, and monthly deadlines for writing, she concentrates on her other duties such as teaching children to write creatively or interviewing other writers. Summer’s family has supported her choice of careers, perhaps unintentionally in the beginning when they chose a name they thought would look good in writing. They probably never suspected they would see it on the page quite as much as they have, especially at such a young age. “My parents are happy,” she said. “They always wanted me to do something I loved. I was always after that, too. I didn’t want to just work. I wanted whatever I loved to be my career.” Despite her intense schedule of publishing five books last year and three this year, writing is not Summer’s only major endeavor involving her true loves at this point. She is also planning her wedding for this fall. Her fiancé, Scott Brandt, is also a big supporter of her career. In fact, it was her first book that brought them together. He is a fan of adventure and survival stories and doesn’t mind sharing Summer with her characters. “I had just released my first book when I met him,” she said. “And that’s kind of how he got to know me. He read my book. He was like ‘oh I like this book, so I might like this girl.’ It was pretty funny.”


THE RAMIREZ HOME

BLENDIN

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When building their home around 12 years ago, Jorge Ramirez drew out a rough plan and let the architect run with his ideas.

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veryone craves a good love story, especially a story where love is lost and then found again, years later. Nicholas Sparks has made millions selling books with similar themes, but if you look around, these stories are more common than you might think. We came across a family living in a beautiful Porterville home that not only has a love story worthy of the big screen, but a story of a blended family not even the Brady Bunch could compete with. Out in Porterville, you might find the Ramirez family of five (12 if you count their seven dogs) in their expansive backyard barbequing, laughing, poking fun at each other, and just being, well, a family. If you were a first-time visitor to the Ramirez household, you might assume they’ve been a family unit since the flood, and to be honest, they might as well be. The truth is, this family didn’t come together until 2013, just nine months after Kim and Jorge Ramirez reunited for the first time since college. 26 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

“Jorge and I actually met when we were 15,” said Kim. “We were high school sweethearts and were together from age 15 to 20. We just became good friends, eventually started dating, and became engaged.” After a tough breakup, Kim and Jorge went their separate ways, eventually marrying other people. While they both were divorced around the same time, it was another four years before Jorge picked up the phone to ask Kim on a date. “He had called me one day, we were talking, and he said we should go on a date,” laughed Kim. “I told him ‘I can give you 85 reasons why we would never work out.’ As we were talking, I said ‘Oh, I just came up with three more reasons, we better get off the phone before I come up with more.’” Several weeks after the phone call, Kim walked out to her car after work and found a note on her windshield. Written across the top of the letter was “85

reasons why we should be together.” While Kim tried to be tough, it was hard to resist Jorge’s sweet gesture. “A day or so later, I had written down 15 more reasons as to why he loved me to get it to 100.” Kim and Jorge’s first date was on Valentine’s Day of 2013, and they were married just nine months later. Now, Jorge and his 12-year-old daughter Katie share their lives with Kim and her two children, 17-year-old Colby and 13-year-old Emelee, in their picturesque Porterville home. Long before Kim came back into his life, Jorge, owner of J R Concrete, built their beautiful, 6,000 sq. ft. home on property in Porterville, shaded by a magnificent oak tree. While Jorge and his daughter Katie always considered it a beautiful place to come back to at the end of the day, it lacked a certain quality that makes a house feel like a home. That “quality” turned out to be Kim, Colby, and Emelee. “I feel like the five of us have made it

The large front door is made of Knotty Alder wood, contributing to the home's Tuscan look.


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a home,” said Jorge. “Kim and I want it to be a place where as the kids get older, they will want to be here.” After observing the Ramirez family interact in their backyard together, it doesn’t take long to see that this is a place these kids will always want to come home to. Between Jorge and Colby’s sarcastic joking, Katie and Emelee’s sister-like banter (they’re only three months apart in age), and Kim’s contagious smile as she admires her family, there’s no doubt that this family is a unit. In fact, they can’t quite get

enough of each other. Almost every morning, the entire family tends to gravitate to the master bathroom to get ready, and within minutes of going their separate ways for school and work, they call each other just to see what’s up. “We talk with the kids in the morning as we get ready,” said Jorge. “I take Katie to school or to assembly. Kim goes that way, I go this way, and still to this day, I call her every single morning as soon as I leave, within 10 to 15 minutes,” laughs Jorge. “And it’s the same question every morning: ‘So, what are you doing now?’” Jorge and Kim feel as though they were never really apart. When they were teenagers, they could sit and talk for hours on end, go home, and 28 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

then call each other on the phone to talk more. Twenty years later, the only difference is that now they have three wonderful kids contributing to the conversation. As further proof of their growing bond, when you walk through the Ramirez home on any given day, you’ll encounter sticky notes on bathroom mirrors, in the hallways, and on the fridge with sweet and encouraging messages to each other. But Kim and Jorge are quick to say that there is no special treatment; biological or not, each kid is treated like

a son or daughter, same rules and all. “Honestly, when it comes to being a blended family, I just really don’t feel blended,” said Jorge. “I don’t feel like Colby is my stepson. I never even use the word stepson. If someone asks me, I say, ‘that’s my son, that’s my daughter.’” The kids even have nicknames for their new parents – Colby and Emelee called Jorge their ‘papi,’ and Katie calls Kim her ‘frommy.’ “It’s a name without being impersonal,” said Kim. “I’m not her mama, but I’m a friend. So, I’m her frommy.” No matter what they call each other, it’s clear they are family and that they enjoy spending time together, especially in their recently

LEFT: Every morning, the Ramirez family gravitates toward the master bathroom to get ready. PICTURED: The open floor plan allows for the whole family to be together.

