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©2011 Ethan Allen Global, Inc.

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| ˈlē -dər-ˌ ship |

the capacity to direct on a course: influence

At Alain Pinel Realtors, we believe that actions speak louder than words. We are privately owned and committed to sustainable growth, seeking out markets that meet our standards for dynamic expansion, quality real estate, and strong community. This has made us not only the #1 privately-owned and independent residential real estate company in California, but the sixth largest residential real estate firm in the country. To experience the difference, visit one of our 32 offices throughout the Bay Area, from Carmel to Sonoma, Silicon Valley to San Francisco.

APR COUNTIES | Santa Clara | San Mateo | San Francisco | Marin | Sonoma | Alameda | Contra Costa | Monterey | Santa Cruz

4  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Something rather

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when wellness and fashion came together. A whole new kind of women’s footwear was born. Every style in the Earthies® collection is thoughtfully designed to deliver high style without compromising comfort. Cupped heels, graduated arch support, and cradled footbeds are all part of the healthy promise.




© 2012 Earth, Inc.


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Save These Dates and join us as we celebrate the history and future of Montalvo!


n 2012 the historic Villa at Montalvo Arts Center turns 100 years old! Built by Senator James D. Phelan, California’s first democratically elected U.S. Senator, Phelan’s beloved estate in Saratoga has evolved into one of the Bay Area’s leading arts institutions and artist residency programs. Senator Phelan entertained artists, politicians, soldiers, scholars and cultural figures at Montalvo until his death in 1930, at which time he mandated in his will: I would like the property... to be maintained as a public park ... [and] the buildings and grounds to be used for the development of art, literature, music, and architecture by promising students.”

6  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Stevens Creek BMW 4343 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA 95051


Stevens Creek BMW is Silicon Valley’s premier dealership. Our sales staff will help you find the vehicle that you’ve been searching for. We’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Call now to schedule a test drive: 408.249.9070 See more at or scan the code to the right. spring 2012  •  Scene  •  7

Metro Sectional with Adjustable Headrests Available in Leather or Fabric

Modern Flat TV Stand with Component Storage and Swiveling Support Column

Modern Italian Platform Bed, Many Styles


Super Roy Sectional by Il Loft

Saarinen Table & Chairs, SA Buffet, and SA Vetrina and Corbu Rug

Save On New Arrivals, First Quality Overstocks, Floor Samples and Special Orders. Made in Italy. Deep Sea Blue Glass Dining Table

Modern Expandable Glass Tables and Leather Chairs

Le Corbusier Sofa, Chaise Longue, Coffee Table, Rug and Fortuny Lamp

Wave Bed in Walnut with Attached Nightstands

Murano Glass Chandeliers Many Styles Modern Carpets


Modern Classic Chair

Cassius Coffee Table with Swiveling Glass Tops

Italian Barstools

1290 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA 94608

Le Vele Sofa Bed Transforms from Sofa, to Chairs, to Chaise, to Beds

Custom Made Granite Tables

Swiveling Leather Recliner

The showroom will be open on these dates only April 13, 14 & 15; 11AM - 4PM


8  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

table of contents

features fashion 30 In the Swim Must-have swimsuits and cover-ups. By Donna Kato. Photos by Paul Ferradas. Plus: The best suit for your body. By Donna Kato


42 Spring Things Gelato colors, the statement skirt, highwaisted pants and more. By Donna Kato

Icons 46 The Change Maker Angela Benton is recasting the face of Silicon Valley. By Bonnie Wach. Photos by Nikki Ritcher

departments 18 The Insider Eco-goodies we’re coveting now. By Stephanie Simons


20 Shop Talk

53 Gifted Artisans Not merely hobbyists, they create works that both say something — and sell. By Crystal Chow

Home & design

Prim in Pleasanton and Danville, Villa Rouge in Mountain View. By Rebecca Hall Lucero and Crystal Chow

25 Beauty Report

60 Green & Serene An architectural gem sparkles with light, art and laughter. By Mandy Behbehani. Photos by Richard Barnes and Stuart Lirette


Cheek to jowl: The promise of Ultherapy. By Stephanie Simons

69 At the Table The gluten-free gourmand. By Dionna Mash Plus: Elaine Taylor on living gluten-free. By Donna Lynn Rhodes

81 Thirsty Girl Wine columnist Leslie Sbrocco on the spirits you’ll want for your home bar.

89 Getaways Many kinds of wonderful in Monterey. By Katharine Fong. Plus: At Vision Quest, elephants and war veterans forge a healing bond.

97 Seen Fun at the 100 Women Charitable Foundation and Denim to Diamonds events.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  9

Circa 1940 Heriz, 9’ x 12.5’

Persian Tabriz, 8.1’ x 10.6’

Bay Area’s Treasure of Oriental Rugs

Oushak Collection Reproduction Veggie Dye, 10’ x 14’

Antique Mahal Circa 1900s, 9.2’ x 12.3’

Rug Gallery

Located inside woodpeckers furniture 942 Blossom Hill Road • San Jose • 95123 • (408) 578-8000 10  •  Scene  •  spring 2012


Women power

Katharine Fong Editor & Publisher

Donna Kato Contributing Fashion & Beauty Editor Crystal Chow Melinda Sacks Stephanie Simons Julia Prodis Sulek Contributing Writers Jose Carlos Fajardo Patrick Tehan Contributing Photographers Rebecca Parr Copy Editor Scene Magazine Vol. 4, No. 1 copyright 2012 by the Bay Area News Group. All rights reserved. Material herein may not be reprinted without expressed written consent of the publisher. Make contact: Email: Address: 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190 Twitter: SceneBayArea Pinterest: SceneBayArea


Go to, or contact Rick Raker at rraker@ or 925.945.4781.

Josie Lepe

Rebecca Hall Lucero Art Director

We’re lucky to be living in an area where women, individually and collaboratively, are empowered to make an impact, and are celebrated for it. I’m thinking specifically of groups such as the Peninsulabased 100 Women Charitable Foundation, whose grants fund local nonprofits, and events such as the East Bay Women’s Conference, with a lineup of speakers and panels that gets better each year. The model behind 100 Women is simple: Members donate a minimum of $100 every year, and with their combined funds are able to make meaningful grants to local agencies that serve youths and families in need. The fun part is the annual get-together, where the nonprofit “finalists” make their case to the group – which now numbers 480 participants – and afterward, each member votes on who should receive the bulk of the funds. The result: Relatively small nonprofits are able to raise their profile in the community, and members know that their contribution, however small, has helped make a huge difference. See for more. The East Bay Women’s Conference, organized by Scene adviser and Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce Vice President Marcie Hochhauser, always sells out — a good reason to mark your calendar now for March 4, 2013. More than 540 women come together for a day of personal and professional enrichment and development, often delivered by local experts. The conference’s featured speakers offer the most profound moments, even as they’re celebrated. This year, Gloria Steinem’s inspiring keynote held both young and old in thrall, spurring many to new and renewed activism. While you’re mulling over similar events to attend, and how you can make a difference, get impressed by the women in these pages. For example, Leslie Sbrocco, whose wine expertise and effervescent personality can be seen on “Check Please!” and the “Today Show,” is our new wine columnist (Page 81). And Elaine Taylor of The Taylor Family Foundation (Page 73) has had an enormous impact on the lives of our children. One of her favorite quotes from Winston Churchill perfectly describes her vision and work: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Happy spring.

Katharine Fong Editor & Publisher

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  11

contributors Nikki Ritcher (“The Change Maker,” Page 46), a Colorado native, studied photography at Savannah College of Art & Design. She was sole photographer for various publications in the Southeast before moving to the Bay Area, where she pursues commercial work and wedding photography.

Scene Mac Tully President & Publisher Bay Area News Group

John Stoeser Director Community Information & Targeted Delivery Bay Area News Group Phyllis Weber Director Retail Advertising Stephanie McLoughlin Director Major Advertising

Wine expert and awardwinning author and TV host Leslie Sbrocco (Thirsty Girl, Page 81) founded Thirsty Girl for women with a passion for wine, food and travel. In addition to hosting the KQED series “Check Please!” she is a regular guest on the “Today” show and is a soughtafter speaker and wine judge.

Timothy Tsun and Ad Services Advertising Design For advertising information, call 408.920.2783. Copyright 2012 Bay Area News Group

advisers Karie Bennett Founder Atelier Aveda Salonspa and Atelier Studio at Santana Row Collette Navarrette West Coast Marketing Manager Federal Realty — Santana Row

Bonnie Wach (“The Change Maker,” Page 46) is the former editor of Design for Living Magazine and Napa Sonoma, and is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Her writing has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Health, Time Out and the New York Times Magazine, among others.

12  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Dawn L. Thomas Broker Associate Intero Real Estate Services Laura Vestal Marketing Director Westfield Valley Fair Nanci Williams Founder/CEO Orloff Williams Lily Yacobi CEO Sarah and David Interactive

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spring 2012  •  Scene  •  13



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BARBARY COAST & BEYOND MUSIC FROM THE GOLD RUSH TO THE PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION Tilson Thomas’s balancing act between past and future is a major feat: no other conductor today “seems so alert to the entire cultural landscape around him.” —T HE NE W Y OR K E R

Thu May 10 8pm Fri May 11 8pm Sat May 12 8pm

Michael Tilson Thomas and the orchestra celebrate the musical roots and heritage of San Francisco, with music written from the mid-1800s through the Orchestra’s founding in 1911 and its formative years.

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor Laura Claycomb soprano Vadim Gluzman violin Anton Nel piano Cameron Carpenter organ James Robinson producer and director San Francisco Symphony

These concerts capture the exuberant energy and confident swagger of our City in its formative musical years. Our soloists and the Orchestra will perform works brought to San Francisco in that time by traveling virtuosi such as the pianist Louis-Moreau Gottschalk, the violinists Ole Bull, Fritz Kreisler, and Henryk Wieniawski, as well as opera stars Adelina Patti and Luisa Tetrazzini alongside popular pieces of the time by Offenbach, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, and Sousa, capturing the popular tastes and musical pageantry of this glorious age.

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For over 40 years, Pool Patio & More has offered inspirational outdoor furniture for exceptional lifestyles. Visit one of our showrooms to browse the finest names and the most contemporary designs. Enjoy quality and comfort designed to give you years of satisfaction.

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artful cleanup Rosario Dawson, Mark Ruffalo, Spike Lee and Florence Welch are the newest celebs to partner with Kiehl’s philanthropic endeavors by creating limited-edition labels for Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. They’ll be sold in honor of Earth Day; 100 percent of net proceeds will benefit Recycle Across America ( The masque is made with fair-trade Amazonian “White Clay” from the Marajo Island in Brazil. $23.

pocket change Famed for the shape-shifting Um handbag, Oakland’s Josh Jakus has created the Media Pocket (for iPod, iPhone or other media players) using felt from factory excess. All of his products, from lighting to household, are produced in small batches and made from recycled or excess materials whenever possible. $18.

greenwith envy Eco-friendly goodies we’re coveting now

It’s almost Earth Day — not that we aren’t eco-conscious all year long. But we’re celebrating the fact that it’s easier than ever for glamour gals to go green and still be dazzling. By Stephanie Simons

brush with greatness The East Bay’s Olivia Garden eco-friendly brushes are made from natural bamboo. The ionic massage brush collection activates blood cell circulation to help stimulate hair growth, restore shine, reduce hair loss and promote a healthy scalp. $10.75-$14.95.

