SLO LIFE Magazine Apr/May 2022

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LIFE SLO magazine

LOCAL TASTE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT MUSIC REVIEW

BEAC BUN

BEHIND HE SCENES

TIMELINE REVIEW

HEALTHY HABITS WINE NOTES

VALLEY VIEW

NEW BRI

OP B

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RILEY CHESTNUT APR/MAY 2022

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75 YEARS

OF LOCAL BUSINESS.

DESIGN | PRINT | MAIL | APPAREL | WEB | PROMO 805.543.6844 | 2226 Beebee Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 | www.prpco.com

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M O D E R N • C L A S S I C • J E W E L R Y

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G A R D E N

S T R E E T

S A N

L U I S

O B I S P O

W W W . B A X T E R M O E R M A N . C O M

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To the drivers who show a continued dedication to providing essential transportation for our community.

To the riders who promote the health and wellness of our community by continuing to follow healthy guidelines.

SLO TRANSIT

THANKS YOU.

Thank you for supporting one another during this unprecedented time. We’re here for you now, and always. 4

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“American Riviera wants the Paso community to succeed — they are literally investing in it.” – ADAM PELTIER

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Renee Howard Fifteen years of banking on the Central Coast

This is True Community Banking Marissa and Adam Peltier of Peltier Glassworks with Renee Howard, SBA Business Development Officer

Combining our expertise with yours to find solutions for your unique needs.

Visit us at AmericanRiviera.Bank • 805.965.5942 APR/MAY 2022

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PROUD TO B In 2017, TEN OVER STUDIO chose to become a Certified B Corporation. B Corporations commit to a more sustainable, purpose driven business model that benefits, people, communities, and the planet. The B Corp principals have served as a guiding light in the pursuit of our mission ‘to leave the world better than we found it’.

A RC HI TEC T U R E LAND S C A P E I NTER I O R S MEDIA

In recognition of B Corp Month, we’d like to give a shout out to our local B Corp friends who inspire us with their commitment to use business as a force for good. Sloco Health + Wellness Native Trails All Good

Caitlin finding the balance between the built environment and our amazing open spaces. TE NO VE RSTUDIO.COM 6

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Offering the only Level III NICU in San Luis Obispo County. When you want confidence and peace of mind for delivering your bundle of joy, we’re here for you. Our services include: The only Level III NICU in San Luis Obispo County, providing intensive care for critically ill and premature babies born at 23 or more weeks gestation The only OB hospitalist program in San Luis Obispo County, allowing for immediate obstetric emergency care 24/7 Trial of Labor after Cesarean (TOLAC) capability for those who had a prior c-section and desire a natural childbirth Our dedicated team of neonatal experts offer families advanced care close to home. We are a community built on care.

Learn more at TenetHealthCentralCoast.com/OBGYN APR/MAY 2022

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CONTENTS 24 Timeline 26 Briefs 28 View 30 Q&A

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NOW HEAR THIS

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PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE 14 Info 16 Sneak Peek 18 Inbox 22 Contributors

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Volume 13 Number 2 Apr/May 2022

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MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR


Join Jamestown in Donating to the

Ukraine Crisis Fund Join Jamestown in Donating to the

www.care.org/ukraine

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54

dwelling

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Real Estate

74

Health

80

Getaway

82 TASTE

44 ARTIST

46 Author

WINE NOTES

48 Explore

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50 On the Rise

92 brew

52 pet collective

96 Happenings

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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

Escape Pod A while back, we bought an electric car. Not a brand-new state-of-the-art Tesla, but something more like a high voltage roller skate. I call it our Escape Pod. My wife, Sheryl, is never happier than when she is in pursuit of a used car on Craigslist. During this particular quest, I received hundreds of forwarded posts until, one day, she settled on the winner: a two-yearold Volkswagen e-Golf. The only catch was that it had an 80-mile range—but was sitting at a dealership 200 miles away. The math didn’t work. Fortunately, as it turned out, there’s an app for that. On her phone, she downloaded a map identifying every charging station between San Jose and San Luis Obispo. We rented a car and embarked on an early morning one-way trip north, returned the vehicle, and were dropped off at the dealership. (Side note: showing up to shop for a used car without a way to get home significantly weakens your bargaining position). Following the negotiations, we finally pulled off the lot and into the blazing hot mid-afternoon sun. Our new old car, freshly detailed, displayed the life remaining in its batteries: seventy-nine miles. I tromped on the accelerator and have never gone from zero-to-thirty-five so quickly. Exhilarated as I rolled up to the next stoplight a block later, and over Sheryl’s strenuous objection, I squawked the tires again as I left the Porsche to my right in the dust. My joyride did come at a price, however. Although we traveled only a few hundred feet, I drained eight percent of our battery power. Remaining charge: seventy-three miles. Zipping onto the freeway, I felt the same way I did after taking the family car—a VW Eurovan—out for a solo voyage on my sixteenth birthday. With the a/c fully charged and blowing ice-cold air full-blast and the stereo cranking early 90s grunge, I dodged and darted, weaved and sliced, my way through the Bay Area log jam. Remaining charge: forty-eight miles. The guy with the slicked-back hair at the dealership didn’t tell us that electric car “miles per gallon” works exactly the opposite of a gas-powered car. You burn volts much more quickly cruising on the freeway than you do starting and stopping in town. Remaining charge: thirty-seven miles. We were in the outer reaches with the next charging station twenty-one miles away, when Sheryl snapped me out of my daydream as she muttered, “Uh . . . Houston, we have a problem.” Remaining charge: twenty miles. To conserve “fuel,” she switched off the air conditioner and the radio. Then she retrieved the manual from the glove box. Rifling through the pages, she found a button that put us into “Eco-Mode.” Sweat beaded on my brow as she navigated: “Get into the slow lane! Put it in neutral! Draft behind that truck!” With no a/c, we were piloting a cordless German-made pressure cooker. I mustered a nervous quip about the movie Apollo 13 and came up with that nickname—Escape Pod—but she didn’t laugh. Neither did I. Remaining charge: three miles. As we exited the highway, after one last fit of warning lights and beeps, everything went silent. And dark. With favorable wind conditions, we drifted into the lone charging station. I scanned the horizon and began taking inventory, as if we had crash-landed on some unknown planet. There was not much else nearby, except for a low-flung building advertising its special dish—menudo—in Spanish. Music wafted from the veiny cracks in its sunbleached stucco. With two hours to kill, we stepped into what felt like a movie scene, something straight out of the Mexican highlands, complete with traditional dress, animated conversation, dancing, and mariachis. We were seated at the bar and ordered a sampling from the menu. Inspired by the many people who were singing along in the restaurant, I handed the trumpet player a tip. He asked me something I interpreted as “What song would you like for us to play?” I didn’t know how to answer, so I motioned to the table next to us, and they made a request on my behalf. I smiled and nodded and hoisted my glass in their direction. They did the same. Later, as we returned to the VW, we found that not only had it been fully charged, so had we. This process repeated itself again an hour later when we rolled up “on fumes” to another charging station, this one posted up in front of a long-forgotten roadside diner. With Sheryl agreeing to switch from navigator to pilot, I nursed my beer while we conversed with the lone patron for the remainder of the afternoon. As we listened to stories about his life in the dusty outskirts of King City, it occurred to me how much we had learned that day, not only about how to coax every available volt from the Escape Pod—but, also that, sometimes, it’s better to take the long way home. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you. Live the SLO Life!

Tom Franciskovich tom@slolifemagazine.com 12

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LIFE SLO magazine

4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM info@slolifemagazine.com (805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax PUBLISHER Tom Franciskovich

Elder Placements realizes the IMPORTANCE of listening to the client, in order to find the appropriate:

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sheryl Franciskovich CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charlotte Alexander Jeff Al-Mashat Dan Fredman Lauren Harvey Paden Hughes Zara Khan Jaime Lewis Brant Myers Joe Payne Brian Schwartz CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Mariah Dingman David Lalush Jess Lerner Lucia Kiel Todd Meaney Mark Nakamura Jennifer Olson Zachary Scott Ruby Wallau CONTRIBUTIONS Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here? Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes, and announcements by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and clicking “Share Your Story” or emailing us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations. ADVERTISING If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

SUBSCRIPTIONS Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! NOTE The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.

Contact us today for FREE placement assistance.

(805) 546-8777 elderplacementprofessionals.com 14

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CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days before date of issue. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR info@slolifemagazine.com 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


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| SNEAK PEEK

O N T H E C O V E R WI TH R I L E Y C E STNU T

behind the scenes PHOTOGRAPHY BY ZACHARY SCOTT

I met Riley Chestnut at one of her apiaries deep in Pozo country where the only sounds you hear are the rustle of wind through the trees and the occasional diesel truck rumbling down the gravel road. Cell phones don’t get reception, so it took a little exploration and a few wrong turns before I found her. She greeted me with a warm smile and a beekeeper suit in hand—the suit was for me, she said she doesn’t wear one. I asked how often she got stung, and she said all the time, but it doesn’t bother her too much. I began to put the suit on but quickly realized that it would be too cumbersome to actually wear and shoot. It was a one-man operation after all and I had to be able to move quickly and adjust the light as the sun was setting. I thought I’d try just wearing the head piece. I built my light, set up my reflector, and put on the beekeeper hood. After a couple of shots, I realized that I couldn’t wear the hood and shoot at the same time; it was difficult to work with and kept falling into my camera. I decided I’d be as brave as Riley and risk it, hood off. We shot in the middle of the hives with bees buzzing everywhere and got a lot of great shots. Riley was a natural subject—while she said she hasn’t done anything like this before, it’s hard to believe. She had an ease and calmness in front of the camera that really came through. I imagine this energy serves her well as a beekeeper. One funny thing I noticed is that the bees kept flying, full speed into my forehead. That’s right, I was headbutted by bees repeatedly. Riley explained it was a warning sign—apparently, I didn’t upset them enough to take the warning to the next level. After two hours of shooting, I emerged with no stings. Riley and I walked up to the top of the nearby ridge for a couple of final shots as the sun went down. I really wanted to capture the spirit of her day-to-day by showing her silhouette against the horizon. She is one with the land, tending multiple bee yards across the Creston and Pozo countryside. In an age where many of us do our best to make our lives look interesting for Instagram, Riley is doing something worth talking about, off grid, all the while seeking no attention. SLO LIFE 16

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| INBOX

TAKE US WITH YOU

Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com 1.

STONEHENGE, ENGLAND

NEW MEXICO

BARRY LEWIS and LESLIE WEAVER

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

BRENDA ZUCCHINI

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON

BRIAN REES hanging with blue-footed boobies.

BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

KEITH and SHARIE 18

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NICK JEFFREY and KIERSTEN ANDERSON | APR/MAY 2022


BUCKINGHAM PALACE, UNITED KINGDOM

LA CRUZ DE HUANACAXTLE, MEXICO

ZAZZ and DOVE DANIEL

COSTA RICA

RANDY KINGSBURY and COREY NIELSEN

METAMORA, ILLINOIS

BOB, SHARON, and ARIAH MOORE

THE BAHAMAS

RICHARD KRUMHOLZ

OURAY, COLORADO

PAUL and DIANA WHITNEY

SABRINA ELZER APR/MAY 2022

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| INBOX

SLO LIFE TRAVELS

Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com MICHOACÁN, MEXICO

SINDH, PAKISTAN

CHARLES BURT, chairman of Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC), with two colleagues from the United Nations taking a break from a work project supporting World Bank activities.

ANZO BORREGO

LIZ FROST and CATHY LUCKETT

ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA

JIM and SALLY BROOKS-SCHULKE with RITA and AL NIETO

AMAZON BASIN, COLUMBIA

TERRY and STEPHANIE CONNER 20

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DR. MICHAEL CLAYTON


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Ingrid Marcellino JoAnne Bruner REALTOR® #01886133

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| CONTRIBUTORS

1. CHARLOTTE ALEXANDER is an awardwinning writer and editor with more than twenty years in nonprofit organizations, higher education, and media.

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2. JEFF AL-MASHAT is a writer and visual artist with an MFA in painting from Georgia State University. He lives in Grover Beach. 3. MARIAH DINGMAN has a background in neuroscience and is an active photographer, artist, musician, and outdoor enthusiast.

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4. DAN FREDMAN is a SLO native immersed in the wine realm. He prefers LPs to streaming, Mac to PC, Fender over Gibson, and has nothing against screwcaps.

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5. LAUREN HARVEY is a creative writer fueled by a love of cooking, adventure, and naps in the sun. 6. PADEN HUGHES is co-owner of Gymnazo and enjoys exploring the Central Coast.

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7. In addition to being an interior designer, ZARA KHAN is also a shoe aficionado and horror movie enthusiast. 8. DAVID LALUSH is an architectural photographer here in San Luis Obispo. 9. JESS LERNER is a photographer based in SLO who loves the outdoors. You can check out her coastal photography at jesslerner.com or @jesslernerphotography.

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10. JAIME LEWIS writes about food, drink, and the good life from her home in San Luis Obispo. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @jaimeclewis. 11. TODD MEANEY is a landscape, product, and lifestyle photographer living the SLO Life with his brewery-loving Great Dane. 12. BRANT MYERS is a the founder at slobiig.com, a hospitality consulting firm, and Toddler Timber, where he makes wooden children’s toys.

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14. ZACHARY SCOTT is a photographer known for his humorous and highly stylized work that has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, as well as GQ, Time Magazine, Wired, and New York Magazine.

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13. MARK NAKAMURA pursues his passion in landscape photography, as well as capturing the joys of weddings, families, events, and sports around the Central Coast. Find him on Instagram @nakamuraphoto.

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15. BRIAN SCHWARTZ is a publishing consultant and advocate for local authors. He can be reached at brian@selfpublish.org. 16. RUBY WALLAU is a documentary and portrait photographer who recently moved to San Luis Obispo from New England and is loving exploring her new home. Find her on Instagram @rubywallau.


I'm getting help. I've learned there is help out there for moms like me who experience postpartum depression and anxiety. People care about me and the baby — people who can offer treatment so I'll get better.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. WITH HELP YOU WILL GET BETTER. Visit PMADSLO.org for resources, information, help, and more in English and Spanish. Visite PMADSLO.org para obtener recursos, información, ayuda y más en español. SLOCPHD Maternal Child & Adolescent Health - PMAD Project. Funding support from MHSA 4/2021 APR/MAY 2022

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| TIMELINE

LOCAL february 23

Teams of homeless services workers and volunteers fan out to all areas of the county for the 2022 Homeless Point In Time Count. Designed to estimate the number of unsheltered individuals at one point in time, the count is used to determine if homelessness in the area is increasing or decreasing. The numbers are used to track trends and help decide how to allocate funding that goes to local rental assistance programs, outreach efforts, case management, and more.

february 4

The City of San Luis Obispo embarks on a project to catalog the more than 20,000 trees that make up the city’s urban forest. Data gathered in partnership with West Coast Arborists will help maintain the forest and will be used in the city’s Urban Forest Strategic Plan. Information on location, species, size, condition, as well as future maintenance needs of all the trees will help keep the forest healthy, vibrant, and growing—an important component of the city’s climate action goals.

february 11 The first Central Coast Private Equity Summit co-sponsored by WestPac and StudentRoomStay brings community leaders together to connect investors to opportunities on the Central Coast and to hear from notable speakers on private equity investing, including Texas Rangers owner Nick Vande Steeg, Pat Smith, Ted Malley, and Adam Lee—entrepreneurs with inspiring stories of grit, perseverance, and success.

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February 24

Artist Erin LeAnn Mitchell and painting assistants Halden Willard, Melayna Smith, and Jessica Alcazar complete “Calafia Was Here,” a large-scale mural commissioned by the SLO Museum of Art that wraps around the downtown building’s four walls. The work references the often forgotten role of Black women throughout all—but specifically California—history, and invites the community to consider and celebrate the unrecorded histories of Black Americans in the West. Work on the project began February 4.


REVIEW march 1

Chronicle Books publishes “Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect” by Los Osos author and former Hearst Castle tour guide Victoria Kastner, who wrote the definitive trilogy on the history of William Randolph Hearst’s grand estate at San Simeon. It’s Morgan’s sesquicentennial year (1872-2022), and this is the first volume—featuring more than 150 archival images and full-color photographs—to reveal the story of Morgan’s private life, which was as remarkable as the career she forged as the world’s most prominent female architect.

march 5

More than 600 people gather in Mitchell Park in downtown San Luis Obispo during the fifth annual Women’s March SLO, calling for solidarity with Ukraine along with reproductive rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ+ protection. Seen and heard: “Engage for Equity” signs, Ukrainian and pride flags, SLO Mayor Erica Stewart, and speakers from the Northern Chumash Tribe, the Paso Robles High School Equality Club, GALA Pride and Diversity Center, Paso People’s Action, and Planned Parenthood Generation Action.

march 9

Attorneys for Paul and Ruben Flores, the two men charged in connection with Cal Poly student Kristin Smart’s 1996 disappearance, file a 500-page change of venue motion in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. Arguing that there is a reasonable likelihood that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had in SLO County, the motion states that over the course of twentysix years, the local community has been exposed to a steady stream of prejudicial news articles, memorials, and billboards. The trial is set to begin in SLO on April 25.

march 12

Dr. René Bravo, a community leader for more than thirty-five years devoted to improving the overall health, safety, and well-being of the community, is named 2020/2021 Citizen of the Year in front of nearly 500 attendees at the SLO Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. The owner of Bravo Pediatrics, who is highly respected in the medical field, devotes time outside of his practice to ensure families have equal access to quality healthcare.

march 9

The SLO Coast Wine Collective announces that the county has another officially recognized wine region: San Luis Obispo Coast is the newest American Viticultural Area (AVA). Stretching from the Santa Barbara County border north to the Monterey County Line and within the fifteen-mile swath bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, the region currently harbors seventy-eight vineyards with 3,942 acres planted to vines. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are well-represented, but this cool-climate region also plays host to a diversified lineup of other varieties like Albariño, Riesling, Grenache, Zinfandel, and Syrah.

march 16

The Railroad Safety Trail extension from Taft Street to Pepper Street officially opens to the public with a grand opening dedication and ribbon cutting. The ceremony celebrates the completion of a critical section of the trail that links Cal Poly to downtown San Luis Obispo as well as destinations in between. Offering an easy and safer route through town, the extension also helps further major city goals related to climate action, sustainable transportation, and equity. SLO LIFE APR/MAY 2022

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| BRIEFS

$3.2 million The cost to renovate and improve the field at Cal Poly’s Spanos Stadium by replacing the natural grass with an artificial, professionalgrade turf that can be used for more events and programs. The ongoing project, which began in December, includes earthwork and subgrade preparations, new concrete flatwork and curbs around the field, storm drain and sanitary sewer upgrades, and new field goals and posts. It’s expected to be ready for commencement in June.

6,223 The number of incidents to which the City of SLO Fire Department responded in 2021, as detailed in a recently released annual report that highlights activities and statistics used to analyze performance and workload. That’s twelve percent higher than the year before. View the full report at slocity.org/fire.

“He really is the man that cured leukemia.” James R. Downing, the president of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, praised Dr. Donald Pinkel, the hospital’s first CEO who in the 1960s developed an aggressive treatment for childhood leukemia that transformed the disease from a virtual death sentence to one that almost every patient survives. The pediatrician, who later taught as an adjunct professor at Cal Poly, died March 9 at his home in SLO at the age of 95. 26

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#2

Nestled among the “Top Ten Winter Fishing Destinations,” between #1 Kenai, Alaska, and #3 South Padre Island, Texas, is Morro Bay, according to Fishing Booker, the world’s largest online travel fishing company. Thanks to the rocky shore and deep waters close to land, “the bite is something that needs to be experienced to be believed,” according to the site. What’s on the to-catch list in one of the last operational fishing villages in California? Striped bass, starry flounder, and yellowtail.

$5.93 The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in SLO County in mid-March hit the highest recorded average ever, a third higher than average prices in California as a whole, and well above the average in the county of $3.98 just one year ago. At the same time, AAA reported the national average was $4.30.

$868,522 According to the SLO Chamber of Commerce, the amount shoppers pumped into local businesses as part of the 2021 Holiday Buy Local Bonus program. That’s nineteen percent more than shoppers spent through the 2020 program. More than 4,400 shoppers, who spent an average of $171 each, saved their receipts and received $25 gift cards to local restaurants, retailers, and personal service providers as an incentive.

“The widening of Highway 46 will save lives.” Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham said what many have been thinking since the announcement in January that Caltrans has allocated $136 million to convert Highway 46 East between the Shandon Roadside Rest Area and Jack Ranch Cafe into a four-lane expressway. That portion of the highway, which overlaps with Highway 41 leading out of SLO County, is a major east-west route linking the Central Coast to the San Joaquin Valley.

Mobile Crisis Unit A new service funded for a two-year trial period will provide an alternative to non-emergency 911 calls in San Luis Obispo for community members in crisis. The unit, operating at first on an eight-to-five, Monday through Friday basis, pairs a mental health professional with an emergency medical technician to respond to issues of shelter, medical care, or behavioral health in order to decrease the number of arrests, jail time, fines, hospitalization, and nuisance fires.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to lead with love.” Faith Mimnaugh, the winningest coach in Cal Poly women’s basketball history, expressed her gratitude to students, fans, and colleagues when she recently announced her retirement after twenty-five seasons at the helm of the Mustangs. A two-time Big West Coach of the Year, she led Cal Poly to back-to-back Big West regular season championships in 2011 and 2012 as well as its first Big West Tournament title in 2013 to take the program to its first NCAA Tournament. SLO LIFE


Selling Paso - by Miranda Battenburg

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| VIEW

COUNTRY ROADS BY MARK NAKAMURA

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his scene reminds me of the song sung by John Denver, made famous decades ago.