BOTTOM LEFT: Kim’s favorite room in the house is the movie room, which she decorated in movie posters from her childhood. BOTTOM RIGHT: Many of the subtle décor elements throughout the living room are mementos from Kim and Jorge’s wedding.


HOME TOUR

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HOME TOUR The custom cabinets and hickory wood floors contribute to the rustic design elements of the home.

updated backyard, which has brought the whole family outside more than ever. This past fall, just weeks before their friends got married in their backyard, they added an outdoor kitchen, completed the outdoor structure, and built a large wood-burning pizza oven. “Jorge built the outdoor structure when he built the house, but it wasn’t finished, so we added the rock,” said Kim. “We were on Pinterest almost every night looking for outdoor kitchen ideas, so we came up with the pizza oven, and I think we did it all in under three weeks. It’s a big space and we needed something a little more grand, so it kind of kept getting bigger and bigger. It has become our favorite spot.” The Ramirez family could spend hours outside talking about all of the memories they’ve created in just three short years. From their yearly trips to Puerto Villarta to their frequent motor home escapades, to attending the kids’ out-of-town water polo and volleyball tournaments, they’ve turned three years into a lifetime of cherished memories and family traditions. “We’ve been very fortunate, so it’s not easy to list all of the good times we’ve had together,” said Jorge. “We’ve been able to go to some cool places, even

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when we go with Colby to water polo tournaments. We’ve just been blessed. If we sit here for much longer, we’ll just keep remembering more and more.” Another popular family gathering place that has been the source of new family traditions is the upstairs movie room. Originally meant to be an attic, during construction, Jorge’s framer

proposed they turn the space into a livable room, and Jorge agreed. Over the past few years, Kim has put her own touch in the room by adding movie posters from their favorite films growing up; movies like “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Ghostbusters,” “Back to the Future,” and other nostalgic ‘80s hits. In the same way that Jorge’s framer

recommended turning the attic into a functional room, Jorge let the architect, painters, and designers take his ideas and run with them, based on their expertise. “Being in construction and doing all of these custom homes, I kind of learned which people did the best work, and I let them run with it and do their own thing,” said Jorge. “After all these years in construction, I would get these ideas and pick a little bit up here and there, so the style just came about. There’s a little bit of a Tuscan look, but it’s kind of all over the place. “ The exterior of the home has a Tuscan flair with its custom rockwork and grand Knotty Alder wooden doors, while the interior has many rustic elements as well. The gold custom paint colors in the bedroom and main living areas create a warm atmosphere, complemented by the hickory floors that run throughout the kitchen and hallways. While the home is now beautifully decorated with rustic country details and mementos from Kim and Jorge’s wedding, Kim said it used to be “such a bachelor pad” with nothing on the walls. “I like things that are very rustic because it fits out here in the middle of nowhere, but at the same time, I also like

While Kim likes to implement rustic décor, she appreciates things that are classically elegant, as seen in their formal dining room.


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décor that is classic with clean lines,” said Kim. “We have things around that are very sentimental as well, like some items from our wedding. Burlap was very popular at the time, so we did a lot of that, and I’ve kept the mason jars and some of those things around. It’s definitely a home now.” Kim’s eclectic taste in décor isn’t the only thing that has made this house into a home. Both Kim and Jorge will be quick to say that it would not be the

same place without their three kids. “The house is a home because they make it a home,” said Kim. “It’s this beautiful space that I just feel so blessed to have every time I drive up my driveway. Jorge has built such a beautiful home, and I’m so proud of him for that. I feel like the house is just something that connects us all. It’s a place to come to at the end of the day, and we can have our space or talk to our family, and they will be there for us.”

HOME TOUR

While Jorge built the outdoor structure at the same time as the house, the family finished it with the stone, the outdoor kitchen, and all of the electrical this past fall.

The Ramirez family spends a lot of time outdoors in their beautiful, recently updated backyard.

The large covered patio just off the family room provides much-needed shade during hot summer months.

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Sizzling FOR

SUMM F

orget the hot dogs and hamburgers this Independence Day,

and go for something with a little more spark. This grilled Tex - Mex inspired menu has a little bit of everything, from seafood to steak to something a little sweet.