18  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

the insider conversation pieces Inspired by Napa Valley’s topography and the sustainable design of St. Helena’s Newton Vineyard, The Puzzle wine tray is crafted from Forestry Stewardship Council-certified wood. Pieces pop out to hold serving dishes for cheese and hors d’oeuvres or wine glasses. $499. (click on Art Installations under Visit Us)

april showers Eco-conscious skincare by San Francisco-based Heliotrope is all natural, fragrance-free and made with the simplest organic ingredients. The collection runs the gamut from toners, scrubs, masks and essential oils to this body sugar scrub ($32). Recycled packaging can be used for refills.

hairapy session Kumani Essentials Sheapoo ($26) and Shea Shine Conditioner ($28) are safe for all hair types (including dry, colored and keratin treated). The products are 100 percent natural and organic Fair Trade Certified.

painted love The Painted Nail collection is certified vegan, eco- and PETA-friendly and free of formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. We’re loving Pink Quin, named by celebrity sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff. $12.50.

leather … or not Jill Milan bags boast a growing following of celebs and fashion editors (pictured here: the Hollywood Hills crossbody, $850). Made by the same artisans behind Yves Saint Laurent, they’re hand-stitched from cruelty-free faux leather that feels and smells like the real thing. Proceeds benefit animal rights (CEO Jill Fraser, a vegan based in the Bay Area, is a longtime animal welfare activist).

wear the wild things Marin’s Wildlife Works believes in “consumer-powered conservation” to keep wildlife habitats alive. The fashion line, beloved for perfectly buttery tees and fitted zip-ups (for women, men and kids) finds inspiration in East African style. It’s also recognized for collaborations with organizations such as One Lucky Elephant, supporting the endowment for a retired circus elephant. $35-$48.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  19


Your best friend’s closet According to Merriam-Webster, the word prim means “stiffly formal and proper.” But the Prim boutiques in the East Bay are not your grandmother’s linen closet. The shops are filled with feminine and flowing fashions that are thoroughly modern, while giving nod to nostalgia and vintage design. Owner Alicia Shaffer opened her first Prim on Main Street in Pleasanton in February of 2011. A second and larger Prim opened in September in Danville’s Livery Shopping Center. Both stores offer affordable women’s clothing and accessories, often made by handpicked local designers, such as Effie’s Heart dresses, Posh Mommy necklaces and bracelets, and Torn to Pieces leather cuffs. With ruffles, sweet bows and hints of lace, many items are vintage-inspired. Pretty much everything in the shop, save for a few personal items, is for sale, even the recycled and “upcycled” couches, tables, armoires and vintage décor on which the fashions are displayed. “Prim is a place for women to feel welcome and connected,” Shaffer says, “almost like they’re shopping in their best friend’s closet.” Shaffer gets an assist in upcycling from husband Demetrious, who helped build the shops and refurbishes the furniture in them. The pair have a history of successful invention: In 2003 after their first child was born, Shaffer looked for a functional yet fashionable baby sling, but didn’t like what she found in stores. So she designed her own sling in a soft, beautiful fabric, and then made more for friends and eventually customers. Using her marketing and communications background, she and Demetrious launched the Peanut Shell company out of their home. The brand is now sold everywhere from Babies “R” Us to Nordstrom to Target. What’s next? Schaffer’s newest venture is vintage-inspired and stretch knitted headbands. They’re available at Prim, of course, but also at ThreeBirdNest on Etsy to satisfy a growing demand. — Rebecca Hall Lucero

Rebecca Hall Lucero

20  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

520 Main St., Pleasanton 925.399.5648 510 Sycamore Valley Road West, Danville 925.820.2224

shop talk

villa rouge

Fulfilling dreams

First-time shop owner Alicia Takahara has a secret weapon for luring customers into her side-street business in Mountain View: scented candles. Passers-by are led in literally by the nose, attracted by the heady fragrance of Aloha Orchid that wafts out whenever the door opens. More often than not, they’re delighted at what they find inside Villa Rouge — home décor, furniture, gifts, jewelry and accessories. It’s a rare kind of business for this downtown, which is far better known for a vibrant restaurant scene. Takahara spent 17 years at a flooring contracting company, learning the ins and outs of interior design by working with clients such as Shapell Homes and Shea Homes. By the time she left, she had risen to the post of vice president of purchasing. Various subsequent jobs, including her own design company, paid the bills but never obscured her dream: “I always, always wanted my own store,’’ she says. Last year, all the pieces suddenly fell into place, and Villa Rouge — so named because “it’s located on Villa Street, villa means home and I love the color red’’ — was born. Full interior design service is available; clients can take inspiration from the stylish “vignettes’’ Takahara arranges around the 750-square-foot space. She can do any style, from Tuscany to eclectic. “A conceptual designer is what I am,’’ she declares. “I embrace that.” She also knows how to work well with contractors, and boasts a “huge resource group’’ to tap into for, say, cabinet-making and flooring. Scarcely six months after the store’s debut, its novice proprietor already has gained a small but growing group of loyal customers. “I wasn’t sure what people would want to buy at first,’’ she says, “but jewelry, candles and even the furniture pieces have been moving well. I try to find a price point for people to afford. I know as a shopper I like a great value, and I know how to shop [for merchandise], so I just pass on the savings to customers so they keep coming back.” — Crystal Chow 714 Villa St., Mountain View 650.237.3113

Thu Ly

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22  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

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beauty report

Oh, mon dieu!


cheek to jowl

Is Ultherapy the miracle skintightener we’ve been waiting for? By Stephanie Simons

A new weapon has emerged in the battle against lax skin, jowls and drooping brows — a corrective treatment that lifts and tightens facial skin and muscle without a needle or knife, and with no downtime. The wonder treatment is Ultherapy, which uses focused ultrasound to penetrate skin and, over time, improve its tautness and appearance. The technique, using high-frequency sound waves, is the same type of ultrasound used for body scans and tests during pregnancy. Energy from the ultrasound, when used to treat sagging skin, activates the production of new collagen. Not that Ultherapy is exactly new. Dr. Mehmet Oz breathlessly praised it as “revolutionary” on TV last year; the plastic surgeon who performed the procedure on the show lauded the treatment’s zero-recovery time and the fact that it needs no anesthesia and leaves no scars. Ultherapy has also been featured on “The Rachael Ray Show.” Though it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration only for non-surgical brow-lifts, Ultherapy has been used for other parts of the face and even the thighs. Candidates include anyone with visibly relaxed skin and roughly $1,500-$3,500 to spend, but doctors are careful to manage expectations: Skin that requires traditional forms of surgery — meaning the sagging is severe — typically won’t yield big improvements. And it takes three to four months to see full results. Nevertheless, a broad spectrum of people claim Ultherapy works, from mature patients who want to maintain a “lifted look” gained by cosmetic procedures, injectables and laser resurfacing, to 30-somethings who take their beauty routine above and beyond a weekly antioxidant serum. “Prevention really is becoming the mainstay of treatment,” says Dr. M. Dean Vistnes, founder and medical director for Bay Areabased SkinSpirit, a medi-spa with locations in Palo Alto, Walnut Creek and Mill Valley. “The younger you can start your anti-aging efforts, the better … the slower you’ll age.”

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  25

Physicians have long used different types of heat energy to stimulate collagen and tighten the skin, such as Titan and Thermage. “There are several differences between Titan and Thermage, which both utilize radio frequency energy to achieve

Courtesy of Ulthera

Before and after an Ultherapy treatment. The procedure needs no anesthesia, and there are no scars or serious after-effects.

tightening and lifting, and Ultherapy,” says Dr. Richard Noodleman, medical director at Age Defy Dermatology and Wellness in Campbell. “Ultherapy uses ultrasound, and the percentage of people who visibly respond to treatment is much higher (about 75 to 85 percent versus 30 percent). The treatment is able to deeply penetrate tissue without visible injury.” During the procedure (a big bonus point: only one appointment is needed), the patient’s face is “mapped out” with a pen, akin to how surgeons prep a patient, and the Ulthera hand-held device is placed on the desired areas in a back and forth motion that delivers ultrasound pulses in a linear pattern under the skin. Doctors are able to see underlying layers of skin and muscle on a screen, so the treatment can be precisely targeted. High-intensity, hyper-focused ultrasound waves penetrate the skin at varying depths. Tissue is gently heated, and loose skin is subtly tightened. Unlike Thermage and Fraxel, Ultherapy bypasses the upper layers of skin and safely heats the underlying connective tissue (where the skin joins the muscle) – the same layer tightened in a conventional face lift. The tissue contracts and eventually lifts. “[Ultherapy] creates a ‘thermal injury’ deep within the skin. As it heals, the area shrinks and tightens a bit,” Noodleman explains.

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(On the corner of Minnesota & Lincoln in Willow Glen) | Open Mon.-Fri. 10 am| Open - 6 pm; Sat. 10 am - 5:30 pm Tues.-Fri. 10 am - 6 pm; Sat. 10 am - 5:30 pm 26  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

beauty report Sessions can be done in an hour (additional treatments produce incremental improvements to your appearance). The gradual formation of new collagen over the next two to three months is what improves your appearance over time. Ultherapy helps reset the body’s regenerative process, at least for a while. The company that developed the procedure, Ulthera in Mesa, Ariz., says results can last a year or more. Some patients say they see immediate results. “My jaw line looks more defined, and the lines on my neck have gone away,” says Simone L., a patient of Noodleman. “It was instant. I didn’t really expect to see results like this so quickly.” Patients report no serious after-effects, such as crusting or peeling, so most can expect to go back to work as usual (some experience minor bruising, swelling, numbness or redness resembling a sunburn). “The worst thing I’ve seen happen is a hive-like bumpy rash or tingling that lasts for a few days and then goes away on its own,” Noodleman says. “I had the treatment done and continued to work that afternoon without any downtime.” Mild and temporary discomfort, comparable to a laser or rubber band snap, can certainly be expected, depending on the areas treated and the energy settings. SkinSpirit’s Vistnes says bony areas of the face are most susceptible to feeling pain — but it’s nothing oral pain medication can’t help. A small trade-off, many would say, for the promise of youngerlooking skin.