Many of the places I’ve photographed over the years are fairly familiar, but Dutra Valley is not as well known to most. Located due east of Ragged Point Resort along Highway 1, it sits just south of the Monterey County line. If you’re standing at the resort with your back to the ocean, you will see coastal mountains—Dutra Valley is just on the other side of the mountain range. You may also enter Dutra Valley from the Salmon Creek Trailhead north of Ragged Point in Monterey County. Several friends and I like to day hike or backpack into Dutra Valley. If you travel along the Ragged Point Fire Road Trail, it will take you up to the top of the ridge, where you can look back down on the ocean. From there the road will take a dive into the valley where we like to set up our camp in the meadow. Moving further down the fire road, you stumble upon an unexpected Buddhist monastery on Baldwin Ranch in the heart of the Los Padres National Forest. This photograph was taken at, what I call, “our secret” meadow in Dutra Valley at sunrise a couple of miles down from the ridge. I’ve taken photographs from this place many times over the different seasons. Using my mirrorless camera, I set the 24-105mm lens to manual focus, manual aperture, manual shutter speed and took the photograph at f16, which yields a starburst where the sun shines in the frame. It may not be West Virginia, as John Denver sang about, but it reminds me of another world just beyond the Central Coast. SLO LIFE

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| Q&A

Mike White Tell us a little about yourself, Mike, where did you grow up? Well, the CliffsNotes version would be that I was raised in Redlands, California, which is out in the Inland Empire, about fifty miles east of LA. At the time it was mostly orange groves and clean air. I’m from a big Catholic family, one of seven—four girls, three boys—I was right in the middle. My dad was a big mountaineer, rock climber guy, big with the Boy Scouts, and Eagle Scouts, as well. I remember at least once or twice a month going out and backpacking or going to Joshua Tree. Lots of climbing as a young guy and running. I ran my first marathon when I was thirteen. And then, Cal Poly brought me here in ’74, which was the same year the store opened, oddly enough. Let’s hear the story… Sure, okay. I was studying ornamental horticulture and landscape design, which is when I got a job working at Boo Boo Records. This was back in ’78, just after it had moved downtown. The store was founded by two partners—one was a high school teacher down in Pasadena, and the other was a guy who worked for the telephone company. They’d come up to San Luis Obispo to sell records out of the back of their station wagon. Eventually, things were going so well that they found a little retail place by the railroad tracks, across from where Sally Loo’s is now. That was sort of the birth and genesis of the store. And so, how did you become the owner? By the time I graduated, I was the store manager and I just continued to stay on. A couple of years after that, I started buying in as a partner. Then we had another guy, a former employee, maybe twenty years later, who also bought in. So, there were four of us. Then that guy and I bought out the original two founders, so it was fifty-fifty. I then bought him out in 2010. Since then, twelve years now, I’ve been the sole owner. One of those original partners, Ed, still 30

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We caught up recently with MIKE WHITE, the owner of Boo Boo Records, a downtown San Luis Obispo icon. Here are some of the highlights from our wide-ranging conversation…

works here. He’s eighty years old now and still does the vinyl, which means he processes old records. So, when someone brings an old collection into the store, he goes through it, assesses it, buys it, cleans it up, prices it, and gets it out onto the floor for sale. We’re super lucky to have him, just a wealth of knowledge. How has the store made it all these years? What’s the secret sauce? Well, number one, we’ve got great community support. We’ve been here for forty-eight years, so it’s just this tremendous relationship with people here locally. We’ve had a lot of support, particularly during the shutdown with people buying gift cards just to get some revenue going for us. But, sure, beyond that, there’s definitely been some tests along the way, especially once music became digitized, first with CDs and now you’ve got the streaming services. But, even with all that, to answer your question, our secret sauce has been the customer experience, which just cannot be overstated. It’s such a powerful thing, and that’s what we’ve been hanging our hat on for a long time. And you’ve been able to do all this without the resources of a large corporation. You know, in many ways, I see that as an advantage because I can make decisions on my feet right away and put those changes into action immediately. Over the years, we’ve diversified our inventory. We’ve expanded into books and apparel. But I will say, one of the main things that’s been incredible is the rebirth and growth of vinyl—that’s over half our business now. At one time it was dead and buried. Going back twenty years, it was just a blip on the screen. Now you see a lot of young people getting interested in vinyl. It’s back in vogue, it’s this cultural phenomenon, and it’s just a wonderful thing, a beautiful medium—the quality and richness of the sound, watching the needle go into the groove, the larger format album cover artwork—there’s just nothing else like it. SLO LIFE


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| NOW HEAR THIS

Honest Music

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BY JOE PAYNE


It takes patience to tune pianos, write songs, and record or perform music, all activities that Adrian Libertini makes time for. It also takes patience to wait for a newly recorded and mastered collaboration to release as a single and soon a full album, Libertini explained in late February, “The album is called Ignite the Sky. It’s been good. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback with the music.” Libertini has lived here since 2019, when he and his wife moved to the area from Seattle for her work. When he’s not tuning pianos, Libertini performs shows regularly at local venues, but this whole time he has had a larger project in the works. Before moving, Libertini met a pianist, vocalist, and poet from Seattle named Mariko Langan. After tuning her piano, the two connected musically and shared songs. Libertini found himself writing melodies and chord progressions around Langan’s poetry. They would share their ideas electronically with recordings, adding on to each other’s work to develop songs even if they couldn’t meet up in person. “She started sharing these lyrics, these words with me, so I started writing music to them,” he explained. “We call it ‘the clay:’ she gives me the lyrics, and I try to mold it by writing the music.” After the move to SLO, the creative partnership flourished through digital means. Libertini continued sending his audio files to Langan and receiving her additions of keyboard and harmonies, developing songs in a back and forth. The duo began to develop as many songs as they could under the name A.M.s. “Two and a half years later, and now we have around sixty originals,” Libertini shared. They paired down a number of those songs into one album’s worth of music, using their home recordings as a blueprint for a recording session last year in Seattle. “We never play together,” Libertini explained, “We thought, ‘We’ll see how this goes,’ We started recording the first song . . . and it was just magical.” The tracks have a polish that only a patient pair of collaborators could create, a unique blend of sounds that Libertini describes as an “eclectic indie duo.” The album’s title track, “Ignite the Sky,” features piano, drums, and bass blending with his careful acoustic guitar riffs. Libertini performs all these new songs and more at his regular gig at the Libertine in SLO, and he said he’s expecting Langan to visit town for an A.M.s concert as well once the album is released. Locals interested in his music can learn more at adrianlibertini.com or the-ams-music.com. Libertini said, “There’s a lot of talent here [on the Central Coast]. It’s a smaller place, so you can thrive more as a musician and make a name for yourself and stick out.” SLO LIFE

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| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

pro file PHOTOGRAPHY BY ZACHARY SCOTT

Last February, RILEY CHESTNUT became a beekeeper. Her life, from the beginning, has orbited around one simple principle: be outside as much as possible. Fortunately, her work as the owner of Creston Bee Co. allows her to do just that. But it’s not for the faint of heart. She’s been stung more times than she can count as she lugged buzzing boxes oozing with fresh honey through the sweltering heat of the county’s most remote orchards. She has a horse, a burrow, two dogs, some cats, a gaggle of chickens, and once dreamed of leaving her native Creston. Now she cannot imagine living anywhere else. Here is her story…

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kay, Riley, let’s talk about where you got your start. So, I grew up in Creston. I’m actually the fourth generation to be born and raised in the county. My parents and my grandparents are all from San Luis. My great-grandpa was born in Morro Bay. I’m the youngest of three. I have two older brothers. My dad is a machinist, and my mom was a registered nurse for a long time. She went back to school and is now a nurse practitioner. We lived in a little single-wide trailer. There was just so much space outside and we were always out there building forts, riding bikes, or playing baseball. I don’t ever remember being inside as a kid. I grew up in the dirt. My parents really hardened us up. I feel pretty lucky in that way. What came next? When I was in middle school, we moved into town, to Templeton. I got into softball at school and basketball. I’m built for basketball, I’m five-foot-ten. But I guess it’s like most kids, I really didn’t fully appreciate what I had here and was determined to leave at my first opportunity. So, when I turned eighteen, I moved away. I went to the Sierras and rambled around for a while until I found my way to Humboldt State. After graduating, I worked full-time as a wildlife biologist for three or four years, first in the Plumas National Forest, which is sort of outside of Tahoe, before I transferred to San Luis. So, I found my way right back to where I started, here in Creston where I raise bees. Why bees? Well, to be honest, I kind of fell into it. My cousin is actually the one who instigated the bee business. And somewhere along the line, he got my mom into it. He has a pretty large operation up in Dixon, near Sacramento. So, he got my mom all hopped up on the bees, which is how I learned about it. At first, I was kind of half-hearted about the whole thing. Then, the more I learned about it, the more I realized the potential for a business. Last February, I started managing hives full-time. My cousin has been integral in helping me start up the business and being my mentor. And I’ve learned most things from him. How’s it going? It’s good. It’s definitely been hard work. I get a lot of help from my family and my boyfriend. But a lot of the time I’m kind of just a one-woman show, and I’m playing a lot of roles, and I’m doing a lot of hard labor. I laughed at myself this summer because I’m out there by myself carrying hundred-pound bee boxes full of honey in the north county heat, getting stung, sweating through my leather belt, and just kind of wondering what I’m doing with my life. But at the end of the day, I always believed in my end goal, and what I’m trying to accomplish. And so, I haven’t been discouraged yet, but I’ve had days that have tested me where I’m breaking my back just to get the work done. And what do people think of the honey? It’s been received really well. Local honey is very sought after, and I really appreciate that. It’s been great so far. All of our honey is pure and raw. Typically, if you’re buying honey from the store, a lot of it is not raw, so it doesn’t have the same biological properties and health benefits as it would, if it were in its raw, unprocessed form. And I know there are a lot of people that say it helps with their allergies. To be honest, I’m not convinced about that, but I don’t want to discredit it. The concept is that [the bees] are visiting floral sources that are giving you allergies sometimes, so you’re building up immunity to that certain pollen that may have been causing the problems before. There are also some other health benefits—it helps to soothe a sore throat and some other things like that. What has surprised you most about the business? Well, maybe the first thing, which I found so interesting, is that these bees, which aren’t native—they’re European honeybees—are classified as livestock, no different than cows or hogs. But they do face some of the same challenges that the native pollinators face, as far as parasites and diseases. A big one is the Varroa mite, which came onto the scene during the 90s. Since then, it’s just kind of wreaked havoc. We spend a lot of our time fighting the mites because they’ll take out your hives in, like, nothing flat. I think that’s what discourages a lot of hobbyists and smaller beekeepers, because they maybe don’t understand the >> APR/MAY 2022

