SLO LIFE Magazine Spring 2011

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SLOLIFE magazine Meet Kara Wood spring 2011 dreams, discovery & organic growth & Hollywood comes calling thrive happiness examined PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT 113 SANTA ANA, CA 5questions for your realtor Vrooom! 270 mph in 5.3 secs
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To me, the most remarkable part about San Luis Obispo being named the “Happiest City in the World” is just how indifferent people around here seem to be about the whole thing.

Maybe we’re indifferent because we really don’t know what it means. Can a place really be happy? Isn’t it people that are happy? And, who’s to say who’s happy and who’s not? And, if I’m sad in the world’s happiest place… am I actually really happy instead, or am I just less sad than a guy who is just as sad as me, but happens to be sitting somewhere in, let’s say, Winnemucca, Nevada?

Or, maybe it’s the word “happy” that is throwing all of us off. Happiness seems more fleeting than a deeper, day-to-day state-of-being. In any given moment during any given day we can be happy, sad, mad, glad, stressed, embarrassed, ecstatic, perplexed, and so on, but when we reflect on our lives overall from an existential standpoint, isn’t it something different altogether? What if we were to replace the word “Happy” with “Content” or “Satisfied” or “At Peace” or “Fulfilled” or “Stoked” instead? San Luis Obispo is the “World’s Most Stoked City” somehow seems like a more appropriate title.

The second most remarkable part about San Luis Obispo being named the “Happiest City in the World” is just how interested Oprah’s viewers are about what makes us the world’s happiest city. (We review the book that started all of this on page 46).

Just like so many other local businesses, we, too, experienced the “Oprah Effect” and saw our website traffic spike immediately after the show’s airing. The difference is that many of those website visitors also called us, probably figuring that since we publish the City’s magazine and we report on local people, we must have some sort of special insight or deep understanding as to why we are all so happy. And, we always knew when an Oprah viewer was on the other end of the line because they pronounced it “San Looo-eees O-beees-po” as they did so awkwardly on the show that day.

It was for a few days after Oprah (perhaps it should be known now as “A.O.” for “After Oprah” and “B.O.” for “Before Oprah”) that I became the de facto spokesman for the Happiest City in the World as calls came in wondering what made “San Looo-eees O-beees-po” so happy.

Then it occured me.

If people were calling in from all over the country asking me for advice on how to be happy as I sat here at my desk, which is right smack in the middle of “San Looo-eees O-beees-po” – the happiest place on Earth – wouldn’t that then make me the happiest person on Earth? Live



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778 Osos Street, Suite C San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805.439.2323

Igrew up in San Luis Obispo before leaving to attend college and pursue my career as an attorney. After a decade of practicing litigation and estate planning, I was ready to return to the place I love, start a practice I believe in and make a difference in the local legal community by offering a competent and caring approach to the practice of law.

Central Coast Estate Planning and Fiduciary Services is the culmination of my personal and professional dreams. What makes my firm different is that I haven’t forgotten the human element in the practice of law. I focus on each family or individual and their unique needs and keep my firm small and specialized so that you are always my top priority.

Whether you need an estate plan written or updated, require representation in probate, trust or tax litigation or are interested in hiring a trustworthy and knowledgeable personal fiduciary, I can offer the guidance, experienced legal representation and personal touch that is so often lacking from the practice of law today. It’s a tough world out there and trust, probate and tax law can be a minefield, but I am here to help you and your loved ones.

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D. Hazeltine LL.M. Taxation Attorney At Law
8 | Updates 10 | Notes 12 | Guest Appearance 14 | The Way It Was 16 | Places 26 | Real Estate 29 | Real Estate Panel 30 | No Place Like Home 32 | To Your Health 34 | After Hours 36 | Start Up 38 | Local Food by Local People 40 | Fresh Perspective 42 | The Arts 44 | Community Calendar 46 | Book Review SLOLIFE magazine 18 Meet Your Neighbor: Kara Wood The Way We Live: The Mulvihill Home 22 6 Q & A: Phyllis Madonna

Phyllis Madonna

Perhaps no single person is more identified with San Luis Obispo than Phyllis Madonna. Her eclectic Madonna Inn creates lasting impressions for millions each year - including those who may never set foot here - as travelers on Highway 101 catch a fleeting glimpse of a time past as quixotic pink signs point out the hotel which is set against expansive, bucolic hillsides of grazing cattle. This year she is hosting her 24th Annual Musical Revue appropriately titled “And the Show Goes On.” Phyllis Madonna takes our questions…

Take us back to the beginning. How did the idea for the Madonna Inn come about?

My husband, Alex, and I traveled all over the state for construction jobs he was on. Whenever we would stay at a hotel he would say, “I wish I could build one. I would do better.” So when the opportunity presented itself we decided to build 12 rooms.

Was he on board with the idea of using so much pink for the hotel?

Alex and I admired all the beautiful restaurants in L.A. and Beverly Hills and they all seemed to have something in common. They all had red tufted booths. We didn’t want to copy anybody else so we decided to go with pink booths. Red and pink are both warm colors and we wanted our atmosphere to be warm and cozy. Alex and I both loved the color.

What was it like when the doors opened for the first time?

The first meals we served were downstairs in the wine cellar. Nothing was finished. People had to climb over equipment to get downstairs. The thing that amazed me, was ladies would come in with high heels and fur stoles and have to walk down the plywood staircase. We had our third child, Karen, three days after we served that first steak dinner in the wine cellar.

The Madonna Inn is known for its themed rooms, which one is your favorite?

I love so many of the rooms. It really depends on my mood, but if I have to choose just one I would say Old World. I love the rock ceilings, walls, floors and fireplace.

What are your best memories from those early days?

The craziest thing I can remember is Alex and the staff playing with water guns in the restaurant. One time he picked up the hostess and put her in the fountain, clothes and all. He had to buy her a new Italian knit from our boutique.

Tell us about some of the guests who stayed at The Madonna Inn?

Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet lots of people. Some of the celebrities that have visited the Madonna Inn are: Danny Thomas, Lucille Ball, Dolly Parton, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Carol Channing, Jack Lalane, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Bette Midler, Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood, Reba McIntire, Diane Lane, Courtney Cox and that is just to name a few.

This is the 24th Annual Phyllis’ Musical Revue, and the first one where you won’t be performing onstage. Your thoughts?

I’m going to really enjoy it. I’m so proud of all the people on stage and can’t wait to see it all come together. It’s going to be the best show of all.

How did the Revue get its start? From the time the Inn was opened I put on fashion shows for the local clothing stores in town. Then Cheri Humphrey came along and we wanted to promote our own store. So we decided to put on our own fashion show using the clothes from our boutique. The Women’s Shelter contacted us and said that they wanted to do a fundraiser fashion show. So we decided to join forces and put one on ourselves.

What do you make of all the national notoriety that SLO has been receiving lately about being the Happiest Place?

I think San Luis Obispo is a wonderful city filled with friendly and helpful people. We live in a beautiful place!

If I asked you to dinner here in SLO, and it had to be somewhere other than The Gold Rush Steakhouse, where would we go and what would you order? We would go to Giusseppi’s or Blue. And my favorite thing to order is oysters.

When you look back at your life, what do you think about? How fortunate I was to help build the Madonna Inn.

Tell us about your childhood. Did you grow up in SLO?

I was born in La Habra, California. I grew up in Long Beach and moved to Santa Maria after High School. Once I graduated High School I worked at Union Oil Company.

How do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as someone who strived to help women. For me that is so important and the greatest cause! I feel that woman have “grown up” so-to-speak and I am proud to be a woman.

What do you think people would be surprised to know about you? Above all I need to have balance in my life. I believe in fairness and honesty. If the people around me aren’t being treated fairly I am not happy.

Please finish this sentence for us: “The real truth about Phyllis Madonna is…” … she enjoys laughing more than anything in the world!

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| Q & A

Serious Discussions

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en we can discuss the string theory of the universe or why you have a scratchy beard.

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805 541-1790 Call us today for your consultation Helping You Hear The Things You Love

FRaNK KaLMaN (The Kalmans v. Neuroblastoma, Winter 2011) has shared some incredibly good news with us: his daughter, CaLLI KaLMaN, has just learned that she is now cancer-free, or NED (No Evidence of Disease). Frank cautions that “she is not out of the woods” but is rejoicing just the same.

We are happy to report that CHad HeNRY (How I Found My Way Here, Fall 2010) was promoted to Head Varsity Football Coach at Mission Prep. Although it was not revealed in the article, Chad stated in the interview that he would “love to have the job someday.” Looks like your “someday” arrived early, Coach Henry. Congratulations!

JIM & MeGaN MaCKINtOsH (SLO Moped Gets a Makeover, Winter 2011) reports that they “have been so incredibly busy… we were swamped in December and that’s never been the case.” Work with Collaboration, Verdin Marketing Ink, and ITech Solutions continues to payoff.

