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THE PEREZ HOME Uniquely Inspired



Colorful, Quirky and Proud of It



Eggplant Parmesan Stacks June 2014


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24 HOME TOUR The Perez Home



Letter from the Executive Editor

Happy Trails Riding Academy Celebrates 30th Anniversary

10 Business Cents: Five Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs

Night at the Races

12 Word Play 18 History: Loan Oak Park - Smallest Park in the World


22 Fashion


40 Wine Pairing: RosĂŠ 50 Literary Arts: Willma Willis Gore


54 Kudos

Exploring Eggplant

56 Happenings

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks


34 T R AV E L

Colorful, Quirky and Proud of It Copenhagen, Denmark PAGE

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PICTURED: The missioninspired front of the Perez home features crescent clay tiles in a variety of natural tones adorned with dark pained windows.



Bravo Farms Smokehouse DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare Tazzaria Coffee & Tea Tulare County Library The Lifestyle Center Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS

210 Cafe Cafe 225 California Fitness Academy Creekside Day Spa & Wellness Center Courtyard Aesthetics Details Party Rentals Exeter Chamber of Commerce Fast Frame Franey’s Design Center Frank’s Appliance Hobbs-Potts Associates Holiday Inn Kaweah Delta Hospital Pita Kabob Pro-PT Smiles by Sullivan Tulare Chamber of Commerce V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Business Bank (Downtown) Visalia Imaging & Open MRI Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Wildfl ower Caf, Exeter Williams, Jordan, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc.

SALES OFFICE 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 E-mail: VIEW THE MAG ONLINE!

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 2,000 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: 15,000 © 2014 DMI Agency


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

LEFT: The 16-ft ceilings in the Perez home are decorated with crown moldings and dramatic chandeliers while grand paintings and mirrors line the walls.


Photo by Becca Chavez | Hair and Make-up provided by Velvet Sky

A few days ago I had a dream that I was resting, listening to the back-and-forth sounds of the ocean waves while a cool 58-degree breeze brushed over me. There was the occasional shadow cast by the wingspan of a seagull and just a hint of salt filled the air. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The best part is that it wasn’t a dream at all, but a very real and recent weekend retreat. Working so many long days and weekends, it’s pretty easy for me to forget how many months have passed since the last time I spent a few days at the coast. It’s such a blessing to live this close to the beach - you’d think we’d get there more often, but we don’t. I often ask myself, why not? The daily excuses change, but the overriding theme is the same … “too busy.” I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way my life became overfilled with emails, text messages and social media. My job, like many others, requires copious amounts of communication and today’s technology allows that to happen 24/7. That constant connection is fine … most of the time. But when I find myself looking at real estate in parts of the country without cell service, it’s time to escape, if only for a night. Weather-wise we couldn’t have timed it more perfectly. As temperatures here reached 109 degrees, we were clad in long-sleeved shirts amid the high 50s. I wasn’t able to cease all communication, as we kept running into people we knew, but overall it was a wonderfully restful time. Renewed and refreshed, I’m back at my desk, which is barely visible under the stacks of papers and a couple of half full cups of coffee. It’s all worth it, though, as we work to finalize the June issue of Lifestyle. This month’s Home Tour is the unique and eclectic home of Tony and Leanne Perez. Grand in almost every way, the favorite room in the home is the one in contrast, where the family can relax and enjoy spending time together. Be sure to turn to page 24 where you’ll read about the home’s inspiration and the stories behind a few of the owner’s collectables. You might recall a few years back when we featured Chad Borba, a local young man and champion wake boarder. That might have been our staff ’s favorite story as it involved a boat ride and a few wake board tips from a pro. Recently Chad took part in something even more adventurous – the filming of a documentary “Voyage.” For information about the movie’s premier in Visalia, please turn to page 56 of our Happenings section. No matter how or where you spend your summer, I hope you’re able to take some time doing what you love. Just make sure you take Lifestyle with you, and think about turning off that cell phone, even if only for a day.

KAREN TELLALIAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR For more information or to submit a story idea email or call (559) 739-1747 or fax (559) 738-0909.


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

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Go Green: Five Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs Text by Erik Anderson, Keller Williams Realty Tulare County


mplementing energy-saving measures in your home will reduce your utility usage and costs. However, the impact is far wider than just your home. You’ll also lessen consumption of the Earth’s natural resources and eliminate a portion of the air, water and soil pollution that occurs in the process. Here are five methods you can use to start cutting your energy costs. 1. Change Your Light Bulbs While lighting may not be your biggest drain on electricity in the home, it accounts for up to 20 percent of your electricity bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Switching from traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent lights (CFLs) will save about 75 percent of the electricity used by each and every light. Over the bulb’s lifetime, that equals around $30 or more in savings. Look for CFLs displaying the Energy Star logo for best results. Tip: Install motion sensor switches in rooms where family members often forget to turn off the lights. 2. Perform Regular HVAC Maintenance Up to half of the energy used in your home goes to your heating and air systems, depending on where you live and the condition of your home. Short of buying a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system with a better energy rating, proper maintenance will help your furnace or air conditioner use less energy. Change your filters at least every three months, or sooner if needed. If it looks dirty, it’s time. Also, hire a qualified HVAC repair technician to give your system an inspection and “tune-up” at least once a year to maintain efficiency and proper operation. Tip: Install a programmable thermostat to regulate home temperatures. For hot summer months, the ideal setting is 78 degrees when you are home and between 85 – 90 degrees when you are away. 3. Seal and Insulate Your Ductwork An efficient furnace, good insulation and thermostat temperature settings only go so far to save you money. If your HVAC air ducts leak, you could be losing 20 percent or more of your heated or cooled air. Not to mention that leaky ductwork can circulate fumes and gasses, such as carbon monoxide, that can lead to poor indoor air quality or aggravated health problems. Sealing and insulating your ducts is the solution. Use mastic (a glue-like sealant) and metal-backed foil tape to seal each joint and seam. Afterward, wrap the ducts with special insulation designed for ductwork. Tip: Insulate water pipes, especially the hot water pipe, with pipe insulation for greater energy savings and comfort.


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4. Stop Air Leaks Where is air invading and escaping from your home? Prime problem areas include around electrical outlets and light switches, door and window frames, wall- or window-mounted air conditioning units and points of entry for cables and lines of any type that run into the house. Also, check around gas lines, pipes, fireplaces, attic access doors or hatches and around any vent or fan. Outside the home, use caulk to seal corners in the siding and wherever two materials meet, such as around water faucets, dryer or stove vents, chimney-to-roof joints and the foundation top. Inside, weather stripping, caulk and expanding foam insulation can work wonders. Tip: Take a look at your insulation and determine if it’s degraded and needs replacement or if it’s adequate to reach your minimum R-values (the capacity of insulation to resist heat and air flow.) 5. Unplug It Approximately 10 percent of your energy cost goes to “energy vampires” or “ghosts” that steal your electricity. These are appliances and items that use power even when they aren’t actually on and working. Your phone charger keeps pumping electricity long after the phone is full, if you leave it plugged in. To stop this useless drain, turn off nonessentials when you’re done with them. Consider using power strips to plug in items and simply turn off the strip when you’re finished. Tip: Look for the Energy Star® label, which indicates energy efficiency, when purchasing home appliances both large and small.  Erik graduated from the University of Utah with majors in mass communication and film/media studies. He began his career in Real Estate in 2008 in his hometown of Visalia. Erik is a top-producing REALTOR® and real estate trainer at Keller Williams Tulare County.