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BBQ OYSTERS WITH CILANTRO BUTTER AND CHIPOTLE BBQ SAUCE

SCALLOP TOSTADAS WITH BLACK BEAN PUREE AND AVOCADO RELISH

Servers 6

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS Two dozen oysters, in their shells ½ lbs butter, room temperature ½ C cilantro, leaves only ½ lime, juiced Cracked black pepper 1 C ketchup 2 T chipotle peppers in adobo

INGREDIENTS 6 corn tortillas 6 large sea scallops 2 T olive oil Salt and pepper 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed ½ red onion, chopped ½ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. lime juice 2 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and diced 1 lime, juiced 1 T honey 1 jalapeno, finely diced Salt and freshly ground black pepper ¼ C chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS Place butter, cilantro, lime, and black pepper in a food processor and blend. Remove and place in small bowl or ramekin. For the BBQ sauce, combine the ketchup and chipotle peppers in a food processor and blend. Set aside. Place the oysters on the hot grill, flat side up. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters open, about five minutes. Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a platter, trying to keep the liquor inside. Quickly remove the top shells and loosen the oysters from the bottom shells. Top each oyster with a tablespoon of cilantro butter and return the oysters to the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the butter is mostly melted and the oysters are hot, about one minute. Remove and top with a dollop of chipotle BBQ sauce.

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DIRECTIONS Fry each tortilla in a skillet until crisp, remove from oil, place on paper towels, and salt them immediately. Salt and pepper each scallop, rub in the olive oil, and place on grill. Grill on each side for a couple of minutes and set aside. For the bean puree, combine black beans, onion, lime juice, and cumin in a food processor and set aside. Separately, mix together the last six ingredients for the avocado relish. To assemble, spread the black bean puree onto the tortilla, place a dollop of the avocado relish on top of the beans, top with a scallop, and garnish with cilantro.


TACO BAR Serves 6

GRILLED CHIPOTLE GLAZED RIBEYE WITH CHIPOTLE BUTTER INGREDIENTS 1 lb. ribeye steak 2 T chipotle puree ½ C honey 1 T canola oil 2 T chipotle peppers 1 stick butter, softened ½ lime, juiced Pinch of salt INGREDIENTS Grill the steak about three to four minutes on each side. For the glaze, whisk together chipotle puree, honey, and canola oil. Liberally brush ribeye with chipotle glaze for the last minute on each side. Puree butter, chipotle peppers, lime juice, and salt, and dollop the top of the steak with the butter, and let rest.

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GRILLED PEACHES WITH DULCE DE LECHE ICE CREAM AND SPICED PECANS

PINEAPPLE-GLAZED SWORDFISH WITH CILANTRO-MINT CHIMICHURRI

INGREDIENTS 4 peaches, not too ripe, cut in half with pit removed 2 T canola oil 2 pints dulce de Leche ice cream 1 scoop spiced pecans

INGREDIENTS Two 8 oz. swordfish steaks 1 T canola oil Salt and pepper 4 C pineapple juice 2 T ginger, peeled and finely diced ½ C brown sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ C soy sauce 1 C packed cilantro 2 T mint ¼ C olive oil

DIRECTIONS Rub peaches with canola oil and grill, flesh side down. Mark each peach with grill, about one minute. Serve half a peach or slice. Place ice cream scoop in bowl and top with peaches and spiced pecans.

DIRECTIONS For the pineapple glaze, whisk together pineapple juice, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, and soy sauce. Place glaze in a sauce pan and reduce to a syrup consistency, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside. For the chimichurri, place cilantro, mint, and olive oil in a food processor, and set aside. Brush swordfish steaks with canola oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Grill on medium-high heat for two minutes on each side, brushing with the pineapple glaze. Flip back over and brush with glaze, cook an additional 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and dollop with chimichurri. Display your taco bar on a large board or platter. Place the swordfish on one side; slice the beef and place on the other. Slice jalapenos, tear cilantro, and place on board. Accompany with sour cream, salsas, shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, and warmed tortillas. Add whatever you like to enhance the experience.


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TRAVELER'S

TREK

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THINKSTOCK IMAGES


ISLAND TERCEIRA THE

OF

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t takes a special person to inspire others to join them on a journey, and that’s just the type of person my father is. In 2014, my dad began planning a trip to the Azores island of Terceira to celebrate his milestone 70th birthday the following summer. This very special island is located in the Atlantic, midway between North America and Europe. One of nine habitable islands in the Azores, it is fondly known as “the festive island.” Many of the Portuguese residents in our Central Valley migrated from this beautifully rugged place, including my ancestors. My father’s excitement and passion for “his island,” as he likes to call it, inspired more than 100 family members and friends to join him on

&

P H O T O S

what would be an epic vacation to this exquisite place. My husband and I knew we couldn’t miss out on being part of this once-in-a-lifetime trip, so we made the journey with our three year-old-son and one-year-old daughter. Having family on the island, and having traveled there many times before, my father encouraged everyone that caught his travel bug to find accommodations on websites like Airbnb.com and Vrbo.com. Travelers found beautiful places to stay, some for rates as low as 40 euros per night. Most everyone found working with local residents and homeowners to arrange travel needs was more affordable, and accommodating, than trying to book through the limited

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hotels and car rental services on the small island. Upon arrival, my family was quickly charmed by the five bedroom, rustic farmhouse my father rented. The driveway was lined by hand built lava rock fences that were covered with wild hydrangeas and morning glories; it could not have been more picturesque. The home came complete with chickens, rabbits, and a groundskeeper we called “Eddy,” who was generous enough to give us fresh produce from the gardens surrounding the home. His kindness was just a glimpse of what we were to experience from the people in the tiny village of Casa da Ribeira, our home for five fabulous weeks.

