SLO LIFE Magazine Aug/Sep 2017

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10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | AUG/SEP 2017 SLOLIFE magazine 38 CONTENTS Volume 8 Number 4 Aug/Sep 2017 DANA O’BRIEN Inspired by her creativity, we sat down with this local entrepreneur to hear her story. Publisher’s Message Info On the Cover In Box 14 16 18 20 Timeline We look back at the most recent newsworthy events from around the Central Coast over the past two months. View Harvest has never looked the same. Photographer BLAKE ANDREWS exposes the dreaded reaper. 30 34


Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, City Council Member AARON GOMEZ discusses things to come.


With an undertone of angst and their garage band style, SHOOT THE MARINAR hits the local live music scene.


Can a supplement really help with everything from allergies to joint pain? We tried incorporating MSM into our daily routine and found some pretty interesting results.

Storytellers’ Corner

We all have a story to tell, and with help from New York Times bestselling author FRANZ WISNER, discovering your voice might not be as hard as you think.


In partnership with Leadership San Luis Obispo, we are proud to introduce you to Class 26.


With meatless Monday in mind, JAIME LEWIS explores the Central Coast restaurant scene. Who knew vegetables could taste so good?


TERRY and ANNIE HERRICK , open the doors to their cape cod style home.


In partnership with the American Institute of Architects, we present two top-ranking projects along the Central Coast designed by local architects.

Real Estate

We share the year-to-date statistics of home sales for both the city and the county of San Luis Obispo.

On the Rise

Whether he’s on the field for baseball, on the court for basketball, or at the computer coding and drafting, WILL COMPTON is bound for success.

With winter rains filling our lakes and an abundance of sunshine filling the sky, PADEN HUGHES heads north to enjoy Lake Nacimiento.


Piled high with savory goodness, crostini makes the perfect appetizer and CHEF JESSIE RIVAS divulges his favorite way to top these tasty bites.


Nothing says summer quite like an ice cold beer and BRANT MYERS eagerly shares this season’s top picks.


Looking for something to do? We’ve got you covered. Check out the calendar to discover the best events around the Central Coast in August and September.

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Dog Days

Throughout most of my life, the phrase “dog days of summer” has queued up a very specific image.

With heat waves visibly rising from the cotton fields off in the distance, there was nothing quite like the sort of unique summer hibernation that took place throughout the San Joaquin Valley during this time of the year. The curtains were drawn, the swamp cooler was working double time, the Little League season had ended, Y-camp was over, and families settled in for the long stretch that spanned the end of structured activities to the beginning of the new school year.

Apparently, the dog days was a term coined by the ancient Greeks, who noted a unique constellation that made its appearance each year around this time, toward the end of summer: a grouping of stars that looked something like a dog chasing a rabbit. Growing up in the Valley, we just always figured it was named after the dogs who gingerly danced across the scorching asphalt (by the way, you really can fry an egg on that stuff— I’ve seen it done), their tongues nearly touching the ground as they panted their way through the atmospheric pressure cooker.

Around here, the dog days have taken on a different meaning altogether. The weather is perfect and the streets are not yet swollen with U-Haul trucks returning for the fall quarter. But, just like back in the day, the activities have run out and the phrase every parent dreads—“I’m bored”—starts to pop up here and there. And, anytime someone gets bored, it’s a pretty sure bet that a fight will be breaking out soon, because there is no better, faster cure for boredom than squabbling with your siblings.

For the most part, my boys, who are eight and twelve years old—we call them “The Brothers”—are great kids, who get along famously. But, again, those dog days. We’re navigating no man’s land right now where the days are as long as the structure is short. That is a formula for boredom, and as we have already covered here: boredom leads to dust-ups.

The other day, my wife sent me an email with a subject line that read: “Brothers Arguing.” I opened it and read her note, “I think I found the solution.” I clicked the link she included and was taken to a video on YouTube with the title, “Brother & Sister Slow Dance Punishment.” Intrigued, I hit “Play.” On the screen, I saw two young kids rocking back and forth to the rhythm of some horrible, sappy 80’s R&B love song. Hand in hand, fingers interlocked, they were both wedged tightly into a single extra-large t-shirt. Their expressions of despondency, I imagined, would not have been any different had they just been told that an asteroid was on its way to wipe out civilization as we know it. With the kids swaying in the foreground, you could hear their mother barking in the background, “Every time y’all argue, this is what y’all are going to do. I’m going to make y’all wear the shirt, make y’all hold hands, and y’all going to slow dance.”

When I got home that night, we played the clip for The Brothers, who were astounded that a parent could be so twisted, so deranged to dream up a punishment that was this cruel and unusual. My wife then rifled through my dresser drawers in search of my largest t-shirt. She pulled out one that said “The New York Times,” with a tagline that enticed, “Expect the World.” Now, we have always told the kids that we have high expectations of them, but this was taking it to an entirely new level. Very carefully and neatly my wife folded the shirt and wrapped it over the back of a dining table chair, proudly displayed for all to see. It was as if the shirt had taken on a life of its own, watching the kids and taking notes in the same way that Santa’s obnoxious little helper, the Elf on the Shelf, does in December.

I would like to nominate that YouTube lady for a Nobel Peace Prize, and would further encourage the slow dance punishment implemented with all people, not just kids. Let’s take this thing worldwide. In our case, boredom-based bickering has been eradicated completely, and all it took was one 33-second video. In fact, things have gotten so quiet and peaceful around the house that we have been secretly rooting for a fight to break out. My fourteen-year-old daughter frequently asks, “Have The Brothers done the dance yet?” And, my wife and I admitted to each other recently that we are both harboring a weird sort of giddiness, an excited anticipation for the unique style of justice we have coiled up and ready to serve. Or, maybe it’s just the boredom that goes along with the dog days.

I would like to take this opportunity to say “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!


SLOLIFE magazine



Tom Franciskovich


Sheryl Disher


Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jaime Lewis Brant Myers

Jessie Rivas

Franz Wisner


Blake Andrews

Isaiah Rodriguez

Doug Kalagian, Caitlin Mae Rich

Vanessa Plakias

Trevor Povah


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BEHIND the scenes

We decided to do an early evening shoot at the Tallow Works in San Luis, which is at the end of Prado Road where her business is located. I wanted to get some light through the chandeliers hanging in her shop, and was hoping to catch that magic hour, that dreamy time of day.

They were listening to some familiar-sounding music in the shop, and I started having good, fuzzy, warm feelings, and I said, “Let me guess, this is the Gypsy Kings, right?” And, they said, “Yeah, you’re right!” My parents used to play their music during the same time of day, during the really pretty, misty, early evening, so it just felt right. I asked Dana for her favorite artist while she was working and she said, “Jack Johnson.” So, that’s some good company, The Gypsy Kings and Jack Johnson.

Dana’s husband, Sean, is just so gosh-darned in love with her. When we were doing the shoot, Dana was actually stung by a bee. Sean rushed over, super hero-style, pulled out the stinger and literally sucked the venom out of her hand and spit it out. And, as it turns out, he’s allergic to bees!

I asked how long they have been married and Dana said, “Thirty years; and it’s just been effortless. Of course, we’ve had trouble in our lives, obstacles and hurdles, but our marriage has been effortless.” You don’t hear that a lot, and they talked about being so grateful for it, because they see that it is not that way for a lot of people.

I spotted a beautiful stainedglass window and Dana told me that a woman had commissioned her to make a shed for her using the window, which had belonged to the woman’s mother, who had recently passed away. Dana talked a lot about the healing properties of the sheds, and how people found peace in the spaces she was building. She designed it so the daughter could sit in the shed and the sun would shine on her through the stained-glass window. Just beautiful, in so many ways.






BRAD HILL and MARISA ALEXANDER enjoying the Italian Riviera coastline.
Take us with you!
Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at
Celebrating our 20-year anniversary with a family vacation in Kauai on the North Shore overlooking the Hanalei Valley with our SLO LIFE Magazine! — THE ALLEN FAMILY MATT, MELISSA, SASHA, SAM, and HENRY JENNI NORRIS and JOY BECKER CLAY and HUDSON ROBBINS LINCOLN MEMORIAL SLO Classical Academy on a Summer American History and Politics Trip. We toured Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. We were happy to take SLO LIFE with us!


Designated 2017–2022

The Sierra Vista Birth Center has long been known for its quality care of newborns and their mothers. But now, it has received the prestigious “Baby-Friendly” designation from Baby-Friendly USA®. The recognition means the entire birth center team provides an “optimal level of care” for breastfeeding mothers and their babies by offering resources, support and the skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

Breastfeeding Support Group

A comprehensive support group for the encouragement of a successful & rewarding breastfeeding experience.

Every Thursday 11am – 12pm

1010 Murray Ave., San Luis Obispo, 2nd Floor Physical Therapy Gym

No registration required, drop-ins welcome.

Tour our Birth Center: (844) 367-0828





LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY JAN MARX at the Muhammed Ali Museum. We toured Chan Chan, one of the largest preColumbian adobe ruins, in Trujillo, Peru. Seen with the school children who wanted their picture taken. — SHIRLEY SELKIRK and NANCY REID Avila Beach Jr. Guards, MADDIE and NICOLE (with younger sister LILLY) taking their coach, PHIL TORIELLO, for a swim. LAHAINA, MAUI Aloha from DAVID, TERYN, SARAH, KERI, PATI, and TERRY in Lahaina, Maui! TESSA ROOS


| IN BOX You showed us... OAXACA, MEXICO BALI, INDONESIA HALLIE AMBRIZ CABO SAN LUCAS With SLO LIFE Magazine at the most amazing resort on the planet, Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach. EMILY and WILL KING THE OLSENS love Oaxaca. Here we are in front of Santo Domingo Church where we were married 18 years ago. This June was the 20th anniversary of when we met near this site! © 2017 Opes Advisors, A Division of Flagstar Bank Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender We helped more people purchase a home in 2015 and 2016 than any other lender in San Luis Obispo County. THANK YOU! Help when you make the most important financial decisions of your life. Ben Lerner Mortgage Advisor NMLS 395723 805.441.9486 1212 Marsh St., Suite 1 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
DAVID GIBSON with SLO LIFE Magazine on Tavarua Island in Fiji. Some of the best surfing in the world at Cloudbreak.



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Taking a little of the SLO Life with us on a trip of a lifetime with Nativity of Our Lady Pilgrims organized by KIM CONTI, DAN DEGROOT, and PAM ZWEIFEL to Jordon and Israel.


Beautiful Denali National Park and Preserve in ALASKA has 6 million acres of Beauty.



THE TEJADA FAMILY enjoying the village of Biscoitos on the Azores Island of Terceira in Portugal.

We just returned from a dreamcome-true honeymoon. We faithfully carried around our SLO LIFE Magazine until we reached Trevi Fountain in Rome. We made our three wishes and tossed our coins in the fountain.