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une is the month to celebrate everything from aquariums to zoos. It is also a month for cats and cows. An appropriate book for Adopt-a-Cat month is Taming Me (Collage Books, 2012) by Cathy Unruh. The story is written from the perspective of a feral kitten on Cat Cay, a place where cats and humans ironically do not get along well. The author is an Emmy-award winning journalist who is deeply involved in animal welfare. Also written mostly from the cat’s perspective is Love Saves the Day: A Novel (Bantam, 2013) by Gwen Cooper. When former city street kitten Prudence loses her human roommate, she has to learn to cope with two strangers who mysteriously take her place. This author is also active in animal welfare and donates 10 percent of her royalties from her best-selling memoirs, Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale and How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat. Cows are featured in June by way of Dairy Month. For those who foster the idea of producing their own milk, Gianaclis Caldwell has written The Small-Scale Dairy: The Complete Guide to Milk Production for the Home and Market (Chelsea Green Publishing, March 2014). The book provides information for those who might want one cow for their family, or multiple cows for direct sale of raw milk, or maybe to provide the milk for artisan cheese. Goats and sheep are included, too. Valley Writers Catch an in-depth interview with Hazel Dixon-Cooper on San Joaquin Spotlight. The segment aired on April 25 but can be seen by following the link from Dixon-Cooper’s webpage. Dixon-Cooper is a Fresno-based astrologer and author of a series of books that began with Born on a Rotten Day. For eight years, she wrote the astrology column for Cosmopolitan. Host Sevag Tateosian asks Dixon-Cooper about her writing career and gives her a chance to explain some of the intricacies of astrology. Her latest book, Harness Astrology’s Bad Boy: A handbook for Conquering Pluto’s Tumultuous Transit, written with fellow astrologer Cathleen Bridgett Walther, is due out in November. Dixon-Cooper explains that while Pluto rules the underworld, it can also be a force for good. According to astrology, Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2024. The last time this happened, the United States was born. While such power and tumult may seem like a serious topic, Dixon-Cooper’s trademark humor fills the pages. Compelling Characters Writing compelling characters can be challenging. The good ones need some flaws to be believable and to give them obstacles to overcome. The bad ones can’t just be cardboard cutouts of evil. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have written two books to help writers bring out both sides. The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes and The


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws will help writers develop and describe wellrounded characters that will live through their stories. Award Winners The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry went to Vijay Seshadri for his book 3 Sections. This is the third book by the poet born in India and writing in America. A few of the poem titles are: “Imaginary Number,” “The Dream I Didn’t Have” and “Purgatory, the Film.” The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt took the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This is the story of a 13-year-old boy who survives a terrorist attack that kills his mother in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In his panic, he steals Carel Fabritius’ painting of “The Goldfinch.” From then on, his life goes on a roller coaster ride from one crisis to the next. Writing Conference The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference will be held August 14 – 17 in Corte Madera. In addition to workshops, panels and discussions, this 22nd annual conference includes optional field trips exploring the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes Jim Benning, Tim Cahill, Amy Cloughley and about 16 other writers, photographers, agents and editors. Registration is $635. Details at: http://www. Writing Contests The 2014 Rattle Poetry Prize will be $5,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of Rattle magazine. Ten awards of $100 each will also be presented, along with the opportunity to increase that to an additional $1,000 for the Readers’ Choice selection. Deadline is July 15. Entry fee is $20 and also includes a magazine subscription for one year. Details at: The deadline for the Malahat Review Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize is August 1. This is the Canadian publication’s newest genre. The prize was established in 2007 and winners appear in the winter issues in addition to receiving a $1,000 prize. The entry fee is $40 for American contestants. Additional entries are $15 each. Details at: malahat/contests. The Last Word “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” – Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849).


Text by Shannon Smith, Photos by Natalie Godinez


he evening went off without a hitch and all 550 attendees of Happy Trails Riding Academy’s 19th annual Night at the Races fundraiser were raving about what a great time they had. But even more

than placing wagers and cheering for a favorite horse to cross the finish line first, the evening was about supporting Happy Trails and helping the organization to celebrate its 30 Year Anniversary. 14

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INSET: André Gaston, past board president and emcee for Night at the Races, rides in on an equicizer, a tool used to help Happy Trails’ riders work on their balance and get used to the feel of being on a horse. TOP: Happy Trails Riding Academy board president, Roland Hill (right), is enjoying an evening with Bill Deisman (middle), a retiree of the US Forest Service.

Happy Trails Riding Academy is a Tulare County based nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide therapeutic horsemanship to children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities through equine assisted therapy. The program has come a long way since it first started offering classes in 1984 on borrowed land and facilities. Ten years ago, Happy Trails made the huge step of purchasing its own property and has been developing and expanding on it ever since. The organization has grown its rider base from a single student to 80 riders per week currently and has the crucial help of more than 100 volunteers. “We constantly strive to grow our program and improve our list of services so that every person who wishes, and is medically approved, to participate in therapeutic horsemanship in our

community is able to do so,” said Leslie Gardner, executive director. “We couldn’t do what we do without the help and support of our community, our donors and our volunteers.” Currently, Happy Trails offers six different programs: therapeutic horsemanship, equine assisted activities and therapies, therapeutic driving, interactive vaulting, equine facilitated psychotherapy and, it’s newest program, equine services for heroes in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. The fundraiser, which was held on May 30 at the Visalia Convention Center, included dinner catered by Sue Sa’s, A&W root beer floats, a 30th anniversary celebratory cake and seven different televised horse races. The final race even included a headto-head challenge between four of Happy Trails’ current riders and program horses.

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Guests were encouraged to place bets on their favorite horses, each named after one of the sponsors of the evening. Once the bets were in for each race, the horses were off and the cheering began. All of the winners were put into a hat and one name was chosen to be the grand prize winner at the end of each race. One of the most popular prize packages was called “Foodie’s Delight” and, to celebrate Happy Trails’ 30th anniversary, included 30 different gift cards to local restaurants ranging from high end cuisine, such as Tommy’s, Vintage Press and Depot to casual dining such as El Tapatio, Brewbakers and Wildflower Café... just to name a few. Another prize package was a backyard overhaul complete with items hand-crafted by local high school students such as a custom-built swing, courtesy of Golden West Industrial Arts and a fire pit custom crafted by Golden West Ag Department. Other prize packages included a Coach bag buffet, a Central Coast get-away, tickets to the Fresno Fair horse racing, a golfing package sure to make both pro and amateur golfers happy and a Rawhide Fan Dugout experience.



Although the organization is planning to have a 30th Anniversary party later in the year, Night at the Races is the first of Happy Trails’ two big annual fundraisers and it raises the most money for the program, so it was only natural to throw in a little celebration at the event with a 30th anniversary cake made by local 4H members, says Gardner. The second fundraiser, which takes place at Happy Trails’ facility in October, will also have a celebratory feel but will focus on showcasing the students and the program. Happy Trails far surpassed its fundraising goal and raised more than $100,000 at Night at the Races, a number that Gardner is thrilled with. “We are so thankful to have the support of this community each year and their generosity never ceases to amaze me,” she said. “We do not turn anyone away for financial reasons and our fundraisers are the key to building up our scholarship fund and expanding our program to service more individuals.”

PICTURED: Guests of the Night at the Races event mingle with each other at their seats while eating a delicious meal catered by Sue Sa’s Catering.


PICTURED: Lone Oak Park as it appeared in 1930


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Text by Terry L. Ommen



oday, the intersection of Main and Giddings shows no hint that it once was the location of one of Visalia’s most famous landmarks, nor does it give any indication that the well-known feature located there was the focus of intense community debate. But it’s all true; and in 1936, the discussion became so heated that the smallest park in the world, known as Lone Oak Park, was removed from Visalia’s landscape. Lone Oak Park really began almost by accident. As Visalia pushed its boundaries to the west in the early 1900s, many native oak trees were removed to make way for roadways, sidewalks and houses. After Center Street was developed, the Visalia City Trustees (council members) were unhappy that so many of the huge native trees had been removed. As development continued, they vowed to save the biggest and best. In May 1913, their concern was expressed in the Visalia Morning Delta newspaper when it wrote, “The cry to save the trees has been raised in many sections of the city where beautiful ones are in the way of the curb and sidewalk lines.”