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mite situation. If you don’t know what you’re doing, they’ll take out your hive pretty quick. How do you deal with the mites? There’s a lot of different methods. There are chemicals, which a lot of people use, but there are also more natural treatment methods. We’ve been using oxalic acid, which is relatively benign, and it doesn’t stay in residue in the hive. And we definitely don’t do any of that when we have the honey supers on and we’re harvesting honey. But, looking out long term, what needs to be done in the future of beekeeping—fortunately, there are lots of 38

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very smart researchers working on this currently—is the breeding of mite-resistant queens. The idea is that bees will be essentially bred for a hygienic gene, so they can keep their hives clean and keep the Varroa mite in check themselves, so we don’t have to use such intensive methods to manage them. What other challenges are you facing? Aside from the mites, it’s the drought and the challenges we face with a changing climate. Those things have made bees a lot more intensive to manage, a lot more difficult to keep alive in recent years. And that’s something you >>


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see everywhere, not just with bees. My theory as for most wildlife populations that are in decline is, I think, the number one issue is habitat fragmentation. They just don’t have the space they need because humans have taken out so much of their habitat that they don’t have the same natural environment that they used to have. And it’s the simple things we may not think about, I mean basic things like cavities to live in that might have been paved over, or native plants removed, and things like that. So, if you combine the mites, the drought, our increasingly dry winters, which means we’re not getting the same blooms that we should, which means a lack of natural forage sources, competition, and habitat fragmentation, you can see how we’re in trouble. So, how does all of that effect the honey? You know, actually, my business is built around pollination services. That’s where I generate most of the income. I do also harvest honey from the hives, but that’s secondary. I also just started making beeswax products from them, but that’s really kind of just a byproduct of the business. Commercial beekeepers typically make their money off pollination services. There’s a lot of demand for it because all of the nut trees, and fruits, and veggies—they all need insect pollination. Almonds are the biggest ones here in California. I believe we produce something like 80% of the world’s almonds, and the pollen 40

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is too heavy to be carried by the wind, which is why they need to be pollinated by insects. And, so, the growers contract with us beekeepers to pollinate their orchards. So, what does the future hold for your business? I would like to diversify the business beyond pollination services. I want to continue to expand the honey and beeswax products, but I would also like to get into rearing queens. That’s a big one. And, for me, creating a sustainable business that I believe in and staying true to my core values is first in my mind. Before all else, I always want to consider what’s best for the land and the other pollinators and not just do things that will make me money. And I want to keep learning and stay up to date on the latest management methods that are published in scientific journals and just always practice good, responsible animal husbandry. Okay, what all is involved with breeding queens? Essentially, you have your breeder queens, and you graft from her larvae. And then you put those cells into a nuke, or nucleus, of bees that don’t have a queen. From there, they will rear that queen themselves, enabling them to create their own queens. You just have to graft the larvae and put it in there. So, in essence, you’re taking it from a queen that has the desirable traits that you want and then letting the bees do it themselves. >>


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Interesting. Yeah, it is. And I’m always kind of trying to check in with myself as a wildlife biologist to think about these things and what I’m doing and to ask, “Is this good for wildlife?” I believe we’re always learning and doing better. I think there always needs to be a balance as far as our food production systems and wildlife populations. And I do have a lot of hope as far as people recognizing that we need to diversify our agriculture and maybe not have such mono-crops, which would do huge things for wildlife populations, especially if we can create wildlife habitat while also growing food. I think that’s key and something that we need to work toward, and I would love to be a part of that effort. For me, right now, I’m trying to do my part by putting my bees in natural spaces and keeping the numbers small so they’re not 42

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outcompeting other native pollinators. Good stuff, Riley. One last question before we let you go. What do you like to do for fun? Oh, if I’m not working, I’m usually out in the backcountry with my horse—just being outdoors, trying to find wildlife in the furthest reaches of the county. Pozo is my favorite spot. It can get pretty rural out there and secluded, but I also like to take my horse up to the mountains and explore. I like to be outdoors whenever possible. I also spend a lot of time just working on my property at home being out outside. I even just like working on the fence that we’ve been building for two years since we bought the place. So, yeah, just anything outdoors is my goal. SLO LIFE


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www.DignifiedHopeCare.com APR/MAY 2022

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| ARTIST

Kit Gould BY JEFF AL-MASHAT PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIAH DINGMAN

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any artists are searching, or are on a journey for answers, but for San Luis Obispo artist Kit Gould, her work is about the questions themselves. In many ways, her art is about raising the questions that we all wonder about. Such as, why do we value objects? Why do we collect things? Why is something that means so much to one person, meaningless to another? And what value do objects bring into our life, when we live in a society where so much effort is dedicated to acquiring more? Gould is a prolific artist who immerses herself deeply in the process of making art. Consumption is a major theme. Her work includes a variety of media, but much of it seems to stem from collage. Many of the images she uses come from thrifting. In her recent work entitled “Food,” the images came from old cookbooks. Boxes full of them, along with small drawers filled with found objects, and stacks of other potential materials that will be employed into pieces at some point, are all around her multi-roomed studio. It is worth noting that many of these objects and images are grouped by color, size, texture, or some other defining characteristic. “I love having these objects around me,” Gould says. “I love to collect and organize them. Giving new life to something that belonged to someone else is fun.” In the creation of the work itself, Gould spreads images all around her on tables throughout her studio, noting, “Collage is immediate. But it also allows me to pause to think about why I am placing something in a particular spot.” Gould uses glass panels to hold image pieces in place while she methodically contemplates the arrangement. “The glass serves as a way of capturing the image and setting it in a place in time.” What is remarkable about the final product is the abundance of white space available in the piece. “What is not there is just as important as what is. I see it as creating movement and curiosity,” she explains. Curiosity is abundant in the work, and it is always present when Gould talks about her art. The questions she is regularly posing seem like ones that she knows the answers to, but she is striving to get others to think about them as deeply as she has over time. SLO LIFE

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| AUTHOR

Tall Poppy BY BRIAN SCHWARTZ

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can count on one hand the number of titles that have made as much of an impact on me as the recently published “The Tall Poppy Syndrome: The Joy of Cutting Others Down.” Doug Garland is a Pismo Beach author and retired surgeon who has spent the past ten years of his life studying a phenomenon that most of us have never heard of. Once you grasp the concept, it begins to appear everywhere.

The Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) reveals a dark side of success. For those inflicted by TPS, the understanding of it can remove the veil to a new truth, one too often misinterpreted by the tall poppy. It’s inevitable that the more you achieve, the more likely you are to be cast out by your own tribe. Think about the resentment you feel for a co-worker who gets accolades for something you’ve selflessly done for ages. I dreaded our annual sales conference where my peers were awarded bonuses, despite the fact that all of us put in an equal amount of time and effort. I secretly resented my peers and also felt a tinge of guilt whenever I received accolades.

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TPS shows why those closest to you might be the ones who have the hardest time accepting your highest accomplishments. Given the emotional pain of being cut down by members of our own tribe, are we unknowingly holding ourselves back in an effort to avoid outshining those closest to us? It also explains why it is so rare for an individual to break out of the environment they are born into. Like crabs in a pot, when one tries to escape, the other crabs are quick to pull it back down. Are you subconsciously sabotaging your own success to avoid being cut down (or canceled) by your peers? The longer you work in any field, the more others will surpass your own achievements. In a competitive world, it’s natural to feel satisfaction when someone ahead of us has a setback. We don’t like it when their achievements put us in a subordinate position. Their success threatens our own selfesteem. TPS offers an explanation of why we fear success. Most of us have a deep inner drive to belong. If you’ve ever been left out (intentionally or not), you know how it feels. To stand out is to risk being cast out. Too often, we continue to play it safe within the silent limits of our tribe. With this groundbreaking insight, TPS might explain why many of us fail to reach our true potential and might provide a key to unlocking a new level of success. TPS helps explain the cancel culture phenomenon. Are we unknowingly using TPS to undermine the efforts of those who ultimately can take our society beyond its current limits? I’d like to hope that instead we honor the tall poppies in our society. SLO LIFE


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| EXPLORE

Taking a spin BY PADEN HUGHES

Always on the hunt for a fun new adventure, I recently took a tour with, in my opinion, one of the best additions to the San Luis Obispo community— Sidecar Tours. When I first heard about this company’s expansion to the Central Coast, I had a feeling it would be one of those experiences you’d suggest to anyone from out of town visiting. I mean, who wouldn’t want to mix wine tasting with a chauffeured vintage-vibe motorcycle ride through Edna Valley? A mix of wine and adrenaline without the responsibility of sitting in the driver’s seat? Sign me up. That’s exactly what I did. A quick search led to their website online, where I looked at the different offerings and booked a two-and-a-half-hour window of time. I scheduled a babysitter and surprised my husband, Michael, with a mid-day date and a hint that we’d be doing something he’d never done before. When we rolled up into Wolf Vineyards in Edna Valley, he looked at me skeptically as if to say, “Wine tasting? I’ve done that plenty of times.” But then his eye caught the vintage-looking motorcycle with a sidecar parked out in front. Maybe like me, he felt a little like it was bringing Downton Abbey-era charm to our corner of the world. He smiled, “This is so cool.”

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TIP! In San Luis Obispo, Sidecar Tours currently offers wine tours at $150 per person which covers a two-and-a-halfhour chauffeur experience with visits to three wineries, tastings included. For more information, visit their website: sidecartoursinc.com


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That’s when we met Byron Shepherd, our guide for the day, who had just given one of the wine tasting attendants an impromptu spin through the vineyards. It was the perfect introduction. He proudly showed off the two sidecar equipped bikes and shared some brief history with us as he led us to our private table overlooking Edna Valley with a bottle of Brut chilled and waiting for us. Half an hour later, we strapped on helmets and stepped aboard, each of us getting into our own chauffeured motorcycle cart. We took the somewhat off road, but truly scenic path from Wolf Vineyards down to Orcutt. Once on the main roads, it was amazing how fast forty miles an hour felt in a sidecar. Overcome with excitement, I threw my hands up in the air and enjoyed the ride like it was a roller coaster. Bracing for the turns, hanging on to the sides of my seat, and trying not to smile and catch bugs in my teeth—it was truly unforgettable. In two and a half hours we went to three wineries, laughed while joy riding in between each, and enjoyed leisurely conversation at each stop. The cadence to the event was guided and purposeful, but intentionally easygoing. The price for the experience covered the wine tastings, making the experience a blend of white glove service with fun filled adventure. And I was particularly pleased Shepherd was keen to find photo opportunities to help us capture the memory. Sidecar Tours is the world’s first and only fleet of tandem sidecars. And as they so aptly claim, it’s the most fun you’ll ever have on three wheels. I am quick with a wine tour recommendation for anyone looking to do something fun and memorable while feeling like you stepped back in time. They are currently offering signature wine tour and will announce the launch of additional experiences at a later date. SLO LIFE

Charmaine Petersen, CSA

Serving Central Coast Families

Since 1997

(805) 545-5901 APR/MAY 2022 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 49 SENIORLIVINGCONSULTANTS.COM


| ON THE RISE

S TUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Jack Susank PHOTOGRAPHY BY TAMARA LALANNE

With a long list of awards and honors to his name, this Mission College Preperatory High School senior is focused on the future.