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A cliff diver at the swimming pools in Biscoitos.

Praia da Vitoria beach at sunset.

Viewers can gaze the span of farmland in the center of the island, while soaking in much of the ocean’s edge. A beautiful spot for taking photographs and appreciating the island’s lush landscape, it is a true joy to see coming from our drought-stricken state. L A U R A P I R E S With only two major cities on the island, Praia da Vitoria and Angra do Heroismo, most residents live in small villages along the island’s edge, similar to the one we were staying in. Village life was very intimate, a nice change of pace from home, and a great way to become immersed with locals; from the van drivers that honked every morning when they came through selling fresh bread or fish, to the café owner that made us the most delicious cappuccinos and sangria. These daily luxuries were unbelievably inexpensive to us, and helped us experience a slower, laid back quality of life that brought focus back to people and relationships. From June to October, the villages on the island host Holy Spirit Festivals. A deeply devout people, every village is distinguished by longstanding churches and brightly painted “Imperios.” The imperios are a unique architectural structure, usually located near a church, topped with a crown, and dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit Festivals include religious parades, food booths, and bullfights in the streets known as “tourada a corda,” or bull on a rope. Picture eight brave men in traditional 42 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

attire of white shirts and black hats, holding onto a dangerously long rope with a menacing bull on the end. Driving around the island in the early evening, we made many a detour around these street bullfights, one of the oldest traditions on the island. While some might find this practice cruel, the residents actually have a tremendous love and respect for these bulls and consider the bullfights a form of honor. Local storytellers will tell you the bulls saved the island from a Spanish invasion. Defenseless against the Spanish weaponry, local farmers went up to the mountains and freed the bulls from the pastures, they then proceeded to chase the Spaniards off of the island and back to their ships. This romantic story gives some understanding to the interesting relationship and interaction with these animals that is unique to the island of Terceira. While driving around the island may be the best way to soak up the beautiful scenery, it’s not for the faint of heart. From bullfights in the streets, to an unexpected herd of goats or cows, and startling steep hills, drivers must be prepared for anything. And while the

local people are extremely laid back and generous, they are oddly aggressive when it comes to driving. For those adventurous enough to get behind the wheel, there are amazing places to be seen. Drivers need only to keep an eye out for signs marked “Miradouros” to find breathtaking view points. Most of these scenic lookout points include picnic areas, and a day of picnicking is a must on the island, and something we did often. Our picnics ranged from the elaborate, with caterers and karaoke, to more traditional barbeques by swimming holes. Every outing revealed how much the Portuguese people know how to “festa” and love to help visitors do the same. My favorite day on the island consisted of caravanning roughly 60 people in 11 vehicles to some of the most amazing spots on Terceira. We started at the Serra do Cume look out point. This unique Miradouro is the only spot on the island with a walk out, so you feel as if you are standing in the clouds. Viewers can gaze the span of farmland in the center of the island, while soaking in much of the ocean’s edge. A beautiful spot for taking photographs and


One of the natural swimming pools formed out of lava rock.

Laura and part of her extensive family at one of their many picnics.

One of the many colorful church buildings in Terceira.

His kindness was just a glimpse of what we were to experience from the people in the tiny village of Casa da Ribeira, our home for five fabulous weeks. L A U R A P I R appreciating the island’s lush landscape, it is a true joy to see coming from our drought-stricken state. From there, our rambunctious group headed to the volcanic sulfur fields (they are as stinky as they sound), and then toured the Algar do Carvao, a chimney from a volcanic explosion that hollowed out a huge cave and left an immense opening at the top. Tour guides noted it to be the only chimney in the world where humans could walk-in by foot from the steps that have been built. There are many steep steps that lead into the cold, damp cave, but the workout is worth the indescribable wonder. The cave is full of amazing colors, stalagmites, stalactites, and flora and fauna growing up through the chimney opening where sunshine glows down. With so few of these volcano chimneys in the world, it’s something every visitor to Terceira must experience. 44 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