One of the first trees to come to the public’s attention was a big oak that stood at Main and Giddings streets. Because of its size and beauty, the decision was made to leave it in place even though it was growing in the middle of the intersection. Concrete curbing was built around it in an effort to keep automobiles from hitting it. But the curbing didn’t help and cars frequently collided with the giant. In 1917, Visalia Trustee J. Newt Young pushed to add special lighting for motorists. Two large red electric lights were mounted next to the tree and the Delta expressed confidence that the fix would work. They reported, “There need be no further fear of any danger from automobiles running into the oak tree.” However, they were mistaken and cars continued to hit the big tree. Despite frequent auto accidents, people loved the giant and eventually grass was planted in the 6 feet by 9 feet curbed area that was known as Lone Oak Park. Claims that it was the “smallest park in the world” circulated in many publications including the Santa Fe (Railroad) and the American City magazines, and Visalians were proud of the town’s new found fame. In 1934, PICTURED: Lone Oak Park as it was seen at the west entrance to Visalia, circa 1924. L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014


H HISTORY Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” even contacted the Visalia Chamber of Commerce asking questions about the park. There were challenges to the tiny park’s claim to fame. The city of Ventura began to plan a new park that would steal the designation, but San Rafael made the most serious challenge. They claimed to have the smallest park, so Visalia city engineer, Norman Huth, personally visited the challenger’s park and measured it. The Visalia TimesDelta announced the engineer’s findings and reported, “Visalia’s Lone Oak Park is still the smallest park in the world. Long live the King!” But while the park was basking in its glory, automobiles continued to assault and bruise the battered tree. After a “tree surgeon” examined it in December 1934, he reported that the old oak was “dying a slow death and there is little likelihood it will live for many more years.” The report added that, “numerous automobile accidents have so bruised it that rot has set in and one side of the tree is almost all in decay.” In February 1935, reflective signs saying Lone Oak Park were placed on the east and west sides of the famous small plot of ground. The signs served as both an accident prevention tool and a way to identify the plot of ground for visitors. But three months later, A. W. Quinn, a Bank of America executive from Fresno, crashed into the tree. He was admitted to Kaweah Hospital with minor injuries and later released. Then Charles Dees of Tulare smacked the tree with his car and had to spend the evening at Kaweah Hospital. The little park seemed to be a magnet for automobiles. Accidents were increasing and pressure was building to remove the tree. By 1936, public opinion began to change. Even the Visalia Times-Delta, a strong supporter for preserving it, recognized the inevitable and supported its removal. A reporter did a street survey and found the vast majority of Visalia citizens agreed. In September, city officials made their decision. Concern for public safety demanded the big oak had to go. Most in the community reluctantly supported the decision, but for others, blaming the tree for poor driving habits seemed unfair. The newspaper countered that if “they [bad drivers] were the only persons to be endangered we would continue to argue that the right of the community to maintain the tree and park were paramount; but when innocent people are put in jeopardy through no fault of their own, and any of us might be such victims, then we do not feel like entering a protest at the decision of the city council.” On the morning of September 22, 1936, workmen and bystanders gathered at the tree. The Delta filed this obituary “ noon today the giant oak tree in the smallest park in the world had been felled by the woodman’s ax – with the aid of a giant tractor, axes, picks, shovels, crowbars and a cross cut saw. The tree fought a game, but losing four hour battle, before it finally crashed to earth.” The famous tree was gone, and so was Visalia’s claim to having the smallest park in the world.


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TOP: Lone Oak Park in 1934, half jokingly being guarded by Visalia City Councilman Rufe Connelly and Marguerite Dunaway, a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club (Photo coutrsey of Bruce Geiger.) MIDDLE: A closeup of Lone Oak Park, circa 1925. BOTTOM: Current view of the intersection of Giddings and Main streets.




Text by Sharon Mosley


t’s easy. It’s breezy. And it’s classic. Black and white has always been a favorite fashion statement for style-makers. Just ask Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Onassis. Even modern-day

actresses like Charlize Theron still embrace the look (check out her 10-page photo spread in this month’s Vogue). The chic color combo is one of the coolest ways to pull a wardrobe together, especially in the summer. Here are a few updates on this classic duo:

ANKLE PANTS. Trousers may be standard at the office, but shorter, slimmer pants that hit right around the ankle are a great way to “summarize” not only your professional style but weekend looks, as well. These classics will work with heels and sandals, as well as jackets and more casual tops. They are a seasonal must-have that will carry you right through fall when you can pair them with boots. BERMUDA SHORTS. Reserve the denim Daisy Dukes for fun at the beach and stick to these longer styles for everyday wear. White shorts are like white jeans - a great summer wardrobe basic that pairs with virtually everything. You can dress up shorts with longer jackets or wear them with tees and tops in neutral black or white. There are lots of mix-and-match possibilities here. GRAPHIC PRINTED SKIRTS. This is a great way to put some fun in your summer staples. Invest in a black-and-white skirt - fitted or flared - in windowpane checks, polka dots or painterly florals. Then top it off with a classic white shirt for work or a tank top for play. POP ART SHIFTS. Black and white also gets artsy for summer in simple, sophisticated sheath dresses that skim the body with bold designs that pop with stylized drama. These are the dresses you will want to wear when you need a mood 22

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boost. You will definitely stand out in a crowd. MESH TUNICS. The see-through trend is one of this year’s hottest looks. In black or white, these tunic tops are usually layered over tank tops or even swimsuits. These longer tops are best when worn with slim pants or skirts. CROPPED TOPS. Admittedly, not all of us want to bare our midriffs, even if it’s 100 degrees outside. However, these short tops are making their mark this summer, even at the office. The trick? Wear high-waisted pants or skirts to minimize the belly bulge, or layer a longer camisole underneath for more coverage. The blackand-white striped crop adds a fresh touch on its own or under a jacket. THE SLIM SUITS. Wearing white or black from head-to-toe is another big fashion trend this summer. Suits are crisp and clean, and on the sleek side. For fun, wear them with strappy cage sandals or sporty white sneakers. Take apart the pieces and dress them up for evening with chiffon tops or silk halters. MAXI DRESSES. The little black dress goes long on style this summer. The maxi is a great way to celebrate the warm months in easy, cotton black and white knits. Look for slinky slip dresses with sheer lace or crochet insets to be favorites. Garden parties will never be the same.







PICTURED: The expansive kitchen features slate  oors and cherry oak cabinets, along with a customized back splash tile with green hues.


Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Taylor Johnson





rowing up, Tony Perez didn’t have time to think about how all the weekends he spent working with his father would pay off. Like all other seven-year-old boys, Perez probably would have preferred to spend his free time tearing things down instead of building them from the ground up. Boys aren’t necessarily destructive; they just love to play, even if it’s recklessly. So at the age when most kids are still building (or dismantling) their Lego sets, Perez was doing side work for his father, who was a union carpenter from the San Fernando Valley. Whether he loved or hated the work was beside the point. “I had to work,” explains Perez, “I just didn’t have a choice.” Most of the work was menial, such as mixing mud or laying brick, but Perez wasn’t just laying the foundation for whatever task was in front of him; Perez was also laying the foundation for his future career as a carpenter and contractor. PICTURED: A Blue Marlin hangs on the wall above a large glass display cabinet with views down the main hallway and breakfast nook.