Friends of sUe WateRBURY (Best Ever Granola, Summer 2010) report great relief in finally getting the recipe to her incredibly popular granola. Claims one friend, who asked to remain unidentified, “We have been trying for years to figure out how to make this stuff, then she goes and tells the whole world!”

After being featured on the cover of SLO LIFE Magazine, HaRMONY tRUe (Meet Your Neighbor, Fall 2010) has become somewhat famous - with little girls all across the Central Coast asking the dancer for her autograph.

We were quite touched to have received a phone call from VIRGINIa HURLeY (The Way It Was, Summer 2010) following publication of the story about the Hurley Pharmacy. She loved the article, thought we told the story well, and, best of all, assured us that her late husband, John, would have been proud.

| Updates SLO LIFE
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I am writing to tell you about an amazing nature based learning program here in San Luis Obispo. It seems that this story would be perfect for you to write about. I think that this school is doing such great work with kids. I have home-schooled my kids for most of their life and my son started Cuesta at 13. However, it seemed that there were so many aspects of life that were being missed with such an academic focus and he was lacking in many important life skills that Outside Now has given him. Two of the students completed the entire John Muir trail on their own, without adults at ages 15, and 17. I hope you find these photos of the boy’s trip and the following links helpful. Let me know if you need any more photos or help of any kind.

dear Heidi, Thank you so much for sending us the photos. We have had a chance to review them and are so impressed with the boys and your group. Please keep up the great work you are doing in our community. We hope to share your news in greater detail in the future.



I really like helping to promote the community where I live, and SLO Life is all about that.

As a small businessperson myself, and also a manager for others, I have advertised in this type of venue in the past and it works. SLO Life Mag helps to build a stronger community and it especially helps to promote the culture, and as an artist, I strongly believe that is so important. SLO Life Mag also helps the traveler by listing the local goings on, and that makes for great tourism, and a stronger economy.

Mary Persinger San Luis Obispo


What is it that makes y’all so happy? Can you bottle some of that happiness up and send it our way?

Tim Hutchins Austin, Texas


I’m taking a marketing class at Cuesta and I’m working with a local business called Posh Paws to develop a marketing plan. Can you please send me pricing and distribution information?

dan Bateman

San Luis Obispo

dear dan, We have a complete media kit that we can send you. Just go to our website at and click on the “Advertise” button.




Can you ask your delivery person to leave the magazine at the top of the stairs next time? Voicemail Message

dear Lazy, you will be happy to know that we are now mailing the magazine instead of delivering door-to-door.



I really enjoy your magazine, but for the love of Pete, can you please increase the size of your type!?

Voicemail Message Morro Bay

dear Sore Eyes, We’d love to increase the font size, but there just wouldn’t be enough room for all the good stuff if we did.


We love hearing from you!

When our in-box chimes with comments from you it really makes our day. So, please keep ‘em coming!

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Letters should be sent to or SLO LIFE Magazine, attn: Notes, 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800, SLO, CA 93401

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Tangi Miller

After reaching stardom as a cast member on the hit television show, Felicity, Tangi Miller went on to play the lead roles in the movies Madea’s Family Reunion, Too Legit: The M.C. Hammer Story, The Other Brother, and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. She has guest starred in shows such as The Shield and Cold Case. Also to her credit, she wrote and produced Love & Other 4 Letter Words. TV Guide named her one of the sexiest stars on television and Ebony Magazine called her one of the most beautiful people of the millennium. Miller grew up the oldest of six children in Miami, Florida. The kids were not allowed to watch television, but she started acting in live theater while in high school.

We were invited to spend an afternoon with Tangi recently and we were won over by her beauty, grace, and intelligence. Here is a bit of our conversation...

So, Tangi, what brings you to SLO?

I wanted to get away from the hoopla of the Grammies and the awards season in general. So it was really nice to come here and not have to deal with all that stuff, and just chill. My boyfriend and I have loved our time here.

Is this your first time visiting the area?

No, actually after wrapping up a season of the show Felicity, J.J. Abrams gave all of us weekend trips here as a gift. It was probably six years ago now. Aside from driving through – I love road trips – I haven’t come to stay since then, but your little town has some great buzz going for it in Hollywood these days.

Thanks – that’s nice to hear… um, I think. Now, you mentioned J.J. Abrams, who is he exactly?

You don’t know who J.J. Abrams is!? [laughter] You’ve got to be kidding. Superman, Felicity, Alias… the director, the producer? Huge, huge, huge… Wow, I really did get away [from Hollywood]!

Okay, note to self, J.J. Abrams is a big shot. [laughter] Oh my goodness. You guys are too funny!

Alright, indulge us if you would, and take us behind the scenes at the Grammies. Who was looking fabulous? Give us your top two.

My boyfriend and I went to Clive Davis’s after party and most everybody was there, but I remember thinking that Gwenyth Paltrow looked amazing. And, Beyoncé, she was beautiful, as always.

We’ve heard that you’ve tried your hand at directing a documentary recently. What’s that like?

It’s so wonderful to act, to express yourself that way, but it’s really incredible to have a voice as an artist, to pick a story or to write a story and say, “I’m going to make this [film] with these people.” So, to me there is nothing more incredible because you have everything to work with. It’s just really nice to have a voice and it’s a lot different than acting and it satisfies me in a different kind of way than acting does.

I’ve read that you are interested in examining relationships? How so? So the question becomes how do we have kids in the future when so many of the relationships are broken? I think as a whole in this country we are divorcing so much and we have broken kids as a result. I just think it all comes back to the relationship between a man and a woman and it all flows from there. It’s right there and we don’t have it worked out, so I am exploring that, which is really interesting and therapeutic.

What’s the most interesting part of that for you?

Now that the roles are so confused, I mean it used to be that men do this and women do that, and we seemed to stay together longer because everyone knew their roles. But, now we’re all working on our careers and we’re all trying to decide as a society, “Ok, who’s going to do what?” And, I just don’t know that we have it worked out, especially in the black community with the divorce rates being what they are. To me, those are the questions I’d like to ask. That’s the little voice that I’d like to hear from.

Okay, it sounds like you have the questions worked out. Have you been able to come up with any answers?

I think that sometimes we’re just chasing this assembly-line-of-a-life; of a career; of getting things; and we don’t let life happen. And, like the grandmother says in the film Love & Other 4 Letter Words, “When you’re older, you’re going to want more time with your loved ones, not more time at work.”

One last

If you choose acting for a career, you don’t have that much control over what is going to happen. So you have to truly love it. I think it’s wise to do it for more than just wanting to become famous because there are so few of us that actually gain any recognition. So, to teach, or work, or just be able to express yourself through theater as an artist is very, very satisfying.

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thing. We’d like to ask you for some advice. Live theater is big here on the Central Coast, so what insight could you offer to someone just getting started in acting?

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J.P. andrews

At the corner of Osos and Monterey streets stands a beautiful piece of architecture that is more than just retail space. The J.P. Andrews building at 998 Monterey Street in downtown San Luis Obispo is named for one of the savviest and perhaps most controversial businessmen known locally.

The ambitious and hot-tempered John Pinkney Andrews - known as “J.P.” to locals – originally hailed from North Carolina. Influenced by all the “glowing tales” of the riches to be found in California, he moved his family out West in 1857. After exploring the Golden Coast for a couple of years, they settled in San Luis Obispo in 1859. Andrews then wasted no time in getting his start raising dairy cows, sheep, pigs and bees (he was one of the first beekeepers in the county). It is believed that he made most of his money in just one year raising pigs as a result of a fatefully good decision.

During the drought of 1864, the lack of water crippled local ranches and left them unable to adequately feed their livestock. Unbelievably, there are stories of ranchers driving their cattle off cliffs into the ocean due to a lack of resources during this desperate time. However, Andrews did not panic. Instead, he bought up all the cows he could at rock-bottom prices – ranchers practically begged him to take them away. Andrews then processed the cattle and used them to feed his pigs, which he then sold at record-high prices. Although a bit grotesque, J.P.’s cold calculation in

the face of widespread panic turned out to be incredibly profitable.

Andrews then parlayed a successful career in ranching into real estate and in 1883 he could be found at the head of the San Luis Hotel Company, which built the Andrews Hotel that was named in his honor. The building still stands today on the same spot. However, the structure you see now is not the original. The first hotel, which was constructed of wood, burned to the ground in April of 1886 after just a few months of operation.

Undaunted, Andrews rebuilt and re-opened his new building on January 2, 1894. As you can see today, the building was designed in the Richardson Romanesque style and features granite and terra cotta ornamentation and arches. The rebuilt structure was first used as a bank and the second story housed the City’s first public library. The new building was actually constructed in two phases between 1893 and 1906 eventually stretching the entire block between Monterey and Palm streets. The stonework and details are both grand and impressive.