The anti-aging commandments To protect your skin in the first place (and possibly avoid or put off cosmetic procedures), these tips bear repeating: • Stay hydrated • Eat healthy • Don’t smoke • Wear SPF to ward off the slings and arrows of the sun “Most people are more concerned about UVB rays, which cause sunburn, but there’s also UVA,” says Dr. Dean Vistnes of medi-spa SkinSpirit. “You won’t see the photo-aging effects of those rays for 20 years.” Vistnes suggests broad-spectrum sunblock as your best daily defense against aging, since sun exposure degenerates collagen and elastic fibers. “It plays a huge role in sagging, creping skin.” SkinSpirit, offices in Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, Mill Valley, Age Defy, 3803 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 200, Campbell,

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Your dream of having a baby can come true The Attain™ IVF Multi Cycle Program Increase your chance of success with IVF! The Attain In-Vitro Fertilization Multi Cycle Program is designed to increase your opportunity to get the outcome you want – a baby – while managing the cost of In-Vitro Fertilization treatment. • You pay a single, discounted fee. • You receive 4 IVF cycles (2 fresh and 2 frozen). Open to women 50 years old and younger with no medical qualifications required.

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Lagua Bendira Moroccanlook bikini, $228, Canyon Beachwear. Aqua hinged bangles, $28-$30 each, Bloomingdale’s

30  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

fashion Cut a fab figure – in the water or poolside – in one of these eye-catching suits

in the

swim See yourself emerging from a poolside cabana, carefree and confident in one of summer’s sun-loving suits. There will be no sullen, slimming black by the water’s edge this season. Fashion forecasters deemed color and techno fabrics as among the top trends for the coming warm weather, and what best showcases both? Stylish swimwear, of course. Dare to bare in a gem hue such as emerald, amethyst or hot pink tourmaline. Cue the ’80s in neon. Florals, stripes and pixelated prints give bathing suits personality, while metallics and crystals add a sexy shimmer on the beach. Feeling less va-va-voom? Consider ruffles, buckles, fringe and strappy details, or going sporty with racer-back tops and board shorts that can head straight from wave riding to waterfront dining. Pick your suit. Then settle in at your favorite sunbathing spot.

By Donna Kato Photos by Paul Ferradas spring 2012  •  Scene  •  31

Saga Swimwear cap sleeve swim top, $70, available at sagaswimwear. com, Wonderland SF and other stores listed on Saga website. Rachel Zoe “Venessa” silk maxi skirt, $495, select Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores. Chanel sunglasses with signature chain detailing, $550, Bloomingdale’s. Ralph Lauren hammered gold necklace, $178, Bloomingdale’s. Sam Edelson T-strap sandals, $65, Bloomingdale’s

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Desigual tankini, “Mix and Match” top, $54, and bottom, $38, Desigual store, San Francisco. Also available at Details, San Jose; Liliana Castellanos, Walnut Creek; and select Macy’s stores. Christian Dior sunglasses, $345, Bloomingdale’s. Aqua enamel hinged bangle, $28, Bloomingdale’s

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  33

Vix coral bikini with gold clip embellishments, each piece $88, brand available at Bella James, San Jose; Samba Glow, Palo Alto; Time Out, Los Gatos; Bloomingdale’s; and Nordstrom. D&Y pareo, $29.99, select Macy’s and davidandyoungaccessories. com. Sumiya multi-stone earrings, $150, Bloomingdale’s. Christian Dior aviator sunglasses, $345, Bloomingdale’s 34  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Athleta “Emerald Bay” reversible racer back top, $52, and bottoms, $46, Athleta San Francisco and

Red board shorts, $69, and halter-style bikini top, $59, both Lynnina, Corte Madera. Also available in Canyon Beachwear stores. Marc by Marc Jacobs aviator sunglasses, $85, Bloomingdale’s

Milly asymmetrical striped dress, $550, Nordstrom. Dolce Vita crisscross platforms, $179, Bloomingdale’s. Argento Vivo sand dollar design earrings, $148, Bloomingdale’s spring 2012  •  Scene  •  35

La Blanca “Glimmer Girl” one-piece bandeau suit, $119, and ruffled short sarong, $75, brand available at select Nordstrom and Canyon Beachwear stores. Tom Ford sunglasses, $395, Bloomingdale’s. Sam Edelman perforated leather and cork wedges, $150, Bloomingdale’s. Kate Spade patent tote bag, $295, Bloomingdale’s. Marc by Marc Jacobs iPad cover, $48, Bloomingdale’s. Luxury Rebel patent peep toe platforms, $120, Bloomingdale’s

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Betsey Johnson “French Pastry” bandeau bikini top, $102, and tie-side bottoms, $76, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Betsey Johnson boutiques and Ray-Ban sunglasses, $145, Bloomingdale’s

L Space fringe “Dolly” bikini top, $68, bottom, $62, Nordstrom, Palapa Lounge Beachwear, Los Gatos; Viva Diva, San Rafael; Aqua Surf Shop and WaterLilies Swimwear, San Francisco. D&Y pareo, $29.99, select Macy’s and (up this spring). Ralph Lauren turquoise multistrand necklace, $108, Bloomingdale’s

Luli Fama “La Vida un Carnaval” bikini top with crystal embellishments, $78, matching bottoms, $76, brand available at select Nordstrom stores. Melissa Odabash cowboy-style hat, $135, Canyon Beachwear

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  37

Camilla “Pentacle Omen” balloon jumpsuit, $550, brand available at McMullen boutique, Oakland. Worn over Vix coral bikini with gold clip embellishments, each piece $88, brand available at Bella James, San Jose; Samba Glow, Palo Alto; Time Out, Los Gatos; Bloomingdale’s; and Nordstrom. Sumiya multi-stone earrings, $150, Bloomingdale’s. Christian Dior aviator sunglasses, $345, Bloomingdale’s. Tommy Bahama embellished sandals, $158, Tommy Bahama stores

Agua deCoCo “Frida” Brazilian maillot, $121, brand found at and

38  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

A. Ché “Luna” peek-a-boo maillot, $150, Canyon Beachwear. Argento Vivo gold hoops, $60, Bloomingdale’s. Tommy Bahama crystal-embellished sandals, $158, Tommy Bahama

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  39


How to choose the right swimsuit for your body

By Donna Kato

Tommy Bahama Twilight Magento underwire halter bikini top, $92, and hipster bottoms, $42, Tommy Bahama stores, including San Jose, Corte Madera and Walnut Creek

Shot on location at Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose Makeup: Joli de Jackie, Hair: Jade, Umbrella Salon, Styling assistance: Dionna Mash Photo assistance: Drew Sullivan Models: Michelle Casagrande, Stars Model Management; Brittany Ward, LOOK For a behind-theScene look at our fashion shoot, scan the code or see 40  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Beach bod or beach blob? A flattering swimsuit can make a big difference. “It’s brutal, the process of finding a suit,” says Lynn Werner, the designer behind swim separates company Lynnina in Corte Madera. There’s only so much a bathing suit can camouflage, but modern design and fabrics can enhance assets and take attention away from trouble spots. What helps is expert design and fabrics with spandex, lycra and other combinations of high-tech fibers that work to slim and sculpt, visually taking off pounds and inches. The MiracleSuit was one of the first to brand itself as a slimming suit, firming bulges and flattening stomachs with a hidden tightening panel. Now there are a number of swimwear labels offering suits that help disguise imperfections. Spanx, the modern girdle ubiquitous in virtually every lingerie drawer, makes swimwear with the same body-shrinking technology used in its intimate wear. We asked Werner and Michelle Byrnes of Saga Swimwear in San Francisco for help on finding the best suit for your body. Werner was vacationing with her family in Hawaii in 2007 when the idea of designing board shorts came to her. Unlike most board shorts, Lynnina shorts are cut to flatter women’s figures. They come in two lengths, have an inner built-in brief and are meant to be paired with Lynnina’s coordinating bikini tops and tankinis, which have underwire and shirring for a better fit. Byrnes names her pieces after international airports in cities where she found inspiration for her designs. She notes that her suits “have versatility so they can work in other ways” beyond sitting by the water. A suit from this year’s collection, featured on Page 32, has cap sleeves, making it work as resortwear when paired with a long skirt. Unfortunately, there is no better way to find your best-fitting suit than surrendering to the indignities of the dressing room and a full-length mirror. But both Werner and Byrnes advise doing what you can to make the search less of a horror: Don’t gorge on carbs the


yourself night before shopping, wear a little makeup and selftanner, even try on suits while wearing heels. Anything to give yourself a boost of confidence.


Go to a store with a large selection and try on a variety of styles. Fight the urge to immediately tear off an ill-fitting suit. Instead, figure out what makes it look bad on you. Determine your problem areas as well as your best assets. To tame a tummy: • If the rest of your torso is in pretty good shape, consider a two-piece with bottoms that rise high on the waistline. It was a look sported by Betty Grable, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, and it’s right on trend this summer. Another option is board shorts. • One-piece suits hide the middle, but have a tendency to look mature. Look for built-in bras, shaped bustlines, V-plunges (not too deep!) and touches such as piping and color blocking. Shirring and draping help disguise bulges. Legs cut high on the outer thighs make a one-piece more youthful. • Colors such as sapphire blue, garnet, purple and emerald work for most women. Pastels do not. If you’re drawn to a print, check yourself from all angles to make sure the pattern doesn’t highlight your body in a place you’d rather not. • Consider one-shoulder suits, lace insets and halter styles, all details that take cues from the runway and current trends. • Tankinis tend to be shapeless and flare out at the hip. Because they are rarely made with molded cups and have skinny straps, they work best for women with small bustlines. (Lynnina is one company that make tankinis with slenderizing shirring and underwire.) Bust out Nothing ages you faster than a sagging bustline. A good swimsuit should lift and shape your chest with a built-in padded bra or boning and seamed construction. • To minimize a full bust, look for wide straps and halter styles that offer coverage plus solid support. Dark-

er colors, especially on top, give a leaner look. Racerback styles and tank suits are not for you. • Small-busted women can get extra shaping and fullness with padding, gel inserts and underwire. Bandeau and halter styles in bright colors and prints can give the illusion of curves. Slim the hips If you’re bottom-heavy, try a contrasting dark bottom and light-colored top. Make sure your bikini bottom hits your hips where they start to curve inward to meet your waistline, and leg openings are cut high. Don’t go near string bikini bottoms.

Thoughts on thighs Choose a suit with leg openings that are cut to flatter your figure. While a sexy sarong or pareo can veil upper legs, do not be tempted by a suit with a ruffle around the legs or an attached skirt. They’re for toddlers. Skip horizontal stripes, cutouts, shiny and whites These look great on hangers and models. But if you’re reading this, you’re neither, and trying on these options might send you screaming from the store. • Strategic cutouts call attention to the wearer – isn’t that what you’re trying to avoid? Cutout suits are generally designed for young women, but if you find one that features a peek-a-boo detail that’s becoming – and you’re very sure – then go for it. • Shimmery, glittery, sparkly. Metallics reflect light, which means you’ll not only look bigger under the sun, but also really, really bright. Resist embellishments such as crystals and sequins unless you’re genetically blessed and can stand toe-to-toe with Cameron Diaz or Helen Mirren. • Strike horizontal stripes – even though they’re in again this season, in kicky nautical themes and ombre rainbow hues (this includes tiger and zebra patterns). An acceptable option: suits designed with stripes going in different directions, which can be a slimming illusion. • Nearly nude. Wear a white suit or one without a built-in bra, and you might as well be naked.