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H HOME TOUR When most people think of carpentry they imagine simple woodworking, building birdhouses or maybe a chair or cabinet. “There’s a lot more to it though,” says Perez, who has built some unusual structures. “Well, I worked at Disneyland for a year and a half, and we did the bridge in the Pirates of the Caribbean and the fountain in front of the Haunted House.” He also worked as a carpenter in Sequoia National Park before he started his own company, Central Valley Construction in 2002. Seven years ago, after spending most of his life building homes for other people, Perez and his wife Leanne finally began building their own home – a 5,000 square-foot house in the Venice Hill area of Visalia that lies just beyond the Kaweah Oaks Preserve. The property may have a Visalia address, but the home is far removed from the city and its accouterments. Leanne laughs, “When we were



building out here I got lost every time. I would end up in Woodlake or Ivanhoe.” The property is tucked away behind orchards and fields, nestled near the river and the base of surrounding foothills. The land seems to suit Tony and Leanne, who enjoy spending time outdoors, camping and big game fishing. And while the location of the home appears to suit the family, the style of the home is an interesting contrast to its rugged surroundings. “I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of homes,” says Perez, “so I wanted something different.” So when Perez bought the 2.8-acre property, which used to be an orchard, he decided to build a house with an unlikely inspiration: Hearst Castle. From the outside, Perez admits the property looks a little like Baghdad – a dusty dirt road and palm trees – but the comparison ends there. The roof of the home is inspired by Mission San

HOME TOUR H Fernando and is covered with the crescent clay tiles of the mission style. And walking through the front door is like entering London’s National Gallery. The entranceway of the Perez home is crossed by a grand hallway with a sixteen-foot ceiling lined by crown molding that is interspersed with ornate sconces. Perez, who wanted to eliminate “dead space” throughout the home, built multiple niches in the six-foot wide hallway that have been filled with various cultural statues and art – a Buddha, a statue reminiscent of a terracotta warrior, a family antique – which lend to the impression of a large museum. The master bedroom also has elements inspired by Hearst Castle and the effect in the Perez home, as it was in Hearst Castle, is a blending of different periods and themes. The large bedroom is simply decorated with a large wooden four-post bed facing a solid

white fireplace and hearth. Large Corinthian columns line the side of the bedroom and an egg and dart pattern accentuates the borders of the room – a pattern that Perez points out is used in the White House, but is also found in Greek and Roman architecture. There is something grandiose about the home, with its four large fireplaces, the egg and dart patterns, the Corinthian columns and the slate floors with a diagonal onyx inlay. But for Tony and Leanne, “it’s just home.” They wanted something large and open for their two children, Hayden and Alexis, ages five and eight, and the rest of their extended family. Leanne, who grew up in Three Rivers and is from a family of six, doesn’t mind that her kids ride their bikes in the home, though there are a couple scuffmarks here and there. It’s a home that’s lived in, and a home that reflects their family’s interests.

LEFT: The gallery room, furnished with a lavish couch and rich, bold accent colors, serves as a formal living room and a gateway into Tony’s man cave. ABOVE: One piece of art in a niche off the main hallway resembles that of a terracotta warrior.

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At the far end of the long hallway hangs a large bull Dorado, vibrant in neon colors. “Now that’s good eating,” says Perez, looking at the fiberglass cast. In the living room is another cast of a large marlin, its back arched with a fin ribbed like an exaggerated saw. Perez enjoys big game fishing, going out four days or more at a time. “You take a picture, you measure it, then you let it go and make a cast,” says Perez, explaining the purpose of a fiberglass cast. Under the marlin stands a large glass display cabinet filled with photos and miscellany, like the ornate beadwork of the Oaxaca Indians of Mexico, where Leanne and Tony like to vacation. Across the home’s entryway and through the hallway is a gallery room with a large double wooden door that is hand carved with an ornate pattern of grapes and vines. The doors open to the game room, which houses an impressive collection of baseball memorabilia from one of Tony’s passions, the Oakland Athletics. Dozens, if not hundreds, of bobble heads, many of which are signed by the likes of Dennis Eckersley and Ricky Henderson, line his shelves. Perez, who has been an Oakland A’s fan since he was three, has collected hundreds of jerseys, balls, bats, signed photographs and other memorobilia from the team. Most of the signatures he has personally collected at spring training games, which he 30

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TOP: Two grand, bronze lions, embellished with “P” necklaces representing the Perez name, protect Tony’s “Man Cave.” MIDDLE: Collecting Oakland Athletics memorabilia, such as signed baseball cards, mini baseball hats, bobble heads and other fan collectibles, is a hobby of the Perez family. BOTTOM: A signed NFL football is another collectable item the family proudly displays.


and Leanne attend every year. Perez says his favorite item is probably anything with a Ricky Henderson signature. “We even went to Cooperstown when he got inducted to the Hall of Fame.” The most interesting pieces in Tony’s game room, however, aren’t signed baseballs or bats, but two large bronze lions emblazoned with Tony’s initials that appear to stand guard over the room. Tony jokes, “they’re heavy, that’s for sure,” and laughs as he explains that he bought them after winning a sum of money at the craps table in Vegas. Between the lions and the marlins, the Oakland A’s memorabilia and the grand hallway, the Perez home has an eclectic but distinctive atmosphere. In many ways, Tony cuts the figure of an Ernest Hemingway: someone who enjoys large things, big game fishing, the outdoors, sports, doesn’t shy from a drink and who is unapologetically himself. Leanne also contributed to the design of the home by choosing the colors in the bedrooms and kitchens, but she admits that she mostly deferred to her husband’s expertise. “I wasn’t really picky,” she says, “he’s done it so many times that I trust him. I just didn’t want any narrow hallways.” Beside that condition, Tony and Leanne just wanted to build a home that reflected who they are as individuals. But for as large as their home is, even inspired by a home as grand as Hearst Castle, they laugh while admitting that the room that gets the most use is probably the most tucked away space: a comfortable room where the kids can play and where they can watch TV as a family. PICTURED: The large backyard is the perfect place for the Perez children to run and play. With grass and a two-story play set, it’s a great place for the family to enjoy time together.


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l p g g e Recipes by El aine Dakessian, Très Bien Photos by Taylor Johnson


ggplant is the perfect summer vegetable that goes well with any meal. This month, we are doing

a trio of eggplant recipes that you can serve as appetizers or entrĂŠes and are sure to be a hit! With fresh, flavorful ingredients, these culinary creations will impress in any situation. Grab a bottle of wine, our recommendation is on page 40, and enjoy a great summer evening.


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t n la


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Ingredients 2 medium eggplants, sliced into ¾-to 1-inch slices (I use 3 slices per stack) 2 large balls fresh mozzarella 1 C mozzarella, shredded ½ C Parmesan, grated ½ C Pesto (below) 2 C marinara sauce (below)

FRESH PESTO Ingredients 2 C fresh basil ¼ C pine nuts ½ C Parmesan, shredded ¼ to ½ C extra virgin olive oil Directions Place the basil, pine nuts and Parmesan in a blender and pulse. Slowly drizzle in the oil until you get desired paste consistency. Place in small bowl and set aside.

MARINARA SAUCE (Tip: double up this recipe and freeze for future uses)

Ingredients 1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano 1 yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 bunch of basil, whole 1 C red wine 2 tsp red pepper flakes 2 T olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Directions Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the wine and reduce to half. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce thickens too much, add a little water.