While Andrews found plenty of good fortune in business, he was not so lucky in love. After 35 turbulent years of marriage, J.P.’s wife, Tennessee Andrews, filed for divorce on the grounds of “extreme cruelty.” Apparently, J.P. often left his wife and children alone on the

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| The Way i T Was
The legacy of this complex, historical figure remains a mystery to this day.
right andre W s bank, san luis obis P o rebuilt structure, circa 1894 below John Pinkney andre W s circa 1870

ranch to care for themselves and the animals. A harrowing account of a mountain lion attack told by one of his daughters concludes: “Snarling, the lion faced mother, who, taking as careful aim as she could under the terrifying circumstances, shot and killed the beast.”

The divorce case was heard by the County Superior Court. Divorce was extremely rare in those days - and almost never granted - the court would typically rule for a separation as an alternative. However, after hearing the testimony and calling witnesses, the court cited Andrew’s violent temper and felt that Tennessee would not be safe from J.P.’s reach in a separation. On february 7th, 1869 the court granted the divorce, a scandalous event in itself, which was surely the talk of the town for weeks if not months following.

To this day, opinions differ among local historians regarding J.P. Andrews. Some surmise that he was a kind philanthropist and a great businessman; others speculate that his success was due mostly to the misfortune of his fellow ranchers in the drought of 1864 and the hard work of his family and those he employed. Despite the controversy, what can be said for certain is that the J.P. Andrews building is an important part of our historic downtown and remains a true San Luis Obispo treasure to this day. SLO LIFE

[ an account of the Andrews fire ]

“…the firemen responded promptly to the alarm with their apparatus, and vast crowds of people flocked to the scene. It needed but a glance to convince every beholder that the magnificent building was doomed. The fire had got such a head start and the vast building being constructed entirely of wood, to fight the flames seemed a hopeless task, but nothing daunted, our gallant firemen made a determined effort… When the fire had burned down to the second story, the heat became so great as to endanger surrounding buildings. …the heat was so intense that the men could stand it no longer, notwithstanding they were covered with wet blankets and streams of water were constantly thrown over them. The fight was a stubborn one, but the end of human endurance was finally reached and the men had to abandon the front of the buildings on Monterey Street.”

left Tennessee “Tinnie” andreWs wife of J.P. Andrews, with one of their children, circa 1900 - 1909

below andre W s building, san luis obis P o at the corner of Monterey Street and Osos Street, circa 1986

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above andre W s ho T el, san luis obis P o devestated by fire only a few months after opening, circa April 1886

| Places standing Watch

Cerro San LuiS

To some, it is known as “Madonna.” To others, it can only be “Mission.” Many will insist that its rightful name is “Cerro San Luis.” Whatever you choose to call it, there is one thing we can all agree on: it’s a central feature of our local landscape. Here it was captured by Sallie Weatherford who leaned over her back deck to snap the shot. She could not recall when the photograph was actually taken, explaining that she had so many of them: “It’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and last thing before I retire in the evening.” Reaching 1,292 feet and making up a part of the Nine Sisters (aka “The Morros”), a chain of volcanic plugs, this majestic peak has stood watch over San Luis Obispo for some 20 million years. SLO LIFE

Do you have an amazing photo? Go to to share it.

Meet Kara Wood

In this installment of our “Meet Your Neighbor” series, SLO LIFE Magazine sat down to talk with Kara Wood. She moved here five years ago from Colorado, lives in Los Osos with her daughters, Emily and Cassidy, and she started her business, Bloom Microgreens, three years ago. Here is her story…

Let’s start from the beginning, Kara, where are you from?

I grew up in Colorado originally, then moved to the East Coast for high school. The company my dad worked for moved to be closer to the Federal Government so we settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. I was there for six years. I was not an East Coast girl, so I left as soon as I could and went back to Colorado.

but, you didn’t stay in Colorado...

I always wanted to raise my girls in a small town where you could really be a part of that community. And really get to know the people, know your neighbors, know where your food comes from and just to have that support from everyone. We didn’t have that in Colorado. When I was a kid we had it. I remember growing up that way in Littleton. And I remember, we were all friends - the whole block - and when the streetlights would come on everyone would scatter home. But I never found that as an adult anywhere. People would pull into the garage, shut the door, and that was it. So I was searching for that, and that was my goal once I got here: to meet good people, meet good friends, and really get my kids immersed in the community.

how did you end up choosing the Central Coast?

I had read about San Luis and this whole area just being an up-andcoming destination for food and wine. So we visited. And a year later, we moved. That was five years ago now. My ex-husband, who is a chef, was offered a much lower paying job to move here. But we talked about it and said, “You know what? It’s quality of life.”

What had you been doing for work in Colorado?

At the time we moved, my professional background was in land use and planning, specifically GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping. Basically, it was computerized mapping and satellite imagery. I worked in the commercial real estate industry doing mapping. I had left my job and was looking for something different outside of the cubicle world of “9 to 5.” I had met a woman who was growing microgreens (vegetable sprouts) when we were in Colorado. She really embraced me and sort of took me in. And she needed help but didn’t have the capital to be able to pay somebody, so she paid me in knowledge. She taught me her business, and I helped her grow it, and we became like family.

it sounds like the plan was to move here to start a microgreens business? Yes - we came to visit and met a bunch of chefs and learned that no one was growing microgreens here. And there was a huge demand for it. So we moved here, took a huge pay cut - it was very expensive. So I started doing some work for an environmental consulting firm that was obtaining permits for small power plants coming online in California. I did some mapping and research for them.

back to the ol’ “9 to 5,” huh? I did that part time and I felt that life was just going and there wasn’t any time to focus on starting a business, but I was also going through a shift in my marriage, which I knew was coming to an end. And I also knew that I really needed to find something that I could do and be flexible and allow me to make the money I needed to make to support the girls. So, I finally

18 | slo life magazine | Meet your neighbor
continued on page 20
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just said, “You know what, I’m going to do this.”

What happened next?

I talked to my mom and she gave me a little bit of capital, like $1,500 to start the business. I started in my garage. I bought some racks, and some grow lights, and a little bit of seed, and I just started.

So, she literally gave you your “seed money.” Yes – literally. [laughter]

Where did the passion for farming come in?

We always had a garden and I was always the kid who was outside as long as I could be. For me, it was really like a transformation of my whole life. I needed to not only have something to sustain my family, but I also needed to have something to grow again myself. To help me become who I felt that I was - but wasn’t. And that happened. It was time. And, it was painful and it was scary, but it’s been not only a growth of the business but it was like this growth of me, you know, becoming me. And knowing that is valuable, and a good thing.

i think everyone would agree with that. And speaking of growth, who were your first customers?

I actually had two: Windows on the Water and Papillon, which is not here any longer, but it was in Los Osos.

So, you were off to a smooth start, right?

Until we had a heat wave that got up to 114 degrees. I had to water every 25 minutes, running fans, opening the garage. Much of the crop didn’t make it. And my marriage finally ended.


I took a little time to regroup. I kept the business going, but it was a scary time. I went through it thinking, “Can I do this?” I was really questioning the belief in me. But I had all these amazing people in my life that were like, “Heck yeah, you can do this! You’re doing it right now. Look at what you’ve been able to get going.”

then what?

I just decided that I really had to make it go, it had to work. I put a down payment on my first greenhouse and signed a lease for a little bit of land. My dad came out and helped me move all my stuff from my garage to the greenhouse, and I remember looking around and thinking, “Wow, I’ve got all this empty space.”

So, how did you fill it up?

Every week I would go to three different restaurants and I would just take a sample and my product list. I knew that if I could go in there with my product that I could close the deal. And that is really how I have handled all of my marketing because it’s a business-to-business wholesale operation.

So, you just basically started cold calling?

Yep, I’d just show up. [laughter] I’d tried calling on the phone, but they would always say, “We’re busy,” or “Today’s not good,” or some other thing. It’s difficult over the phone to get across what you have and what you want to do for them.

What’s been the most difficult thing to learn?

Getting the seasons down. And it actually caught me again this year right before Thanksgiving, which is coming into the busiest time for us. But, everything goes dormant for about ten days, they just stop growing. So, I thought, maybe I won’t deliver at Thanksgiving. Nothing was growing and it was super stressful so we wrote a big note to ourselves that said, “Don’t forget to plant early next year for Thanksgiving!” But you get so caught up in everything that’s happening. And you’re not thinking about what’s going on with the weather. And the seasons start to change. And then everything just stops growing, and it just sits for a little bit. And then it will just start growing again. It’s just nature. There’s nothing you can do about it. It just does that – and it gives you a heart attack – and you just have to wait it out.

What’s the most surprising experience you’ve had so far?

About a year and half ago I didn’t have health insurance. A doctor traded me microgreens to take an x-ray of my foot. It was a beautiful thing.