After all of the sightseeing and hiking, it was time for some relaxation at the unique swimming spot in the village of Biscoitos. In this village, there are several natural swimming pools formed by lava rocks, creating unique swimming areas for every age group and level of adventurer. My toddlers were happy to play in the shallow pools, while my teenage nephews found excitement in the cliff diving pools. When all of the swimmers were exhausted, and the sun was sinking, our caravan honked its way out of Biscoitos and headed to an amazing dinner at Caneta restaurant. This lovely and hospitable restaurant was easily able to accommodate our large party, on short notice, and served an outstanding meal of traditional dishes. No menus were handed out. Instead, course after course was brought out. From homemade bread and cheese, to platters of fish and vegetables, to pots

E S

of ‘alcatra,’ the traditional pot roast of the island, every bite was mouthwatering. Countless bottles of ‘Vinho Verde,’ a traditional Portuguese wine, intensified the merriment of the group. It was a truly special day to celebrate family, enjoy our cultural heritage, and celebrate the birthday of a special man who inspired everyone to be there with him. A few in the group were moved to give toasts of thanks, filling the room with laughter and tears. It was the perfect ending to our perfect day. This trip has taught me the courage to embark on an adventure to an unknown land is not something everyone possesses, but is something that can be sparked by passion and a genuine invitation to come along. As I have learned, there is nothing better than sharing the experience of travel with more than 100 of your closest friends and family members.


DO G F R I E N D LY

VISALIA

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f you’re a dog owner in Visalia, it’s likely you’ve scouted out the best places to bring your furry friends. A few of us at Lifestyle are enthusiastic dog owners, and we assume we aren’t the only ones around. We’ve compiled a list of local spots you and your pup will love to frequent this summer. DOGS THAT DINE Eating out with pets might seem counterintuitive to the dog novice (begging puppy dog eyes, anyone?), but if you are the type of dog owner who has a “puppy on board” bumper sticker, it’s likely you’re not opposed to bringing Spot along for date night. Visalia has a number of dining options with dog-friendly patios, and these are just a few of our favorites: • Tazzaria • El Tarasco (downtown location) • Charcuterie • Planing Mill • Pita Kabob • Figaro’s Mexican Grill • Pizanos • Quesadilla Gorilla • Le Boulevard • Farm Fresh Bowls • Watson’s Veggie Garden (front patio only) OUTDOORS WITH OTTO

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It doesn’t take much to get your dog’s tail wagging, and usually fresh air does the trick. These parks and low-impact walking trails are the perfect way to get your dog out and moving. Thankfully, the Visalia Parks and Recreation supports a dog-friendly community for Visalians: “Providing safe and fun spaces where pet owners can enjoy time with their four-legged friends is essential to building a healthy community.” – Jeannie Greenwood, Visalia Parks and Recreation Department Director. Cody Kelly Bark Park – Located in Plaza Park on the west side of Visalia, this off-leash dog park provides ample space for both small and large breeds to socialize, play, and enjoy the outdoors in a fenced-off environment. Seven Oaks Park – On the east side of town, Seven Oaks Park has a

fenced off area for dogs to run free off-leash. Kaweah Oaks Preserve – With miles of walking trails, Kaweah Oaks Preserve is a great place to explore our Valley’s natural habitat, while taking the dog for a walk. Dogs must remain leashed at all times. Slick Rock Trail in Three Rivers – This easy trail sits along the Kaweah River just outside of Three Rivers. Once entering the main parking lot, drive straight ahead and make a slight right to access the trail. Dogs must remain leashed at all times. Sequoia National Park – If you plan to take your pup up to the Sequoias for a weekend adventure, remember that dogs are not allowed on any trails within the park. They can, however, explore national forest land that surrounds the parks, as long as they are leashed. STAYING SOCIAL Just like people, dogs often need to get out and socialize. In Visalia, there are several events and groups that promote socialization among pets and their owners. Bark in the Park Night at the Rawhide Stadium – Every spring, the Rawhide hosts a “Bark in the Park Night” where owners can bring their pups and enjoy a game of baseball. Yappy Hour at the Planing Mill Pizzeria – On the second Tuesday of every month, The Planing Mill holds a special Yappy Hour fundraiser for the Valley Oak SPCA. Bring your dog and an appetite, because a portion of all proceeds goes toward the SPCA. Central Valley Corgi Club – Yes, the rumors are true. Visalia has its own Corgi Club, where corgi owners gather at Cody Kelly Bark Park several times a year. Find them on Facebook to get the latest updates on when and where to meet. Valley Oak SPCA Walk-A-DogA-Thon – Every year, the Valley Oak SPCA hosts a fun event for dogs and their owners to walk 3-miles while raising funds for their services.


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CHARITY

TOP: The centerpieces at each table. LEFT: Visalia actor Caleb Brown with May Her of United Way of Fresno. CENTER: Susan Manuel (L) and Rosemary Caso (R) of United Way of Tulare County with speaker Susan Mazza (center). RIGHT: David Bruce showing off hot pink handbags. 48 L I F E S T Y L E | J U N E 2 0 1 6

BOTTOM: The ladies of First 5 Tulare County.


POWER PURSE

Donald Grady modeling on the catwalk.