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Around the County

JUNE ‘17


SLO Symphony announced that its 18-month search finally ended when it was revealed that the organization had selected Andrew Sewell as its new music director. Sewell, 53, will split time between the Central Coast and Madison, Wisconsin where he has served as music director of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra for the past 17 years. Hailing from New Zealand, Sewell is the first foreign-born conductor to lead the SLO Symphony. He beat out four other finalists for the appointment and received unanimous support from the ten-person search committee.



Construction began at 40 Prado, a state-of-the-art homeless center in San Luis Obispo that is expected to open in April of next year. The center will replace the aging Prado Day Center as well as the Maxine Lewis Night Shelter. Funds raised for the project topped $5 million and came from a variety of sources. In addition to an outpouring of support from local donors, the Homeless Foundation raised $2.65 million; Community Action Partnership brought in $700,000; the state, county, city governments kicked in another $950,000; and $700,000 came from a private construction grant.


A jury at San Luis Obispo’s Superior Court found 86-year-old Atascadero resident Edith “Edie” Knight guilty of electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. She received a $500 fine for the misdemeanor, which many of her supporters characterized as being politically motivated. Knight, an elected member of the Republican Central Committee, was videoed during the last election calling through a list of registered voters from her cell phone in the lobby of the Atascadero Elks Lodge in an effort to support County Supervisor Debbie Arnold. The District Attorney’s Office had offered to dismiss the charges had Knight agreed to admit guilt and apologize, but she declined.

Chase Hanson, 26, of Morro Bay was found guilty on 9 of 10 counts related to his elaborate cocaine trafficking operation, which stemmed from his arrest in August, 2015. The two-week trial featured more than half a dozen witnesses, wiretapping, aerial surveillance, and even Hanson’s grandfather, who reluctantly testified against the defendant. In addition to the cache of weapons presented as physical evidence, the District Attorney’s Office also revealed a 20-ton hydraulic press that was used to process the cocaine. The trial demonstrated the existence of a vast network that spanned from local street-level dealers all the way to higher-ups in Mexican drug cartels.


Thirty seconds after going live with online ticket sales, the Garth Brooks concert at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles sold out. It was the fastest-selling show in the fair’s history. All 14,875 of the tickets to see Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, were gone before most fans were able to click “Purchase” on their computer screens. Amid complaints that scalpers had gotten into the action, the country western star decided to play a second show. Those tickets, too, sold out less than 30 seconds after their release.


JULY ‘17


Reports surfaced that the police-trained dog who had mauled two Grover Beach residents in December, killing one, had aggressively chased the mailman earlier that day. The owner of the dog, 25-yearold Alex Geiger, had been employed by the Grover Beach Police Department for four months before resigning in February, and is now on trial facing two felony counts: failure to maintain control of a deadly animal and involuntary manslaughter. David Fear, who died in the attack, was attempting to shield his neighbor, Betty Long, then 85 years old. The 64-year-old Fear was hailed by his neighbors and his family as a hero, who have showed up in the subsequent court proceedings with t-shirts emblazoned with his face.


The San Luis Obispo City Council officially declared that the drought has ended and that emergency conservation measures no longer applied. While local reservoirs were replenished by the winter rains—Salinas Reservoir rose to 97% capacity, Whale Rock touched 79%, and Nacimiento rose to 76%—a significant increase in demand looms as the council eyes the calendar when it will have to weigh in on two new sprawling neighborhoods on the south end of town.


A controversial plan to cut down several large oak trees on the SLO High Campus to make way for Measure D construction after a brief protest by the neighbors commenced earlier in the day following a statement from administration declaring that they “did not have a timeline for their removal.” One resident, John Salisbury, a farmer who lives next door, had climbed into the tree to protest. When he heard the chainsaws at 7:15am the next day, he sat down at the base of one of the oaks to read a book and impede their efforts. As part of their upgrade to facilities, San Luis Coastal Unified has insisted that it will plant a new tree for each one that it removes as part of its $177 million bond effort.


With a unanimous vote, the San Luis Obispo City Council approved developer Gary Grossman’s bid to build the project he calls “San Luis Ranch.” The new 580-home neighborhood will go in at the 131-acre site long known as the Dalidio Ranch, which sits on county land. The city plans to first annex the property before construction commences. In the wake of this hearing, the council will be reviewing the application of developer Andy Mangano, who is proposing a 720-home project near the airport that he has named “Avila Ranch.” While supporters of the suburbanstyle neighborhoods applaud the prospect of the new “ranches,” opponents cite concerns about traffic, water, and congestion.



Inspiration can come in the most unexpected ways. For Blake Andrews, it came in the form of a McDonald’s Monopoly game promotion. The native San Luis Obispan was just a kid when he scratched the gummy, gray messiness off of the Sunday newspaper insert. Hoping for Park Place, he instead realized that he had just won a camera. He mailed in his winning card and waited patiently for his prize to arrive.

The quality was not much to write home about, one small step above something you would find in a Happy Meal, but it was his. Soon, he was pestering his mom for film and almost as quickly he was talking her into dropping it off for development. Those early shots were something you would expect to see from a little kid. Blurry pictures of neighborhood animals, that sort of thing, but there was something about it that fascinated the young Andrews. “I had a blast,” he recalls. “That was the beginning of the addiction, and I just kept getting better cameras.”

When it came time to go off to college, Andrews figured he was due to buckle down and get himself going on a serious career track. Before long, he became a civil engineer, all along the way snapping photos as a means for an occasional “creative outlet.” His day job continued along at a predictable pace until 2008 rolled around and the economy’s “invisible hand” removed him from his 9-to-5 living and left him questioning just about everything. When it became clear that nobody was going to be hiring anytime soon, Andrews started thinking seriously about making his hobby his vocation. The first item on his to-do list under the heading “Start New Business,” was to secure a domain name for himself online. Dismayed to find that another Blake Andrews, this one an adult film star, had already locked up the name, he went with Plan B, which was a combination of two of his favorite things, SLO and photography, or “SLOtography.” One job led to another, although he admits now, “I never really thought that it was a reality that one could make a living doing it, especially in San Luis Obispo,” and before long the upstart photographer had more work than he could handle.

But, as busy as things became, he has always continued to return to his hobbyist roots, and he still does. There is one spot he visits often, a farm just outside of the city limits that he calls his “escape,” and admits “may possibly involve a little bit of trespassing.” It was early one morning, with the fog rolling in, or rolling out—he can’t remember which—that Andrews headed out to continue “chasing light” as he describes his photographic obsession. The old, bucketof-rust harvester sat in the foreground, as it always had, while he snapped away, preferring to find something like the farm equipment to put a beautiful landscape into context. It was later, when he returned home after flicking on his computer that he realized what he had captured earlier that day. After messing around a bit with the color profiles, he remembers back to this shot now, “I tend to like photos that are oozing and dripping with saturation—it gives them an almost surreal quality, ethereal.”


Future Facing

Newly minted San Luis Obispo City Councilman AARON GOMEZ stopped by the office the other day for a wide-ranging conversation that t variety of subjects spanning jewelry-making to environmental p sleeves to Buddhist philosophies. Here is what he had to say…

Aaron, let’s start with a little background. Okay, sure. I was born and raised here in San Luis Obispo. My family, on my mom’s side, goes back four or five generations here in SLO County. After high school, I went to Cuesta for a bit, then pursued a wakeboarding career, which took me to Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Then, after a few years, I blew out my knee and came back here and got into woodworking. So, I pursued a career in furniture building, which eventually led me back into the family business, which is jewelry. I mean, I was born and raised around my dad’s jewelry store downtown and furniture building is fairly similar as far as craftsmanship goes, so I ended up going to an art school up in San Francisco to literally just study jewelry making. That got me into the family business and I have been there ever since.

You probably have more tattoos than the average city councilmember… Yes, that’s true. [laughter] I got my first tattoo when I was 16. My brother got one when he turned 18, so I wanted one, too. That first one, a friend of mine did that one. He wasn’t very skilled at the time—he’s gotten far better since—but it was early on for him, so it’s pretty scarred. It’s a Native American artstyle fish. I found it in one of my mom’s books, and I altered parts of it. I can’t say that it was very well thought-out. It’s not like I have this great connection to that particular tribe or anything; I just thought it looked cool. I’ve been getting tattooed ever since that time. They all kind of tell a story from different points of my life. This one over here that says, “In Memory of Lindsay,” well, pretty much my whole left arm is dedicated to her.

Can you share that story? So, I was 19 and I went to work as a counselor at a wakeboarding school back in Texas. Lindsay was my girlfriend, but it was kind of a secret relationship because her brother ran the camp, so we didn’t want to appear to be unprofessional or disrespectful. Everyone loved her and all of us were super close. Anyway, it was a day off and I was away from camp, but a

bunch of the counselors took the opportunity to go wakeboarding together. Lindsay was sitting on the back ski step near the boat’s exhaust. She apparently inhaled a lot of carbon monoxide and passed out and fell into the water. Someone heard it happen and everyone jumped in the water frantically looking for her. Because it was so murky it took them 45 minutes. By then it was too late.

Wow, how did you handle it? grief. I went through that survivor’s guilt. I went through a ton of different aspects— depression. And then there was the flip side of it. I started looking at life in a different way. I started looking to Buddhist philosophies and Eastern philosophies and different things to help reconcile those feelings of loss; and I really started pondering the meaning of life at that point. That all led down the path of becoming a vegetarian, and compelled me to get really involved with environmental issues. That whole thing, the grieving process, and all that followed, was one of those pinnacle experiences that basically made me who I am today. It made me not want to take life for granted as I had done previously. And, also I think when you’re young you don’t understand the responsibility that you have to create your own life versus just letting things come along.

How does that manifest now in your role in city government? with awareness; you have to start with the conversation. I think that’s the one thing that I do enjoy about being on the council, because it does give me a broader audience that I would not have otherwise. That allows for more conversations and the more conversations we have, the more of these topics come up. And, I’m often pleasantly surprised by how often these topics, these bigger questions, do come up, actually, especially with younger generations. No matter what sort of craziness happens to be going on around the country, around the world, locally we have the opportunity to ask ourselves: Where do we want to be in the future? Because it’s going to be our children and our children’s children that have to deal with what we’re leaving.