What awards have you won? National Merit Scholar, All-State 1st Team for football, ASB President, MCP Male Athlete of the Year, Elks Club Student of the Month, KSBY Players to Watch, and various school and departmental awards. What is going on with you now? I am currently doing my best to live in the moment and savor my last semester of high school. This entails going to as many school events as possible—from sports games to dances— along with working, when I get the chance, and taking camping trips on the weekends. What is one of your favorite memories? It has to be going to Hawaii last summer with my family. I spent the days playing in the waves with my cousins and the nights playing cards at the dinner table. It was a great time because I was able to just relax with my family and largely forget about all of the things I was working on back home. What is important to you outside of high school? My relationships are the most important part of my life. I have an unbelievably supportive family, and friends so great that I don’t know what I’d do without them. Most of my time outside of school is spent with them and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Do you have a career path in mind? I plan to be a businessman or administrator of some kind, but I’ll go wherever God wants to take me. Is there anything you would like to change or improve in the world? How divided the world seems to be—I think that we are all far more similar and well-intentioned than it may seem and if there’s one thing that I would want to change in the world, even little by little, it would be this. And, what about college? I have been accepted, early decision, at Pomona College to play football for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in Claremont. Know a student On the Rise? Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com 50

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"Having our kids concurrently studying the same period of history fosters unity and connection in our family. Our kids, who at times struggle to relate to each other, bond over a shared interest in SLOCA literature books and history topics. When the older child arranges his home day so that he can listen in on his younger sibling’s literature and history reading, you know that the curriculum is quality and engaging. Semper discentes! (Always learning together.)"

–Sharon, parent of two

now enrolling at all grades: sloclassical.org APR/MAY 2022

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| PET COLLECTIVE

Snowball PHOTOGRAPHY BY ZACHARY SCOTT This fourteen-year-old mare spends most of her days welcoming guests at Madonna Inn Trail Rides and playing with her brother, Twinkle Toes. As a miniature horse, she may be small in stature, but she’s big in personality—long baths and a good brushing? Yes, please. She doesn’t mind being treated like a princess. SLO LIFE 52

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smart, eclectic, art to live on

Your life is here. Let’s make it beautiful. 1599 Monterey Street | 805.544.5900 | sloconsignment.com

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(at the corner of Grove Street, across from Benny’s Pizza Palace and Social Club) LIC #1036406

Open Tuesday - Saturday 10-5pm

Introducing...

Gallery at the Forge Come be inspired, be awakened to possibility, and rediscover old world craftsmanship—whatever you can dream, we can create. allow us to create the jewelry for your home

(805) 570-0019

HANSDUUSBLACKSMITH.COM 2976 Industrial Parkway, Santa Maria APR/MAY 2022

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| DWELLING

Room with

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a view

BY ZARA KHAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

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v

icki and Lee Wilkerson had been tempted by the Central Coast for quite some time. They integrated seamlessly into the SLO lifestyle on all their trips—wine tasting, hiking, biking, and playing tennis before deciding it was finally time to find a home of their own on the Central Coast. It didn’t take long for them to fall for a house in Avila Beach. The original homeowners and their architect took advantage of and captured the views in every room of the house whether it was

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through window or patio placement—it was perfect. Well, close. The Wilkersons knew the value of an interior designer from previous projects they worked on in Colorado. After interviewing a few designers in the area, they decided Michelle Pelech of MPI (Michelle Pelech Interiors) was the designer for them. They appreciated her extensive experience designing in Chicago and were drawn to her Midwest, down to earth personality. Most >> importantly, they sensed that she would


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work in their best interest and not be afraid to voice her professional opinion even if, and when, it conflicted with theirs. From a design perspective, Pelech’s task was to take a Mediterranean style home and integrate the Contemporary Coastal influence that the Wilkersons were attracted to. Though the client only wanted to change out the paint and flooring when they first approached Pelech, she knew that even with these changes, it wasn’t going to feel like the space she heard them asking for. The

Wilkersons realized Pelech was probably right, and their new mindset was to follow her lead and complete the project in full so they could start enjoying their life in their new home. They started with a new furniture layout to maximize the view and accommodate entertaining. The furnishings were sourced at the design center in LA or custom-made locally. After all of that was decided, they embarked on the massive renovation. Sounds backward, but it catered to Pelech’s preferred “end in mind” process. There is wisdom in knowing how >>

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the furniture and decor will play with the construction materials. Pelech brought a lot of value to the project aside from her interior design services. The Wilkersons were still living in Colorado part-time, so Pelech was their eyes and ears and communicated with them as often as needed—at least once a week and during important weeks, almost every day. She knew the industry and was able to pull together the dream team to execute. Gabriel Telling from Allen Construction was another key

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player. Telling and Pelech worked closely to manage the project. The Wilkersons appreciated their approach. Pelech and Telling would collaborate with each other, be on the same page, and then loop the clients in with the decisions to be made and their professional guidance. The views are the star of this home. The main windows in the living room had mullions which obstructed the views so changing the windows to clear panels was high on the new priority list. While the clients were >>


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Visit our New Window and Door Experience Center in downtown Paso Robles! APR/MAY 2022

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hesitant to block any of the views, Pelech felt strongly about adding drapes to soften and frame the windows. Even the sheer panels that she specified made a difference. There are countless bespoke design features throughout the home. On the fireplace, Pelech specified foam panels and the installers were able to make it look seamless (I couldn’t even tell they were individual pieces and I looked for the seams). On the stairs, they opted for a dark wood riser to add contrast, and to prevent a tripping hazard, as well as to bridge the gap between

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the marble floors and dark wood. Ironically, one of Lee’s favorite spaces ended up being the extra room they were going to leave as-is. A leak in the master bathroom above required them to re-imagine this space, too. Pelech converted their extra room into a cozy media room. On one wall they added built-in cabinetry and the other is upholstered in grey linen with metal dividing each section. It adds interest and acoustics to the small cozy space and because of the size, it naturally feels >>


Did you know there is a brand-new neighborhood coming to town? A place designed to celebrate everything that you already know and love about San Luis Obispo.

Introducing Avila Ranch, nestled amongst the vineyards just south of downtown and promising to deliver the idyllic sun-drenched SLocal lifestyle.

A Homecoming for Slocals A place within your favorite place to call all yours. That was the vision with Avila Ranch, and that is what we are building for you as we speak.

A vibrant new neighborhood with new homes, parks, trails, and lots of fun-focused amenities made for you, the SLocal.

Avila Ranch is for SLocals FIRST and foremost. Visit our website to join our Interest List to stay out front on construction updates, and you’ll also have priority status when it comes time to reserve a homesite in the new Avila Ranch neighborhood. @AVILARANCHSLO

AVILARANCHSLO.COM

@AVILARANCH

Images are representational only and may differ from homes as constructed. Square footages are approximate. Seller makes no representations or warranties that the view from the property will remain the same. Future development changes to and growth of landscaping and the like may impact any current views from the property. Homes are constructed and marketed by WCP Developers LLC (CA Contractor License #1035148) and real estate sales brokered by WCP Real Estate, Inc. (CA DRE License #02055906), on behalf of Avila Ranch Developers, Inc., a California corporation. ©2022 Wathen Castanos Homes. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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intimate. The Wilkersons find themselves in this room almost every night and say it is the perfect way to wind down. Vicki’s favorite space is the kitchen. She loves how open it is, easy to entertain, but also when cooking the layout is very functional. Pelech had a vision for the island and designed the rest of the kitchen around it. She knew they would appreciate a large countertop and opted to break it up and introduce wood to add warmth and visual interest. The master bedroom feels just like a master bedroom should—relaxing and luxurious. On the walls, they installed hand-painted

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wallpaper and layered in velvet fabrics. My favorite solution in the home was the TV placement in the master bedroom. The suite shares the same view as the living room upstairs and having a TV on display didn’t seem right. Pelech designed a custom furniture piece that is placed at the foot of the bed with a TV hidden inside, which can be brought up at the touch of a button when needed. Pelech could not thank all the local talent that helped her bring this project to life. Sheryl Chestnut, owner of the art gallery Edna Contemporary, was another key player. >>


# I N S P I R E D T O S E R V E

pi

ADDS NEW LIFE & NEW BEAUTY TO ALL THAT IS. - JESSICA HARRELSON

R A M S E YA S P H A LT. C O M

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The scale of the home needed large pieces and she was able to curate a collection that complimented Pelech’s design and that the clients loved. Barnick Wood Design was instrumental with all the cabinetry throughout the home. All of the tile was sourced locally from Tile Co. Though the Wilkersons came into the project with experience, they were soon reminded how important it was to not only hire an interior designer, but to make sure the team collaborates well together.