You’ve figured out a way to provide for yourself and have just about everything you’d hoped for… There’s been up’s and down’s. And it’s hard work. And you’re not always bringing in what you need. And there have been times where I needed to purchase more equipment, and it’s tight. It’s a roller coaster, but it’s a good one. It’s a good example for my girls that you can truly do whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be the mainstream, “I’m going to go work in Corporate America,” unless that’s what you want. If that’s what you want, that’s fine, too. But you really can step out, and do something that makes you happy, and still provide for yourself.

it seems like you and your business are almost one in the same. Someone very early on gave me a necklace and it said “Bloom” on it. She said, “I saw this and I wanted you to have it.” The bottom of it says, “Bloom where you are planted.” And, that has just stuck with me. And I feel that is truly what’s happened here. It’s like I was planted here with this business, and together, in the last three years, it’s not only been business growth but personal growth, as well. And not just for me, but for my kids too. We’ve had this huge family transformation. And it’s been a beautiful thing. And, so I feel lucky. Really lucky.

tell us about your daughters.

My youngest, Cassidy, is eight years old and loves it out here on the farm. She takes horseback riding twice a week out here. She’ll come out here and just hang out for hours. My oldest, Emily, is 14 and is not a farmer.

20 | slo life magazine
your neighbor
I needed to not only have something to sustain my family, but I also needed to have something to grow again myself. To help me become who I felt that I was - but wasn’t.

She has already notified me that she will not be taking over the business someday. At the farm, she’ll usually sit in the car and listen to her iPod. Occasionally she’ll come out and help out a bit. But it’s just really not her thing. And that’s okay. She’ll be at SLO High next year and she’s really excited. She’s got really good friends. She’s kind of an old soul. A good girl who’s kind to everybody, and really studious. I’m sure she’ll have her moments, but she’s just a good girl. So, yeah, I know she’ll be successful at whatever she decides to do. But, we all have to go through some bumps in the road, right? I’m just hoping they’re little speed bumps. [laughter]

you’re probably all vegans or vegetarians or “microgreen-atarians” or something crazy like that, right? No, we really just look to be moderate in all the things that we eat. And everyone has a “choice night” at our house and gets to decide what is

being cooked for dinner. And everyone has a hand in that. Emily makes the best chicken enchiladas ever. So, that’s her specialty. But, last night was Cassidy’s night, so we went to the store. We knew we had a few things to work with, but we weren’t exactly sure what all we had because we just moved two weeks ago. She said, “Okay, I know I want shrimp, and I want some chicken, and broccoli. I also want Udon noodles and some miso.” She made the most delicious soup, I helped her of course, but it turned out great.

thanks for sharing your story with us and showing us around the farm, Kara. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. You’re welcome. Thank you very much for coming out to see us. SLO LIFE

slo life magazine | 21
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The Mulvihill home

After selling their Ann Arbor, Michigan-based disease prevention and health coaching company, Leade Health, in 2006, Michael and Theresa Mulvihill began traveling in search of the ideal setting that would meet their criteria for “creating a sustainable lifestyle and a sense of well-being.” During the process, the Mulvihills kept hearing about San Luis Obispo so they decided to visit. “We knew right away that this was a very, very special place,” remembers Michael.

The couple then enlisted the help of local realtor, Frank Dufault, to find a home that “had character” and was close to downtown where they could fully immerse themselves in the community. When Dufault showed the Mulvihills the first home ever built north of the mission in 1919 – often referred to as the “mustard and ketchup house” because of its funky yellow and red exterior paint - they knew it was the one.

22 | slo life magazine | The Way We Live

above hOMe SWeeT hOMe a formerly enclosed front porch now reopened creates a welcoming entryway left viNTaGe ChiC combining period details with modern conveniences makes this kitchen a functional beauty

An early inspection brought bad news, so the couple turned to architect, Greg Wynn. He advised them that the frame and foundation of the house had lost its structural integrity and recommended a careful “deconstruct and reconstruct” project. Before embarking on the project, the Mulvihills consulted with Betsy Bertrando, a local historian, who uncovered the significance of the Anholm Family to the development of San Luis Obispo. This research led to SLO resident and Anholm Family relative, Jeff Cole, who unearthed a picture of the original open porch. When construction began it included reopening the front porch that had likely been closed-off during a 1950’s remodel (the City called this “a gift to the street”).

During the demolition process, local builder Ryk Kluver took the extraordinary step of storing the original structure offsite at his ranch so that it could be used in the rebuild. The “old bones” were then combined with modern “green home” technologies to make the 3 bedroom, 3,500 square foot structure energy and water efficient with systems including radiant floor heating with a tankless water heater inside and rain recapture outside. Gabriel Frank of Gardens by Gabriel then planted many drought tolerant species endemic to the area to compliment the existing plants, some of them nearly one hundred years old including a majestic wisteria at the back of the property.

Vickie Knemeyer of Sea Country Interiors saw to it that the best of the 1920’s became an integral part of the home with thoughtful period details including soapstone countertops and an apron sink in the kitchen. In a nod to the original owner and builder, Chris Anholm, the signed threshold plate (it was common in those days to have the builder autograph this portion of the home) is found framed at the center or the home, perched prominently above the staircase.

After two years of some “ups and downs” during the construction project, the Mulvihills reflect on the experience and cite the support they have received from locals as more confirmation that they have made the right decision. Says Michael, who is now the CEO of Eugene, Oregonbased ORCAS (Oregon Center for Applied Sciences), “There has been a lot of interest in the project and, frankly, some concern about whether the property would be brought back to its original, historical form. Now that we are finally finished, we have had so many people stop by to introduce themselves and share their stories and memories of the home.”

slo life magazine | 23
continued on page 24 < <
24 | slo life magazine SLO LIFE | The Way We Live
Pea C efu L G e TaWay this farmhouse red potting shed, part of the original property, functions as a sitting room offering a backyard retreat effiCieNT BeauTy A turf-free landscape filled with drought-tolerant perennials and succulants, are selected for texture, lushness and color NO DeTaiL SPaReD salvaged windows from the original structure frame the parlor room at the front of the house and classic styling creates a warm and inviting environment
slo life magazine | 25 805.458.3816 Specializing in Custom Cabinetry Tile, Stone, & Slab Design Lighting | Color | Accessories 30 Years Experience on the Central Coast Call Christine for a Consultation Need a room m akeover?


How do you plan to market my home?

Find out if the agent is willing to invest their own money in the effort. Or, will they be content to “sit on the listing” hoping someone will eventually turn up to buy it? Will they be running ads featuring your home? If so, where? How do they plan to set your property apart? Ask for examples of what they have done with other homes they have sold in the past. Take a look at the ads they are currently running.


What sort of experience do you have?

This is a big one, and you will want to make sure that your agent is a committed, full-time real estate professional. Selling a home properly is an all-consuming endeavor and you want to make sure that, not only is your listing getting their full attention, but that they have developed the necessary skills and experience to maximize your home’s value. And, don’t just take their word for it. Ask for references.


What are the drawbacks of my property?

Be sure to ask the prospective listing agent, “So, what problems do you see with my house?” Listen carefully to what they have to say. If the agent tells you what sounds like legitimate drawbacks, then you know that they have a seasoned eye. Not only that, but you will be able to see that the agent is honest and isn’t going to sweet-talk you into signing a listing contract. On the other hand, if they do not point out what you already know are flaws, this could be an indication that they may have only a halfhearted dedication to selling your home.


How will you be compensated for your work? Don’t tiptoe around this question. Get it all out there on the table so you can move on to other important issues. Ask the agent to walk you through the specifics of the listing contract. Seeing how they handle the request and how readily they explain the agreement will give you great insight into what it will be like to work with this person. Trust your instincts here. If the realtor glosses over details and fails to answer your questions fully, then move on to someone else.


What sort of communication can I expect from you?

In most relationships, good communication is the key to success. Your partnership with your real estate agent is no different. You need to know, up front, how you will be kept in the loop. That means finding out several factors, like what kind of news they’ll update you on, the frequency of updates, and how they will communicate them with you. Will your agent let you know about every interested buyer, no matter how serious? Be sure to verify these claims - call their references for confirmation.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

Although we interchange the terms, don’t be confused by the terminology: all realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are realtors. A Realtor is someone who belongs to the National Association of Realtors. To become a member, an agent must hold an active real estate license from a qualified school and promise to adhere to a particular code of ethics.

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the numbers at a glance Comparing the last four months to the same period last year (10/01/09 - 01/31/10 vs. 10/01/10 - 01/31/11) SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors | real estate 5 things to ask a realtor Before selling Your Home SLO LIFE 1 2 3 4 5 • • • • • 1. Total Homes Sold 2. Average Asking Price 3. Average Selling Price 4. Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 5. Average # of Days on the Market Home Price $100,000 - $500,000 2010 2011 +/19 26 36.84% $424,674 $436,742 2.84% $415,474 $415,365 - 0.03% 98.83% 95.11% -3.72% 89 105 17.98% Home Price $500,001 - $1,000,000 2010 2011 +/36 37 2.78% $742,325 $666,489 - 10.22%
100 - 4.76% Home Price
- $2,500,000
$700,567 $642,831
8.24% 94.37% 96.45% 2.08% 105
2010 2011
2 7 250% $2,049,500 $1,701,714 - 16.97% $1,849,500 $1,429,357 - 22.72% 90.24% 83.99% - 6.25% 420 273 - 35.00%

Our approach to real estate is about much more than property... it’s about people.