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After dutifully clocking in every day for twenty-three-and-a-half years at the County Assessor’s Office, DANA O’BRIEN was on the homestretch, mere months away from receiving her pension when a most unexpected thing happened: she quit. Her side hustle— building spaces for women, also called “she-sheds”—was taking off and she could think of nothing else. Today, her business, A Place to Grow, is leading the transformation of a sleepy industrial corner at the end of Prado Road in San Luis Obispo known as the Tallow Works. Here is her story…


Okay, Dana, let’s start from the beginning. Where are you from? I was born in the Antelope Valley, Lancaster, California; the high desert. I have an identical twin sister and two older sisters, five and four years older than us. My dad worked for

Pepsi-Cola, a good Teamster, worked hard to support the family. We lived a simple life, nothing extravagant by any means. Grew up there, but I always knew that I wanted to leave; it was hot there. I ended up going to Santa Barbara City College. I was working groceries, at Vons, so I transferred there. I spent two or three years there getting my Associate’s Degree, and they had an agreement with Cal Poly at that time where you could transfer. So, I came here and got a degree in business and accounting. My twin sister came along with me; we always have to be together. I met my husband, Sean, at Cal Poly and I had my son while we were still in school.

So, how did the two of you meet? In June of ‘86 we both moved to San Luis Obispo County. Sean came here from the East Coast with his family. His mom actually grew up here and she wanted to come back to be near her parents, who were in Paso Robles. I came here to go to school. One year later, June of ‘87, we met at The Graduate, of all places, through a mutual friend. Sean had a bunch of dental work done that day and his cheek was swollen like a chipmunk. Anyway,

we talked for a bit and he asked me to dance. He said, “I just had my wisdom tooth pulled, so I can only slow dance.” Yeah, right—pretty smooth! [laughter] I thought, “Okay, whatever.” We hit it off, had fun. Talked a lot. I never gave my phone number out at bars, but at some point I had mentioned that I worked at the Williams Brothers grocery store, so a couple of days later he shows up in my line to buy a pack of gum. I invited him out with a bunch of my friends that night, and we had so much fun. We laughed and had a great time dancing. Nine months later we were married. Then we had our son six months later—you can do the math. [laughter]

Something’s not adding up here… He actually proposed three weeks before we had any inkling that we were pregnant. We were still at Cal Poly. So, there were times that I’d have my baby, our son, with me on my hip at the library. I was 23, I believe, at the time, a senior in my last year. I was definitely the only one in the Business Department toting a baby around campus. He worked construction and I worked at the grocery store; somehow we figured it out. That was back when tuition was a lot less and


rent was so much less. It was doable then. Now it’s just ridiculous. Anyway, I applied for a job at the County Assessor’s office. I spent twenty-three-and-a-half years working there in property tax. While I was there, I got my real estate broker’s license. I couldn’t use it because it would have been a conflict of interest while I was working there, but it was something I had always wanted to do. It was a personal goal of mine. Well, Sean comes from a family of six kids, Irish-Catholic. So, his brother was in the process of wanting to move here from Arizona, he and his partner. They called me one day and said, “Dana, we found this house that we are interested in. Would you mind looking at it with us?” So, I met them over there. A Cal Poly Architecture graduate had bought the home and fixed it up; all energy-efficient doors and windows. He had taken the old wood sash windows and built a greenhouse out of them in his backyard. I walked around back and saw what he had done and said, “You have to buy this place—just to get that greenhouse!” I literally fell in love with it; it was an instantaneous love for me.

Did they take your advice? Yes, they bought the house. And six months later they called Sean and said, “Hey, we want to put in a hot tub, and if you come out and pour a concrete pad, we want to give Dana the greenhouse for her 40th birthday.” He went over, cut it apart, wall by wall, laid it on a trailer, brought it into our yard, lifted the walls into place, bam-bam-bam, put it all together again. I looked at it and said, “We could do that for other people!” So, literally, for the next eight years I sat at my desk toiling as a government auditor and I could not get that thought out of my head, or my heart. I’d go to work, come home with a headache, and go out to my little garden shed and just go, “Ahhhh…” The stress would just fall away. I kept thinking to myself, “I know that we can do this as a business, build these sheds.” So, finally at 48 years old I did it. I still worked full-time, my husband and I did this on nights and weekends after the kids were grown. I always say that we were born in a barn because we started in my twin sister’s barn and just started building the sheds one at a time. So, a year later, at 49, I told my husband, “I can’t keep doing this government job. I’m wilting on the vine.” We just tightened our belts and took that leap of faith. Everyone I worked with thought I was insane. I was one year away from being able to retire. But, I just couldn’t do it another minute. I had to follow my passion.

Wow, that was gutsy. Let’s talk some more about your childhood years. Okay, I remember I had a class in junior high school where they had us build a model of a home. That’s where I learned that studs are 16 inches on center and how bracing works, and I learned a lot of stuff about building and I liked it; but, I didn’t really do anything with it beyond that. I’ve always had a love of real estate, for whatever reason, because there’s finance, the numbers part of it, because I’m a numbers person. I’ve always worked hard because I didn’t come from a lot of money. I shined shoes, collected aluminum cans, babysat, cleaned houses, packed Tupperware, I mean, you name it. From 16 on, I had a job. I put myself through college. So, I’ve always had this, definitely a work ethic, if you will. I’ve always had a desire to succeed. Being my own boss, I love that. And I love managing people. I didn’t like it so much when I was working for the government because I wasn’t in charge of hiring people so much, but now my crew is amazing. They make it easy. Really, it’s just working with people and understanding that we’re all different. We all have different strengths and different opportunities for growth. Now, I love being an entrepreneur and we keep coming up with new ideas.

Such as? Right now, we’re working on a shipping model where we would put everything together, all the components, into a kit and ship it off for people to assemble themselves. I talked to the guy over at the hot tub place and asked him if we could have his pallets, which he was happy to give me because he would have thrown them away otherwise. We’ve sort of modified those pallets a bit, beefed them up, where we can >>

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package all of the shed components along with the instructions and ship them pretty much anywhere. We’ve tested it with forklifts putting it onto a truck. We’re 80% of the way there, we just need to get the engineering signed off and stamped. I’d say we’re about 60% of the way there with the completion of the instructions that will go along with the package. That’s been our whole idea from the beginning, to build these as kits. Maybe have some pre-fab walls here, we’re not quite there yet because we don’t have the space to store them, but we’re moving in that direction. We can also custom design, too, and palletize it and ship it out. I mean, when you think about it, that will allow us to ship these sheds all over the world. As long as it can be put on that pallet and lifted onto a truck with a forklift, it can go anywhere.

Let’s get back to when you got started. Tell us about that first year in business. Once we moved over here, I have a friend whose husband is a contractor and he helped me get my systems and processes in place. At first it was just me, but now I’ve got three full-time guys, and another two or three part-time employees, a marketing assistant; I had to hire her to keep up with the design work. A lot of this comes from the whole she-shed phenomenon. When I started my business in 2012, The Wall Street Journal put out an article with a headline that read: “Backyard

New Woman Cave.” When I saw that, I said, “Yes!” I just felt like it was finally our time, women’s time, to have a space. Women were saying, “Hey, it’s our turn!” But, along the way, I realized that we are doing more than just building sheds. We’re building these sacred spaces that help people grow or heal, whether they are a creative space as an art studio—we do a lot of art studios—or meditative retreat, or to grow plants, which is also, I think, another form of meditation and stress relief. And, so, it just started building, the momentum; I just started really listening to my clients and they were the ones that told me what they wanted these spaces for. Each one is unique because of the reclaimed products we use and I often bring the clients in on the design process. It’s really fun.

What was the next big milestone for you? So, two years later, the tenant next door, Don Seawater, who owned the lumber mill, came to me and said, “Okay, I’m ready to retire. You should buy my business.” I didn’t really give it any serious thought, but I casually mentioned it to Sean. He didn’t say much about it, then a few days later he said to me, “I can’t get it out of my mind.” He has said for years that he’s wanted to do a business together. He said, “We could do our businesses together; it would be amazing.” So, I’m like, “Uhhhh...” It was one thing for me to take my leap of faith

Greenhouses: The
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because we still had his paycheck, but now to do it again for a second time with zero safety net, I just thought, “How are we going to do this?” But, we just kept thinking about it and talking about it. Somehow it was just meant to be. Don came back to us again and said, “I just really want you guys to have this.” And, so we did. Sean quit his job—he had been a software engineer for the past 24 years—and we were all-in.

So, they are two totally separate businesses that happen to be next to one another? That’s correct, but they’re very complimentary businesses, both sustainably-minded. Urban forested lumber is incredibly sustainablyminded because it is a form of carbon sequestering. You are taking these trees that have fallen down around the county—we had a lot of stormdowned trees this last winter because of all the rain we had—instead of them getting chipped up or burned, which releases their carbon into the atmosphere, when you mill them into a tangible product the carbon is trapped, contained in there. Sean likes to joke that I’m his best customer, but also the most demanding. We get really creative with reclaimed materials. I mean, the stuff is amazing; and half the time they get thrown out. It’s a fun challenge to figure out how to repurpose this stuff, like turning old doors sideways and laying them flat to create a bar top or work bench. We use wine barrels in all sorts of different ways.

Did you guys ever dream that this would become your reality? It’s

interesting, because what Sean and I did in what I call our prior lives, the first half if we live to one hundred, brought us to a point where we can really grow these businesses. He’s got that engineering background and the construction experience and I’ve got the finance and accounting, so we bring these unique skills together to what I call a boutique construction company, which is what I have, and he has a boutique lumber mill, small scale. But, the main thing is that we wanted to do something more meaningful, and connect with people in a more meaningful way. And, we do—each and every day. It’s amazing. I mean, before I met with you today, I had a meeting with some clients who were heading out of town on vacation and I don’t even have a complete design and quote for them and they said, “Here, let me write you a check.” They believe in what we do, they want what we do. It’s meaningful. It’s meaningful to them, that connection. It’s about the relationships. It’s not about the business side of it. That’s the hardest part of it, we work so closely with our clients and once we complete the project and install their shed, I feel like, “Ah, I’m going to miss them.”

Tell us more about the she-sheds. I don’t know, I just feel that there is a good energy to them because they are being good stewards of the earth, because the materials that go into them are being kept out of landfills and given a new life. It’s just like if any of us were given a new life. I really don’t know what it is, but people walk into them and you can see their

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eyes get big. It’s different, it’s unusual, it’s artistic. I believe it’s the energy that is brought to it, that goes into it. They’re sacred spaces, they really are. I had a client, her husband had passed away, and for years they had been saving materials. He was going to build her a teahouse. I went out to her house and looked at what she had, there was some lumber, and old door, some pieces of copper; I gathered it together and we built the structure. She sent me a text that night, the first night after we installed it, and said that she was out there and she felt—I have goose bumps thinking about it—she felt her husband’s energy, his spirit, and she just started crying, and she was able to really just kind of release and just feel his presence.

Wow. There’s something about them, I don’t know what it is. They’re healing spaces for sure. I can’t quite explain it, but we hear these sorts of stories from clients all the time. With me, I remember one day in particular, I had a bad day at work and Sean and I just started bickering, so I stomped outside to my shed, still had on my suit and heels, and I started breathing in the potting soil, nipping the deadheads off flowers and stuff. I was out there about ten minutes then I came back in. He said, “Were you in your greenhouse?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “What were you doing?” I said, “Well, it was either go in there or rip your head off!” We both laughed so hard and the argument was over. I don’t know what it is. They’re places to de-stress and relax. When I’m out there, I’m not thinking, “Oh, change the laundry load.” Or, do this or do that. It’s just kind of in a peaceful place.