INSPIRES TULARE COUNTY WOMEN

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hile you might expect energy levels to be low at 7 a.m. on a Friday morning, it was quite the opposite inside the Visalia Convention Center during the first annual Power of the Purse fundraiser, hosted by United Way of Tulare County’s Women’s Leadership Council. More than 300 women from organizations all across the county gathered to support United Way’s Literacy Project, and perhaps win a designer purse or two. From the moment guests entered the banquet hall to the second they left, there was a shared sense of enthusiasm and support for United Way. Part of that energy may have been a result of bottomless coffee and the anticipation that lead up to giving away more than 30 purses, but mostly, it was the passion driven by approximately 300 of Tulare County’s most influential women. “When a diverse network of caring, powerful women come together, we definitely will create great change,” said Susan Manuel, Director of Development for United Way of Tulare County. “This event proved women are a powerful force in creating positive change in our communities, and our Women’s Leadership Council is now looking forward to awarding grants to Tulare County K-3rd grade teachers in need of books for their classrooms, promoting literacy, and engaging volunteers.” As the event’s MC, Visalia City Council member Amy Shuklian provided many laughs, while the “male models” paraded around the room, showing off the designer handbags. A few of these models P H O T O S

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included Tulare County Supervisor Pete Vander Poel, Visalia actor and star of the recent film “Mother’s Day,” Caleb Brown, and David Bruce, husband of United Way’s board president. While the event was certainly lively and entertaining, it also had an inspirational component for the women attending. The keynote speaker was Susan Mazza, a change agent and motivational speaker who is the author and founder of the highly acclaimed blog, Acts of Leadership™. Her speech conveyed how women, no matter their professional position, can display leadership through simple acts of kindness. As the first ever Power of the Purse event, United Way was thrilled with its success in raising $12,000 to go toward the Literacy Project, which will allow K-3rd grade teachers to purchase books for their classroom, have classroom starter kits, and fuel a literacy awareness campaign. “Thanks to some strong support, we net $12,000 with this first-year fundraiser,” said Susan Manuel. “The energy of the attendees was amazing, and a significant amount of what we raised was due to raffle ticket sales during the first hour of the event. We know we can move forward and grow the Power of the Purse into a significant fundraiser.” The Women’s Leadership Council is already in the works of planning next year’s event on Friday, May 12, with keynote speaker Matt Emerzian, author of Make Mondays Matter. For more information about United Way of Tulare County’s programs, visit unitedwaytc.org.

J O H A N N A

C O Y N E

Pete Vander Poel, Tulare County Supervisor.

Caleb Brown, 9-year-old Visalia actor. LIFEST YLE | JUNE 2016

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COMMUNITY

B A B Y

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B A S E

RAWHIDE FAMILY HIT WITH BABY BOOM

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ases are fully loaded at the Rawhide Stadium in Visalia, as four team and staff members are expecting, all during the month of July. In baseball, it’s rare and even considered “bad planning” to have a child during the season, so to have four expecting parents must mean there is something in the water on Giddings Street. While the timing couldn’t be worse for these parents, that is not stopping the Rawhide staff from embracing their baby bumps and having a little fun with it. Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft is one of these expecting parents, and a mastermind behind a fun, upcoming promotion for expectant mothers in partnership with Kaweah Delta Hospital. “True to Minor League Baseball style, we decided this coincidence was something worthy of a quirky promotion,” said Jennifer. “We’re all excited about the new challenges to come – we’re not blind to how terrible the timing is for our work schedules – but at the same time, it’s going to be really neat to go through this experience all together. So I approached Kaweah Delta Hospital about helping us with a game promotion to commemorate this special event in Rawhide history, and they were incredibly generous with their assistance.” The promotion will be called ‘Red, White & Due: A Day Dedicated to Expectant Mothers, and will take place on Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. vs. the San Jose Giants. Not only do expectant mothers get free seating in the Hall of

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Fame Club (with AC, mind you), but the first 100 moms at the game will receive a free baseball onesie. They can even enter a social media photo contest to win a free baby shower at the ballpark’s Hall of Fame Club, and for the expectant mothers who don’t mind cutting it close, the Rawhide will provide their child free birthday parties for life if they go into labor at the game.

Jennifer Pendergraft, Visalia Rawhide general manager, is one of four staff members expecting a baby in July.

Kaweah Delta will also be on-site with class information, delivery nurses to answer questions, a photo booth in the Hall of Fame Club, and plenty of raffle prizes for moms-to-be. While the Rawhide Family may have a rough few months ahead of them, they are an adaptive group and have supportive co-workers and family members who can help out. Each of the expecting parents were asked how they are going to juggle baseball and a baby, and some plan to quite literally do both at the same time. Oh, and did we mention they are all having boys! Jennifer Pendergraft, general manager, and boyfriend Clayton