Organic Farm in Cambria

Isolated amongst beautiful rolling hills but only a few minutes from fine dining and pristine coastline, this property with 90-acres of registered organic farmland is the definition of green living. A beautifully constructed, Arkin Tilt-designed home, which runs off an off-the-grid solar system, gives way to 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. At the bottom of the property, a beautifully remodeled one-bedroom, plus office apartment sits above a decked-out 1800 sq. ft. barn, which all runs off a separate solar system. Ample water with irrigation already piped to almost all plantable land. A true gem.

First Time Offered!

Located in the Edna Valley, an idyllic setting with a private reservoir and seasonal creek border a dramatic rocky bluff and open land. Architecturally appealing home with 3 spacious bedrooms, a great room and formal living area provide stunning views of the surrounding land. Other spaces include a basement for a wine cellar and a large, finished workshop with potential for an office or guest room. A rare and versatile property.

The Payne Team

Jed Damschroder 805-550-7960

Denise Topham 805-801-7389

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Adam Quaglino 805-748-3995

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Offered at $2,595,000 by Gavin Payne 805-550-3918

Offered at $1,495,000 by Denise Topham 805-801-7389

28 | slo life magazine Green Goods Specialist Cabinets In-Stock Bamboo | Oak | Maple Countertops Granite | Quartz Distressed Laminates 12mm from $1.99 sq. ft. Hardwood | Bamboo Cork | Carpet CentraL COaSt F LOO r I n G Call Tim Stapf for Free Estimates 805.801.6907 3596 Broad Street, Suite 104 San Luis Obispo 805.545.7800

One of the most important things to consider when selling a home is curb appeal. If a home doesn’t appeal to a prospective buyer from the outside, it’s unlikely they’ll look any further. There are some basics to help make a good first impression and it doesn’t require a large investment. Clear outdoor clutter such as garbage cans, debris, etc.; make sure the lawn, trees and shrubs are well-kept; fill in driveway cracks; be sure the house numbers can be seen from the street. Spruce up shutters, garage doors, and front doors with a fresh coat of paint. Inside, your home should be depersonalized. Be sure to remove sentiment such as family photos, heirlooms, and anything making strong religious or political statements. Colors can have a psychological impact, neutral is best. Add plants and furnishings to bring warmth and life to a home. Pets and their accompanying accessories should be kept low-profile and your home should be free of pet hair and dander. Also, make sure it does not smell of pets (or food that may leave a lingering unpleasant smell, for that matter). Vacant homes don’t need to be filled with furniture, but an empty home can be harder to sell. It’s good practice to have at least one or two pieces in each room to show the size and function of the space.

I have always thought that cabinets really tie the room together, especially in the kitchen where so much time is spent. For a dramatic upgrade to outdated or worn-out cabinetry in the kitchen or, for that matter, the bath, either re-staining or repainting can be the quickest and most economical solution. That is if the interiors are in decent condition. Stripping old paint in order to stain cabinets is a nasty and time-consuming job. But painting over stained cabinets is fairly easy. If the interiors are unfinished plywood or particleboard, painting or varnishing will seal the surfaces. Adding new doors with invisible European hinges will give a clean, modern look for a complete makeover appearance to your most noticed rooms in the house. Adding a 1½” or 3” crown molding will also give cabinetry a more custom look. Another low cost fix is replacing knobs and pulls to give an updated look. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for hardware. Your local home improvement center usually carries a good variety. Remember simplicity is always best for a future sale because you will want the new buyer to start to imagine themselves living there; something that is highly customized to you may make it harder for them to begin mentally moving into the home.

slo life magazine | 29
Karen mICHaeL SHIerS Custom Cabinets & millworks by michael Shiers
rea L e S tate |
ask the experts SLO LIFE AN ONLINE DIRECTORY... A Network of Trusted, Pre-Screened Professionals Offering Seniors Caring & Reliable Services Please visit our website to Empower Seniors to Live Independently Our Network Includes • Pharmacies • Home Care/Senior Placement • Medical Providers/Mobility Equipment • Home Maintenance/Safety Improvements • Other Support Services (805) 627-1760 slo life magazine | 29
What is the best, low-cost way to improve your home prior to putting it on the market to sell?

Point San luis lighthouse

Sometimes it takes a lot of work to save a piece of our history. That has certainly been the case for the Point San Luis Lighthouse. Sitting just above Port San Luis, it offers a beautiful view of Avila Beach. Previously closed to the public, the Central Coast Victorian Lady has been restored, and you can now pay her a visit.

A trolley ride from Port San Luis takes you above the beautiful sheltered cove to the 31 acres of coastline where the lighthouse has stood for 120 years. At once you are brought back to the time when she kept watch for sailors. “You come here and you experience what the world was like before GPS, before cell phones, before electricity. This whole place ran on coal and kerosene,” clarifies Stew Jenkins, the president of Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers.

Before Southern Pacific Railroad, Port San Luis was the Central Coast’s connection to the outside world - the lighthouse its beacon. In her glory days she was filled with families who kept her protective lamp illuminated and sounded warnings when needed. “You had to get up at night, and climb up a tower and crank back up the clockworks that ran on a weight. And that caused a 250 pound lens to rotate,” explains Jenkins. “And [the light] could be seen 20 miles out to sea.”

The lighthouse was a lifesaver and she was treated as such with meticulous military care. However, when the Coast Guard installed modern automated lights and a moisture sensitive horn, she was deemed obsolete and decommissioned in 1973. She stood as a lady in waiting, battered by the winds, sun, and sea air until Port San Luis Harbor District purchased her in 1992. I paid my first visit here that year and

was struck by the damage desertion can do. She has since experienced a transformation back to, in many ways, her former self. Point San Luis Obispo Lighthouse Keepers have been working on repairs since 1995. “…at this point [they have] put in 65-thousand hours of labor towards the restoration,” says Jenkins. She now stands with strength and beauty as she did in 1890.

It has been the joint effort between Point San Luis Lightkeepers and Port San Luis Harbor District that has restored the Central Coast Victorian Lady to the splendor she deserves. Together they raised close to two million dollars and created a self-supporting public park. Poignantly, doorknobs and other items stolen by vandals decades ago, have been returned.

Jenkins shared that currently 1.5 million dollars worth of matching grants is being invested into the lighthouse. “We’re putting in steps down to the old whalers beach down behind breakwater. We are going to be re-landscaping the old historic gardens that were here, and we’re going to have some wonderful facilities for visitors.”

The prairie Victorian lighthouse is the only one of its kind still standing. “The other two ended up being bulldozed into the sea,” a heavyhearted Jenkins explains, “So this is the last of its kind anywhere in the world!”

Some credit a Chinese blessing put here by immigrants who did much of the hard labor to build Port San Luis. It reads, “As a bowl catches rain, may this house collect blessings.” It appears as if it has.

Jeanette Trompeter, KSBY News anchor and reporter, hosts the “No Place Like Home” series every Thursday evening at 6pm.

30 | slo life magazine
| No Place like home
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Juicing - “green” juicing in particular - has made it to the mainstream in recent years, thanks in no small part to the lifelong efforts of Morro Bay resident Jack Lalanne who educated us about its benefits.

Inspired by the many touching eulogies that came in the wake of his passing in January, we wanted to learn more about Lalanne’s life and work. He was passionate about juicing, so much so that he created his own line of juicers and was famous for saying, “If a man made it, don’t eat it.”

To honor Jack Lalanne and his incredible 96 years of life, we decided to give juicing a try.

Since we were new to this, we wanted to find a tasty recipe that would allow us to ease into the world of green juice, which we will define as “juice derived from veggies, mostly green ones.”

Our search led us a to a wonderful book written by Kris Carr called Crazy Sexy Diet Her diet is not an “I-need-to-lose-10-poundsbefore-summer” diet, but a prescription for lifelong healthy eating. It was created as a result of Carr’s struggle with inoperable, incurable cancer. One of the cornerstones of her diet transformation is incorporating green juice; she recommends consuming two servings per day. (See “Make Juice, Not War Green Juice” recipe below.)

Making this recipe doesn’t come cheap and, unless you’re growing them in your garden, purchasing the organically grown produce will

set you back about $5 per serving. It also takes quite a bit of time and effort: about 20 minutes (for two servings) to wash, prep, juice, and clean up the green mess.

What started out as a one-time thing to toast to the life and legacy of Jack Lalanne has evolved into an every day ritual. We thought we might have to hold our noses as we choked down this unusual concoction, but it has been quite to the contrary. The green juice has a mildly sweet, earthy flavor (especially when sunflower sprouts are added), which varies a little with each serving – no two glasses taste exactly the same.