S spring 2012  •  Scene  •  41

Marni Oliver Morin/Agence France-Presse

statement skirt A defining skirt that’s clearly the centerpiece instead of the anchor. We love them pleated and full.

Alberta FerRetti Oliver Morin/Agence France-Presse

flapperstyle dress We want to live in the aristocratic splendor of “Downton Abbey” or the romanticized Hollywood of “The Artist.”

What to wear to be on trend

Derek lam

Oscar de la renta Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images

Erin Baiano/New York Times

gelato colors Cantaloupe, blueberry, pistachio, strawberry, caramel and vanilla. Perfection is a tangerine dress with lattecolored platforms.

Alexander Wang Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images

dress-up gym clothes Sporty piping and stripes, zippered hoodies and drawstring pants are for going out, not working out.

a white shirt Laundry-fresh in crisp cotton or elegant lace. Either way, it’s effortless.

spring 42  •  Scene  •  spring 2012


Missoni Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Dolce & gabbana Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

highwaisted shorts or pants Katy Perry does a fab retro reference, and so can you.

jewelry with a story Bold and ethnic or charmingly vintage, the most interesting accessories intrigue with the possibility of an eccentric history.

marc by marc jacobs Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images

platform wedges splashed in color Put a halt on metallics and neutrals. For an infusion of freshness, choose a crayon version of a summer shoe.

carolina herrera Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

a boxy jacket

salvatore ferragamo Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Slightly tailored and versatile enough to wear with jeans or a sweeping maxi dress. For the Bay Area, we’re hot for one in a summer-weight leather.

oversize clutch Credit cards, mad money, smartphone and iPad: Tuck it under your arm and be off.

things By Donna Kato

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  43



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the change maker Angela Benton is recasting the face of Silicon Valley By Bonnie Wach Photos by Nikki Ritcher

Even for the Harvard-pedigreed and venture capital-connected, launching a startup in Silicon Valley can be a daunting and overwhelming process. For minority entrepreneurs with neither of these advantages, getting a high-tech business off the ground can seem like a Cinderella dream. Meet Angela Benton, Silicon Valley’s fairy godmother for tech start-ups led by African-Americans, Latinos and women – all underrepresented in the industry. The 30-year-old founder/CEO of Black Web 2.0 is the heart and brains behind the New Media Entrepreneurship Accelerator (NewME) — a year-old startup incubator for minorities. Benton’s ambitious goal: to literally change the face of Silicon Valley. “The Bay Area is an incredible melting pot, but the tech industry doesn’t come from the same sort

of melting pot,” says the lively, energetic Benton, who relocated to the Bay Area from Charlotte, N.C., to launch NewME in 2011. “I came out here and spoke at a mixer for the Black Googler Network in 2010, and 100 people showed up. People kept coming up and asking me, ’Can you do this every month? Nothing exists out here like this on a regular basis.’ That kind of sat with me.” Benton understands what it feels like to be an outsider. In 2007, while working as a Web developer for an online lending company, she says she “never saw anyone who looked like me.” When the company asked her to help launch a website focusing on minorities, Benton scoured tech publications looking for coverage of African-American tech entrepreneurs and came up empty-handed.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  47

Benton mingles with guests at a recent NewME networking party at the headquarters of Tagged in San Francisco.

“I couldn’t find anything about what minorities were doing in technology,” Benton remembers. “It became a personal mission.” In response, she founded Black Web 2.0, a site that covers tech industry news, trends and culture from an African-American perspective. Parent company Black Web Media soon followed, serving as an umbrella for a small portfolio of related properties, including a new media research arm and a video content provider. Still, Benton wanted to do more to directly address the lack of diversity in the tech industry, particularly at the executive level. So in 2010, she hosted the NewME Conference in Washington, D.C., gathering together dozens of minority business leaders, techies, investors and policy wonks to generate ideas about how to increase opportunities for minority entrepreneurs and encourage new media ventures. “A report had just come out from [venture capital database] CB Insights that found that only 1 percent of VC-backed internet company founders are AfricanAmerican,” recalls Wayne Sutton, a social media entrepreneur and tech journalist, who attended the conference and is now a partner in NewME Accelerator. “Angela and I thought, ’Let’s do something about it.’ She has a strong desire to succeed, to show people that you don’t have to become a product of your environ-

48  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

Angela Benton’s Secrets to Success With several tech business launches under her belt, Angela Benton offers these insights for people of color and women trying to make it in the world of new media: 1. Get plugged into a network “Getting your idea in front of the right people is essential to developing and building a successful start-up. You need to have connections and support among people who understand the business.” 2. Study and learn your business “Education gives you a foundation so you know how to do things the right way. Mentorships and internships are really important, too.” 3. Early-stage capital is essential “A lot of people come here and think – ’I have this idea, all I need is money.’ It’s not really all about money. You need numbers 1 and 2 first. After that, if you’re not doing your own coding, you need a means to see if your idea can become successful. Minorities don’t typically have access to startup funding through friends and family, so that’s why getting plugged into a network first is so important.”

icons ment and settle for something less. The NewME Accelerator came out of that.” Now finishing up its second cycle, NewME is an immersive, residential incubator that has nurtured more than a dozen minority startup companies, taking them from idea to development and demo in 12 weeks. Current incubants will present their companies to assorted investors and business bigwigs on Demo Day on May 2 at Google headquarters. With sponsors that include Google, Hewlett-Packard and über-VC investment firm Andreessen Horowitz, NewME businesses are mentored and coached by some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful players. For many of the participants, it’s the kind of high-level access and insider status they’ve only dreamed about. “Coming from Washington, D.C., we didn’t have many connections out here,” says 2011 NewME alum Becky Cruze, who, with her husband, Pius Uzamere, packed up and moved across the country to take part in the accelerator and launch, a mobile and Web app that plans dates and organizes social outings for busy couples. “Angela was with us throughout the whole process. On demo day, she said she felt like a proud mama watching us. That really captures a lot

about who she is. She kept us on track, provided feedback, gave us advice, mentored us, got groceries — everything. She and Wayne were like Mom and Dad.” Benton points to Cruze and Uzamere as one of the early success stories to come out of NewME. At the end of the program, the couple received seed funding from Mitch Kapor of investment firm Kapor Capital, who was also one of the NewME sponsors. Twenty-five-year-old mobile gaming entrepreneur Anthony Frasier, founder of Playd (described as a Foursquare for videogamers), is another for whom NewME had a big impact. “Anthony grew up in Newark, New Jersey — not the best area,” Benton says. “NewME gave him an opportunity to come out here and experience a different type of life, to help him realize who he could be as an entrepreneur and a founder. Tech-savvy mentors aren’t really accessible to a lot of minorities. NewME changed how he thought of himself and his business, and how he plans to grow it.” Benton’s own tech entrepreneurial streak took hold in her mid-20s while trying to raise three daughters and finish her college degree. After transferring schools several times, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of

Benton notes that 60 percent of NewME incubants are relocating here and helping change Silicon Valley’s makeup.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  49

icons Benton and the NewME Accelerator were featured on CNN’s "Black in America" series last year; in February, CNN caught up with her in a video on its site, noting she had moved her family to Silicon Valley.

Angela Benton says it’s critical for startups and their founders to connect directly with the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem, which is what NewME is all about. Hear more from her on our video.

Fine Arts in visual communications and graphic design online, first from American InterContinental University and later from Savannah College of Art & Design. She moved to Charlotte with the goal of working in magazines, but soon found herself drawn to new media. “I started working in digital design, and there got to a point where either you had to do your own code or you were out of a job. So I ended up teaching myself how to code,” Benton says. Though she’s thrilled with the feedback and results of NewME so far (NewME got a boost when it was featured on CNN’s “Black in America” series last year), it’s a drop in the bucket for Benton’s bigger diversity vision. “Sixty percent of NewME incubants are relocating here, starting companies and directly changing Silicon Valley’s makeup. My goal is to expand that, to take what we’re learning here to underrepresented communities globally, and give them the information they need to succeed.” To that end, Benton has launched NewMe Community — a forum for minority groups around the country to meet, network, host workshops and share resources.

She hopes someday to spread NewMe communities around the world. It’s a pretty full plate for a Silicon Valley newbie raising three kids ages 5, 10 and 14 on her own, and Benton admits that it doesn’t leave much room for a social life. “It’s been a wild, crazy ride. I literally left at the end of the last accelerator, went home to North Carolina, picked up my kids and relocated here.” When she does come up for air, the fashionable Benton says she’s looking forward to finding time to shop and to checking out the local food scene. “I’m a foodie at heart. I’m really excited living so close to San Francisco. I can’t wait to explore all the restaurants.” In the meantime, there are seven new babies on the way at NewME, and Benton is looking forward to delivery day like a proud expectant parent. “One of the things I learned about myself — I’m really doing my life’s mission. It’s very satisfying to know that you’ve made headway for someone else in an industry, in a community. For minorities, the outlook is definitely brighter now.”

Benton with Steve Sarner, vice president of Tagged, a sponsor of NewME along with other high-profile valley companies.

50  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

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gifted artisans Not merely hobbyists, these artists are creating works that say something – and sell, too By Crystal Chow

Everybody appreciates art, but not everybody can create it. Lucky are those with a talent for fashioning beautiful things that others might covet — an exquisite mosaic sculpture, for instance, or a joyful watercolor. What’s different is that, thanks to a mania for the hand-made in our hightech world, craftswomen have plenty of outlets for their stylish visions. Like their predecessors, they produce jewelry, textile goods, pottery and more, only now the market for even a part-time hobbyist literally can be global. Be it through a brick-and-mortar boutique or home business, juried show or Etsy (the e-commerce website), where there’s a ware, there’s a way to attract customers. We showcase a few such artisan/entrepreneurs, each with her own flair, but all with a shared passion for excellence.