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When making decisions, the Wilkersons always defaulted to the rule that one of them had to love it for them to move forward with a decision. Pelech encourages anyone taking on a home project to not have tunnel vision on the construction materials. Sometimes it is a piece of fabric or art that serves as the inspiration and can be the start of the concept. Pelech strongly believes that every inch of your home should make you happy. Even the laundry room. You matter most and spend the most time in your home. SLO LIFE


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ALL-NEW Freestanding Refrigeration

Exceptionally Thermador I R R E S I S T I B LY P R I C E D A L L- N E W A P P L I A N C E PAC K AG E S S TA R T I N G U N D E R $ 1 0 K A spectrum of personalization options is just the beginning of the Leap Into Luxury appliance packages. Each suite takes cues from legendary Thermador design principles while infusing flexible installation options, fresh finishes, and of course, leading-edge innovation. Discover a new model of luxury. 68

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ALL-NEW Wall Oven

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(805) 623-1000

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| SLO CITY

2021 Total Homes Sold 15 Average Asking Price $760,827 Average Selling Price $763,887 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 100.40% Average # of Days on the Market 25

2022 7 $780,025 $789,882 101.26% 5

+/-53.33% 2.52% 3.40% 0.86% -55.56%

tank farm

2021 17 Total Homes Sold $1,062,961 Average Asking Price $1,044,449 Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.26% 58 Average # of Days on the Market

2022 6 $928,647 $1,027,747 110.67% 7

+/-64.71% -12.64% -1.60% 12.41% -87.93%

cal poly area

2021 Total Homes Sold 8 Average Asking Price $1,044,238 Average Selling Price $1,010,744 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 96.79% Average # of Days on the Market 62

2022 5 $1,519,000 $1,727,000 113.69% 23

+/-37.50% 45.46% 70.86% 16.90% -62.90%

country club

2021 Total Homes Sold 2 Average Asking Price $1,367,000 Average Selling Price $1,307,500 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 95.65% Average # of Days on the Market 26

2022 2 $1,847,000 $2,012,500 108.96% 5

+/0.00% 35.11% 53.92% 13.31% -80.77%

down town

2021 Total Homes Sold 9 Average Asking Price $1,001,181 Average Selling Price $1,000,704 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 99.95% Average # of Days on the Market 47

2022 10 $1,072,200 $1,154,740 107.70% 9

+/11.11% 7.09% 15.39% 7.75% -80.85%

foothill boulevard

2021 Total Homes Sold 7 Average Asking Price $884,200 Average Selling Price $874,857 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.94% Average # of Days on the Market 24

2022 1 $2,295,000 $2,295,000 100.00% 95

+/-85.71% 159.56% 162.33% 1.06% 295.83%

johnson avenue

2021 Total Homes Sold 8 Average Asking Price $1,037,850 Average Selling Price $1,131,001 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 108.98% Average # of Days on the Market 33

2022 6 $1,089,833 $1,212,500 111.26% 30

+/-25.00% 5.01% 7.21% 2.28% -9.09%

REA L E S TAT E

BY THE NUMBERS

laguna lake

*Comparing 01/01/21 - 3/15/21 to 01/01/22 - 03/15/22

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Coastal Association of REALTORS ® SLO LIFE

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Spring Ahead of the Competition with our Advanced Approval Process

Our advanced approval process gives you full underwriting approval before you shop for a home... propelling you above the competition!

Reach out to one of our local experts today! Donna Lewis

Ken Neate

Maggie Koepsell

O: (805) 335-8743 C: (805) 235-0463

O: (805) 706-8074 C: (925) 963-1015

O: (805) 335-8742 C: (805) 674-6653

donna.lewis@rate.com

ken.neate@rate.com

maggie.koepsell@rate.com

Ermina Karim

Dylan Morrow

Matthew Janetski

O: (805) 329-4095

O: (805) 335-8738 C: (805) 550-9742

O: (805) 329-4092

C: (805) 602-0248 ermina.karim@rate.com

dylan.morrow@rate.com

matt.janetski@rate.com

Eileen Mackenzie

Joe Hutson

Luana Geradis

O: (805) 212-5204 C: (831) 566-9908 eileen.mackenzie@rate.com

O: (831) 205-1582 C: (831) 212-4138

C: (707) 227-9582

joe.hutson@rate.com

luana.gerardis@rate.com

Mike Luna

Lisa Renelle

Branch Manager & SVP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 456-5799 C: (805) 610-0105 mike.luna@rate.com

SVP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

C: (619) 300-2651

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4087

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 456-5344 C: (805) 674-2931 lisa.renelle@rate.com

rate.com/sanluisobispo • 1065 Higuera St., Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 rate.com/pasorobles • 1405 Spring Street, Suite 204, Paso Robles, CA 93446 Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information. (20210903-616080) Donna Lewis NMLS #245945; CA - CA-DOC245945 | | Ken Neate NMLS #373607; CA - CA-DBO373607 | | Maggie Koepsell NMLS #704130; CA - CA-DBO704130 | Ermina Karmin NMLS #2005928; CA - CA-DFPI2005928 | Dylan Morrow NMLS #1461481; CA - CA-DBO1461481 | Luana Gerardis NMLS #1324563; CA - CA-DBO1324563 | Eileen Mackenzie NMLS #282909 | Matthew Janetski NMLS #1002317; CA CA-DBO1002317 | Joe Hutson NMLS #447536; CA - CA-DOC447536 | Lisa Renelle NMLS #269785; CA-DOC269785 Guaranteed Rate, Inc.; NMLS #2611; For licensing information visit nmlsconsumeraccess.org. • CA: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act

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| SLO COUNTY

Thank you for making a difference. A portion of every loan we close is donated to the San Luis Obispo Noor Foundation free healthcare clinic. In 2021, we donated over $20,000. Thanks to my clients for supporting healthcare in San Luis Obispo County.

Here’s to our community’s health in 2022!

Ben Lerner 805.441.9486 www.blerner.com ben.lerner@myccmortgage.com

994 Mill St, Ste 200 - San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Equal Housing Opportunity. All loans subject to underwriting approval. Certain restrictions apply. Call for details. NMLS3029 NMLS2131793 NMLS395723 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC. Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Refinancing may result in higher total finance 72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | APR/MAY 2022 charges over the life of the loan.

REAL ESTATE BY THE NUMBERS REGION

NUMBER OF HOME S SOLD

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET

MEDIAN SELLING PRICE

2021

2022

2021

2022

Arroyo Grande

56

41

58

31

$947,263 $1,105,660

Atascadero

64

52

20

17

$631,314

Avila Beach

5

3

63

4

Cambria/San Simeon

26

25

62

22

Cayucos

13

15

52

114

Creston

0

4

0

91

Grover Beach

28

14

18

27

$658,496 $747,000

Los Osos

24

28

25

17

$762,664

Morro Bay

35

22

42

42

$903,090 $1,086,733

Nipomo

47

42

42

21

$791,851

$976,179

Oceano

10

8

52

39

$715,800

$606,250

Pismo Beach

23

17

47

22

Paso (Inside City Limits)

82

47

36

47

$539,009

$691,854

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

8

12

36

22

$617,306

$863,333

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

33

15

70

56

$916,091

$923,267

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

14

10

36

5

$642,279

$732,790

San Luis Obispo

82

40

39

15

$1,013,148 $1,232,427

Santa Margarita

7

1

69

93

$941,286

25

8

39

7

566

356

41

30

Templeton Countywide

*Comparing 01/01/21 - 03/15/21 to 01/01/22 - 03/15/22

2021

2022

$782,942

$2,047,600 $2,267,333 $898,055

$1,215,811

$1,269,690 $2,329,467 $0

$1,213,125

$954,059

$1,044,840 $1,441,191

$465,000

$737,089 $1,226,691 $809,759

$990,838

San Luis Obispo Coastal Association of REALTORS ® SLO LIFE


INC

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WWW.STALWORK.COM

LIC 948012 | PO BOX 391 SAN LUIS OBISPO CA 93406 805.542.0033

COMMERCIAL | RESIDENTIAL | INTERIORS | ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | LANDSCAPE

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| HEALTH

Body Armor The truth behind glowing skin. BY LAUREN HARVEY

o

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ur skin. We may not always think much of it. At most, we remember to lather on the thick white paste of sunscreen before stepping out to enjoy a beach day. What we don’t always consider are things like, “Without your skin barrier, the water inside your body would escape and evaporate, leaving you completely dehydrated,” Sara Perkins, MD reminds us. You could say your skin keeps you alive.

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Kathi C. Madison, Researcher at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Iowa, puts it this way, “The primary function of the [skin] is to produce the protective semi-permeable stratum corneum (skin layer) that permits terrestrial life.” It’s an incredibly important job for a layer of skin we may not consider on a daily basis. Amidst the sea of information available on the internet, and self-proclaimed skincare gurus on social media, it can be challenging to filter out what’s, in fact, beneficial to your skin and what is just clever marketing. Thankfully, dermatologists will always be here to steer us in the right direction. Today, we’ll take a deeper look at how your skin barrier functions, how it’s damaged, and what we can do to protect and repair it. >>


Since 1974, California

Cooperage

has been your go-to Jacuzzi supplier on the Central Coast!

Visit us today to create your at home health sanctuary!

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. San Luis Obispo calcooperage.com

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805-215-0511

lic.# 887028 APR/MAY 2022

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FIRST DEFENSES

UNDER ATTACK

Most basically, how does the skin barrier function? Dr. Perkins explains, “The outermost layer, called the stratum corneum, is often described as a brick wall. It consists of cells called corneocytes that are bound together by mortar-like lipids. This is your skin barrier.” This layer contains important elements like cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. “Inside the skin cells, or ‘bricks,’ you’ll find keratin and natural moisturizers.”

Unfortunately, there are a myriad of offenders that may cause damage to the skin barrier, from uncontrollable occurrences like a dry or humid environment, hot or cold weather, allergens, irritants, and pollutants; to common culprits like smoking, overexposure in the sun, hot baths or showers, harsh soaps or detergents; to bad habits of which we are all inevitably guilty at times, like poor skin care, eating unhealthily, mental or physical stress, and lack of sleep. Vlahovic explains these damaging conditions, “. . . affect the delicate balance of the chemical reactions necessary to maintain the best moisture, lipid, and pH levels,” in your skin.

As we learned earlier, our skin barrier is a vital component of our bodies’ hydration system. “Research over the years proves that the stratum corneum is a dynamic layer that is instrumental in maintaining skin health,” notes Tracey C. Vlahovic, DPM, FFPM RCPS, “[It’s] a dynamic layer that not only protects the body but maintains hydration at a constant pace.” Equal to hydration protection is the armored guard the skin barrier provides the body. “The skin barrier is the body’s first line of defense to external influences,” notes Vlahovic. “When it is disrupted, the skin barrier can become susceptible to allergens, irritants, and infection.” This reinforced layer exists partly in thanks to the natural acidity of the skin barrier. Dr. Perkins notes, “This acidity helps to create a kind of buffer against the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could damage your skin and lead to infections and other skin conditions.” Clearly, our skin is vital in more than just external appearance. It plays an important role in our overall health, keeping us hydrated and safe from outside irritants. 76

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The chemical reactions to which she refers include how the skin moves through in layers, and how moisture is trapped and released cyclically. This reaction is how we are constantly provided with new, fresh skin, how wounds heal, and how the biggest organ, the epidermis, keeps our insides safe and blocks outside toxins from infecting our delicate internal workings. So how can we tell if our skin is damaged? Any one or more of these symptoms can give us a hint: lack of skin elasticity; itchy, dry skin; wrinkles; discoloration; water loss; thinning of the epidermal layer; visible bacterial or viral infections. While it may seem impossible to provide our skin with optimum conditions to prevent it from all harm, and in many ways, skin damage seems to just be ‘a part of life,’ there are equally as many ways to heal and protect the skin from harm. We cannot control the weather or the level of irritants or pollutants in the air, but we can do our best to wear sunscreen, hydrate, eat right, and do the best we can to take care of our skin. >>


Find healing and renewal at

The Christian Science Reading Room A quiet place to read and pray with resources to inspire and guide your spiritual study. Our staff is on hand to chat or direct you to our many resources. Enjoy the peace of our deck by the creek, or a quiet personal study room.

Come by for a visit. Monday – Friday 11am-2:00pm 805-543-0759 1023 Nipomo St., SLO.