Reynolds, due July 9: “This might change, but with the blessing of my co-workers, my gameplan is to get back to work as soon as possible and just tote the little guy around with me throughout the day – I’m at my desk during the day, and walk around the ballpark during games, so it shouldn’t be too bad.” Charlie Saponara, assistant general manager, and wife Brynn, due July 1: “Thankfully, I have an amazing wife that supports my career by taking care of our son while I’m working 12-15 hour days during homestands. Between daycare and my wife’s care at home, I feel 100 percent comfortable not having to change my in-season schedule, though I do try not to stay in the office too late on non-game days.” Chad Moeller, athletic trainer, and wife Vanessa, due July 2: “In-season, I predict many nights of little to no sleep while attending to Nathaniel. I probably won’t have nearly as much free time to exercise or relax, though my wife and I plan to switch off, giving each other breaks when necessary.” Tyler Baker, rawhide catcher, and wife Brooke, due July 23: “The rest of this season, my schedule probably won’t change too much for me because I will be away from my family, and my wife will take care of him back home. During the off-season, my schedule will change a lot because I’m going to stay home and take care of Liam while my wife is at work, so we will save money on daycare.”

P H O T O S

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L A U R E N

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HAPPENINGS

T H E AT R E & M U S I C

THE SECRET GARDEN

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE A fun romp put on by the Visalia Players tells the story of middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia, who share a home in Bucks County, PA, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie star sister, Masha, swoops in with her hot young boyfriend, Spike, amid threats to sell the house. This show blends Chekhov’s famous ennui with the modern-day toils and troubles of celebrity, social networking, and age into a laugh-out-loud comedy that will tickle your funny bone and stimulate your mind. When: June 10-26, check website for show times Where: Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race, Visalia. Contact: 734-3900 or visaliaplayers.org

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THE OAK RIDGE BOYS With scores of number one hits, millions of albums sold, and sold out tours across the nation, country music superstars The Oak Ridge Boys are bringing their world famous sound to the Visalia Convention Center. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased at the Visalia Convention Center Box OfďŹ ce. When: June 27, 8 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-4040

Based on the 1911 novel of the same name, the story is set in the early years of the 20th century. Mary Lennox, a young English girl is orphaned by a cholera outbreak when she is 10 years old and is sent away from India to Yorkshire, England, to live with relatives whom she has never met. Her own personality blossoms as she and a young gardener bring new life to a neglected garden, as well as to her sickly cousin and uncle. This beautiful tale is brought to life by the TCOE Theatre Company and the students of Tulare County. When: July 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 7:30 p.m., July 23 and 30, 2 p.m. Where: L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: tcoe.org/theatreco or call 651-1482


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WOODWARD PARK SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL: HAMLET

FIRST FRIDAYS IN DOWNTOWN VISALIA

Directed by Broderic Beard, Shakespeare’s greatest drama is presented in Woodward Park in a compelling new production that explores the complexity of the human condition. This live and outdoor production gives “Hamlet” an immediacy and vibrancy that no other form can claim to do.

The Arts Consortium is pleased to present Downtown Visalia’s monthly art hop. Each first Friday of the month, explore the Visalia Art District to experience exhibitions, performances, activities, and more. Catch a guided tour on the Visalia Towne Trolley.

When: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through July 16, 8 p.m. Where: Woodward Park, WSF Stage, 7775 Friant Rd., Fresno Contact: www.woodwardshakespeare. org or 927-3485

ART EXHIBITS VISALIA ART LEAGUE MEMBER’S EXHIBITION Come down to Arts Visalia to view the art of Visalia’s oldest artist-run organization. Fifty artworks by members of the Art League are on display in the show, including works in a variety of painting, drawing, and photographic media. The exhibition is a showcase of local talent and skill, with awards presented in various artistic categories. When: Now–June 24 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: artsvisalia.org or 739-0905

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When: Every first Friday, 5-8 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia (check each month for details) Contact: artsconsortium.org


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CUSTOM MEMORIES “Custom Memories: Photography by Don LeBaron” is currently on display at the Tulare Historical Museum. LeBaron is one of Tulare’s best-loved and celebrated newspaper photographers. When: Now-July 16, ThursdaysSaturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Ave., Tulare Contact: 686-2074 or www.tularehistoricalmuseum.org

LUC CAPTURES A LEGACY Come to the Tulare Historical Museum to experience “Luc Captures a Legacy,” a photo exhibit by the late Major Lucas Gruenther, USAF, grandson of Tulare Olympic legend, Bob Mathias. When: June 30-July 9, ThursdaySaturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Ave., Tulare Contact: www.tularehistoricalmuseum. org or 686-2074

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DOWN BY THE SEA Feel the ocean breeze and sand beneath your feet through art at The Creative Center. The Creative Center has invited talented artists in our area to bring the coastal breezes and sandy beaches of their art for a “Down by the Sea” show. When: Now-July 29, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Jon Ginsburg Gallery, 606 N. Bridge St., Visalia, Contact: facebook.com/ JonGingsburgGallery or 733-9329


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DIVERSIONS & EXCU R S I O N S DOWNTOWN VISALIA FARMER’S MARKET Thursday nights in downtown Visalia are booming with activity during the Farmer’s Market. From fresh, locally grown produce to handcrafted goods, there’s a little something for everyone. This year there will even be cooking demonstrations, workshops, art exhibits, and more.