Once a year, Andrea Holding hosted a sale of her whimsical crafts for colleagues at the San Jose Mercury News. The dolls, sachets and other assorted adornments, fabricated from vintage textiles and homegrown lavender, were a hit. Now the Danville resident, who left the newspaper in 2009, has an international audience because of her membership in Her “shop,’’ the Rosa Meyer Collection, purveys sachets, zipper pouches and market bags. There are also examples of her silver clay jewelry (she’s a potter, too), interspersed with the antique “objects of character and quality’’ she offers. Etsy, you see, is as much an emporium for collectibles as it is for original crafts. “It’s fun to check to see who’s bought anything,’’ Holding says of her daily drop-in after morn-

Andrea Holding repurposes vintage textiles in her bangles and other items.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  53

Andrea Holding uses homegrown lavender in her whimsical sachets.

ing coffee. “It’s a real rush.’’ She ensures good customer reviews by packing and sending orders quickly, but her efforts are not about putting food on the table. “No, this is for entertainment value, to pay for my hobby and for a little extra pocket money,’’ she says of her venture, named for the grandmother who taught her how to produce pretty things by hand. Even pre-Etsy, which she joined in 2010, Holding sold at her own pace. “When money became more important than the creating, I’d back off,’’ she says. Now she’s free to spend as much time as she wants on turning disparate bits into desirable objects. “It’s all about recycling and reusing,’’ she says. “That and doing it yourself.’’

and making little sketches on a scratch pad — her artistic yearning refusing to die. Through those years, she also liked to send letters and cards. However, Atkins, an African-American, rued the fact she “wasn’t seeing anyone who looked like me’’ on the latter. In the 1990s, she decided to make her own greeting cards, initially by pasting copies of photos of family members on card stock. Co-workers took note, and soon she was selling them. When someone sent samples of her work to Victoria magazine, the publication made Atkins its Entrepreneur of the Month. “Boutiques from all over started calling,’’ she marvels, and a sideline career was launched. It became more than that when, in 2001, the financial expert was forced into early retirement. Four years later, after her father and a brother died a month apart, Atkins channeled her grief into painting, again standing up to the insult of decades past. At first, her work was literally small and somber. Now it is exuberant and expansive. It also adorns her cards, joining the images of her relatives. The greeting cards are sold in specialty shops from Hawaii to Canada; the San Jose Museum of Art is one of her best customers. For Dorothy Atkins, a foray into art was squelched early on: Her seventh-grade teacher appallingly informed her she had no skill. “That broke my heart, so I decided to never draw again,’’ she recalls. Instead, she grew up to become an assistant vice president at Bank of America. For 20 years, Atkins drove from San Jose to Fremont, where she caught a BART train to get to her San Francisco office. She whiled away the commute by writing in a journal

54  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

A lifetime of memories inspires the art of Dorothy Atkins, who started out making greeting cards.


Sharon Searle shares her love of painting watercolors and creating jewelry in classes at her Mill Valley studio.

Sharon Searle says her artistic leaning “began when I was born. It’s been lifelong.’’ Like many artists, the watercolorist and metal-clay jewelry maker initially created for her own pure pleasure, not for financial gain. In the 1990s, however, she offered to teach friends who admired her talent. “The more I taught, the more people wanted to buy’’ her paintings. A full-time career, coming after 17 years as an editorial assistant at the San Francisco Chronicle, was born. Searle now owns a studio in Mill Valley, where she holds classes. She also teaches at Riley Street Art Supply in San Rafael. Yet another gift was discovered when her sister asked for a tallit (prayer shawl) for her nephew. The one Searle fashioned was painted on silk; one-of-a-kind scarves are now part of her offerings. Though she participates in small shows like the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, Searle prefers even more intimate events in her studio. “Best of all is doing things one on one, or with a group of friends,’’ she says. Her signature look is “very bold, with strong colors,’’ where “life, with a capital L’’ serves as inspiration. Searle is also a practitioner of The Journey, transformative and healing work developed by Brandon Bays. Searle says The Journey is a process that accesses “the body’s own wisdom at the deepest level of being and inner knowing.’’ With it, she says, “More of a life force comes through

me, the joy of being present and sharing that with others. It’s becoming more honest, of being more self aware.’’ It informs her artwork, for sure.

In the spacious downstairs studio where ceramicist

Cheryl Wolff turns out elegant pottery pieces, the

scene is quiet and composed. The bucolic Walnut Creek location near the downtown area allows for plenty of contemplation. “Sometimes,’’ she says, “I feel really inspired when I’m making things and envisioning how they’ll be used. I think about the fact that someone will take it out of their cabinet, and I say to myself, ’Won’t this be beautiful on a table?’ ’’ Wolff’s art has been enhancing homes and gardens for more than 30 years. Her style is clean, uncomplicated. “I like to keep my glazes simple, because they feel calm and organic,’’ she says. That affinity for clay was discovered in her 20s; within a few years, she was expert enough to sell at progressively larger shows. Then, about two years ago, Wolff set up her first shop on Etsy. com, one devoted exclusively to homeware. Six months later, she opened a garden shop as well.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  55

Ceramicist Cheryl Wolff creates items such as bird feeders and latte cups with durable glazes so that they are both useful and beautiful.

Even though she can now reach buyers from as far away as New Zealand and England, Wolff still packs up her pottery and attends shows because “I love meeting people and getting personal feedback.’’ A must on her schedule is the annual Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival, to be held this year on July 14 and 15. Whether in person or online, Wolff stresses one crucial aspect of her success: “When I make something, it’s made not just with my hands; my heart is in it, too. Communicating that to people is important.’’

Cyndi Garofalo doesn’t get jewelry or spa treatments for her birthday or Christmas. Instead, she’s likely to receive gift cards to The Home Depot, where she can buy power tools and other gadgets for “up’’purposing cast-off furniture and decorative items. “I can literally drive down the road and see a chair with a ’Free’ sign on it from a mile away,’’ she says. After Garofalo turns trash into treasure by way of paint, upholstery or other enhancement, it gets sold at venues such as the Center Street Antiques and Interiors co-op in Soquel, or the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. “I love seeing something, an end product, come from nothing,’’ is the way she views her talent. “It gives me a great sense of pleasure; I feel like I’m living out my gift.’’ The single mom of two never had formal design training, yet for years ran Garofalo’s Interiors and Antiques in Campbell. On the advice of her CPA, she closed the successful business just ahead of the Cyndi Garofalo repurposes cast-off recession, after furniture that she sometimes finds which came a job along roads into functional works of art. as a designer at the Williams-Sonoma Home store at Stanford Shopping Center. When that shuttered last year, it finally allowed Garofalo to realize a dream. She founded the biannual Goat Hill Fair, where select artists and craftspeople offer their wares on an idyllic 11-acre ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last year, the 42 vendors sold everything from repurposed jewelry and embellished handbags to French antiques and primitive art. The next gathering — with even more sellers — will be held May 19 and 20.

56  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

passions As a child growing up in New Mexico, Kathy Richardson had no choice but to be creative. Her father insisted that she and her siblings make whatever gifts they gave one another. It helped that Dad had a full wood and metal shop at home, and that she joined a lapidary club in junior high. Today, though, the computer engineer with a doctorate from Stanford University concentrates on architectural mosaic and glass work — a skill she developed in earnest only eight years ago. A job at a start-up had just ended when funds ran out, allowing Richardson to devote more than a year to the house she and her husband were building in Los Altos. All “the artsy parts’’ she added in and around the sun-

splashed Spanish colonial revival included plenty of mosaic inlays. She also stained each of the residence’s 22 doors in a different vibrant color. Dozens of clients have discovered Richardson’s installations and fine-art pieces, mostly through the annual Silicon Valley Open Studios event held three weekends in May ( When she’s not busy in her backyard studio, she’s diligently writing and evaluating iPad apps that help people with brain injuries. It’s an altruistic endeavor, one she pursues with the same devotion as her other passion. “I’ve always been a researcher. I tend to work on things that people haven’t fully perfected or don’t fully understand,’’ she says. “Which means that it allows for a lot of creativity. So I don’t see engineering and art as really different. It’s all about bringing a lot of different components together.’’

Kathy Richardson started doing architectural mosaic and glass work eight years ago.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  57

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home & design



Serene Low-impact and low-maintenance, an architectural gem sparkles with light, art and laughter

The grand copper front door to Tawnie and John Farmer’s Tiburon showplace, which slopes gently down to a small beach on the eastern side of the peninsula, opens onto a long gallery that frames an unimpeded view of San Francisco Bay in the distance. That was intentional (of course), as is everything else in this peaceful, light-filled corner of heaven that celebrates nature with glass walls and Zen, citrus and fruit gardens; preserves it with renewable materials; and harnesses its power with custom exterior steel trellises of small solar photovoltaic cells that run the length of the house, providing shade from the sun while converting its energy to electricity. By Mandy Behbehani

sPRING 2012  •  Scene  •  61

Richard Barnes

The front door of the Farmers’ Tiburon home, above, leads down to the bay. In the center of the house is a courtyard that connects four wings. The hall walls take advantage of natural lighting to display an extensive art collection. And sturdy ceramic tiles make a great smooth surface for grandchildren to race toy cars on.

The senior director of Goldman Sachs and his wife, and their Italian architect Andrea Ponsi, left nothing to chance in creating this serene 6,000-square-foot home, whose center is a glass-walled courtyard garden from which four wings with individual copper roofs radiate outward. (The wings house guest quarters, service areas and garage, master bedrooms and living area.) The living area opens out to a waterfront deck and beach through a wall of sliding glass, and a naturally lit gallery encircling the interior courtyard displays the Farmers’ extensive modern art collection featuring works by German artist Joachim Bandau, African tapestry artist El Anatsui and several Britons, including ceramic artist Edmund de Waal, and painters Bill Jacklin and Andrew Mackenzie, whom the Farmers grew to love during their decade living in London. “Andrea wanted everything long and low,” says Tawnie Farmer of the one-story house, which sits low to the ground and steps down the four-acre site mirroring its sloping topography. The idea, she adds, was to mitigate the environmental impact of this ultra-modern house.

62  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

home & design

Stuart Lirette

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  63

Stuart Lirette

64  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

home & design

Richard Barnes

Ventilated exterior walls of slatted renewable Brazilian ipe wood help passively cool the 6,000-square-foot house. Sliding glass walls allow for natural ventilation, and steel trellises with solar photovoltaic cells run the length of the structure.

To this end, Ponsi created the house with natural materials. Exterior walls are made of slatted renewable Brazilian ipe wood that are detached from the walls behind them, thus using ventilation to help passively cool the house. In fact, the house is bio-climatic, with natural ventilation from sliding glass walls and solar power-generating electricity. Copper is used throughout the house for sun blinds, railings, roofs and the fireplace, allowing the glow and patina of the metal to permeate inside and out. Floors in the public areas of the house are laid with large, sleek ceramic tiles in a smoky anthracite that looks like slate, while all the bedrooms have cork floors. For the kitchen, Ponsi ordered custom-built pieces from the eco-friendly Italian company Valcucine, whose stylish and high-function Ricicla cabinets, jumbo drawers and pull-out pantries are all made of recycled, nonpolluting (no formaldehyde or synthetic varnishes) and energyefficient materials. Counters are made of Eurostone, a quartz-based surface that is resistant to impact, scratching, staining, acid and abrasives. “It’s the lowest maintenance ever,” says Tawnie Farmer, who moved into the home with her husband in 2008.

spring 2012  •  Scene  •  65

Stuart Lirette

The low-maintenance home allows the Farmers to spend more time with their family, including their grandchildren Oliver and Larkin, above. In the house’s guest wing, a children’s bedroom that can accommodate slumber parties is in the middle, with adult bedrooms at each end of the wing.