So, what does the future hold? You know, Sean and I have a vision—we want to build small home communities. Not necessarily tiny homes on trailers, but small footprints, 400, or 800, or 1,200 square feet. We want to build these communities so they each have their own garden plot. They may be smaller homes, but they have this garden area where they can go. We want them to be as sustainable as possible, and include solar, maybe a greywater system. We want to build them as low-to-no-VOC [volatile organic compound] as possible. Keep them natural, keep the chemical load down. We’re so over exposed to chemicals in this world; it’s terrible. That’s another thing we’re passionate about: organic farming and gardening. So, I’d like to incorporate that element, as well. They will have a community room and a common space area. I could see where they could be done as a do-it-yourself kit where the homeowner could potentially build their own house themselves. I have a client locally who has some acreage who is very interested in the concept, and Sean has a client who is interested, too, so we’ll see. There’s the whole affordable housing issue here, where we don’t have affordable housing. This might be a way to do that. It’s just: How much would it cost to build? And the way we build is not as cost-effective as the large lumber mills who have economies of scale and our lumber is not rated Doug Fir, but we’d probably still frame the basic structure with that and then use our urban forested lumber, basically fallen trees from around town, for siding and stuff like that. So, we’d still have a sustainable part to it. We’ll see. I just go with the flow—whatever the universe says.

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Not all Shoot the Mariner shows teeter on the edge of safety, but by all accounts they are fun. And, they’re loud. In fact, when the band hosted their album release party at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe in September of 2015,

local police officers showed up because of the noise. “They let us finish one more song and then shut us down,” says guitarist Liam Hedriana.

Hedriana met bassist Matt Hahn in a music theory class at Cal Poly in 2011, and shortly thereafter the two became roommates and started playing music together. Hahn says in those days their “sound was always mellow, like coffee shop indie pop music.”

Dingman entered the mix two years later and demanded that they start a new band. He explains, “I was very excited about the sound we were generating.”

At that time, the band wore wigs and played house shows with Dan Harrington and Dingman switching back and forth between drums and lead vocals.

Harrington moved to Seattle in the summer of 2014, and Hedriana took off to Guatemala. For a minute, the guys thought the band was done.

Cue current drummer Dan Potts. Potts began his first year at Cal Poly that fall. He explains, “I was in five different bands simultaneously during high school, and I met [college radio station] KCPR people, so I applied for a DJ position as soon as I started at Poly. Daryl trained me at the station, and I started rehearsing with the band five weeks later.”

With Potts on drums, Dingman made a permanent move to front Shoot the Mariner, and the band focused on songwriting. In May of 2015, they recorded the six-song “Undergrounds” at San Luis Obispo’s Speak Studios with Eric Mattson from the local hip hop/funk band Wordsauce, and since then they have released three additional recordings, one of which was captured on an iPhone.

Shoot the Mariner has been performing around San Luis Obispo for almost three years now and describes it as a great music town. Hedriana says, “Only a handful of places exist where you can still do the DIY music thing,

and SLO is one of them. The scene is small and tightknit, and it’s a wonderful place to grow into your sound.” Dingman adds, “SLO has this homey vibe that reminds me of the Midwest, and the music that we play is notorious for having come out of that region—very polite places that generate aggressive sounds.”

When Shoot the Mariner performed at the Lost State Records Showcase at Frog and Peach in February of 2016, their sound caught the ear of Central Coast musician Patrick Hayes, who the band credits for their success. Hedriana says, “We’re a dark horse type of band, and for a while it seemed like we didn’t get invited to gigs because we’re on the punkier side of things, but after hearing us perform, Pat reviewed us for [the music website] It was the first time anyone wrote anything about us, and it felt really good.”

Hedriana now resides in the Bay Area, and the band finds creative ways to make it work. “We can’t really practice, but our chemistry makes up for the limitations resultant of the distance,” says Hedriana. “Every time I come to SLO, we try to hammer out new ideas.” Hahn adds, “Dingman writes a skeleton of a song and teaches it to Dan and me, and then Liam chimes in and puts his stamp on it when he gets to town.”

On the heels of their second California tour, Shoot the Mariner’s current focus is on recording another album. Hedriana says, “We learned a lot on tour: played empty rooms, found out what works and what doesn’t work.” Hahn adds, “Our plan for the rest of the year is to write more songs and compile what we can. Then, we’re going back into the studio in December to record a full-length album.” “We’re aiming for an album release next year,” Potts finishes the thought.

Hedriana says most recently, the band’s songs have somewhat shifted into “prog” territory—“progressive in that the songs are more linear and less formulaic.” He adds, “Daryl’s voice has the growl of [Modest Mouse’s] Isaac Brock, and the instrumentation is all over the map.” Dingman continues, “The idea behind our songwriting is that the songs will feed themselves. The more linear and egalitarian they are, the better they sound.”

Like the lyrical ballad to which their band name alludes, Shoot the Mariner’s linear sound weaves together personal experience and dramatic narrative. “A

lot of our songs are like a grand human quest,” says Dingman. For him, the band’s sound is representative of the existential angst Coleridge conveys in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

In the poem, a mariner is cursed after senselessly shooting an albatross and finds peace only after telling his tale. Dingman, Hedriana, Hahn, and Potts see the mariner as symbolizing all of us. Dingman explains, “The mariner is a traveler who does what humans are supposed to do—believe in themselves, forge forward, defy all odds, and sail to the ends of the earth. Shooting the mariner would be tragic, but that’s exactly what occurs within the trappings of society: the most innate parts of our beings risk annihilation, and we’ve got to work against that.”

DAWN JANKE, Director, University Writing & Rhetoric Center Cal Poly, keeps her pulse on the Central Coast music scene. Local quartet Shoot the Mariner once performed live atop Cuesta Ridge under a canopy in a giant rainstorm. As frontman Daryl Dingman describes it, “The concert was extremely dangerous, but great fun.”




Not long after his forty-fifth birthday, Terry Herrick had a disconcerting thought—he may be digging his own grave. His employer, which manufactured plastic pipe

valves and fittings, was asking him to hire a steady stream of young, fresh-out-of-school eager beavers. To Herrick, who wasn’t getting any younger, it dawned on him that one slip up, “getting sideways,” as he put it, with upper management would have been the end of the line. It just did not seem like a fair trade-off, especially when he thought about it while inching along with a half-million other idling commuters in Los Angeles morning traffic. So, he did something about it.

Franchising seemed like an interesting idea, so he started calling around. The people at Jack in the Box seemed like nice folks and were willing to roll the dice on a newbie restaurateur, so it wasn’t long before Herrick was flipping burgers at his very own location in Agoura Hills. Over time, he got the hang of things and decided to acquire another restaurant, then another, then another. He just kept going and going. After 34 years in the business, Herrick owned seven Jack in the Box’s— or do you say that “Jacks in the Box?”—plus, along with a partner, another 58 restaurants.

As time passed, Terry brought his son into the family business, teaching him the ropes and helping him cut his teeth as a manager at the various locations. After the 14-year mentorship, father was bought out by son, and it was time to slow things down. In 2008, along with his wife, Annie, the couple headed north to plant roots in Shell Beach. They found a great little house that was just nine blocks from the water and the pair moved in permanently a year later. Things were great, so quiet and nearly traffic-free, but they did wish they had set up shop a little closer to the water than they had. One day they passed by a little falling down bungalow not quite a half block from the ocean cliffs when they turned to each other and said, “Let’s do it.” >>


That old house was razed and the lot was flattened in preparation for what they expected to be their forever home, an open, airy, welcoming Cape Codstyle house, just as Annie had been dreaming about for years. So, with the vision in mind, the couple called Mark Sullivan Fine Custom Homes, who then referred him to Arroyo Grande-based architect David Einung. With the team in place, they got to work in turning the vision into reality. The whole process, as the Herricks report, was remarkably “smooth and drama-free.”

Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of the home is the fact that it has two separate master suites: a “His” and a “Hers.” Because, as Herrick explains matter-of-factly, “Well, you just sleep better that way.” The ground floor suite belongs to Annie, and the upstairs version goes to Terry. Someday, if needed, an elevator stands at the ready. But, as of now, 80-year-old Terry, who loves to golf, and his 76-year-old wife show no signs of slowing down any time soon, especially since moving into their

new place a little more than a year ago.

Views abound from just about every vantage point. The home was designed with one priority: Shell Beach sunsets. The decks, balconies, and windows are all placed in such a way to take in the nightly

show as the big orange ball of fire dunks itself far off into the Pacific. The ambient light becomes softer and the palette overhead looks like something Van Gogh would have been proud to call his own. It took a whole lot of Jumbo Jacks to get to this point, but to Terry and Annie Herrick, taking in those sunsets make it all feel worthwhile.

TREVOR POVAH is an architectural photographer here on the Central Coast. SLO LIFE
More of what you want for your home!


In this ongoing feature, SLO LIFE Magazine is proud to partner with the American Institute of Architects California Central Coast to unveil its current project winners and highlight our local design and engineering talent. Each month, the organization reviews submissions and selects the top Central Coast projects. Below are two recent installments to this series.

+August Project Recognition

Diablo Residence, San Luis Obispo

Architect Andrew Goodwin Designs

Structural Engineer MKSE

Energy Consultant In Balance Green Consulting

Civil Engineer Roberts Engineering

Contractor KGM Construction

Photographer Ron Bez Photography

The Diablo Residence is a recently completed 3-bedroom, 2-bath home sitting on about an acre of land in the Emerald Hills Estates just outside of the City of San Luis Obispo. Designed to reflect the owner’s love of modern homes and craftsman furnishings, this 3,000-square-foot home boast an open floor plan and gorgeous views of the Irish Hills Natural Reserve. The constant communication between the occupants of the home and nature through sliding glass doors and strategically placed picture windows really makes this home a contemporary gem.

The owners of the Diablo Residence spent many years of their marriage living abroad in Europe. They approached architect Andrew Goodwin expressing that their home not only had to have the clean and simple lines of the homes they had in Europe, but also had to be a new canvas for the many pieces of furniture and lighting fixtures they had collected over the years. “Century-old chairs had to sit in peaceful agreement with contemporary lighting fixtures of the past decade without the home feeling like a museum,” commented Goodwin on how important planning for their interior was from the beginning.