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spin special

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HEAL AND PROTECT In basic terms, the best way to protect your skin doesn’t require any fancy products or elaborate routines. Simply avoid too much sun, utilize SPF, moisturize daily, be gentle with your skin, eat a healthy diet, drink water, avoid smoking, and manage stress as best you can. While that seems simple, we all know that in today’s environment avoiding stress and eating a healthy diet can sometimes feel next to impossible. And in an atmosphere that promotes elaborate skincare routines, it can feel counterintuitive to bring it back to the basics. The ten-step method of the Korean beauty routine is one such example. It consists of a double cleanser (steps one and two), an exfoliant and toner (three and four), an essence, which is essentially a light moisturizer (step five), serum, a sheet mask and eye cream (more moisturizers—steps six, seven, and eight), then finally finishing with an actual moisturizer (step nine) and then a thicker night cream, or an SPF if it’s day (step ten). Undoubtedly this is a hard routine to maintain, both financially and as a consistent habit. Thankfully, Vlahovic emphasizes the importance of really only one aspect of this routine: moisturizer. “A moisturizer restores barrier function to the epidermis, creating a protective film, increasing hydration and improving the skin surface visually.” Dr. Madison explains further how moisturizers work to heal and protect our skin, “Topically applied moisturizers work by acting as humectants or by providing an artificial barrier to transepidermal water loss.” Dr. Madison recommends utilizing a moisturizer and an SPF in the daily care of your skin. Some makers combine the two into one convenient morning product to ensure skin maintenance is as easy as possible, and therefore most likely to be maintained.

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Our skin barrier plays a vital role in keeping us hydrated and healthy. Environmental and personal health factors can damage our skin barrier, but utilizing a simple skincare routine and healthy personal habits can help repair and protect the skin. Consult with a dermatologist before trying a new routine. SLO LIFE


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| GETAWAY

Oasis of calm I caught wind of The Cliffs Hotel + Spa coming up with something they call “an Oasis of calm,” and that was enough to pique my interest. Turns out, the property is remodeling eighteen of its fifth-floor rooms and rebranding them as the Serena Collection. We were invited to stay in the adults only area of the popular seaside resort, and it was an experience we won’t soon forget. With beautiful new upgrades, including new hardwood flooring, a new king size bed, a fireplace, and Italian marble, it was the ocean-facing patio that was the highlight. From the hotel’s top floor, we took in sweeping views of the Pacific and were treated to a spectacular, unobstructed sunset. Although we only traveled to Shell Beach, it felt as if we were far, far away. It had been a while since a staycation was as refreshing and rejuvenating as this one.

With so many incredible dining options here on the Central Coast, the hotel’s restaurant, Marisol, can be one that is easy to miss. The service, in particular, was impeccable. An impressive wine paired with a knowledgeable wait staff with just enough attentiveness, but not too much, was a highlight. We were lucky also to be there on a night when they had a ribeye on the special’s list. Yum! Did I mention that we dined at a window facing the water? After taking in the sunset upstairs, we were treated to the orangey afterglow fading to dark. Unfortunately, as much as we tried, there was just no room left for dessert! 80

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Okay, let me just say, the “+ Spa” part of The Cliffs Hotel + Spa is the showstopper. And, despite the fancy treatment options— Lomi Lomi, anyone?—it came down to the individual therapists. They were exceedingly warm, professional, and courteous. Our couples massage unwound knots so deep that we didn’t even know they existed. A before-and-after steam sauna session was also a hit. By the time we showered-up and made our way to the pool, we were so relaxed that I swear we floated out of that place. An afternoon spent soaking up the sun with a favorite novel in-hand put a bow atop the deliciously decadent experience.

STAYING HERE As the name implies, the Cliffs Hotel + Spa sits at the top of a cliff above the ocean at 2757 Shell Beach Road in Pismo Beach. Although we stayed in the newly christened Serena Collection, the property offers many different types of accommodations within its 160 rooms. It also has a well-equipped fitness center and an abundance of private event space. SLO LIFE

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| TASTE

Martha Taezaz and Chef Helen Abraha 82

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Ebony Ethiopian Fare BY JAIME LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESS LERNER

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s much as I adore dining on the Central Coast, experiencing new cuisine here is rare. Want burgers? Choose from a dozen places, if not more. Italian? Wide selection. Mexican? Yes. Falafel, bakeries, and ice cream? Check, check, and check.

I think that explains my immediate interest in Ebony, an Ethiopian cuisine takeout restaurant, that recently opened at The Kitchen Terminal on Allene Way in SLO. How could I not be intrigued? As far as I know, Ethiopian food has only ever been an abstraction for most residents here, including me. Now, it is a reality.

Pop-up as prelude Ebony is owned and operated by a team of four people, each of them playing her own niche role. A native of Ethiopia and a resident of SLO, Feben Teffera will be the first to tell you it wasn’t always so dialed in. “I wasn’t interested in cooking,” she says. But on a trip to Ethiopia with a friend in 2018, her travel partner became very interested in the cuisine. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we bring some spices back and do a little pop-up?’ At the time, I don’t think we knew what ‘pop-up’ meant, but we set one up anyway.” For that first event, Teffera cooked sauces and purchased the sacred Ethiopian bread injera in Los Angeles, then served combination plates from a parking lot on Walker Street. She threw together an Instagram account, promoted the event as best she could, and made enough food to feed fifteen people. “I was so worried it wouldn’t sell, but we arrived and hadn’t even finished unpacking when a line of thirty people formed. The first person in line ordered food for nine.” From start to finish, the first Ebony pop-up lasted ten minutes. When preparing for the next time, Teffera called her aunt in New Jersey, Chef Helen Abraha, for advice. “She told me what to do, but I only heard some of what she said,” Teffera says, laughing. “She was so excited about it. But I’m not a cook. I just wanted the pop-up to be over.” Teffera made enough food for twenty-five people this time, and, once again, sold out in ten minutes. As successful as it was, Ebony was too much for her. She and her friend parted ways on the project, and she set the restaurant aside. >> APR/MAY 2022

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An idea returns Three years later, Aunt Helen visited Teffera in SLO. “She said, ‘Ah, remember that pop-up you had? It would be so wonderful to do that here again.’ She said she would help me restart the restaurant, but I reminded her that her family and life were in New Jersey.” Spontaneously one day, Teffera felt inspired. “I knew I was supposed to open the restaurant then.” She called her aunt on the East Coast, who said she’d make it work somehow to join Ebony as chef. Then she called her other aunt, Martha Taezaz, who also said she’d move to SLO to help in the kitchen. A fourth, silent partner would handle money. And Teffera would do marketing and promotion. Four Ethiopian women and one very cool idea later, Ebony was (re)born.

From zero to 100 Every meal Ebony serves is organic, vegan, and gluten-free, portioned for one or two people, including two sauces and a side. And it’s sneakily satisfying. Expect hearty lentil-based sauces like Spicy Misir Wot (made with Ethiopia’s signature >>

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spice blend, berebere); and Shiro Wot, a sauce that features chickpeas, onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Sides focus on veggies like carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. All dishes are cooked in cold-pressed organic avocado oil, a high-priced luxury, but one that is, according to Teffera, worth the extra expense. And then there is injera, the traditional bread of Ethiopia made from the teff grain. Actually, “bread” isn’t an accurate descriptor: it’s more like a large, thin, savory, and tangy pancake. If you’ve ever made pancakes, you’ve seen bubbles appear on the surface as they cook; with injera, those bubbles form everywhere. Called “eyes,” they are the sign of an excellent injera; Ebony’s is riddled with them. “Injera is exhausting to make,” says Teffera, adding that Chef Abraha makes the bread herself, which takes a full seven days to ferment. “It’s insane—like rocket science. I always joke that San Luis Obispo went from having no injera to having the best injera. Like zero to 100.”

A taste of togetherness Injera is a critical component to any Ethiopian meal, not just because it’s delicious, but because it’s the primary utensil. “Ethiopians eat with their hands,” Teffera says. “You tear a little piece of injera, fold it, take the sauce you want on it, and eat it.” Injera also serves as a communal plate: everything is served on one large injera, with the main sauce placed in the center and separate rolls and sauces for each person on the edges. Literally, injera is where people gather to eat. “In general, people in Ethiopia don’t eat alone,” says Teffera. “Food is served family-style, and while you eat, there’s a lot of conversation. That’s how it is every day.” Speaking of family, I ask how Aunt Helen and Aunt Martha like their new life in San Luis Obispo. “They’re enjoying themselves,” Teffera says. “It was my goal to make them happy and have a biz they can be proud of. I want them to cook with joy, because that joy goes right into the food and out to the customer. Food is the universal language. We all know that.” SLO LIFE

INSIDE SCOOP Ebony serves weekday lunch takeout from The Kitchen Terminal on Allene Way in San Luis Obispo, across from the SLO Regional Airport. The best way to discover what’s cooking is to follow the Ebony Instagram account, @ebonyslo.

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| WINE NOTES

New Utopia

BY DAN FREDMAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RUBY WALLAU 88

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his is a great time to be a wine drinker in San Luis Obispo. Established wineries such as Talley and Sinor-La-Valee are refining their game and increasing their heroic work in the vineyard. Producers including Aequorea, Lady of the Sunshine, and Biddle Ranch Vineyard are subtly pushing the stylistic boundaries of what has long defined the region. And the recent announcement of the San Luis Obispo Coast American Viticultural Area, or AVA, made it all official: Now the world knows this is one of the most exciting wine regions in the country. That’s a Big Deal, but there are still plenty of discoveries to be made before the out-of-towners come flooding in.