Stuart Lirette

66  •  Scene  •  spring 2012

“Just heaven. We wanted to take advantage of all of the opportunities to build in a responsible and environmentally sensitive way,” she adds. “And I wanted ongoing maintenance to be at a minimum. We want to live in the house … not spend lots of time caring for it.” Living in the house is exactly what they do, with their kids and grandkids often coming to visit. With that express purpose in mind, the Farmers built an enfilade of accommodations in one wing for their and their friends’ families, consisting of an adult bedroom right next to a bathroom, then a children’s bedroom that sleeps five kids and a baby, another bathroom next to

home & design

Stuart Lirette

The house on the Tiburon Peninsula affords stunning views of San Francisco Bay, with access to a small beach where the Farmers’ grandchildren can play. The home’s design emphasizes light and open space, blending the indoors and outdoors.

that and another adult bedroom finishing up the row. “The adults are at each end, and the kids are in the middle,” Farmer says. “It’s perfect.” “I had wanted a beach house all my life,” she adds, “and especially now, it provides a place for my children and grandchildren to come and play on the beach; use the tree house; have sleepovers; pick blackberries, apples, tomatoes and more. Our priorities were for light and good ‘art walls,’ and Andrea did a beautiful job of creating a house with lots of art walls and windows and not broken into lots of small rooms. John and I just love the feeling of just living here … the beautiful views and the beautiful spaces.” S

SPRING 2012  •  Scene  •  67

68  •  Scene  •  sPRING 2012

at the table

the gluten-free gourmand Tasty options abound at local restaurants and bakeries By Dionna Mash

It used to be that gluten-free meant tasteless, a particularly sad state of affairs in foodie Bay Area. But with a rise in gluten-related disorders and sales of “GF” foods at $2.3 billion in 2010, restaurants and bakeries have stepped up their offerings. Now, even the most refined palates — GF or not — can find extraordinary savories and sweets. Some notable local purveyors:

Tom Tomkinson

Miglet’s Gluten-Free Bakery, Danville

Katie Alin's baked goods are carried at gluten-free shops and grocery stores all over the Bay Area.

Katie Alin, owner and founder of Miglet’s Gluten-Free Bakery, started experimenting with baked goods made with rice flour after her mother, Elaine Taylor, was diagnosed with celiac disease (see related story on Page 73). At The Taylor Family Foundation’s weeklong celiac camps, the children were so ecstatic about Alin’s gluten-free birthday cakes that she started Miglet’s in 2007 to make sure the GF community would no longer go without. Miglet’s, which opened a storefront in Danville two years ago, is a completely wheat-free facility that produces an array of sweet and savory treats, from cupcakes to quiche, that are moist and fluffy, and taste nearly identical to traditional baked goods. “I love the fact that the gluten-free food industry is finally emerging,” Alin says. “However, I hope businesses are careful when following this trend and make sure that even if their recipe is gluten-free, that it’s still made in a wheat-free facility.” Miglet’s also carries gluten-free grocery items such as frozen pizzas and specialty pastas, making their bakery a SPRING 2012  •  Scene  •  69

one-stop shop for those on a wheat-free diet. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to live near the bakery to partake: Alin’s goodies are sold at stores throughout the Bay Area, including Mariposa Baking and Draeger’s.

Miglet’s Lemon Bars For crust: ¾ cup unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1¾ cups flour substitute mix ¼ cup sweet rice flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon xanthan gum ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy (3 to 4 minutes). Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, and beat until a thick, smooth dough is formed. Bake in an eight-inch-square glass pan for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

Courtesy of Katie Alin

For filling: 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature 2½ cups granulated sugar 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 cup flour Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.

Va de Vi Bistro & Wine Bar, Walnut Creek Va de Vi, known for its eclectic small plates, intimate ambience and hearty wine list, has a robust gluten-free menu. Diners can choose from a list of more than 20 wheat-free items, including pancetta-wrapped duck breast roulade and grilled bavette steak. The wait staff and chefs are very knowledgeable about the gluten-free menu, and are careful to make sure there is no crosscontamination in the kitchen by sanitizing work surfaces, using clean bowls and pans, and washing hands before prepping wheat-free dishes. Executive chef Shane McAnelly suggests the restaurant’s spicy Calamari a la Plancha as a gluten-free alternative to battered and fried seafood.

Executive chef Shane McAnelly offers an extensive glutenfree menu at Va de Vi restaurant.

70  •  Scene  •  sPRING 2012

Calamari a la Plancha 2 pounds fresh squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch pieces 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped ½ teaspoon espelette pepper (or smoked paprika) 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 2 shishito peppers, cut into ½-inch rings 1 Yukon gold potato, steamed and cut into ½-inch chunks Mix the squid with the oil. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high flames until it is red hot, about 5-6 minutes. Add the squid, cooking from 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the squid and place in a large bowl, then toss it with the garlic, seasonings, peppers and potato and put back into the skillet to serve.

at the table Scott McNeil's Quinoa Corn Salad Yields about 8 cups

Courtesy of Marisa North

Note: Quinoa has a resinous, bitter coating called saponin. While the coating is usually removed before being sold, Skinner always “scrubs” quinoa with his hands in warm water to remove any residue and ensure no bitter taste. He then runs it through a fine sieve under cold running water.

Sans recently opened a café inside its grocery store.

Sans Gluten-Free Grocery & Café, San Rafael

Courtesy of Marisa North

Siblings Marisa and Chad North started Sans Gluten-Free Grocery after battling gluten intolerance for much of their lives. The pair’s knowledge about GF foods and living a GF lifestyle makes shopping and eating at their store a more personal experience than buying from the larger health food and grocery chains. The Norths also can order hard-to-get items. Sans not only carries high-quality, often local GF foods, but it also serves as a com- Marisa North munity and educational hub. For example, it recently hosted a lecture by Mill Valley nutritionist Willie Victor on “The Difference Between Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease.” Several months ago, the Norths added a café to their store that is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays. It serves sandwiches and paninis (often with bread from Natural Food Works in Davis), organic and vegan soups, and corn bread and homemade chicken pot pies that Marisa says have a “cult following.” One of Sans’ most popular items comes courtesy of longtime Bay Area chef and occasional Sans guest chef John Skinner, who credits fellow chef Scott McNeil with being the first to put quinoa and corn together:

1 cup quinoa 1½ cups water ½ teaspoon salt (optional) 3 ears sweet summer corn, cut off of ears 2 red onions, diced finely ½ tablespoon vinegar 5 Roma tomatoes, diced to same size as corn kernel ¼ bunch basil chiffonade Fresh lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste Drain quinoa in a strainer, transfer to a cooking pot, add water and salt if desired. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until little volcanoes appear in the surface of the quinoa. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit 5 minutes with the lid on. Place quinoa on a sheet pan/cookie sheet to cool, and fluff it gently with a fork. Sear corn in a sauté pan and cool. Dip onions into boiling water for 10 seconds, drain into a bowl and pour vinegar over them to take away the heady top notes of raw onion and brighten the color. Mix all ingredients. Any grain salad will need to have the seasonings adjusted before serving: The taste will go flat, because the high notes will diminish as it sits. Re-season with lemon and salt prior to serving.

What is gluten and who should avoid it? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Sensitivity to gluten has been found to exist on a spectrum, though research is ongoing to determine diagnostic guidelines. Symptoms include pain or discomfort after eating foods with gluten. Those with wheat allergies can experience gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory problems. And people with celiac disease, which causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s own tissue, must avoid gluten completely.

SPRING 2012  •  Scene  •  71

Very Berry Shortcake

Iamori, Hollister

Serves 6

Thu Ly

When Irene Kwock, a former pastry chef at Fleur de Lys, hung up her apron after two decades in the business, she thought she’d never bake again. It wasn’t until her gluten-sensitive 9-yearold niece asked to bake a pie with her that she rose to the challenge of creating something delicious and gluten-free. After a lot of trial and Irene Kwock error, Kwock was so pleased with what she produced for her family that she decided to start Iamori (which means “I found the light” in Tahitian). From biscotti to pizza crusts to fruit tarts and more, Iamori products can be found throughout the Bay Area at a wide range of restaurants and supermarkets.

Cake: 7 eggs, separated ¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ cup almond meal Filling: 2 cups heavy cream 4 to 5 tablespoons sugar, divided use ½ cup each of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, or a 2-cup combination of your choice 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange juice Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yolks and ¾ cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the yolks until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Set aside. Place the egg whites in another bowl. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the egg whites until foamy, slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar, then raise the speed to high. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and almond meal to the yolks mixture, and mix well. Fold half of the egg whites into the yolks mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining half of the egg whites and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. While the cake is in the oven, whip the heavy cream with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep it chilled. Remove the stems from the strawberries and slice them. The rest of the berries are left whole. Mix all of the berries together with 2 tablespoons sugar and Grand Marnier and set aside. To assemble the shortcakes: Allow the cake to cool first. To unmold the cake, cut around the edges of the pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper or cardboard on top of the cake. Position a cooling rack or the backside of another jelly roll pan on top of the cake, then quickly turn the cake upside-down. Peel the parchment paper off.

Thu Ly

With a 3-inch round cutter or an inverted glass, cut the cake into 3-inch disks.

Iamori's Very Berry Shortcake is a gluten-free delight.

72  •  Scene  •  sPRING 2012

Place a cake disk on a plate, add a dollop of whipped cream and top with the berries. Top with another disk, more berries and cream.

Elaine Taylor:

at the table

living gluten-free By Donna Lynn Rhodes

How did you find out you had celiac disease? My parents said I had a “nervous stomach,” whatever that is. I had all the classic symptoms, including [being] pale, underweight, sickly, with itchy skin and headaches. I failed to thrive, and my parents and I didn’t know why. None of the medications I tried helped. Do you cook gluten-free foods for your family and friends? Or do you cook gluten-free for you and “regular” for everyone else? My household is now strictly gluten free. Cross-contamination is not a viable option for me. The alternative grains I use are delicious, and after nine years, I work hard at making everything feel and taste like traditional cooking and baking. Where do you go to have a fancy meal out, or lunch with friends? Chef Michael at Yankee Pier, Chef Kevin at Walnut Creek Yacht Club, Chef Peter Chastain at Prima are all caring and creative gluten-free chefs; Jule’s Thin Crust Pizza in Danville; Mariposa Baking in Oakland; and, of course, Miglet’s in Danville [owned and run by Taylor’s daughter Katie Alin]. Esin Restaurant in Danville does an amazing job. Va de Vi for the chocolate soufflé. In and Out’s Protein Wrap. Or Chipotle, where they assign a server to you who washes their hands and puts clean gloves on and walks you through the line. There are lots of restaurants that offer gluten-free menus, and while the menus look fantastic, the people preparing them do not understand what it really means to be gluten-free. Education and a true understanding of dedicated clean areas are so important. They need to learn what cross-contamination really means. I have been sick six times this month from going out to eat.

Tom Tomkinson

Elaine Taylor, co-founder and president of The Taylor Family Foundation, was 48 when she was finally diagnosed with celiac disease. She has been gluten-free in the nine years since, and is thriving after suffering for most of her life from “horrendous gastrointestinal issues, skin rashes, migraines, low thyroid, joint pain, severe backaches and monumental fatigue.” Her experience and subsequent research has made her an advocate for celiac disease education and gluten-free living. She started camps for children with the disease as part of Camp Arroyo, which is run and funded by the foundation. Each summer and about a dozen weekends the rest of the year, more than 3,000 children with life-threatening, chronic illnesses or special needs — such as a gluten-free diet — spend a few days at the camp, south of Livermore, enjoying nature and being kids.