Among the artwork, furniture, and fixtures also resides a very sustainable home. The client desired their home to perform well from an energy efficiency standpoint. The Diablo Residence was designed to implement solar electric, solar thermal, radiant floor heating, and passive cooling techniques. The home is oriented to capture the sun from the south, and also to deflect the strong Los Osos Valley winds to create a calm courtyard off the living room. Large north facing clerestory windows bring in soft natural light, and are also operable to vent the living spaces during warm days. The hope is that the owners of the Diablo Residence could take the home off the grid in the future if the need or opportunity should arise.


About the AIA CCC

The American Institute of Architects has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1957. The local California Central Coast division works in collaboration with SLO LIFE Magazine to showcase its monthly award-winning projects demonstrating notable concepts that have been constructed after being designed by local architects.

September Project Recognition

Perched above the iconic SLO Brew Restaurant and Brew Pub in San Luis Obispo, SLO Brew Lofts are part of the newest mixed-use redevelopment efforts in the city’s urban center. Located within the historic Carissa Building, these beautiful lofts are designed with a modern urban aesthetic, as well as a sense of comfort and sophistication. With incredible views of the surrounding hills and picturesque San Luis Obispo Creek, these units offer their residents and guests immediate access to dozens of restaurants, shops, and galleries, providing a secluded residential experience while still being in the middle of all the downtown action.

SLO Brew Lofts Architect garcia architecture + design Interiors Celadon House Builder Robbins Reed SLO LIFE
AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59 Monica King of San Luis Realty helped us sell our old home and buy a new one both within 30 days! She’s a true professional and a joy a deal with. We couldn’t have done it without her. Having bought many homes, we’ve never had a better experience.
McConaghy and Michelle Gaudette SAN LUIS OBISPO REALTY 805-544-9161 WWW.SANLUISOBISPO-HOMES.COM 441 MARSH STREET, SAN LUIS OBISPO “ ” The team at SAN LUIS OBISPO REALTY makes dreams come true!



laguna lake

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 37 $678,040 $668,874 98.65% 33

tank farm

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 24 $730,804 $725,154 99.23% 42

cal poly area

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 20 $747,945 $740,673 99.03% 17

2017 35 $703,123 $691,649 98.37% 24

+/-5.41% 3.70% 3.40% -0.28% -27.27%

2017 14 $780,699 $773,493 99.08% 23

+/-41.67% 6.83% 6.67% -0.15% -45.24%

2017 23 $754,261 $742,887 98.49% 36

+/15.00% 0.84% 0.30% -0.54% 111.76%

country club

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 13 $1,327,231 $1,281,269 96.07% 73

down town

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 41 $707,500 $697,495 98.59% 27

foothill blvd

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2016 20 $747,535 $734,800 98.51% 37

2017 7 $1,097,414 $1,066,350 98.07% 48

+/-46.15% -17.32% -16.77% 2.00% -34.25%

2017 49 $718,869 $710,901 98.89% 54

+/19.51% 1.61% 1.92% 0.30% 100.00%

2017 29 $739,983 $728,205 98.57% 26

johnson ave *Comparing


+/45.00% -1.01% -0.90% 0.06% -29.73%

2016 38 $772,022 $757,489 98.61% 49

2017 39 $745,297 $747,322 98.90% 29

+/2.63% -3.46% -1.34% 0.29% -40.82% -

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS®

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market
07/20/16 to 01/01/17 - 07/20/17
| SLO COUNTY SLO LIFE Arroyo Grande Atascadero Avila Beach Cambria/San Simeon Cayucos Creston Grover Beach Los Osos Morro Bay Nipomo Oceano Pismo
Templeton Countywide BY THE NUMBERS 2016 183 177 12
133 21 69 278 20 63 28 249 10 64 1,659 2017 159 220 7 80 31 9 106 70 74 125 28 69 271 32 59 32 203 12 68 1,622 REGION NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD 2016 48 47 114 112 105 130 36 51 59 43 41 74 45 58 92 84 41 59 97 54 2017 61 59 118 82 108 104 46 29 64 56 51 47 43 53 94 68 37 42 72 55 AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET 2016 $664,546
MEDIAN SELLING PRICE SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ® *Comparing 01/01/16 - 07/20/16 to 01/01/17 - 07/20/17 REAL ESTATE 111 South St SLO 805 543 9900 Wine Closet Conversion! Treat Yourself for 2017! Conver t your unused storage space into your private wine collection
(Inside City Limits)
(North 46 - East 101)
(North 46 - West 101)
(South 46 - East 101)
Luis Obispo
5 93
$486,426 $1,103,125 $684,752 $1,121,553 $1,036,200 $481,678 $598,447 $638,549 $593,070 $410,757 $968,539 $445,829 $424,173 $536,058 $551,850 $737,896 $262,950 $725,081 $596,386
$762,874 $539,676 $1,039,143 $668,456 $1,141,258 $850,111 $524,986 $582,484 $678,031 $616,887 $443,350 $1,096,237 $476,508 $474,839 $487,436 $698,092 $753,446 $364,917 $723,751 $632,423
AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63 INVESTMENTS | INSURANCE | FINANCIAL PLANNING | RETIREMENT PLAN CONSULTING Erika D. Bylund, CRPS® | Vice President Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Point Sur Wealth Management, Inc. is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. CA Insurance License 0I12781. 524 EAST BRANCH STREET, ARROYO GRANDE (805) 574-1620 | ERIKA@POINTSURWEALTH.COM Customized financial strategies and planning for individuals and businesses Christopher Cooke (805) 206-8529 CalBRE #01953565 Aaron Anderson (805) 550-7074 CalBRE # 01408502 Leah Cowley (805) 235-5195 CalBRE # 01497156 Rock View Realty® . 146 North Ocean Avenue . Cayucos


Will Compton

Brains and brawn are in abundance for this San Luis Obispo High School senior who is looking forward to turning the page to the next chapter.

What recognition have you received? I was recently appointed as a SLOHS representative on the Superintendent’s Student Senate, a group of students who work with Dr. Prater and other SLCUSD staff to cultivate a better and more accepting learning environment across all campuses in the district. I have received multiple Golden Tiger academic recognition awards, including a Class of 2018 Academic Top 10 award. I won 3rd Place this year at the state level in Skills USA, where I competed in Technical Design (a Computer Aided Drafting Competition). I was appointed the lead speaker in both the Alice and Atlas MasterClasses through Cal Poly in conjunction with the LHC [Large Hadron Collider], located at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. I have also received all-league and allcounty recognition while playing basketball and baseball for SLOHS.

What are your hobbies? Outside of athletics, my main interests are physics, engineering, and programming. My experiences in AP Physics and the LHC Club this year have furthered my interest in both physics and engineering. Similarly, taking Programming 1 as a freshman, sparked my desire to learn a variety of programming languages.

What is your favorite memory of all time? When I was twelve, I attended a week-long live-in baseball tournament in Cooperstown, New York, where our team competed against 103 teams from across North America. This event was the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication. The friendships formed during this process will last a lifetime.

What has influenced you the most? It’s very difficult to narrow this down, as I have been influenced immensely by many people at different stages in my life. Currently, to name two people who influence me the most, I would say my father and my basketball coach. My dad has taught me, through his own actions the importance of balancing various aspects of life, such as family, work, volunteerism, play, and friends. Coach Brandow has been instrumental in my development as a young man. His impact on my life goes far beyond athletics; he has given me a unique opportunity to grow as a leader. Additionally, he has inspired me to work harder than I ever have before in my life, and I look forward to experiencing the results next year.

If you won $1 million, what would you do with it? Interestingly, I’ve had a plan for a long time as to what to do with sudden monetary winnings, taught to me by my dad’s boss. After taxes, I take 10% of the winnings and donate it to charity. I would choose the Cancer Research Foundation, in memory of my grandfather who passed away from cancer recently. Next, I would take another 10% to spend. Right now, I would probably elect to purchase a new computer. Finally, the remaining 80% of the money would be invested. Once a year, you repeat the same process—10% to charity, and a maximum of 10% for yourself. This method helps balance financial responsibility, generosity, and self-interest.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I would like to end up living in the Silicon Valley as I settle into a career in engineering, not only because this area houses the majority of the jobs which align with my interests, but also because I can’t imagine living outside of California. I love the Bay Area, and support both the Giants and Warriors, so this location would suit me very well.

What is something few people know about you? Something most people don’t realize about me is how much time I spend with my brother. Whether it is wiffle-ball, golf, or laser-tag, we do a lot of fun stuff together, especially on weekends.

What are your plans for college? I am considering several schools with excellent engineering programs, including Stanford, MIT, California Institute of Technology, Cornell, Harvey Mudd, and Cal Poly.

Know a student On the Rise?

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AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65 Your Local College Planner! Helping Students Plan & Prepare for College Offering PSAT, SAT, ACT test prep, student positioning, career planning, and guidance throughout the entire application process. Call Today for Your Free Consultation Local, Ethical & Accountable 805.440.4178 | ™ Not only is Dr. Daniel’s office located conveniently close to San Luis Obispo High School, there’s no better place to get your perfect smile! Specializing in Smiles Dr. Daniel Orthodontics 1356 Marsh Street . San Luis Obispo (805) 543-3105 . PRIMARY CARE PARTNERS SLO WELCOMING NEW PATIENTS Our mission is simple: to provide quality, compassionate primary care services, in a welcoming, collaborative, efficient and friendly office. Schedule your appointment today! 84 Santa Rosa Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 805.591.4PCP(4727) Dr. Andrea Angelucci, DO l Suzy Bakke, PA-C l Dr. Lisa deFirmian, MD, FAAFP l Heather Willis, PA-C


Summertime is my favorite season. And what’s not to love? It’s all about relaxation, sunshine, excitement, and late nights.


Ready to play?

Marina at Lake Nacimiento (800) 323-3839 rents ski boats, pontoons, stand up paddle boards, and more for full days and half days.

The Manse on Marsh

While I grew up anticipating new experiences of travel and adventure during summers, my husband has always associated the season with life at Lake Nacimiento. Growing up in Salinas, one of five boys, his family spent thirteen summers on the lake boating and enjoying water sports. So, it was inevitable that we would be spending our summers on the lake.

San Luis Obispo is such an amazing mecca of local outdoor adventure that it’s easy to forget we have some great lakes just 45 minutes away. North County is home to our favorite, Nacimiento, a beautiful body of water shaped like a dragon when full. If ever there were a year for lake days, it’s this summer. Nacimiento is unusually full and beautiful.

A lake day at the Hughes Household is a serious event. We wake up early and drive north to get the pristine glassy water from 7am - 9am. From there we pick up more friends on the dock and embark on social time on the boat with food and drink, tubing, water sports and floating in the “narrows” (thin waterways with waterfalls that look like fingers off the main lake). It’s a day of extremes: hot temperatures, cool water, lounging on the boat, exerting energy on the wakeboard, quiet moments to take in the scenery, and time to laugh with your friends.