Step One, get yourself to Dunites Wine Company in Downtown SLO. Owners Tyler and Rachel Eck are making some of the most compelling and flat-out delicious wines I’ve tasted recently, and in November they opened a bright new space where you can sample them. Tyler is a winemaker, Rachel a viticulturalist, and the couple sources grapes from top vineyards throughout the SLO Coast AVA: Bassi Ranch in Avila Beach, Jespersen Ranch, Slide Hill, and Islay in Edna Valley, Spanish Springs in Pismo Beach, and Chêne in Arroyo Grande. That’s a pretty amazing checklist for a winery whose first vintage consisted of four barrels of wine in 2015 and who now produce 1,200 cases of Albarino, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah each year, all in small quantities, all thrillingly expressive of the grape variety and the place where it was grown. >> APR/MAY 2022

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The Ecks learned to appreciate those qualities when they were working in wineries around the world. Tyler had earned a degree in geography at UC Santa Barbara and, by 2007, had landed a gig writing environmental impact reports. Soon enough, he succumbed to a combination of wanderlust, a budding interest in winemaking, and a disinclination to sit at a desk for the rest of his career. He escaped the nine-to-five and made his way to winemaking school in New Zealand. Jobs with Peay Vineyards in Sonoma, Stephano Lubiana in Tasmania, and François Villard in France’s Rhône Valley established benchmarks for his taste in wine, and upon returning to California he went to work for Fess Parker as the associate winemaker, a position he still holds. Rachel received her Viticulture and Enology degree at Cal Poly and went on to work in New Zealand for Te Karainga and Paul Lato Wines in Santa Maria before signing on with Central Coast Vineyards. Together at Dunites, they are making wines that recall an OldWorld finesse and sense of place. Savory flavors mesh with the fresh, fruit-filled sensations that result from whole cluster fermentation and aging in neutral oak puncheons. The natural acidity of the SLO Coast grapes and gentle winemaking techniques add an assured balance and grace. “When you’re able to place the fruit, savory, and floral components into harmony with each other in the glass, the wines really hit the right spot,” Rachel says. Adds Tyler, “We make the wines that we like to drink and we mainly just want them to be delicious.” Each release has a label inspired by the Oceano Dunes, with artwork created by friends and back-label quotes from the Dune Journal, the magazine published by the original Dunites back in the early 1900s. Those Dunites were a group of free-thinking artists and intellectuals who moved to the Oceano Dunes in search of a new utopia. They lived off Pismo clams, shunned clothing, and held long discussions about life and art. They were well-known during the Great Depression and entertained celebrities such as Ansel Adams, John Cage, and John Steinbeck. The last of the Dunites died in the 1970s. But with the Dunites Wine Company, their irreverent spirit lives on. Says Tyler, “We were inspired by the Dunites community and wanted to name our brand after them. They lived in harmony with nature, unencumbered by the societal norms of the time. Those ideals felt like a good representation of what we wanted our brand to be.” SLO LIFE

*

The short stretch of Garden Street between Higuera and Marsh is revitalizing downtown, and the recent addition of the Dunites Wine Company tasting room extends this energy zone even further. Stop in and sip these remarkable wines, including two of my favorite bottles: Dunites 2020 Chardonnay ($32) comes from the Jespersen Vineyard on Buckley Road, due west of the SLO County Regional Airport. The site’s gently rolling slopes are unprotected from the cold wind funneling into the Edna Valley, resulting in a wine with impressive persistence and minerality, particularly after having been barrel fermented and put through full malolactic fermentation, aging on lees, and time in neutral oak. Dunites 2020 Bassi Vineyard Pinot Noir ($38) is biodynamically farmed by Mike Sinor in Avila Beach. Made with partial whole cluster grapes, the aromatics burst from the glass, with a texture so alive it nudges toward effervescence. This might be the liveliest wine you’ll put in your mouth this year, but it is also a sleek and sophisticated Pinot Noir, with a silky smoothness achieved without oak. The last sip will have you wishing they bottled it in magnums.

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| BREW

Cracking open

Bottlcraft BY BRANT MYERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY TODD MEANEY

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ith the much-anticipated opening of the SLO Public Market at Bonetti Ranch, I’ve been hearing rumors of which brewery would open in the premium lot on the corner of Tank Farm and South Higuera for years. There were whispers of yet another Figueroa Brewing Company location, then Glendale’s Golden Road Brewing was supposed to fill the vacancy until the surge in craft beer purists shut down their Oakland spot after picketing against an eventual sell-out to Anheuser Busch, the parent company of Budweiser. Things quieted down in the Spring of 2020 as did much of the years of rapid growth in the beer industry. Finally, the rumor mill started spinning faster than ever as business licenses were being applied for and leases were getting signed. It then became slightly more common knowledge that we would get our very own version of the bottle shop that has been taking over the hottest of California spots. The meteoric rise of Bottlecraft started in San Diego ten and a half years ago. Luckily, during my visit, I was sitting next to a mustache with a man attached to it, Anthony Bagdasarian. “Bags” as he is known waxed poetically about living two blocks from the first >>

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Bottlecraft. A mythical place where you would walk in the door, crack a cold beer, and fill up your cart with high-quality offerings. I clarified that he must have meant that the employee opened his beer for him so that they complied with ABC codes, and he shook his head vigorously while looking away, which must have been a confirmation. Bags has been around the beer scene for a while so sometimes memories can get as hazy as a New England IPA. Although now a more even split of bottles and cans, Bottlecraft’s San Luis Obispo location stays true to the original intent of using the owner’s pull to provide some of the highest quality and sought-after brews available. While Graham Yates, the Beertender, kept our draft beers full and fresh, I was able to grab the attention of Sean Casey, the Manager/Buyer, and ask him more about the business and specifically the location I’m sure to visit again soon. Casey speaks highly of the founder Brian Jensen and how he went from being an employee at a San Diego beer distributor to opening a small bottle shop, then expanding to a dozen locations in even fewer years. The philosophy is simple: to be the best beer bottle shop in town with the most unique offerings. Of course they support local craft breweries, so you’ll always see

beers from nearby, but each location is unique to its city. Apparently, this location was due to the owner visiting friends here often enough he recognized that we are his type of people and it would be a great match. I was thoroughly enjoying the procured selection while chatting with staff, enjoying the ambiance, and occasionally getting pulled by photographer Todd Meaney to do some staged photographs of me getting cans from the beer cooler. I hope the photos make it, because we spent far too much time taking them. [Editor’s Note: they made it.] With an extensive and well-organized draft list, I slowly made my way from hoppy lagers, to dark czech lagers, to a pale ale, then grabbed a pint of our local gold-medal award winning double IPA “Psychic Advisor” from SLO’s There Does Not Exist Brewing, ending with a banana nut pastry stout. All fresh California beers, some available only by a four hour drive, about the same length of time I sat on the bar stool. This place doesn’t mess around with their offerings. After all those photo shoots from the cooler, I eventually found myself a few highly desirable cans to bring home and enjoy over the weekend. Since it was my first time to the Public Market, I was enjoying seeing the foot traffic this place draws. Tables filled with families grabbing a dinner out, college students socializing, and pockets of small groups and couples grabbing a quick cup before heading upstairs to watch a comedy show. Bottlecraft employee Melissa Clark ran down a few times to supply the thirsty crowd with freshies as the show continued and sound levels rose. I should mention they also offer wine and cider, both on draft and out of a bottle, which is great for those date nights where not everyone enjoys malted barley in some form or another. I never got a chance to grab dinner, having filled my belly with liquid bread, but I already have plans to keep this place on my radar for my next friends or family outing. Bottlecraft is a great addition to our local beer scene. With the ability to taste rare beers from around the state without the need to run around searching for them, it alleviates my monthly treks up and down the coast searching out the latest and greatest beer. All in a relaxing atmosphere and with friendly staff. I’m looking forward to stopping by here instead and having a drink while I fill up my basket. Ten and a half years later, it seems you can have the same experience as living two blocks away from the original. So, raise a bottle with me and clink your glass together for Bottlecraft! SLO LIFE

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| HAPPENINGS

Culture & Events COPPÉLIA PARSONS DANCE

Cal Poly Arts presents an internationally renowned contemporary American dance company known for its energized and athletic ensemble work based on the repertory of storied choreographer David Parsons. Already an accomplished choreographer when he founded the company in 1985, Parsons’ talent for creating high energy, accessible work embraces the notion that important art can be joyful, profound, and fun. April 9 // pacslo.org

The Movement Arts Collective presents the 1870 comic ballet with its original score, reworked by Ryan Lawrence to feature more contemporary themes and movement. This version, offered up at the Harold J. Miossi CPAC at Cuesta College in three performances plus a virtual alternative, is set in the 1950s to be more relatable to dancers and audience members, and deals with the obsession of perfection, the play between fantasy and reality, and what it means to be “real.” April 9-10 // movementartscollective.org

THE CHILDREN

SLO REP presents a mainstage production of the Tony Award-nominated play by Lucy Kirkwood about two retired nuclear scientists who reside in an isolated cottage by the sea as the world around them crumbles. Together they are going to live forever on yogurt and yoga, until an old friend arrives with a frightening request. April 29-May 15 // slorep.org

BOOK OF THE YEAR POLY ROYAL RODEO FINALS

Returning to its roots to commemorate eight decades of history at the Cotton Rosser Rodeo Complex on the Cal Poly campus, this championship performance features the top collegiate rodeo athletes from around the West Coast. Athletes compete in barrel racing, team roping, breakaway roping, tie down roping, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, and steer wrestling. April 9 // calpoly.edu 96

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An annual county-wide program brings author Tommy Orange to the Harold J. Miossi CPAC at Cuesta College for a lecture, Q&A, and book signing for his wondrous and shattering novel “There There,” a New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year title and winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award. Orange, a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, was born in Oakland, California, and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. This is a live event with virtual attendance also supported. April 21 // cuesta.universitytickets.com

SLO FILM FEST

Returning to venues across SLO County, the twenty-eighth annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival hosts filmmakers from around the country participating in live Q&As, industry panel discussions, an inaugural music video showcase, Surf Nite, the King Vidor Awards, and more. Individual tickets are on sale to attend screenings and events in person, but you can also purchase individual virtual tickets or an all-access virtual pass via the festival’s online portal. April 26 - May 1 // slofilmfest.org


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SHABANG

A once-illegal event put on by three music-loving Cal Poly students at the top of Cuesta Ridge, Shabang Live Music and Arts Festival has grown to include more than fifty musicians and around 7,000 guests, and now is held at Laguna Lake Park in SLO. Featuring STRFKR, TV Girl, Walker & Royce, The Knocks, and VNSSA, this year’s two-day festival aims to expose new music and talent “produced by the people for the people” on four different stages, and to deliver activities for everyone from slacklining to a silent disco to yoga to a liquid light show. May 13-14 // shabangslo.com

FIESTA IN A BOTTLE

It’s the ninth annual Avila Beach Tequila Festival at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, this year, as always, there will be a mix of tequila tastings, Mexican cuisine and beer, and festive live bands. A portion of the proceeds benefits Woods Humane Society. May 28 // avilabeachresort.com

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AVILA BEACH BLUES FEST

PASO WINE FEST

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance offers an all-new wine festival for 2022, with new locations and a new name. Enjoy the delicious diversity of Paso vintages with wine tastings, winemaker dinners, seminars, VIP-ticket elevated experiences, and lots of live entertainment at more than 150 wineries during the four-day event. May 19-22 // pasowine.com 98

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George Thorogood & The Destroyers (on their forty-fifth anniversary “Good To Be Bad” tour) and Central Coast band WAR come to the Avila Beach Golf Resort against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. This Memorial Day weekend afternoon party kicks off the summer outdoor concert season, continuing its tradition in its twentyseventh year as the biggest and longest running blues festival on the Central Coast. VIP, Beach Club balcony, reserved theater-style, and table seats are available, as well as general admission lawn tickets. May 29 // avilabeachresort.com


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HAVEN PROPERTIES

To experience The Distinctive Life on the Central Coast by Haven Properties visit www.CentralCoastCollection.com

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