Elaine Taylor and her daughter Katie Alin at Miglet's Gluten-Free Bakery in Danville.

Elaine Taylor’s resources: Sites • Celiac Disease Foundation, • • Gluten Intolerance Group, • Jacqueline Mallorca’s blog, The Gluten Free Expert, glutenfreeexpert. com/blog • National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, • R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids): Facebook “There are three fabulous pages to ‘Like’ so you can get all the updates”: • Gluten Free Foodies • The Gluten Free Lab • Celiac Disease Awareness Books • “Gluten-Free for Dummies,” by Danna Korn, 2006 • "The Living Gluten-Free Answer Book," Sourcebooks, 2008

SPRING 2012  •  Scene  •  73




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at the table

Do you have a favorite gluten-free cookbook? I love “The Wheat-Free Cook” and “Gluten-Free Italian” – both by Jacqueline Mallorca. The best thing about Jackie’s books is that the recipes are not ridiculously time-consuming. They are easy to make and can be eaten and enjoyed almost immediately. I also like two magazines: Living Without and Gluten-Free Living. Do you carry any “emergency” gluten-free foods with you? Always. I carry ready-to-use peanut butter packets and Nicole’s Divine Crackers, Zing Bars, Think Thin Bars and Pure bars. There is nothing harder than being hungry – watching everyone eating and you cannot eat. This condition is my problem, not that of the restaurant, banquet manager or airline. … I must always be prepared. S

Anne Joerger

Should people follow a gluten-free diet even if they don’t have to? This is truly a personal choice. A gluten-free diet is more expensive, and finding alternative products [can be hard]. If you are gluten-sensitive and have no choice, that’s one thing, but if you aren’t affected by it, you may lose out on many nutritious whole grains. That said, however, anyone can substitute wheat products with very nutritious gluten-free alternatives such as millet, quinoa and Teff.

Barry and Elaine Taylor and campers at Camp Arroyo (which includes Camp Celiac).

Camp Celiac

Run and funded by The Taylor Family Foundation, its goal is to give children restricted to a gluten-free diet an opportunity to relax and have fun with kids their age (9 through 17), without worrying about social acceptance or what foods they can eat. 2012 dates (each week has a different group of campers): Week 1: Tuesday, July 24, through Saturday, July  28 Week 2: Saturday, July 28, through Wednesday, Aug. 1 For details, see

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2118 Zanker Rd. San Jose CA 95131

thirsty girl

get into the spirit Tips on stocking your home bar with the best By Leslie Sbrocco

As a wine expert, I’m often asked what I sip when not drinking wine. The answer is spirits. For me, it’s about stocking my bar with the staples. Bring on a classic martini, savory Manhattan or pristine margarita, and I’m a happy Thirsty Girl. This shopping list of “brown” spirits such as bourbon, scotch and tequila will get you started creating a home bar, but it is also a guide to top-shelf spirits to try when out on the town. Wine expert Leslie Sbrocco founded Thirsty Girl ( for women who live by the TG motto: “Life. Drink It Up!” For more, see Page 12.

Bourbon The famous American whiskey primarily hailing from Kentucky is a favorite of mine for its brown sugar and toasted spice flavors. It’s strong, but because bourbon has been aged in new oak barrels and made mainly with corn, there’s an inherent sweetness to it. Not ready to drink it neat? An ideal way to sip bourbon is to pour it over ice with a dash of ginger ale. (Try an organic mixer called Q Ginger for a delicious cocktail.

Shopping list Basil Hayden’s 8-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon, $38: My go-to bourbon for its elegance and style. The historic distiller uses rye in its whiskey to create a spicy, tea-like character. It is not as powerful as other whiskeys with a lighter body, and has a hint less alcohol. Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon, $45: As the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, Woodford is highly regarded. Falling on the powerful side of the scale, its mouth-warming flavors of vanilla and crème brûlée are an indulgent treat.

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thirsty girl Scotch is a type of whisky (no “e” in “whisky” when referring to Scotch) made in Scotland. It is more of an acquired taste than bourbon because of its signature peaty, moist-earth aromas, but many bottlings capture a fruity freshness, too. Styles are dependent not only on the distiller but also the area of production. If you like aggressive flavors, look to producers from the isle of Islay (pronounced eye-la). I prefer slightly sweeter styles from the Highlands and Speyside areas. Shopping list Glenmorangie Original 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch, $35: Single malt Scotch is made only with malted barley at a single distiller, and Glenmorangie is a superstar. Its succulent “original” bottling is lighter-bodied than others, and silky smooth. It sports a citrusy freshness and floral aromas. I like to pour a dram over ice with a squeeze of orange zest. Johnnie Walker Black 12-Year-Old Blended Scotch, $30: Blended Scotch whisky is a mélange of different malt whiskies and regions to give layers of complexity to the spirit. Full-bodied and lush, it’s a richly styled sip.

Tequila Named for the Mexican city of Tequila and its local volcano, tequila is a fiery spirit I adore. Made from the blue agave plant grown in Tequila and surrounding hillsides of the Jalisco area, it is crafted in three primary styles: un-aged blanco (white) or plata (silver); reposado (rested), which is aged a year or less in oak barrels and has a hint of amber color; and añejo (aged), which spends up to three years in oak barrels gaining richness, color and complexity Shopping list Casa Noble Reposado Tequila, $48: Casa Noble, whose distiller is partly owned by musician Carlos Santana, is like a designer suit — beautiful to look at and fits like a glove. Triple distilled, aged a year in French oak barrels and imbued with a stunning velvety texture with smoky aromatics, this is a personal favorite. Packaged in a handblown blue glass bottle, it makes an impressive gift as well.

Upcoming Thirsty Girl topics Special section on the LBDs of wine: Basics you need to be ready for anything White spirits: Gin and vodka

Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila, $28: Clear, crisp and pristine, this blanco is one to enjoy alone or use for mixed drinks. Tres Agaves’ many products also feature an organic agave nectar-infused margarita mix, and its website includes an education video series about tequila (watch with glass in hand).

Note: If you want to learn more about spirits, pack your bags. Visit the American Whiskey Trail (, the Scottish Highlands (, or head to Jalisco and take a trip to Tequila with Tres Agaves Tequila Tours and Academy ( S

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Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Portola Hotel and Spa

Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau


multiplechoice Many kinds of wonderful in Monterey County By Katharine Fong

Breakfast arrived sometime after 9. We saw them coming: Mailika, the smallest elephant, lumbering alongside her trainers, who were pushing boxes of food in a cart. But we weren’t really focused on our breakfast — we were looking forward to giving Mailika hers. While we squealed delightedly from the cabin deck, she stood at the railing and with her trunk gently grabbed the apples and bananas from our outstretched palms. Her trainers explained why Mailika is so petite — she has food allergies, which means she’s on medications as well as a special diet of Sudan grass (grown in Oregon) and also

means she must keep her trunk up in the air at all times and not brush it along standard-issue grass as elephants are wont to do. We weren’t in the African bush. We were in Salinas, in Monterey County. Vision Quest Ranch, an exotic animal sanctuary and educational facility, to be exact. Sure, Cannery Row, the Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive and even the Steinbeck Museum are all known and loved Monterey County destinations. But there are also many other, slightly less-touristed gems to be found. And certainly getting up close and personal with pachyderms counts among these.

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Spectacular outpost Another treausre is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, three miles south of Carmel. Even those jaded by Highway 1’s endless vistas of crashing surf and rock formations are awed by Point Lobos’ natural beauty and thriving wildlife (seals, sea lions, otters, migrating whales, a multitude of sea birds such as cormorants and pelicans). Hike one of the easy trails along the shoreline to peer down into the coves and to admire the Monterey cypress. Trees closest to the ocean’s salt spray are often blanketed with a striking orange growth — actually a harmless green algae with beta carotene that changes its color. Photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, among many others, were captivated by the cypress’s fantastic shapes, achieved after years of battering winds. Adding immeasurably to a visit are the docents, many with telescopes, the better to view otters feeding in the waves and sea lions barking on the rocks. Our docent Paul Reps, an early Cisco employee now retired, was a fount of information about Point Lobos’ history, flora

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and fauna. (An example: Those mounds of twigs off the trail? Woodrat houses, the first one built by a mother who turned it over to a daughter and who then built another a few yards away.) More than half of the reserve is underwater, meaning animals and plants in its rich marine habitat are protected. At the turn of the 20th century, the area was a part of the whaling and abalone industry, and today a small cabin at Whalers Cove, built by Chinese fishermen in that era, is a cultural history museum. Don’t miss the tide pools at Weston Beach; the literal stars on the day of our visit were two huge starfish, one orange, one purple. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve Route 1, Carmel. Hours 8 a.m. to one-half hour after sunset (information station and Whalers Cabin Museum open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). $10 vehicle entry fee. 831.624.4909;

getaways Something old, something green perfectly located as a base for walking, biking (the 29mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, for example) or — if you must — driving the area. The Portola received LEED silver certification last year, the first hotel in central California to earn this level. Its recently renovated rooms use low VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpeting and paint, low-flow plumbing, sustainable wood, green cleaning products and amenities. Hot water is produced with a cogeneration machine that simultaneously generates electricity. Rooms also feature beds made by the Monterey Mattress Company, with 100 percent organic cotton and recycled mattress springs. And the hotel brewpub and restaurant offer organic food and drink. Path of History Information and map:, 831.649.7118, or at the Monterey State Historic Park office, 20 Custom House Plaza; free audio tour download at Portola Hotel & Spa 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, 379 rooms, $199-$329, 800.342.4295, 888.222.5851,

Portola Hotel and Spa

Old Monterey and downtown have an easy vibe, with modern restaurants and shops lining streets rich with history, adjacent to landmark buildings, and near the waterfront and old pier. The main thoroughfare, Alvarado Street, is part of the “Path of History,” marked by round yellow tiles set in the sidewalks. Monterey served as California’s first capital under Spanish, Mexican and U.S. rule, so there is much to explore on this two-mile, roughly rectangular walk. It can be joined at any juncture; its 55 historic buildings and sites include the spot where the Spanish first landed in 1602, one of the last remaining whalebone sidewalks, the house that Robert Louis Stevenson lived in in 1879 and more. The best part of strolling the path — and Old Monterey in general — is ducking into the alleys and through open archways to discover shaded courtyards and secret gardens. (The Memory Garden behind the Pacific House Museum, while not secret, is particularly lovely, filled with multicolored roses.) Tourists and clam chowder-hawkers at restaurants on the pier are not the only reminder of modern times: the Monterey Conference Center in the middle of the action in Portola Plaza draws conventioneers and eventgoers. Next door is the Portola Hotel & Spa, an eco-hotel