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BREADING THE EGGPLANT Ingredients 2 C panko seasoned with ½ C Parmesan, grated; 2 T parsley, chopped and lemon zest 1 C flour seasoned with salt and pepper 3-4 eggs, beaten Olive oil for frying Directions Set out 3 pie tins and put the seasoned panko, the seasoned flour and the beaten eggs in the separate tins in order of flour, egg then panko. Cut the eggplant into slices, place in flour and dust both sides, place in egg and soak, then place in panko and set on platter. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until hot and fry the eggplant in batches until all are completed.

ASSEMBLING THE EGGPLANT STACKS: Spoon 2-3 T of marinara sauce on bottom of pan and place one eggplant slice on top, spoon another 2 T on top of slice and place one slice of the fresh mozzarella down. Place a 2nd slice of eggplant down. Spoon pesto on this slice and top with the shredded mozzarella. Top with 3rd eggplant slice, spoon more marinara on top and slice of fresh mozzarella along with 2 T shredded mozzarella. Repeat this with the remaining eggplant stacks. Use a thick wooden skewer stuck right in the middle to hold the eggplant stack in place while it bakes, as it can slip and slide. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with a little more pesto. Garnish with sprig of basil and sprinkle grated Parmesan around the plate.



Makes 8 roulades

This takes about 30 minutes to make, or you can purchase the syrup in most gourmet food stores. In a medium saucepan, add about 2-3 cups of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce to about ½ cup or until thickened.

Ingredients 2 Japanese eggplants, sliced ¼ inch thick (Tip: Use a mandolin if possible. There are small, hand held versions in cookware stores that work very well and can be used for all kinds of things.) 1 C crumbled feta 1 T fresh mint, chopped 1 T fresh parsley, chopped 2 tsp red pepper flakes ½ C olive oil (plus extra for brushing the eggplant) Balsamic syrup (right)

Directions Brush each slice of eggplant with olive oil and grill on both sides just enough to soften and show grill marks. In a medium bowl, place the feta, mint, parsley and red pepper flakes. Add the olive oil and, using a fork, mash to make a paste. Lay each eggplant slice down on flat surface and place a scoop of feta mixture at the very end, begin rolling to the other end and secure with a pick. Drizzle with balsamic syrup.


Ingredients 2 large eggplants 1 T chipotle peppers in adobo 1 tsp ground cumin Zest of one lemon plus the juice of ½ lemon 1 C olive oil (plus additional for drizzling) Italian parsley, chopped for garnish

CHIPS Ingredients Flour tortillas Oil for frying Heavy-bottomed saucepan suitable for deep-frying

Directions To make the dip, grill the whole eggplants on a grill for 30 minutes, turning regularly. The interior will become soft and the skins will peel right off when ready. After removing the skins, cut the eggplants in half and remove the seed part. Place the pulp in a food processor and add chipotle peppers, lemon juice and 1-cup olive oil. Remove the puree from the processor, place in bowl, sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest and drizzle olive oil. To make the chips, cut the tortilla into desired size. Heat oil to 360°F and fry the tortillas until golden brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Salt immediately and serve with dip. 38

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Text by Sonny Martin

he subject of this month’s article seems to be all over my personal radar. First, it came up during a Shark Tank episode where “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary, an avowed wine connoisseur, argued that real men do drink pink, acclaiming that he and his friends especially enjoy rosé wine in the summer months, sometimes with an ice cube thrown in. Next, friends in northern California asked me to consult on a new business venture: Rosé et Fish. Their boutique business would specialize in the freshest fish and an extensive selection of rosé wine, explaining that a broad selection of blush wine is difficult to find in any of the traditional venues they shop; despite how prevalent its consumption is amongst their circle of friends. 40



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W WINE PAIRING Then, I received notice of an event billed as “The World’s First Rosé Wine Festival.” During six cruises aboard a hybrid yacht, La Nuit En Rosé will celebrate pink wine and introduce 1,500 people lucky enough to get a ticket to 85 rosé wines. All of this is bittersweet to me. For most of my adult life, I have looked forward to the cynicism expressed when I showed up with pink wine during this time of year. After all, as an authority on wine and connoisseur, how could I possibly let wine of this color touch my palate? I enjoyed the opportunity to challenge the generally held belief that pink wine was only for those less sophisticated consumers. Now it seems I will have to find another misnomer to dispel. Truthfully, for me, it was both about challenging beliefs and following the seasons. Food and wine go together like peanut butter and jelly and I find that rosé wine is a great match to the foods we all gravitate to during the summer. Also, it is best consumed chilled, which is a great advantage during this time of year. What I like most, though, is that it evokes a casual, laid back atmosphere and that just feels good. The category of blush wines is actually anything between a white and a red wine in color and, depending upon the wine grape varietal it is made from, can range from copper to salmon through pink and all the way to very light purple. Usually, limiting the time that the fermenting juice is in contact with the dark skinned grapes is how it is made, but adding a fully red wine to a white wine can also be done; though that method is rarely used outside of rosé champagne production. One of the reasons that rosés are usually more prevalent during the summer months is because of a winemaking technique called saignée, pronounced ’sonyay.’ Saignée is a French word referring



to the process of bleeding off some of the fermenting juice from red wine production after a limited time in contact with the skins. Since color, flavor and aromas are extracted from the skins of dark grapes by the rising alcohol in the fermenting must, this process produces more intense red wine along with the lighter, fresh and vibrant rosé. Making wine is such a cash intensive business and red wine is usually not released for sale for 2 to 3 years after the grapes are harvested. So, being able to make a part of the crop available earlier is very appealing to the accountants. Red wine lovers, adventurous rosé wine consumers and winery accountants, we all win. While saignée is the most common method of producing dry rosé wines in this country, in Provence, France, where 85 percent of total wine production is blush in color, they use the same concept but argue that since rosé is all they are making, their entire mindset is focused on decisions that will produce a better blush wine. Techniques like night harvesting and macerating at lower temperatures are some of the most recent methods employed to produce a blush wine with the maximum extraction of flavor while maintaining the light color and fresh, vibrant character of the wine. Personally, I have consumed blush wines made by all of the above methods and found great examples of each. Besides, as stated previously, this is a wine that evokes a more laissez-faire attitude, so let’s not get caught up arguing about how it is made! J’en ai ras le bol! Chef Elaine’s recipes for eggplant would be great accompanied with rosé wine, so be inspired to get out and explore the world of dry rosé wine. This is the best time of year to find the most selection and the adventure will surely be rewarding.


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Text by Marsha Roberts


he Danish like things that are cozy and inviting. They even have a word for it – “hyggelig.” That’s also the perfect description for their capital, Copenhagen. Equal in population to Stockholm, Copenhagen’s 1.3 million inhabitants vie for the title “largest city in Scandinavia.” But that’s where the comparison ends. The city and its people put on no airs, resist nickel and diming tourists at attractions and build nothing simply to “dazzle.” With a strong belief in supporting culture and the arts, there are more than 100 museums. And everything is within walking distance - just pack shoes with thick rubber soles. Otherwise the picturesque but never-ending cobblestones will be a stone foot massage gone very wrong. If walking isn’t your style, bicycles are readily available with an abundance of bike lanes to equal or surpass any city. In fact, traffic is almost non-existent since

most residents pedal everywhere. And for those visitors who simply want to sit and relax, canal barge tours are perfect. A quick note about the Danish language: long words, unpronounceable couplings of consonants and odd accent marks ensure words will bear little or no resemblance to their English counterparts. Danish doesn’t follow American phonetic rules either, so our attempts at pronunciation are probably as incomprehensible to the Danes as the Muppets Swedish chef’s garbled cooking directions are to us. Don’t despair! Simply invest in a map with sites marked in both English and Danish and count on most residents under the age of 50 having at least some proficiency in English. The square at city hall, Radhuspladsen, is a perfect place to begin. This large open-air plaza is the meeting place for free walking tours beginning daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Just look for the smiling L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014