It’s been a little more than two months now since we first started with the green juicing and we’ve decided that we’ll stick with it. Aside from losing a little bit of weight, and generally feeling more vibrant and energetic, we did notice a couple of surprising “side effects.”

After about two weeks of juicing, we were surprised to develop a much stronger sense of smell and taste. It also seems that even after a rigorous workout, locker room body odor isn’t quite as strong. And to top it off clear, bright, glowing skin rules the day. I know, I know… call us crazy, but further research leads us to believe that this may be a result of a natural detoxification process.

Whatever the case, Lalanne was right about the many benefits of juicing and his legacy lives on. To that, we raise our glasses of freshly made green juice and say: “Here’s looking at you, Jack.”

32 | slo life magazine
| To Your HealTH Having trouble getting your daily allowance? Try juicing. recommended reading: “Make Juice, Not War Green Juice” (makes two servings, about 32 ounces) 2 large cucumbers (peeled if not organic) 4–5 stalks kale 4-5 romaine leaves 4 stalks celery 1-2 big broccoli stems 1-2 pears 1” piece (or less) gingerroot Juice all ingredients. Other optional greens:
when available. Drink Your Veggies!
32 | slo life magazine
parsley, spinach, and dandelion. Add sweat pea or sunflower sprouts

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Kyle Rizzoli

We all like to have fun on our days off. For Kyle Rizzoli and his father, Jim Rizzoli - the family behind Rizzoli’s Automotive - that means drag racing. With Jim serving as main crew chief and Kyle as driver, the duo has developed a 3,000 horsepower top fuel dragster. In just 5.3 seconds Kyle is launched down the quarter mile track at 270 miles per hour. We asked Kyle what was going through his mind as he sat here in the staging lane at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas last October. “I was getting in the zone, trying to get relaxed and calm and be aware of what we needed to do and what sort of last-minute changes needed to be made. You have to have a level of respect for the machine – and if you aren’t nervous and at least a little bit worried, you can get into trouble in a hurry.”



San Luis nannies

Things have a way of just sort of happening for Ashlee Leonardo. So it seems logical that her new venture, San Luis Nannies, will just sort of happen, too.

Last September, almost immediately after taking a “leap of faith” and deciding to move from Seattle to San Luis Obispo she met a couple from San Luis Obispo that wanted to take a year-long sabbatical to - you guessed it - Seattle. “They wanted someone to take care of their beautiful, amazing home while they were away, so it worked out perfectly and has allowed us to get a foothold here,” says Leonardo.

Another example of Leonardo’s synchronicity: she first met her husband, Tony, when his parents moved from San Luis Obispo to her hometown of Hamilton, Montana when they were just eleven years old. After Leonardo studied Psychology and Child Development at the University of Hawaii, the couple relocated to Seattle so that she could pursue a career in childcare and her husband could train to become a commercial pilot. She confides, “I was losing my spirit a bit in the big city, and really wanted my daughter to grow up in a small town.”

Leonardo continues, “We want to be here, this is where we belong, but I knew we had to get creative to make it work. I am passionate about childcare - it’s just so important - and I started talking to local moms and asking them what they thought of this idea (a nanny agency), which is not a new one, this is how it’s done in all the major cities. The difference here is that it will be much smaller and more personal, of course.”

And it does appear that nanny agencies, such as San Luis Nannies, are tried-and-true businesses in larger, metropolitan areas. The concept is simple: prospective nannies are prequalified, screened, and profiled for an ideal match with a local family. The family can set up a work schedule, according to Leonardo, “It may only be a few hours a week that a family needs help – maybe during the ‘witching hour,’ say 4 to 6, each night before dinner.” The agency then looks at their current roster of nannies and arranges for an interview with the family. Once a match is made, the family pays a fee to the agency for establishing the relationship and the family employees the nanny directly, usually at an hourly rate ranging from $10 - $15 per hour.

The benefit to the family is that they get a professional, qualified nanny (San Luis Nannies runs extensive background checks and is insured for the work they do) who has been specifically matched to suit their style and personality. According to Leonardo, “There is nothing worse than having a nanny who encourages the kids to stay inside just because she would rather read books with them, when the parents prefer to have them outside exploring or vice versa. Family culture really does matter a lot in the placement.”

So far, Leonardo has created a business plan, worked out the extensive licensing and insurance requirements, launched her website, and has begun interviewing nannies. “For me, as small or as big as it grows, I’m okay with that, I just really want to provide a valuable service to the community.”

| StA rt up
ASHLEE LE on A rdo San Luis nannies
a person, usually with special training, employed to care for children in a household. 36 | slo life magazine
LIFE nan·ny [nan-ee]


I had never considered becoming a vegetarian; I just ate the way I was raised, as most people do. About 11 years ago I joined Weight Watchers and became good friends with my Weight Watchers’ leader, and the woman I consider a mentor, Debbie (Bennett) Gedayloo. Educated in Holistic Nutrition, Debbie began teaching Vegan and Raw Cooking at the San Luis Coastal Adult School and I enrolled in her courses. After a lot of research and realizing how healthy a plant-based diet can be, I became a vegetarian. It has turned my life around. My body feels so much more energized now. I am turning 71-years-old this month, and I don’t feel it. Just last year I trained and walked a full marathon. I never could have done that before my diet change. I didn’t have that edge.

Zucchini Pasta a lfredo Adopted from RAWvolution Serves 3-4 ingredients

3/4 Cups Thai Coconut Water 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled 1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Cup Raw Pine Nuts, Cashews or a Combination 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg 6 to 8 Zucchini, peeled and cut like spaghetti [use a Spirooli Slicer or a potato peeler to slice and then cut into strips]

* Nancy had a yam leftover from her organic harvest box that she peeled, sliced and included in this recipe for appealing color and flavor. Instructions

1. In a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients except the zucchini noodles and blend until smooth.

2. Put the zucchini noodles in a serving bowl, pour the Alfredo sauce over the top of them, mix well and serve.


The texture of the zucchini noodles improve when they are left to sit in the open air at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.

38 | slo life magazine
l ocal food by local P eo P le
Deliciously Healthy
Kale s alad Serves 4 - 6 ingredients 8 Cups Torn Kale 2 Large Navel Oranges, peeled, cut into thin rounds 1/4 Cup Pecans, chopped 1/4 Cup Raisins soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice Salt & Pepper to taste Instructions 1. In a large bowl, place kale, 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. sea salt. Massage until kale turns bright green and softens. 2. Add oranges, nuts, raisins and olives. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, salt and pepper until well blended. 3. Add liquid to kale mixture and toss gently, yet thoroughly to combine. S ort & Spa GARDENS OF AVILA RESTAURANT creating memorable moments one event at a time... 595-7302 | 1215 Avila Beach Drive San Luis Obispo C E L E B R A T E with family C E L E B R A T E with friends C E L E B R A T E with elegance | Private Events | Reunions| | Garden Ceremonies | Intimate Receptions | | Celebrations | Event space accommodating 10-100 people. BOOK NOW for the Spring Savings Special. photos provided by Mike Larson Photography 38 | slo life magazine

has since moved, and I have taken over the Vegan and Raw Cooking classes at the Adult School. I know that it is hard for people to stray from what they are used to, especially when it comes to food, which is in large part why I continue to teach my cooking classes. I want to give people the opportunity to come and learn what types of things they can be cooking, that are tasty and healthy for you, as well.

Heaping Tablespoons Unpasteurized Miso

Teaspoon (or less) Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heaping Tablespoon Nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2 Cups Water Instructions 1. If using a Vitamix, the entire recipe can be mixed at once on high for 6 minutes or until steaming.

If using a traditional blender, blend in two batches. Warm soup to enhance flavors.

slo life magazine | 39 c oconut c rème yields Approximately 3 Cups ingredients 3
en sou P Serves 4 ingredients 1/2
Central Coast Farmers’ Harvest • Fresh Picked & Locally Grown Pesticide Free Produce • Direct Delivery to Your Home or Business • Weekly or Every Other Week Delivery Option • No Contract Required Eat Healthy, Eat Local Serving • San Luis Obispo • Avila • • Los Osos • Five Cities • • Nipomo • 805.709.2780 slo life magazine | 39
Cups Baby Thai Coconut Meat
to 3/4 Cups Coconut Water
Teaspoons Vanilla
Nectar to taste
1. Blend coconut meat and coconut water until creamy. 2. Add vanilla and agave to taste. This is a great pie filling, fruit topping, and can be used in place of yogurt. Have a recipe to share? Go to to tell us about it.
enth heaV
Cucumber, with peel if organic
Red Pepper, cored and deseeded
Cup Lemon Juice
Tablespoon Ginger Root, peeled and chopped
Whole Cloves Garlic, peeled
Cup Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Cups Cilantro, chopped
Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
Tablespoons Flax Oil

Dan De vaul

A little more than a year ago, when he was found guilty on charges of illegally housing tenants on his property, Mary Partin, a juror – one of twelve that had voted to convict – turned around and bailed him out of jail the next day using her own personal funds. Partin later told reporters that she “regretted her guilty votes and wanted to help him.” We wanted to know more about the man who had inspired such unusual behavior and stirred what must have been a powerful mixture of feelings and empathy within a perfect stranger. At the same time, we were looking for a fresh perspective for this much-told story, so we decided to dispatch our own Cal Poly intern and journalism student, Marisa Bloch, to have a look around Sunny Acres. Here is what she found…

AAs I pulled off of Los Osos Valley Road and drove into the dirt driveway of Sunny Acres Ranch on a crisp Friday morning, my eyes moved from wine barrels, to piles of wood, to broken-down cars and machinery, and finally to an old barn/house. A small sign with the word “office” along with an arrow directed me to my destination. I came to a stop in what seemed to be a parking spot, an empty space between a line-up of old cars - some looking as if they hadn’t run in years.