One of the deterrents to a lake day is that if you don’t own a boat you tend to wait around for an invitation and miss out. The marina has boat rentals and no license is required to drive one for the day. However, if you are not interested in driving a boat or paying the pricey rental rates, you may want to check out a local start-up company called Adventure Aide which provides access to local boat adventures. Many

friends of ours use the Adventure Aide app to book with local boat owners. They can join a pre-arranged adventure or request an excursion just for their friends or to get lessons in the water sport of their choice. It’s a great way to experience the lake without having to invest in a boat or rent one on your own.

A fresh water experience is just around the corner, with hot summer nights, refreshing water, and an opportunity to relax with good friends. If you have the chance to get up to Lake Nacimento this summer, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Live the full, uplifting lifestyle you desire – rich in services, amenities and possibilities you deserve – at The Manse on Marsh. We offer a range of lifestyle options, including independent living, assisted living, short-term stays and palliative care.

With a variety of accommodations, here you will find choice, freedom and opportunity. We invite you to attend our June events and experience senior living within reach. Without limitations.

Open House Tour of Models Thursday, June 15 • 3 p.m.

Wine & cheese will be served.

Downsize Your Home, Upsize Your Lifestyle Thursday, June 29 • 3 p.m.

Presented by Joann Peters Light appetizers and cocktails will be served.

Call to RSVP at least two days prior to event. 805-225-9360

Adventure Aide is an app that allows you to book excursions and get a local guide for your trip. 475 Marsh Street • San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

PADEN HUGHES is co-owner of Gymnazo and enjoys exploring the Central Coast.
Living Within Reach. Without Limitations. Rates Starting at $2,950!
CA License # 405800545
Simply Abundant Living

6 Things to Love about MSM

You know that rotten egg smell that starts to pop up on Avila Beach Drive, just after exiting the highway? Well, you may not know it yet, but that stuff may hold the key to your good health. That stuff, of course, is sulfur and it is one of the most vital nutrients our bodies require; yet it is glaringly absent in modern-day diets. Fortunately, there is a solution: MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).

We recently caught wind of a ridiculously vibrant 97-year-old great grandmother, who swears by the stuff. She takes two teaspoons a day and calls MSM her “fountain of youth.” Figuring it would be fun to experiment on ourselves, we gave it a 30-day trial… and the results have been impressive. Now, we’re not scientists, and we’re not doctors, but you may want to look into it for yourself. There is a lot to love about MSM, but our research honed in on six highlights.

No. 1


Doctors are beginning to reach a consensus on the idea that almost all disease comes from one source: inflammation. In fact, some go so far to say that diseases, at least autoimmune disorders, are merely outward manifestations of the core issue, which is an immune system in hyperdrive, which is another way to describe inflammation . MSM is a critical component in the chemical pathways allowing our bodies to remove waste from our cells. This metabolic process has a side benefit, which is weight loss.


Who doesn’t want better, stronger, healthier hair, and nails? MSM is also known as a “beauty mineral” that enables our bodies to produce collagen and keratin the way that we are supposed to create it, naturally. There is also some data suggesting that MSM teams up with Vitamin C somehow to build new, healthy tissues. After just a couple of weeks of consistent use, you should notice a difference. We sure did!



With all those pesky toxins on their way out, your body has more time to deal with other things like digestion. It may sound elementary, but optimal digestion leads to optimal energy as more nutrients are extracted and absorbed, which, of course, is how we get our energy. Did you know that the simple act of digesting our food takes 70 to 80% of our overall energy reserves? Naturally, if our bodies are forced to fight off inflammation instead of processing the lunch we just ate, then less resources are available and less of the food is broken down fully, which leads to what we commonly refer to as “poor digestion.”

No. 3 No. 5


One of the key things that MSM does—and this, of course, is greatly simplified—is to make your cells more permeable, which allows toxins and waste to leave and water and other essential nutrients to move in. Further, it dissolves calcium phosphate, the bad calcium that is often found at the root of many degenerative diseases.


Many of us jokingly call San Luis Obispo the “Allergy Capital of the World,” but it is no laughing matter when those old familiar symptoms appear. We know of someone, a regular allergy sufferer, here that took MSM this year and noted only traces of his usual sniffles this season. And, he wasn’t just imagining it. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects who took 2,600-mg of MSM found, too, that their symptoms abated significantly after just seven days of use.


No. 6


This one was a shock for us, as we noticed a distinct lack of the usual soreness the day after a workout when taking MSM. Research seems to point to cell permeability, which we have already talked about, but also something decidedly less scientific: tissue “juiciness.” That’s right, when all the post-workout hydration makes its way into the fatigued muscles, they are able to retain their naturally, vibrant suppleness. But, don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself. Give it a week or two before you look for any difference.


The brand that kept coming up in our research was OptiMSM, which is derived from a natural source. It comes in a little one-pound tub of course flakes that dissolve in water. Apparently, it is best whe n taken with a little bit of Vitamin C, such as a dash of lemon juice. Start with one teaspoon and work your way up to two or three a day. Go slowly in the beginning, otherwise you will be spending a lot of time in the restroom. Fair warning: MSM tastes terrible, similar to untreated well water, which is often sulfur-rich. But, if you dilute it down and take it with some juice you won’t notice it much. Or, if you’re not up for conquering the flavor, try it in capsule form. Stick with it for a month and let us know if you feel any difference. SLO LIFE

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make us care. These are two different things. It’s the difference between an annoying car alarm and someone yelling, “Hey, he’s trying to steal my car!”

So show us the stakes of your story. Let’s say you’re a nonprofit trying to protect a piece of land. It’s important to tell us the benefits of open space, but also let us know what will happen if you are unsuccessful in your efforts. The more urgent the stakes, the more likely we are to engage.

Then he started to share some background stories of athletes—how Michael Jordan had been cut from his high school basketball team before rising to greatness, or how Greg LeMond nearly died in a hunting accident only to recover and win the Tour de France again.

Slowly, Martha came around. She started to join Alex for a few sports viewing sessions. Then she used the same tactic to convince him to start watching Project Runway. Touché.

At home or at work, at school or in the community, we are far more likely to be moved by a good story than by any other approach. Here are a few suggestions to strengthen your storytelling.

Conflict is the engine that fuels all stories. In its simplest terms, a story is conflict resolution. We can’t have resolution unless we have a conflict. It’s what engages us and forces us to read on. Without conflict, our brains tune out. If your story doesn’t have a conflict, you don’t have a story.

Don’t worry if you think your story lacks a major struggle. The storytelling definition of conflict isn’t limited to big fights or loud arguments. A conflict can be simple, like a desire to eat a healthy meal or an effort to sell a product that meets a need. A conflict can be internal, like a quest to fulfill a dream or a yearning to end a bad habit.

To me, storytelling is getting rid of the B.S. It’s finding that emotional connection between storyteller and listener. If you can’t relate to your subject matter on a personal level, neither

My friend Martha hated sports. She refused to watch them on TV, much to the frustration of her husband Alex, a sports addict. He pled with her, tried to persuade her with logic, even offered her bribes of cash and fancy dinners. She tuned it all out. can we. So get personal with your storytelling. Embrace the full range of human emotions.

This includes failures and setbacks. Ben and Jerry’s created something they call a “Flavor Graveyard” at its Vermont headquarters, complete with tombs that mark the death of such failed products as “Rainforest Crunch,” “Tennessee Mud” (made with Jack Daniels), and the Saturday Night Liveinspired “Schweddy Balls.” The graveyard attracts 300,000 visitors a year.

We love failures, but not because we are cruel. We love failures because we are human. We can relate. We have failed too. Everybody fails. We want to see how you handle it.

Your story should not only grab our attention, it should

Good stories have both surface action as well as an emotional underpinning, what’s really going on. We are interested in the surface action, but we crave the deeper meaning. Tell us your story the way you’d tell it to your closest friend over a glass of wine.

Every story needs a protagonist, a champion. I’m not talking about Superman. Far from it. Think about your favorite leading characters in books or movies. I’m guessing that most of them, while admirable, have a few flaws. Great. Those shortcomings make us like them, and their stories, more.

Protagonists don’t have to be perfect. They do need to be credible. And engaging. They are our guides through your stories. We need to believe they are leading us in the right direction. They need to pique our interest enough that we will follow along.

After you’ve established a conflict, set the stakes, and given us a compelling hero to follow, we are ready to journey with you to the heart of your story—the rising action. We know the challenge. Now we want to see how your protagonist overcomes it.

Your hero doesn’t need to achieve every goal during this part of the story. Often, it’s a two-step-forward, one-step-back series of events. We don’t mind your hero falling down… as long as he or she gets right back up.

That’s because we care far more about effort than outcome. I love characters like Charlie Chaplin or Wall-E because they never give up. I also applaud companies and brands that focus on endeavor over result. Nike doesn’t tell us “Just Win.” It tells us “Just Do It.”

Make sure the action is easy to follow throughout your story. This means investing sufficient time to craft, edit, and think about your story. As Maya Angelou said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Finally, your story needs a resolution. Make sure it’s at the end. One of the most common storytelling errors I see is the early conclusion. The minute you let us know everything is going to be fine, we lose interest in your story. We don’t need to worry about it anymore. Keep us engaged by saving the resolution for the end of your tale. SLO LIFE

FRANZ WISNER is the founder of The Bestsellers Group, which provides brands and individuals with storytelling assistance from bestselling authors.
AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75 805.927.0374 LIC # 767033 EST. 1999


Every year, Leadership SLO, the San Luis Obispo-based non-profit, brings together a diverse class of 36 people from around the county to join together in a ten-month program crafted to further integrate its graduates into their respective communities.

Following a weekend retreat, the classmates spend one day per month as a group learning about a variety of topics spanning from the challenges faced by funding of the local arts scene to the opportunities for expanding organic farming on the Central Coast, and just about everything in between. At the end of their time together, the graduates collaborate on a “legacy project,” something that they do together to make an impact locally. For example, Class 17 participated in construction of the Johnson Ranch Trail, and Class 20 built the sundial at the Botannical Gardens.

As the current class heads into the homestretch of the program’s 26th year, applications are being accepted for the next cohort through the end of September. Beginning with this issue, SLO LIFE Magazine has formed a unique partnership with Leadership SLO, where we will be introducing the individuals who make up the classes each year at this time. Here is our first installment...

I was once a DJ on 91.9FM KCSB, which was a college radio station. I played a mix of ska and punk rock music. My dream is to have happy and healthy family and friends. Of course, winning the lottery wouldn’t hurt either.

I started out in life as a ward of the foster system; then I was adopted. There were some significant barriers to overcome throughout my journey. Now, I have a family of my own, my wife and two kids. Someday, I hope to spend time travelling through Asia.

I studied acting from 7th grade until I was 26. I went to a performing arts high school, majored in theater in college and went to L.A. to be a movie star. When that didn’t seem like what I wanted, I switched to my current profession in technology. It’s nice to not have to beg for work anymore.