Photo by Cheryl Levitan

TOP: Kings New Square (Kongens Nytorv), a large public square at the end of Stroget, is great place to sit and rest your feet. RIGHT: There are more bikes than cars in Copenhagen and most residents ride a bike to work, shop and go almost everywhere no matter the weather. Copenhagen had a “bicycle culture” long before many European cities.

guides with bright green umbrellas standing on the steps of the red brick town hall. There’s nothing like learning about a place from locals who share stories, history and handy “insider” info. City Hall is also just steps away from the National Museum. A wonderful introduction to Danish culture and history, the museum is free, has wonderful explanations written in English and its café has a reasonably priced buffet. The perfect end to the day is a visit to nearby Tivoli Gardens. First opening in 1843, Tivoli’s internationally renowned amusement park and gardens are now completely powered by wind energy. For one reasonable admission fee, the 20 acres of rides, games, lovely restaurants, concerts and events are favorites of locals and tourists alike. The entire park is covered in twinkling lights but if you want to see them, be prepared. At this northern latitude, the summer sun doesn’t completely set until 11 p.m. If shopping is your aim, head for Stroget, a long pedestrian retail walkway through the city. Established in 1962, it was Europe’s first major pedestrian-only boulevard. Its success has influenced city planners throughout the world. With a great mix of specialty and department stores, Copenhagen has no malls. Instead, the centuries-old decorative masonry reminds shoppers that modern retail resides in buildings with character. Windows with the word “salg” announce a sale in progress, an important sign in a city where prices tend to run high. When shopping builds up an appetite, look for storefronts marked “smorrebrod” for a traditional meal of openfaced sandwiches on thin dense rye bread. This traditional lunch is exactly the same offered in cafés for less than half the price. A recent innovation, “smushi” are the same sandwiches in smaller, sushisized portions. Either way, be prepared for butter or paté spread on rye bread topped with sliced meat, caviar, hard boiled eggs, 46

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Photo by Cheryl Levitan

smoked fish, pickled herring and cheese (often oddly combined) with lettuce and pickled vegetables on the side. Although familiar fast food abounds, take a knife and fork to this sandwich with a local beer on the side. A smorrebrod reduces the chance your meal will be a complete mystery since finished products are selected from refrigerated cases. We had our first “sandwich meal” in a café and swore that whatever was stacked on our bread bore no resemblance to what we ordered. It wasn’t until we were nearly finished that we realized we had unknowingly eaten each other’s lunch. Gateway to the sea, Nyhavn (or “new harbor”) was once home to drunken sailors and prostitutes. Now a lively pedestrian canal street in the center of town, its multi-colored row houses and many cafés offer views of beautifully restored wooden sail boats, all allowed to dock free of charge. A great place for people watching, the area is emblematic of Copenhagen. Be ready to see people, young and old alike, sitting along the canal drinking beer. Since the tax on alcohol at cafés triples its price compared to the same liquor bought at nearby kiosks, bringing beer to the canal and sharing with friends is akin to going to a pub – just one without walls. It seems a bit bizarre that the people at lovely café tables completely accept rowdy groups sitting right next to them, the latter enjoying the café’s ambiance at a bargain price. That’s Copenhagen! Nyhavn is also a take-off point for canal barge tours. The wide boats offer a view of the city’s cultural heritage that simply can’t be appreciated from land. The fact that the barges often squeeze under bridges without an inch to spare offers a little drama, as well. Colorful, restored merchant houses, grand 17th century Renaissance buildings and once run-down industrial zones transformed into pricey offices and condos, with some Danish Modern architecture thrown in? Somehow, just like those



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T TRAVEL ingredients, it all just “works.” And if the bizarre sandwich café patrons coexisting with the “bargain beer” groups weren’t enough to prove Danes are an accepting people, the canal tour illustrated that it’s actually the consequence of their commitment to personal freedom. No other city would float sightseers past an affluent neighborhood of beautifully restored 17th - 18th century buildings (Christianshavn) and then follow by cruising past a hippy commune next door. With its main avenue dubbed Pusher Street (due to its marijuana and hash stalls), next-door neighbor Christiana was originally an abandoned military base overtaken by squatters in 1971. Now a self-declared autonomous area (with some of the most valuable real estate in the city), it remains the only place that “soft drugs” are readily available. Rather than hide it away from tourists, the guided canal tour script praised its virtues of self-governance. Once off the barge, the nearby spire of Our Saviors Church awaited. With its spiral staircase on the outside of the tower, a rather dizzy climb’s reward was a magnificent view of the city and it’s many red roofs. No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without a few castles and palaces, known as “slots.” The newest, Amalienborg, has been home to the royal family since 1794. At noon each day, crowds gather for the changing of the guards, complete with a marching band. The next oldest, Rosenborg, was built as a summer palace in the 1600s and soon became the permanent residence for sovereigns that followed until the royals took up residence at Amalienborg. With impressive gardens and lavish furnishings, Rosenborg also houses the crown jewels. All were extremely extraordinary, but it was the portrait gallery that was most memorable. Although the Danish as a whole are extremely good looking people, something went terribly wrong for the royal family members in those paintings. This could be the best argument for not marrying your cousin. As each tourist entered the

portrait gallery the gasps and horrified looks were universal. My husband and I found ourselves ignoring the room and watching the visitors instead. If it were just an occasional portrait, it wouldn’t have been so funny. But those faces covered every knick-knack and surface, right down to the cameo jewelry and dinnerware. As if Danish sandwiches weren’t enough to give you heartburn, eating them on one of those plates would do it! Assuming the artists attempted to make their subjects look as good as possible, I shudder to think what these people actually looked like. And yes, the palace did have mirrors! Finally Christianborg is the oldest palace. It’s actually just the last standing of many royal strongholds built on that same site beginning in 1167. Between rulers tearing down their predecessor’s architecture and others being destroyed by massive fires before masonry replaced wooden structures, the history is confusing. Underground excavations have uncovered ruins on top of ruins and all are open to the public. Christiansborg today is the site of Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the Supreme Court. I can’t write about this city without mentioning The Little Mermaid. This bronze statue honors Denmark’s most famous writer, Hans Christian Anderson, and the heroine of the book by the same name. As the number one attraction and most photographed monument, in real life she’s actually a bit underwhelming. Just 4 feet tall, fame has had its drawbacks; her head has been stolen twice, she’s been painted numerous times and even been draped in a burqa. Copenhagen is often a cruise embarkation or debarkation port. Tacking on an extra day or two pre-or post-cruise is all that’s needed to completely see the sights. Known for a moderate climate year round, summer is still the best time of year to visit. Even with 16 hours of sunlight, Copenhagen has more than enough to keep you entertained from sunrise to sunset. Photo by Cheryl Levitan LEFT: Nyhavn, meaning New Harbor, is closest to the sea and the place where sailors docked their fishing and trade ships. It’s a pedestrian area with cafés added to the long rows of colorful old merchant houses.

Photo by Cheryl Levitan


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

TOP: Smushi is a new trend for smaller “sushi-size” smorrebrod sandwiches that don’t require a knife and fork; a “finger food” for eating while shopping.