I stepped out of my car, not sure what to do next. There were no signs directing me toward the office, but instead before me stood an old, falling down barn, complete with chickens and roosters. There were people diligently going about their daily work, and none of them stopped to acknowledge my existence. As I looked around somewhat perplexed, I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Just then I heard a woman yell out from a balcony above me, “Someone’s here! She’s a young girl and she just got out of her Honda.” There was a pause, and then she said to me, “He’ll be right down.” The “he” she was referring to was 67-year-old rancher, Dan De Vaul.

De Vaul soon appeared in a doorway ahead and slowly began to amble toward me with a slight limp that, I would learn later, was due to partial paralysis resulting from an automobile accident back in 1970. He stood before me in his well-worn button-up long sleeve shirt, his dirty blue jeans held up by suspenders, and a beige cowboy hat that looked like it had never left his head. There was no smile on his face, no excitement to meet me. There was a gruff hello, followed by my short introduction. Then he led me toward his office, which was a little cubby-hole-of-a-

space that was located next to where people were working on old cars. It was not a place to sit and contemplate quietly, as there was loud machinery going off all around us. Inside it was dark and furnished with nothing but two chairs, a desk, and a filing cabinet. There were papers strewn about along with a few random, scattered pictures. It did not appear as if De Vaul inhabits his office much. He is a rancher, after all, who spends a great deal of his time operating heavy equipment on the property.

The Sunny Acres program, it seems, is a two-way street in that the residents are there to rehabilitate, but they also supply the labor at the ranch, which is important to De Vaul, especially since he has a lot of physical limitations. The people that participate in the program are required to pay $400 per month (recently increased from $300), which includes all of their room and board, and recovery meetings. The tenants have the opportunity to work off part of their fee by laboring on the ranch.

And, the residents have a wide variety of tasks to choose from. They can fix machinery, work on construction, assist with farming, cook meals, cut wood, make wine barrels, and much more. All of the residents’ hard work is what helps keep Sunny Acres going. De Vaul sells the wine barrel planters and firewood year-round, plus fruits and vegetables when they are in season, and pumpkins and Christmas trees at their appropriate times, as well.

It was interesting to learn, however, that when I sat down to begin our interview I was not dealing with a simple rancher, as his appearance would indicate. De Vaul is surprisingly “media-savvy” and his first question to me was: “What’s your [story] angle?” Before I started into the interview, De Vaul had already begun rambling off what seemed to be his generic, prepared speech for the media.

He began by telling me that he was born and raised on the ranch, he had attended Cal Poly for a short time as well as Arizona State University. He had returned to San Luis Obispo to help his father run the ranch and, after he passed away, De Vaul took it over. But, my research told me all of this already and I was looking for something new – I was determined to understand the man and his motivations, but, first, I would have to wait for him to get through his monologue.

40 | slo life magazine
| fresh perspective
Upon losing his appeal, an uncertain future awaits.

“We started running Sunny Acres in the late 90s’ but it didn’t become a non-profit until 2002,” said De Vaul. He asserts that, from the day he opened the facility, the County and State were both against it. “They said we couldn’t do it here. I wouldn’t give up. I was going to do it one way or another and that struggle still continues today.”

On February 18th, De Vaul lost his appeal and has vowed to continue the fight. “We will just have to appeal to a higher court like Ventura.”

Next, De Vaul took me on a tour of the rest of the ranch in his white, stick shift, pick-up that was anything but shiny and new. I climbed in, the old engine rattled to life, and we took off to tour the parts of Sunny Acres that most people don’t see. I saw the accommodations they had built that were condemned. It was a two-story building with a couple of community bathrooms, a kitchen, several bedrooms, and a lot of open space. Now, however, it is solely being used for storage. Since the residents are no longer allowed to reside in the structure, they are now living in what look like little wooden bungalows, glorified sheds, really. They do fit two people, but it appears to be a tight squeeze.

The modest accommodations are all furnished, carpeted, with new paint, and measure about eight feet by eight feet. At any given time, there are somewhere from 8 to 12 people that do not live in these little huts, but instead live in the comparatively comfortable farmhouse. De Vaul himself lives in the attic of the barn, which from the outside appears run-down and far from spacious.

When we returned to the barn, I was able to sit down with Jess Macias, De Vaul’s second-in-command and an addict himself. He has been at Sunny Acres for nine years and insists that Dan has been a great mentor to him during that time. He confided that De Vaul is an authority figure, but that he usually gets across to people in the program in a way that others cannot and usually gains their respect. “He doesn’t have to do any of this for us. He doesn’t need the money. He could up and leave at any time, but instead he went to jail for us, and to fight for something he believes so strongly in,” said Macias.

De Vaul does have a certain level of “street cred” with his tenants because he, too, is an addict. “I’ve been off drugs for about 30 years, off alcohol for about 20 years, and off cigarettes for about 15 years,” states De Vaul. He said he knows how it is to be in the state his residents are in, which is what he says motivates him to make Sunny Acres a successful program.

He then pivots back into his sales pitch for Sunny Acres, claiming it is one of the cheapest programs out there with work, food, and a place to stay. “Since we have the space we don’t usually have to turn people away, and they can stay as long as they want, provided they follow the rules and contribute around the ranch.”

As we continued our drive around the property, De Vaul stopped to show me different things, as well as to resolve issues he would spot with the tenants - he called it “putting out fires,” which did carry more than a little bit of irony considering the actual fire that took place there in July of 2009. Without question, he is a stern man, who appears to strictly enforce the rules, which clearly has gained him the respect of all the people living on the ranch. During one of those unplanned stops, he checked in with a tenant who had been accused of consuming alcohol. De Vaul was quick to ask if the supervisor had brought out a Breathalyzer. De Vaul appears to take the program very seriously, and could not fairly be accused of coddling the residents. I scratched out a note, which read: “tough love.”

Up to this point, De Vaul had been in interview mode, skillfully working down a mental checklist of talking points. He was going through the same routine, which I am certain he went through with all the other journalists that have visited the property. However, in a split second that all changed when the truck lurched to a sudden stop and a knowing smile crept onto his face.

On the ground, no more than fifteen feet away, was a full-grown hawk locked onto its latest prey - a little gopher that was putting up a valiant struggle, but clearly was not getting away on this day. De Vaul turned to me and said, “That is a sight to see. Most people never get to see something like that.” It was a breakthough and, for the first time that day, I felt that I caught a small glimpse of the real Dan De Vaul.

We continued on our drive and he showed me the kitchen, and all of the broken-down tractors and machinery. Although these machines are not pleasing to the eye, and look as if they won’t start, they are unique because, according to De Vaul, they all run and serve some purpose on the ranch. “My guys fix all of the equipment so it can run, and when it breaks down, they fix it again. They get to feel a sense of worth and responsibility,” he explained.

De Vaul, finding his rhythm, takes it up a notch. “Most people that are against Sunny Acres either have a private axe to grind or they don’t have the information about what goes down here. People don’t realize that we haven’t had any trouble that has extended to our neighbors. We have had to call the police out here to arrest people because they are drinking or whatever the problem may be, but this hasn’t spilled over to the neighbors,” claims De Vaul. For the most part, the residents of Sunny Acres must stay on the property unless they need to leave for appointments. Otherwise, they are not out in the community but working on the ranch.

As if to strengthen his pitch, De Vaul adds that he was “recently talking to a clinical psychologist in the field of addiction and recovery” and he relates that [the unnamed psychologist] stated that about half the homeless people in the area are veterans. “That’s shocking,” observes De Vaul. “In our wars in the past like Vietnam, we are not realizing the people we are messing up. And in Iraq and Afghanistan, once these people come home and try and adjust to everything else, that’s when the problem is going to hit.”

De Vaul takes a deep breath, scans the horizon then continues. “I fight for this so much because I believe in this program and I have been there myself, but another part of me is just irritated now with the County, because they are continuing to fight me on this. I really enjoy what I’m doing. It’s my retirement. I wish I could get Sunny Acres to be selfsustainable so I can back off a bit. The program needs to grow a bit more, and get some of its problems worked out first. Gradually it’s all getting worked out and we are looking for a better day.”