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, watching my girls play sports, hiking, going to the beach and traveling. I have a very blessed life. The most amazing thing about my upbringing was that I never watched any of the Star Wars movies (I have since).

I moved to California from the Ural Mountains in Russia as a teenager with my family. I also lived in Germany, where our first two children where born. I want to be able to say that I spent my time with purpose that is meaningful for society, family, and personally— and have fun while doing it.

One summer, I spent a month with my family in Ireland. Little did I know at the time that I would grow up to marry an Irishman. I have a dream of someday finding a way to help kids who have come from troubled homes.

Stephanie Michael Xenia Bradford City of San Luis Obispo Interim Director of Finance Jocelyn Brennan State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham District Director
Architecture Landscape Interiors 805.541.1010 Meet our family

At age 25, I took a class called “One Year to Live” through Hospice SLO, and for one year I re-framed my life as if I only had one year left to live. It changed the course of my relationships, my priorities, and my career. That experience, quite honestly, changed my life.

I am a breast cancer survivor. Because of that experience, I founded and chaired an educational fundraising project through Rotary called “Mums for Mammograms” to promote early detection, routine screenings, and pay for mammograms for local, low-income women.

I became a single dad when my daughter was three years old. I decided that regardless of how unqualified I felt, I would give single parenting my full effort. When she graduated from high school, while accepting an Outstanding Senior award she said, “My dad is my hero!”.

I was a tiny tagalong world traveler with my parents when I was a child, living in Saudi Arabia from ages four to six; we also spent time in different parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Someday I’d like to do more traveling, and maybe sing in some type of lounge show.

I grew up showing horses. I had a single mother with a limited income, so I rode other peoples’ horses. In college, I was unable to continue to ride, so I got into cycling instead and ended up racing road bikes semi-professionally.

About 10 years ago, I traveled to Romania with my dad and sister to find the graves of my great-greatgrandparents. When we finally found them in the Jewish section, we lit a yahrzeit candle, and said a prayer. It was an amazing feeling to discover a piece of my history.

I once thought it was a good idea to go to Guatemala by myself to learn Spanish. I knew none when I started out. It turns out this was a great idea, but not one I would want my own kids to do now! Someday, I hope to have the time and money to wander the world with my husband.

I love to sleep and can never catch up enough. My next love is food, I love to eat and will plan trips around where and what I can eat. I must exercise because I love to eat. For some reason, I’ve retained a lot information about pop culture with absolutely nothing of importance.

LeBren Harris

Hampton Inn & Suites Director of Sales

I grew up in a family who was devoted to track and field. My sister is a two-time Olympian and 1992 Olympic silver medalist. I had a pretty successful track career, too. I competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials and currently hold the Cal Poly and Big West Conference Meet Record in 400 meter hurdles.

Dan Itel

The Tribune Sports Editor

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing and writing about many famous athletes and coaches and big games over my career, but I am more proud of the efforts that went into being a founding board member of a non-profit dog rescue in Portland that saved the lives of hundreds of dogs.

Whitney Gordon U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal Constituent Liaison Ryan Hostetter County of San Luis Obispo Supervising Planner Housing & Economic Development

I would like to do my part to better humanity as a whole in a number of different capacities, primarily through a process of strengthening the mind, spirit, and body. If I could open a safe haven for people to learn traits and skills that could help them assist others, that would be my ultimate goal.

I was raised by an amazing, fun, hard-working single mother. We had a few hard years and lived in a camping trailer with no hot water, no refrigerator, but what stands out the most is how cozy it felt. We made it work and I learned so much about gratitude, hard work, humility, and love from that experience.

My husband and I spent a month traveling around New Zealand in an RV for our honeymoon. We took our mountain bikes with us. The highlight was doing a night backpacking trip near Milford Sound, staying in huts with people from around the world.

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, and living the SLO Life.

Empowerment, emotional intelligence, negotiation, and authenticity are key strengths women possess but do not capitalize on in an attempt to be more like their male counterparts. Embracing our uniqueness is key to achieving success as a woman in leadership today.

When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and, after a year-and-a-half treatment program, I am a cancer survivor. Now, I am living my dream—living in SLO with an amazing family and working at my dream job for San Luis Obispo City Fire.

Someday, my dream is to go on a vacation where I can actually disconnect from work; I want to attain home-ownership; learn to speak a second language adequately; travel to at least two other continents; and, also, reinvent myself one last time.

Nick Quincey County of San Luis Obispo Deputy District Attorney

My first language was Basque. For fun, I like to run, go for a hike, play basketball, read, and spend time with my family and friends. My dream is to continually live a life of service to others.

Being a child of immigrant parents has empowered me with resilience and empathy. Because of my experiences, our family is dedicated toward helping those suffering through our involvement with the homeless, the foster care system, and international social justice projects.

I love to sing, see live music, ski, garden, run, hang out with friends. I’m interested in sustainable agriculture and local food, and hope to continue to work toward growing more of my own food and being self-sustaining in terms of energy, food, and environmental impact.

John MacDonald City of San Luis Obispo Captain, SLO Fire Department Chenin Kelly Kim Amy Sinsheimer Michael Baker International Senior Planner, Housing & Community Development Group

As a 4th grader at Teach Elementary, my parents took me out of school for several months to backpack through Europe. We visited 15+ countries, staying in youth hostels along the way. I’m one of only a few California natives, who missed out on building a mission out of popsicle sticks in school.

I love cooking, eating, and drinking with friends. I also love live music and reading. I do have a party trick—it doesn’t sound that interesting when I explain it, though, so ask me in person. Also, one time, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. My dream is to keep building a wonderful business with my family.

There is nothing uniquely extraordinary about my life, but I feel like we are all on an extraordinary journey that perpetuates itself every day we get out of bed. I believe if you treat people fairly with respect, honesty, and compassion, just as you would family, you will end up with a team that can accomplish anything.

I was a backcountry trail worker in the Sierras for eight years. I lived up to 23 miles from any road for three months at a time. Now, I dream about starting a “volun-tourism” non-profit in Nicaragua that will protect the environment, empower locals, bring awareness to world poverty, and offer both peace and adventure.

Thoma Electric, Inc. Electrical Engineer

At some point in my life I would like to be able to provide a fully funded education for my children and my children’s children. I believe that the pursuit of knowledge is never finished and that self-improvement in many forms is a means to overcome adversity, increase empathy, and create opportunities.

Both my parents are one of seven in their families and I was lucky enough to grow up with all but one of my aunts living in the same city. My mom’s side of the family met every Friday for dinner and my grandparents and my dad’s side met every Sunday morning for brunch.

I tend to shy away from the glamorous things in life since they just don’t seem to interest me. With that said, the greatest personal dream I do have is being able to live long enough to see all of my loved ones achieve true happiness in my lifetime. That’s my North Star.

I love spending time with my family, hiking, running, reading, cooking and baking. Someday, I would like to earn my MBA. Right now, I’m trying to find my way to help others in need and give back in my next phase of life.

After college, I rode my motorcycle 14,000 miles through 37 states over 45 days. Currently, I like beach volleyball, hiking, fly fishing, motorcycling, and cooking. Someday, I hope to pay forward the many kindnesses I received during my childhood from others who had no obligation to offer them. SLO

Rick Uhls
SLO United Methodist Church Pastor
AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83 2121 Santa Barbara Street | San Luis Obispo (805) 544–4700 | More than just ambiance... Take a trip to Pacific Energy and find out how you can make the most of your heat... 770 Capitolio Way . San Luis Obispo 805 549 0100


Plant-Based Cuisine

My brush with vegetarianism began in September of 1994 and ended in November of the same year. (A sandwich made from leftover Thanksgiving turkey, smeared with cranberry sauce, caused my downfall; I remain weak in the face of leftovers sandwiches.) During that short foray into meat-free territory, I’d congratulated myself on consuming bean and cheese burritos, baked Lays potato chips, and fried tofu, with nary a leaf to be seen.

Today I’m a happy omnivore, but I so appreciate the new wave of plant-based dishes and eateries emerging in SLO County. Instead of just excluding meat, these restaurants focus on the inclusion of fruits, vegetables and grains—often locally sourced—and the results are nothing short of culinary alchemy.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, these places are obviously your jam, but even if you’re not, you might be surprised how happy your tummy and taste buds will be after a visit. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get leafy.

JAIME LEWIS is a world traveler, and food writer, who lives in San Luis Obispo. vegetarian food means only soyrizo and kasha? Think again. A whole new crop of veg eateries is sprouting up across the Central Coast with tasty dishes in every color of the rainbow.

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Bright, Hip, and Veg-tastic

Walking into Planted Juice Bar & Eatery in the Arroyo Grande Village is not unlike walking into an of-the-moment new-wave bistro like Plant Food & Wine in Venice Beach or Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara: the vibe of this breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot is crisp and modern, yet totally approachable. Kathy and Glenn Essen opened Planted in February after owning another Arroyo Grande staple, CJ’s Cafe, for many years—a surprising move considering CJ’s diner-like atmosphere, menu, and clientele.

“We wanted something different,” says Kathy, who meets with me over lunch. “We like to eat more like this—not exclusively, but we like the option.”

Another impetus for opening Planted was the Essen’s daughter, Jessica, who studied holistic nutrition and culinary arts at Bauman College in Boulder, Colorado. She is responsible for developing Planted’s menu, while the Essen’s other two children, Olivia and CJ, can also be found in the kitchen.

The Essens are proud to offer dishes for any kind of eater, whether vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten-free or cane-sugarfree. Popular items include the Heavenly Jalapeño Burger, with a black bean patty, caramelized onion, coleslaw, avocado, jalapeño-cashew “cream cheese,” and dijon, on a vegan bun; and the Mother Grain Salad with quinoa, kale, roasted carrot, tamari, crusted tofu, chopped almonds, and a lemon-ginger dressing. But the item I’ll be returning to Planted for is the Chocolate Mousse Pie: creamy, rich and sweet with coconut cream, cocoa, and dates in a nut crust. If even my white-sugarlusting kids and husband call this dessert delicious—and they do—I consider it a marvel by any standard.

AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 87 get inspired get connected get started paso robles Home, Garden & Gourmet Expo August 26 & 27 san luis obispo Home & Garden Expo September 16 & 17 Save the Date! Talk to over 100 local experts of homeowners who want to help you design and build your dream home and landscape. 805-772-4600 FREE Admission The Bestsellers Group Storytelling Assistance from Bestselling Authors Hire one of our bestselling authors to help you pen your memoirs, shape your brand messaging, or record your family history.

Eastern Vegan Eats

“We were the first one-hundred-percent plant-based menu in SLO County, I think,” says David Fintel, the Cal Poly alum who opened Bliss Cafe in San Luis Obispo in 2011 with Chef Palaka Sauer. “We wanted to make the world a better place, and came to the realization we could do that by serving plant-based cuisine that’s sustainably-sourced.”