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Living the Writing Life for 73 Years and Counting By Diane Slocum




illma Willis Gore could be the poster girl for freelance writers. She sold her first article when she was 19 and now, at 92 years of age, she is still going strong. Gore’s publications run the gamut from magazine articles and essays to how-to books and novels. When her first article was published during the early years of World War II, not only was the internet non-existent, but personal computers were in the distant future and even electric typewriters were not in common use. Yet, Gore has moved on with the times and now keeps up with postings to her blog and sells to online publications. She also uses the print-ondemand services of Amazon’s CreateSpace to publish books. Over the years, her work has appeared in 10 anthologies, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her how-to book, Long-Distance Grandparenting, has been her best seller. Other areas of her writing include a memoir, children’s books and short stories in regional and national journals. She wrote for the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, was an editor and brochure writer for Civic Publishing and an assistant editor for News & Views. She has started and/or led writers’ workshops in California locations, including Porterville, and currently leads four in Arizona. During her 10 years in Arizona, at least 35 of her members have published. Gore currently resides in the red-rock country of Sedona, but she spent a good number of years in the foothills on both sides of the Sierras. She was born on her family’s cattle ranch in the Owen’s Valley, across the mountains from Visalia. The Willises, and two neighboring ranches, shared a Sierra stream to water their alfalfa and their livestock - until one of the other ranchers sold out to Los Angeles. “This is the area that the City of Los Angeles drained of its Sierra-fed streams and piped the water to Los Angeles,” Gore wrote. “The city took it all.” With his water gone, Willis’s father sold his ranch and took a job managing an apple orchard near Big Pine. For three-year-old Willma, this was the first of many moves. When she was 10, the family bought a dairy farm near Lone Pine. “Dad and a helper hand-milked 22 to 25 cows twice a day,” Gore wrote. “Until we girls were old enough to help.”

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Their mother operated the bottling machine and delivered the milk to Lone Pine and Keeler, a small town on the banks of the drained Owens Lake. The girls went along to run the bottles to the customers’ doors. Sometimes, Mrs. Willis let Willma drive and that became useful the day Mrs. Willis required an emergency appendectomy. “Dad took me to the Highway Patrol officer saying he needed me to drive until my mother was well again,” Gore said. 13-year-old Willma received an emergency permit and kept the deliveries going. Gore was not the first in her family to embrace writing. Her mother and an aunt wrote poetry and belonged to the Inyo County Poetry Society. “I don’t know exactly how the writing bug was launched in me,” Gore wrote, “but [my] mother subscribed to Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, etc., and I was the first to grab these from the mailbox and read the fictional stories therein. I was determined to be a fiction writer from a very early age.” Her opportunity to step into the publishing world came when she worked as a soda jerk at a drug store in Lone Pine. An elderly Native American man came in regularly to purchase an ice cream cone. He always asked for “manilla.” Though it wasn’t the fiction she had her heart set on, Gore wrote her story of the “Manilla Indian” and sent it to Westways magazine. It was published on the front editorial page and Gore received a payment of $10, a pretty good amount in 1941 for 300 words from a fledgling 19-year-old writer. That same year, her fiancé, John Simpson, enlisted in the army. The couple married the next year. While he never deployed overseas, he became a casualty while based in Alabama. “It was four days after I had arrived there in September 1945 that he lost his hands while helping a cadre of men unload munitions,” Gore wrote. Still, they lived a full life together for about 20 years, mostly in southern California. They reared three sons and traveled extensively throughout the west as a family. Along the way, Gore kept up her relationship with Westways, penning travel pieces over the years, along with articles in family publications such as Parenting. Her husband used his prosthetic hands well enough to capture most of the photographs for her articles during that time. Gore wrote about her husband’s coping with a life without hands in Iron Grip. At first, she had to make her two hands


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

function as four, but as time went on, Mr. Simpson gained remarkable dexterity whether it was for fishing with his sons, working in industry or with hand tools or making handicrafts. “He gained total independence, an example to amputees everywhere,” Gore wrote in her book description. Unfortunately, Mr. Simpson developed a bipolar disorder and left the family in 1963. Six years later, Gore met and married British engineer Charles Gore, a widower with five children. Both were thinking of retiring in 1972 when they visited Velma Zimmerman at her ranch north of Porterville. “By 1974, he and I owned a three-acre pig ranch in Porterville on North Lime Street,” Gore wrote. “We called it Limey Ranch, both for Charles’ background and the street name.” Gore’s interviews with farm people in the Porterville area turned this episode of her life into her most lucrative writing years. She sold articles to California Farmer, Farm Wife News, Land Handler and Farm & Ranch Living. She joined a Porterville writing group in the 1970s that was led by Shirley Skufka Hickman (which still meets) and for a time was its leader. Gore set her first two novels in Porterville and Terra Bella. Something’s Leaking Upstairs and Braving House Calls both sprang out of problems she and her husband had as landlords of a large apartment building. Porterville was Gore’s home longer than anyplace else she has lived. After her husband died in 1991, she moved to other California locations, including San Luis Obispo where she founded two writers’ workshops, which are still meeting. One is led by Audrey Yanes, formerly of Porterville. Even though she moved to Sedona in 2004 and to the Sedona Winds Retirement Community a year ago – her 25th move – Porterville continues to play a role in her stories, though under assumed names. Her latest novel, If Coyote Smiles, tells of an ag writer and photographer, newly widowed with two boomerang kids. Gore’s current project, Breakable Bonds, a novel about a divorced working mother, also has scenes set in Porterville. Gore brings the writing life with her wherever she goes and continues to take on new projects. “At age 92, I don’t have as much energy as I once had,” she wrote, “but pending is a possible column for a local monthly journal.” Wherever that writing bug came from in her early years, it seems to have found a perfect host in Willma Willis Gore.




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LEFT: Horses Goldilocks, Fifty Shades of Hay, Monsieur De Sire and Common Sense. RIGHT: Betty Miller, Joanne Houts and Donna Nottingham enjoying the evening.

Assistance League® Visalia:


Assistance League® Visalia presented “An Evening at the Derby” on May 17. The festivities began with guests being greeted with mint juleps in the lovely garden of Dr. and Mrs. Schengel. When the “horses” were warmed up, the six lavishly decorated wooden horses began their spirited races. Each horse represented one of the philanthropies which Assistance League® Visalia supports. The six philanthropies are: Operation School Bell, The Kids on the Block, Fifty Sense, Rainbow Reading, Le Bag and the Assistance League® Visalia board. With orchestral music provided by El Diamante High School students, guests eagerly placed their bids on silent auction items before enjoying a beautiful meal catered by Trés Bien.


TOP: Leadership Visalia class members at the “It’s a Wrap” event. LEFT: Battalion Chief Darren Hughes, 2014 Graduate, with Fire Chief Doug McBee and his wife Cyndy.


L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014

On June 6, 18 class members of Leadership Visalia graduated at a ceremony held at the Holiday Inn. Since 1986, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce has been hosting this program to develop community leaders. Leadership Visalia is an intensive leadership development course designed to help emerging leaders in businesses and other community organizations further develop their skills, experience and community knowledge. Upon graduation, each member had executed a major project that will leave a positive impact on the community, organized and attended a leadership mission and devoted one full day a month to an intensive learning program.


I Can Live My


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L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014



VOYAGE Voyage is a documentary project that will capture a special journey down the river, beginning in east Tennessee and ending in the Gulf of Mexico. This documentary encourages viewers to seek adventure and will remind viewers that a simple shift in perspective can shake off the dust and revive even the most mundane situations. Brought to you by Ecto Marine and Giant Chevrolet Cadillac.