STEPS 4 PETS WALKING GROUP Join the SPCA to help better the mind, body, and spirit of homeless animals by walking approximately a mile every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (weather permitting). Participants 12-15 must walk with a parent. When: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 8 a.m. Where: SPCA Adoption Center, 29010 Highway 99, Visalia Contact: 651-1111

When: Thursdays, 5-8 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: VisaliaFarmersMarket.com

HAPPENINGS

YOGA BACKPACK TRIP Connect with the mountains and tap into your inner wild child with this yogainspired backpacking trip. Through daily yoga sessions and opportunities to meditate both alone and with new friends, you will leave this trip feeling rejuvenated. The trip may give you the opportunity to see giant sequoia trees, alpine lakes, rivers, and the best of what Sequoia National Park has to offer – its wilderness. Price is $250 SPC members or $287.50 for non-members. When: July 5-10 Where: Sequoia National Park, Crescent Meadow Contact: exploresequoiakingscanyon. com or call 565-4251

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HAPPENINGS

DOWNTOWN VISALIA BREW FEST Gather your friends and come down to the Lumber Yard on Bridge and Oak Streets for Downtown Visalia’s First Annual Brew Fest. Enjoy a funfilled afternoon with live music by AC Myles and Pamela Henri & the Big Boss Band while tasting your favorite craft beer. Tickets are $30 and a portion of the ticket sales benefit the C.A.R.E. Alzheimer Foundation. When: August 6, 3-7 p.m. Where: The Old Lumbar Yard, 300 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: downtownvisalia.com or call 732-773

WONDERS OF THE NIGHT SKY

MEUX HOME MUSEUM TOURS

Get the backyard basics to stargazing on this free tour of the night sky. Listen to ancient and cultural stories about the constellations as you enjoy an evening under one of California’s most brilliant skies. Dress appropriately for the evening’s weather. Co-Sponsored by Wuksachi Lodge.

The Meux Home Museum recaptures the flavor of Victorian Fresno by presenting a middle-class residence furnished in the period, as a representative house museum. A costumed docent will lead you on a one-hour tour of this restored urban dwelling of the 1890's. The architecture of the Meux Home results in a calculated restlessness that makes the home as intriguing today as it was in its own day. The 10 rooms are furnished more or less as a Victorian family might have had them - the kitchen has a pie safe and the library has a portrait showing the young Dr. Meux on his way to join the Confederate Army. The Meux home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1975.

When: Every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday in July and August, 9-10 p.m. Where: Wukaschi Lodge, 64740 Wuksachi Way, Sequoia National Park Contact: 565-3759

When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 12-3 p.m. Where: 1007 R St., Fresno Contact: www.meux.mus.ca.us/index. html or 233-8007

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HAPPENINGS

C H A R I TA B L E EVENTS GUEST CHEF SERIES FOR FAMILY SERVICES OF TULARE COUNTY Join Family Services for the Annual Guest Chef Series, Tulare County’s premier food and wine event. Each year, we invite a different chef to prepare a unique, three-course tasting menu, featuring dishes that capture the event’s culinary theme. Each tasting course is paired with a fine wine, and the tastings are followed by dinner, catered by David Vartanian of the Vintage Press. This year’s theme is Italian! $150 tickets are all-inclusive. When: June 18, 5:30 p.m. Where: International Agri-Center, 4500 Laspina St., Tulare Contact: 732-1970

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CELEBRANT SINGERS LIVE IN CONCERT

28TH ANNUAL KAWEAH DELTA GOLF CLASSIC

Come worship, open your hearts to His presence, and take part in sending Celebrant Singers off to share the Gospel in Central America. An inspirational and free night hearing from Celebrants who have traveled the globe, as they share God's love where His light is dim and His voice is heard small.

Come join us for a day of golf, goodies, and giving at the 28th annual Kaweah Delta Golf Classic. All proceeds from this year’s tournament will go to fund the Building Tomorrow’s Hospital Today campaign. Shotgun start is at 9 a.m. and registration will begin at 7 a.m.

When: Friday, July 29, 7 p.m. Where: Woodland Drive Baptist Church, 1436 S. Woodland St., Visalia Contact: www.celebrants.org or 740-4000

When: Aug. 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Visalia Country Club, 625 N. Ranch St., Visalia Contact: donate.kaweahdelta.org/golfclassic or kdhfoundationgolf@kdhcd.org

CASA LAS VEGAS CASA or Tulare County is holding their third annual CASA Las Vegas fundraising event. It will be a Las Vegas themed night of live auctions, music, and exciting events. When: Oct. 1, 5-10 p.m. Where: Visalia Country Club, 625 N. Ranch St., Visalia Contact: joann@casatulareco.org or 625-4007

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Lifestyle Magazine - June 2016  

Style, art, culture, and events of the South Valley.

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