Surrounded by Bliss Cafe’s goldenrod walls, Tibetan prayer flags and classical Indian paintings, I enjoy an equally colorful breakfast of grilled tempeh tacos while talking to Fintel about the concept of ahimsa, an Eastern commitment to do no harm to living things. This perspective infuses the menu at Bliss, which is entirely vegan, mostly organic, and operates according to a hybrid of ayurvedic (ancient medicine) principles.

Tucked away from the well-trod sidewalks of Higuera Street, Bliss is easy to overlook (in more ways than one!), but don’t let that happen. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bliss is great for fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, desserts (try the gluten-free Chai Donut or a nutrientdense “Bliss Ball”), as well as salads, wraps, soups, and more. Plus, when you leave, you’ll carry the good vibes of knowing you’ve done no harm to any living thing. And how often can you say that?

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Business In The Front, (Plant-Based) Party In The Back

In some ways, Soto’s True Earth Market in Cambria hasn’t changed much since it opened a century ago—it’s still a pint-sized downtown grocer—but in most ways, it’s a completely different animal. Today, its shelves are packed with a spectacular array of organic ingredients and goods, plus Soto’s now boasts a deli counter in the back, full of nutritious salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps made from peak produce, proteins, and grains.

“It was a big deal for Cambria to get a health food store,” says Jeanne Brody, Soto’s chef, who studied at the Cordon Bleu and spent time in the kitchen of San Francisco’s famous vegetarian restaurant, Greens. “We wanted to offer a plant-based, whole-food selection that’s elegant and upscale that Cambria didn’t yet have.”

While Soto’s deli isn’t strictly vegetarian (I’m told the chicken bahn mi is to-die-for) Brody cooks with all sorts of eaters in mind, including vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and paleo diners. For lunch, she offers me a piadina (Italian flatbread, almost like a tortilla) folded over charred veggies and melted brie, as well as a trio of colorful plant-based salads: Summer Confetti Quinoa Salad with edamame, fresh corn, and French vinaigrette; Sesame Udon Noodles (commonly known as “Cambria Crack” for the dish’s addictive properties); and Farro Salad with grilled asparagus, portobello mushrooms, and shaved pecorino.

“It’s global comfort food,” says Brody as I chew and nod my head in agreement. Indeed, it is comforting knowing I can nourish myself with colorful, wholesome, delicious plant-based cuisine here on the Central Coast.

AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 91 ReelEyes Photography unique genuine spirited PortraitsSoaring 265 Prado Road #4, San Luis Obispo 459-7416


In the world of appetizers, nothing satisfies a crowd quite like a hearty crostini with its base made of thin, toasted slices of a baguette. Chef Jessie Rivas shares his savory recipe.



You can add any protein to the crostini, like bacon, smoked salmon, or even canned tuna. Try any combination. You won’t be disappointed.


sourdough baquette, sliced 1/2” thick olive oil salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange baguette slices on two large rimmed baking sheets; brush both sides


½ lb whipped cream cheese

bunch chives salt and pepper to taste

In the third mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with all the other ingredients and whip until just incorporated.


2 avocados

tsp cumin

limes, juiced

tsp onion powder 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp fresh cilantro salt and pepper to taste

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner and chef of The Pairing Knife food truck which serves the Central Coast.


½ lb shrimp (U16 - 18) peeled and deveined

tsp minced garlic

tsp brown sugar

tsp chipotle powder 1 Tbs canola oil salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl add shrimp and all the other ingredients, mix well and set aside to marinate about 15 minutes. Grill or pan-fry the shrimp for 2-4 minutes just until the shrimp are done.

Top crostini first with cream cheese spread evenly on the toast. Layer the avocado mixture and top with shrimp.

with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, turning slices over halfway through. Let cool on baking sheets. Top crostini with desired toppings, and serve. Halve the avocados and use a spoon to remove the flesh from the peel. In another mixing bowl add the avocados and all the other ingredients, mix well and set aside. ASSEMBLE SLOVEG.COM (805) 709-2780 FARM - FRESH LOCALLY GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLE HARVEST BOXES DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS WEEKLY OR BI-WEEKLY DELIVERIES FREE DELIVERY HEALTHY, CONVENIENT, AFFORDABLE LOCAL FISH + HONEY + OLIVE OIL AVAILABLE NO CONTRACT REQUIRED FRESH HARVEST DELIVERy mention SLO LIFE Magazine to receive $10 OFF your first box


Ilive by the adage that any weather is beer weather. Cold and dark winter months pair just as nicely with a rich porter as do the warm, long days of summer with a refreshing pilsener. You appreciate beer in the winter because there is little to do. Now that it’s summer we celebrate with nearly too much to do. So now that Independence Day has come and passed, I want to tell you about some of my favorite warm-weather styles to enjoy on beaches and lawns alike.

For the hottest of days there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a bohemian or Czech-style pilsner—but wait, Brant, you spelled it two different ways, which is it? Well, they’re both right. Coming from the Czech city of Plzeň, the anglicized version calls it pilsner while the Germans popularized the style and their name for Plzeň was Pilsener. The Americans drank it in spades so we call it pilsner and now we’re all a little smarter and a whole lot more confused. Back to the story—this light, effervescent beer has a lot of flavor in a very quaffable package. Slightly sweet from the prominent use of malt, but with just enough hops added to give it a much needed bittering bite. If Firestone’s DBA, an English bitter, is a loaf of wheat bread resplendent in biscuit and caramel notes, then a beer like Central Coast Brewing’s Bo Pils is a freshly-baked sourdough roll. Incredibly drinkable and yet immensely enjoyable, the pilsnerstyle makes it difficult to keep in your glass.

While you can mix a lager with lemonade and make a radler, yet another summer-time favorite, I’m more of a purist and like to derive those bright acidic flavors from the brewers directly. Barrelhouse Brewing rolled out their Key Lager just in time for

the June heat wave. This lager uses key limes and select hops to impart the flavors we’ve all had from a certain Mexican beer with a lime wedge stuck in the mouth of the bottle, all without the guilt of consuming a mass brand. Tap It also rolled out a fruit-laden beer with their Mango Tiger, an unfiltered imperial IPA brewed with mango puree. A classic combo, we always recommend drinking fresh and enjoying those amazing esters of peach and pineapple directly from the tap.

Libertine continues their tradition of using fruit in beers to bring those tart flavors to your lips. They’ve been rolling out new beers faster than I can keep up, but you’ll always find something unique. Keep an eye out for a perennial favorite, Summer Breeze. Every year they add fresh ingredients from Cambria’s Stepladder Ranch and this time you can find peaches and raspberries invading your senses and making you pucker.

Take two more sips and now you’re enjoying summer in a glass. Want more fruit from the heart of wine country? Check out their liberal use of Riesling grapes from our neighbors at Claiborne & Churchill in Libertine’s Rhine Me Up. Aged on French oak this brew bridges the gap between wine and beer leaving you wondering exactly which barrel room you’re in.

Whether you like it crisp, hoppy, sweet, or weird there’s a plethora of options when it comes to warm weather drinking. So remember to apply liberal amounts of sunscreen, keep your BBQ grill clean, and put plenty of ice in the cooler because our local breweries are adding some liquid gold to your sunny days.

BRANT MYERS is owner of Hop On Beer Tours, a concierge service for craft beer enthusiasts along the Central Coast.

Brisket Board

Fish Tacos Cilantro lime crema, greens, tomato, apple, marinated red onion and Thai
Try a sampling of our award winning craft beer and be sure to take a tour of the brewery. GRAB & GO Pickup your favorite six pack or keg at brewery direct pricing straight from the source. Rockin' Good Beers & Top Notch Food 855 Aerovista Place, Near SLO Airport (805) 543-1843 Learn more at Follow Us at #SLOBREW
SLO smoked brisket served with pickles, onions, Texas toast and your choice of sides. Smoked
Beer Flights


This exhibit celebrates artistic expression in all media. Meet the artists at the opening reception Sunday, August 6, 2pm-4pm. This event is free and open to the public. August 3 – Septmeber 11


The Starlight Dreamband’s nineteen-piece 1940’s era big band sound will thrill audiences. Hosted at the a gorgeous seaside home of the Chapman Estate. Arrive early, picnic with friends, bid on auction items, stroll the gardens, and observe plein air painters.

August 12 //


Enjoy estate wines under the stars during an intimate live music experience at Vina Robles Winery’s Amphitheatre for an Evening of Pops Under the Stars with the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra. August 20 //

DANCIN’ 2016

The Academy of Dance presents Dancin’ 2016. Dancers from beginner to professional, from two years old to 80 years old, take over the Performing Arts Center stage to showcase their talent. August 20 //



This event continues to heighten the educational mission by embracing an even greater depth and breadth of edifying wine and cuisine related topics at an array of special venues around the Central Coast.

August 25 - 27 //

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SENIOR DISCOUNT . Mon & Tues 10 to 2 . $15 1351 Monterey Street . San Luis Obispo (805)783-2887 .

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AUG/SEP 2017 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 97 Sell Your Home or Listing for More and Faster!
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Enjoy the Staged Reading about four lost New Englanders who enroll in Marty’s six-week-long communitycenter drama class as they begin to experiment with harmless games, hearts are quietly torn apart, and tiny wars of epic proportions are waged and won.

September 22 – 23 //


This festival is an exciting and unique three-day event at the Pismo Beach Pier designed to motivate the youth in California to get off of their computers and video games and go surfing.

September 22 – 24 //


Enjoy an evening of premier wines, gourmet dining, live and silent auctions, and more. All proceeds benefit abused and neglected children in San Luis Obispo County. CASA recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who advocate for this vulnerable population with the goal of ensuring that each and every child grows up in a safe, nurturing, and permanent home.

September 23 //

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Enjoy a 30, 64, and 100-mile bike ride that tours through the most
and scenic parts
Ride along the
farmscapes, and lakeside scenes. Not only will you enjoy the scenery, but your wine tasting punch card will give you the opportunity to experience the best that the Central Coast has to offer. September 30 // Dr. Arnie Horwitz HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS Are you feeling overwhelmed and confused? I can help. Specializing in - Relationship Conflicts - Parenting & Self-Esteem - Separation and Divorce - Personal Life Planning - Grief and Loss - Career Uncertainty Therapy/Counseling/Coaching Dr. Arnie Horwitz • 30 yrs. Experience 805-541-2752 August 25 - September 17 (805) 786-2440 | A classy, sassy musical revue of the 1930s and 40s! Created by Fran Charnas SUBSCRIBE TODAY! live the SLO LIFE! ACTION MEET BILL OSTRANDER ADVENTURE, PASSION
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