When: Jun. 26, 6p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


Christ Lutheran Church and the League of Christian Actors will present the musical about the classic fairy tale. This familyfriendly play is perfect for all ages and something the whole family will enjoy. Spend a night at the theatre. When: Jun. 20-22, 2p for matinee; 7p for evening Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369

JUN 24


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The Miss California Organization promotes the further development of the fundamental life skills within each participant. The program encourages active involvement in community service and is fully committed to motivating and assisting young women in the state of California to fulfill their individual and professional goals by rewarding its participants with significant college and university tuition assistance. When: Jun. 24-28; 7p Where: Williams Saroyan Theater, 848 M. St., Fresno



This play will take you back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Legendary Hollywood producer, David Sleznick, is filming an adaptation of “Gone with the Wind” and comes to the conclusion that it’s terrible. The play is farcical and funny, with a little back-lot legend thrown in. When: Jun. 27-Jul. 13, 2p/7:30p showings Where: Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 734-3375


Based on the story “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Disney film “Tarzan,” this play is presented by the Encore Theatre. Come out and see this tale come to life in this exciting performance. When: Jul. 5-19, 2p/7:30p showings Where: Encore Theatre, 327 S. N St., Tulare Contact: 686-1300

JUL 13


The American country music artist with singles “Watching You” and “These Are My People” will be hitting the stage this summer. As former Top Male Vocalist, his lyrics and music celebrate the feeling of living in the moment, and getting right with your soul. When: Jul. 13, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


You’re in charge of many things. Including your future. You know your life and your future are really up to you. And no matter how busy you are day-to-day, you have to build your wealth, plan for your retirement and manage your investments for the future. As your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, I can help you keep control of your financial picture. Working together, we can evaluate your current portfolio and your goals, and adjust your investments. Meet with me to learn more. Let’s keep you in charge of tomorrow. Brucinda Myers Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Vice President Financial Advisor 520 W Main St, Visalia, CA 93291 +1 559 636-5652 © 2013 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

GP11-01075P-N07/11 7177431 SEG001 10/12

L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014



4TH OF JULY FREEDOM CELEBRATION Celebrate one of the greatest days in our nation’s proud history with family, friends and community. Presented by Visalia Parks & Recreation and the City of Visalia, the 4th of July Freedom Celebration comes back to Visalia with entertainment from Run 4 Cover, food vendors and fireworks.

When: Jul. 4, 6:30p Where: Giant Chevrolet Cadillac Mineral King Bowl, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 713-4365


Come out to the theatre and enjoy this fun, family-friendly performance of Fiddler on the Roof. When: Jul. 18-19, 24-26; 2p/7:30p showings Where: L.J. Williams Theatre, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: Brian Roberts at or 651-1482


Arts Visalia is proud to host the annual Visalia Art League Members Exhibition, featuring artwork in a variety of media by local artists. This educational and philanthropic organization is open to amateur and professional artists, as well as non-artists who are loves and patrons of art. The opening reception will be held Jun, 6, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Please visit for exhibit hours. When: Through Jun. 27 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 739-0905


The Creative Center Artists presents “A Show of Our Own” for the month of June. Celebrate the talented artists of the Creative Center! Gallery hours are Mon.Fri., 9:00a.m.-2:00 p.m. When: Through Jul. 7 Where: Jon Ginsburg Gallery, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 733-9329


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Food, fun and fabulous art. Every first Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration. You can pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – art to see, locations and times for special events. When: Jul. 7, 10a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or


This exhibit will showcase exemplary works in print and drawing produced within the past three years. All accepted artworks will be featured in a full-color exhibition catalog and on the exhibition website. The reception will be held July 11 from 6:00-8:00p.m. When: Jul. 2-Aug. 1 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 739-0905


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A Community Unifier

“Adopting the Young Entrepreneurs Academy has been one of the best decisions we’ve made in the last decade.” Dale Perrin, Executive Director, Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an exciting after school program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial success stories. A Proud National Partner of the United States Chamber of Commerce

For more information call the Visalia Chamber of Commerce 559-734-5876 | L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014



VISALIA FARMER’S MARKET HARVEST OF THE VALLEY Weekly event open to the public featuring free live music, kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations and local, fresh produce available for purchase. The market also accepts EBT and WIC.

When: Thursdays, 5-8p; Saturdays, 8-11:30a Where: Thursdays, Downtown Visalia; Saturdays, Sears parking lot Contact: 967-6722 or


JUN 26

JUN 28



Warnors presents the 4th film in their Classic Film Series as “True Grit,” starring the infamous John Wayne. Warnors enlists the help of film experts to give a bit of interesting behind the scenes information about the film before the showing begins. When: Jun. 26, 7p Where: Warnors Center, 1400 Fulton St., Fresno Contact: 264-2848


This annual Independence Day celebration welcomes residents and visitors for an old fashioned family event at the Sports Complex. Food vendors, carnival games, music, water activities and the finale fireworks show make for an authentic Americana experience. Kids Zone includes: water slides, bounce houses and more. $3 in advance, $5 at the event. Entry fee is $10/car. When: Jun. 28, 5-9:30p Where: Porterville Sports Complex, 2701 W. Scranton Ave., Porterville Contact: 782-7499

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The City of Exeter and the Exeter Kiwanis Club sponsor this event on the 4th of July. Registration: $25; Day-of registration (closes at 6:30 a.m.): $35. The first 100 participants receive a free t-shirt. When: Jul. 4, 7a Where: Exeter City Park, E. Chestnut St. and S. “E” St., Exeter Contact: 592.5262 or


Weekly event open to the public featuring free live music, kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations and local, fresh produce available for purchase. The market also accepts EBT and WIC. When: Tuesdays; 5-8p Where: 1407 Retherford Street, Tulare Contact: 967-6722 or


COMMERCIAL CLEANING SERVICES Janitorial Service For dependable commercial cleaning service ServiceMaster Clean can help. daily, weekly, or monthly janitorial service Medical & professional office cleaning

Office system cleaning

Aggregate floor cleaning

Nearly any other cleaning you want

Tile & grout cleaning

Window washing

Carpet cleaning using various processes

ServiceMaster by Hellstern

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Tropics by design

Interior plantscaping and some simple design elements can make your place of business or home more warm and inviting. Call 559.734.4920 to see what we can do for your interior.

L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014



6TH ANNUAL GUEST CHEF SERIES Family Services is presenting its sixth annual Guest Chef Series “An Evening in Washington D.C.” at its signature fundraising event, experience a funfilled evening of creative cuisine, fine wine and live entertainment. Washingon D.C. chef and former White House employee Michael Ratzlaff will dazzle guests with a cooking demonstration, tastings and recipes paired with fine wines.

When: Jun. 21, 5:30p Where: Contact below for location Contact: Erica Tootle, 732-1970

JUN 20


Join the Visalia Rescue Mission at their Mission Market, full of fresh produce. Bring the family and pick out all sorts of fruits and vegetables, grown right at the Visalia Rescue Mission. When: Mon.-Fri., 10a-6p Where: 500 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 740-4178


JUN 21



The Sweet Nectar Society is having its first annual black-tie gala to raise funds for its growing program. Sweet Nectar Society is a local non-profit organization that captures the spirit of children who are affected by serious illness or disabilities through the art of photography. Join them for a night of wine tasting, gourmet tapas bar, dancing and live and silent auctions. When: Jun. 20, 6:30p Where: The Lofts Event Center, 1028 N. Fulton St., Fresno Contact: 360-0799 or email

L I FE S T Y L E | J U N E 2014


First Tuesday Book Club (July 1, 6:30p) Adult Summer Reading Program (Every Thursday, 6:30p) Mystery Readers (July 16, 6:30p) Where: Tulare County Library, 200 W. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-2700 or

You have a choice. Make it count.

Local retailers return over 50% of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 16% from national chains.* At Suncrest Bank, we think buying local is a pretty smart choice, and one you can take pride in.

Visalia Branch 400 West Center Avenue (559) 802-1000 Porterville Branch 65 West Olive Avenue (559) 306-1300

Rated Five-Stars by

*Civic Economics Survey, 2012

Local people know the value of a local bank. Suncrest is proud to be locally owned and operated, offering a full range of business and personal deposit products and loans.

June 2014  

Style, Art, Culture and Events of the South Valley

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