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One man’s vision The centerpiece of the Wild Things animal compound on Vision Quest Ranch in the Salinas Valley is the five-acre elephant area, where the pachyderms socialize, play, eat, sun themselves and dip into their pool. For many visitors, standing at the fence of the area is as close as they’ll ever come to these amazing creatures. Wild Things is also home to some 150 other exotic and domestic animals, including camels, a baboon, a hyena, and lions, tigers and bears. The daily public tour affords close-up views of many of them, as at that hour they’re in their outdoor enclosures. Many are veterans of film, television and live productions; several have been adopted from less-than-ideal environments. Owner Charlie Sammut’s passion for these animals, and for sharing them with others, is clear in his hands-on handling and website stories. Sammut, 50, stumbled into his passion. A son of immigrants from Malta who established successful businesses in Salinas, Sammut studied to be a veterinarian, became a police officer, bought a kennel business, rescued an old cougar from a Seaside garage and gradually

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acquired a number of exotic animals, including an African lion named Josef whose good looks led to an appearance in a Dreyfus Fund commercial. That led to Wild Things becoming an animal rental company (though requests for live animals have declined in recent years with the rise of sophisticated computer graphics). Sammut now runs his sanctuary, animal rental company, kennel, an equestrian center, educational programs, animal trainer school, “Elephants of Africa Rescue Society” and B&B on the 51-acre ranch. His latest venture offers wounded military veterans and their families a week of hands-on bonding with his team of African elephants and other animals (see related story). The vets and their families stay at the African-style tent cabins, which are otherwise used for the B&B. The eight cabins are comfortably furnished and equipped with TV, space heater and other amenities. Décor corresponds with cabin name — for example, bedspreads and pillow cases in ”Monkey Manor” are adorned with monkeys, and toy monkeys hang above the beds’ canopy netting.

getaways Pachyderms & Patriots week, when we all had to tell each other our names and who we were, got up and walked out. At the end of the week at our luncheon, he was able to pick up the mic and talk.” Called “Our Heroes’ Dreams — A Healing Safari,” the program now takes place once a month. Participants come from all over the country and are selected by a nonprofit serving wounded veterans (also called “Our Heroes’ Dreams,” based in Hanford, south of Fresno). In addition to the therapeutic, even magical, time with elephants and other creatures, the week includes counseling and outdoor activities such as scuba diving, sky diving, fishing and sailing — all tailored to the physical challenges faced by disabled vets. Sammut will officially introduce the program at his EARS annual fundraiser in May; this year’s theme is “Pachyderms & Patriots.” EARS Fundraiser Gala May 19, Vision Quest Ranch, 831.455.1919, More information about “Our Heroes’ Dreams” at

Courtesy of Vision Quest

In December, five disabled veterans and their families arrived at Vision Quest Ranch in Salinas to participate in a unique weeklong pilot program. Using specially made “saddles,” the vets lounged atop the ranch’s elephants as the animals went about their day, and interacted with many of the other animals as well. The lengthy time spent in an unusual environment and connecting with animals — many with back stories as wrenching as the vets’ — resulted in an extraordinarily positive and constructive experience for everyone involved. “We put one guy on an elephant with his son for a couple of hours,” says Charlie Sammut, director of EARS (Elephants of Africa Rescue Society), which presents the program, adding that the vet had had difficulty communicating with his family and everyone else since his tour in Iraq. “They got to share something unique to them both. The next day his wife came to me with tears in her eyes because that morning he was wrestling on the bed with his kid — she hadn’t seen him like that for years. “This was a guy who at the beginning of the

Charlie Sammut (in brown shirt) with friends and participants in the Pachyderms & Patriots program.

Vision Quest Ranch • Wild Things daily tour, 1 p.m.; adults $10, children 14 and under $8. Other tours (“Meet & Greet”, “Walk With the Animals,” the Pachyderm Package, etc.) available for additional fees • Bed & Breakfast, $175-$265 plus tax, double occupancy; children must be 4 and up; complimentary daily tour and breakfast (brought by animals and trainers); “Butch’s Bedtime” package available for a fee • or 800.228.7382 for details

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getaways Wedding bells line dancing. Art aficionados can exchange vows at the Monterey Museum of Art, a former Mexican adobe. Those who like the quirky might find that Tarpy’s Roadhouse and Monterey Stone Chapel fits the bill. Holly Farm can house the wedding couple and 24 of their friends in an idyllic yet homey escape. And golfers? They don’t even have to ask where they can tee up — er, tie the knot. Monterey County’s luxury lodgings with award-winning courses are legendary. Hyatt Carmel Highlands, 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, 831.620.1234,, 48 rooms, $349-$589 More information about wedding venues and services at, S

Michael Troutman

Add a year-round mild climate to breathtaking scenery and plenty of inviting accommodations and you’ve got the perfect area for a destination wedding. Want to exchange vows by the sea, overlooking vineyards, at a luxury lodge or in a historic cathedral? You’re bound to find what you want in Monterey County. A classic spot for smaller parties (200 or less) to consider is the venerable Hyatt Carmel Highlands, built in 1917 and still one of the most romantic venues to say “I do.” There are few views in the world that compare to the one from its redwood deck above the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. And if the weather is too brisk, the view is still stunning from the indoor banquet rooms — for that matter, from most every room at the inn. Other venues of note: Cowboys and cowgirls should love the restored Holman Ranch or Stonepine Estate Resort with its hayloft for

Upcoming events in Monterey County: • • •

Pebble Beach Food & Wine, April 12-15, Steinbeck Festival, May 3-6, Monterey Bay Aquarium “Cooking for Solutions,” May 18-10,

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• •

Monterey Wine Festival, June 8-9, HOT restaurant alert: 1833, a semifinalist for a James Beard award for best new restaurant (winner announced in May)

calendar Santana Row’s Summer Fashion Shows Hot, hot, hot! “A Poolside Soiree” hits the runway for the fourth year with sizzling summer ensembles. Shows at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 2. The Pool at Santana Heights, 377 Santana Row. $45; tickets on sale beginning April 15.

Catch the coolest looks for a hot summer while sipping champagne and nibbling hors d’oeuvres.

ACCESS Fashion Show & Tea “An Afternoon at the Opera” is a fundraiser for ACCESS (A Caring Community of Education, Services and Support), the nonprofit service of The Auxiliary of Good Samaritan Hospital. Hosted by NBC11 anchor Laura Garcia-Cannon, the event features a silent auction and raffle. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday, April 21, Los Gatos Opera House, 140 W. Main St. Tickets $50. 888.724.2362. Singer, songwriter and “high funkstress” Janelle Monáe is a guest performer at the symphony fundraiser.

Go Red for Women Luncheon

San Francisco Symphony's 2012 Black & White Ball

Take your seat at the table with other Silicon Valley women to help fight heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, Fairmont Hotel, 170 S. Market St., Best-selling author San Jose. Tickets $20. Kristine Carlson is the keynote speaker.

Legendary artist Paul Simon, pop superstar Cyndi Lauper and cybersoul songstress Janelle Monáe headline the San Francisco Symphony's 2012 Black & White Ball. Highlights for this biennial fundraiser for the symphony’s music education programs include 10 bands on five stages, dancing, food, drinks and a rollicking midnight surprise. 9 p.m. Saturday, June 2, San Francisco's Civic Center. Tickets $250-$5,000.

Courtesy of Palo Alto Festival of the Arts

Palo Alto Festival of the Arts

Street artists use vivid chalks to create works of art on the pavement.

Downtown Palo Alto becomes home to 300 fine art and contemporary craft displays, as well as Italian street painters, a kids’ art studio, kinetic sculpture garden, stage and street entertainment, and food and wine. SaturdaySunday, Aug. 25-26, University Avenue, Palo Alto.

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Scene Ahead Our next issue publishes on Aug. 10:

A special thank-you to Myla Baker Margie Barras Pat Danna Ed Eke Juliette Eke Marnette Federis Eric L. Johnson Rudy Knight Yasmin Mawaz-Khan Gail Petty Mario Sevilla Robin Siegfried Mark Yamamoto

Fashion & shopping: On trend for autumn The LBDs of wine: Basics you need for a well-stocked cellar Fall’s movers and shakers

New Stone Kitchen Bath Remodeling 10’ x 10’ Kitchen Package (include material & labor)



Joanne Ho Young Lee

Subscribe at Find out where Scene is sold at Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest at SceneBayArea. And join us at

The Dolce Hayes Mansion The mansion, site of our fashion shoot (see Page 30), is an elegant hotel, conference center, resort and spa in San Jose. The lush landscaping and dramatic views of the surrounding mountains, along with the beautifully restored Spanish Colonial Revival manor, make it a perfect backdrop for weddings and other special events.

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See scenes from 100 Women Charitable Foundation's presentations by grant finalists.

seen seen



out& about

2 3


in Silicon Valley




Oh, what a night! Enthusiastic and passionate members of 100 Women Charitable Foundation, now numbering 480 members, voted on which of six local charities should receive the largest grants from a pool of $142,500. Since its founding in 2006 by four Los Altos women, including Teri Zingale, the foundation has given away $475,000. For the video, scan the code at left or see 1. Teri Zingale, Kris Ingram 2. Rie Collett, Anita Patel, Elaine Herren, Cheryl Chin 3. Janet Brownstone, Theresa Vidal, Toni Wisman 4. Susan Strawbridge, Donna Verna 5. Barbara Harris, Kris Ingram, Libby Ackley 6. Lisa Elliott, Sue Jarvis 7. Barbara Dehn, Teri Zingale, Mary Ann Poulos


8. Cheryl Yamaguchi, Linnea Emery, Teri Zingale, Lea Crawford, Tani HolstegeWheaton 9. Terri Connolly, Cori Mehring, Missy Robinson 10. Annette Ewanich, Minh Ngo 11. Catherine Killion, Anne Heffron 12. Vilma Sinclair, Cori Mehring



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2 3

1 The 25th annual Denim to Diamonds gala took place last month at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. A benefit for the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, a home-away-from-home for critically ill children and their families, the event raised close to $500,000. The theme: "Tribute to the Silver Screen" — fitting for a silver anniversary. This year’s honoree was Susan Packard Orr.


1. Robert and Susan Kresek 2. Wendy Miller, entertainer, Kim Hurst, Lori Paulin 3. Jerry Maggiore, Cheryl Garrison, Bonni Bakke 4. Manish Ranjan, Ranu Sinha 5. Susan Packard Orr, Lynn Orr 6. Madeline and Molly Bahr 7. Kuimeuy Wang, Laura O'Shea, Lois Perronne, Brian

Perronne 8. Mark and Renee Greenstein, Paul and Sue Schmitt, Sue Anderson, John Melville 9. Jason and KerryAnn Zafiropoulo 10. Mashion Balinton, Corliss Anderson 11. John and Diane Claerbout 12. ABC7's Cheryl Jennings, Mike Nicco, Don Sanchez



Nikki Ritcher



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Silicon Valley Scene magazine Spring 2012  

Suits and cover-ups that sizzle splash, plus the right suit for your body, the gluten-free gourmand, gifted artisans, thirsty girl Leslie Sb...