As De Vaul began to wrap up his pitch for Sunny Acres - his closing argument - my mind drifted back to the hawk that so thoroughly transfixed him earlier in the day. And, it occurred to me for the first time that, perhaps it wasn’t the hawk that De Vaul stopped to admire, but, maybe, just maybe, he was feeling some type of kinship with that little gopher who was putting up one hell of a fight.

slo life magazine | 41
[ ]

Jim Jacobson

With at least a dozen major public installations locally, it is nearly impossible to drive from one side of San Luis Obispo to the other without seeing something that Jim Jacobson has built. And, while his sculptures at places like City Hall (“American Spirit”) and the bridge at the Public Works Department (“Seven Sisters”) may be among his most well known works, Jacobson has many more to his credit. Below are just a few…

Wheat “Research is the crux of my sculptures as I probe into the people, the place, and the purpose whether it is public art or privately commissioned.”

Abstract Mobile “I have a fascination with mobiles which has surfaced in my art periodically over the past 30 years.”

Floating Red “I sculpt in a variety of media because I find the three dimensional aspects more intriguing, more exciting and more challenging than two-dimensional renderings.”

Candle Sticks “My art is abstract, often minimal and sometimes architectural, sometimes as small as a desk weight or as large as a 25-foot high public or private commission.”

Pierced “I derive many of my ideas and inspirations from my physical surroundings and extrapolate those visions into abstract and geometric shapes and designs.”

| 43 THE ARTS |
I most enjoy conjuring three dimensional ideas and rotating them in my mind until there is balance and excitement.
“ ”

Balé Folclórico da Bahia carnival march 8th @ 7:30pm christopher cohan center

In a spectacular display of color, movement, music and drama, Balé Folclórico da Bahia offers visual fireworks and feats from Brazil. This eventful evening comes with a “fasten your seatbelts” warning as an array of singers, dancers, drummers, and vibrant color and movement fill the stage.

26th Annual Rib Cook-Off thursday, april 28 @ 6:00pm downtown Farmers’ market

Five Downtown barbecuers will compete for top honors at the 26th Annual Rib Cook-Off. This hugely popular event attracts people from near and far who come to “munch ‘dem bones” and join the fun.

this is rock ‘n’ roll February 18th - march 20th SLO Little Theatre

This incredible journey through the birth of rock and roll follows the life of notorious DJ Alan Freed – aka “Mr. Rock ‘n Roll.” Experience the rise and fall of this American legend in a dazzling show featuring a live band, swingin’ singers, dynamic dancers, and the classic tunes that created the soundtrack of our lives.

44 | slo life magazine | community calendar
Handmade, Organic, Fair Trade 44 | slo life magazine
1445 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo 805.782.9868 Local,

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival march 9 - 13

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival continues to grow and thrive as an oasis for independent filmmakers to screen their films and have face to face contact with enthusiastic audiences in talk-back sessions and workshops.

Check out Chicks ‘n Flicks at the Monday Club – a program focused on the role women have played in the film industry during the last one hundred years.

the mikado may 3rd @ 7:30pm christopher cohan center

Gilbert’s lyrics and Sullivan’s melodies have delighted operetta lovers for more than a century. The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and a live orchestra bring a modern playfulness to one of their beloved classics, filled with favorite characters, lush tunes, and colorful costumes. Big and bawdy, cunning and clever, it’s never been more fun.

earth day Slo 2011 april 23rd @ 11:00am - 5:00pm el chorro regional Park

The Earth Day Alliance and SLO Botanical Gardens are collaborating with the Air Pollution Control District, Environmental Center of SLO County, RTA, Rideshare and others to set the foundation of this fun-filled family event.

slo life magazine | 45
SPECIALIZING IN: Gymnastics ages 8 mo - 18 yrs Cheerleading Acrobatic Gymnastics Tumble & Trampoline ages 4 - 18 yrs Dance ages 3 and up 549-8408 16,000 sq ft of Fun & Fitness! Located between DMV & Trader Joe’s Dog Training • Premium Daycare • Boarding • Grooming FIRST DAY OF DAYCARE FREE! 173 Buckley Road • San Luis Obispo (805) 596-0112 Amanda Barnes Licensed insurance agent Life • LTC • Di • AnnuiTies Protect the ones YouLove 805.423.2187 Professionally Managed 4 to 24 Hour In-Home Care • Personal Care • Compatibility Guaranteed • Transportation • Affordable Rates • Meal Preparation • State & Federal Compliant Because There’s No Place Like Home... 805.781.8156 • 888.439.8800 slo life magazine | 45


The book that started the “happy” talk.

Not long after Thrive hit the bookshelves naming San Luis Obispo one of the happiest places on Earth, we received a call from someone on the city council in Whitefish, Montana. He was thinking about coming out for a visit, so he bought a subscription to our magazine to learn more about the area. Then, a couple of months later, Oprah Winfrey featured the book and its findings on her television show. We decided that we really should know what was in this thing, so we read it ourselves and here’s what we found…

On the heels of his first best seller about healthy aging (Blue Zones – Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest), Dan Buettner collaborates again with his publisher, National Geographic, this time to discover the secrets of the people in the world’s happiest places. In his book, Buettner profiles four places that landed at the top of the recent Gallup World Poll and seeks to find similarities and differences between them. Those four places are: San Luis Obispo; Singapore; Monterrey, Mexico; and Denmark.

The book itself is a relatively quick, entertaining read at 245 pages. Despite the interesting findings about happiness, the most intriguing components are found in Buettner’s interaction with the people of the places he is visiting. These vignettes read like a first-person travel journal and are as refreshing as they are revealing. Below is an excerpt, in which the author describes his first SLO Farmer’s Market experience:

And it wasn’t just the diversity of the food that was on display: On one remarkable stretch of curb, the booth to the gay-lesbian alliance sat next to the libertarian booth, which was next to a population control booth, which was next to the California Highway Patrol booth (with two CHiPs standing out front in full khaki uniforms, complete with Ray-Ban aviators), which was next to the Nation of Islam booth across the street from a dream interpretation tent. Smoke from a barbecued rib joint wafted over a vegan stand, and every time I walked by the Asian barbecue area they stopped chopping whatever they were chopping, smiled, and waved. Tolerant people appeared to be happy people.

Another telling interaction comes when Buettner checks into Petit Soleil after arriving in SLO for the first time. After a long, late night drive up from L.A., he found that the front desk had closed but there was a key taped on the door with his name on it attached to a note that read: “See you in the morning!” So, Buettner woke the next day and went to the office to pay his bill and inquire about where to find a place to rent a bicycle. The inn keeper, John Conner, then walked him around front, unlocked one of two house bikes, “a sturdy chrome cruiser painted candy-apple red,” and handed it to him. Buettner then tried to give Conner his credit card to which he says: “Oh, let’s do it later… it’s easier on my brain that way.” To which Buettner asked, “But what if I just pedal off with your sweet

bike and don’t come back?” Conner then beamed, “I trust you.”

Buettner goes on to interview some other locals around SLO. A sampling includes: Leslie Mead, who lives in the Edna Valley and works as a wine maker in Arroyo Grande. She tells a familiar story about how she took a pay cut to move here, but decided the lifestyle tradeoff was well worth it. Next up is Russell Brown, pastor at the Old Mission. Brown shares his story about his deliberate decision to change his course in life. Then, Pierre Rademaker, talks about his experience moving to SLO 25 years ago and how it impacted his life and now those of his employees (the office closes at noon on Fridays). And, an extensive conversation with former mayor Kenneth Schwartz, who cites the building of Mission Plaza as the starting point for San Luis Obispo’s renaissance. According to Schwartz: “It was that Mission Plaza that changed everything. Businesspeople opposed it hugely, but it turned out to be a bonanza for them.”

Buettner then wraps up his Chapter Five called, “San Luis Obispo: A Real American Dream,” with a section called “Lessons from SLO” in which he shares with the reader his findings summarized below:

Anti-smoking Policies Can Make People Happier “SLO was the first city to enact anti-smoking legislation in bars and in outdoor public places.”

Minimize Signs “... both Rademaker and Schwartz agree that ‘signs beget more signs,’ so the city strictly limits their use.”

Prohibit Drive-through Restaurants “Originally written to tamp down traffic in the 80’s this ordinance makes it much more difficult to indulge a hunger pang with a cheeseburger.”

Build a Greenbelt “One of the biggest casualties of sprawl is recreation. A gym just can’t replace convenient access to parks, hiking trails, and wildlife preserves – beautiful areas to enjoy and to get the body moving.”

Support the Arts “Happy people have access to art - painting, film, sculpture, orchestra, opera, and rock and roll - and live in homes and communities that are themselves attractive to the eye.”

Favor the Pedestrian “... making walking and bicycling easy, convenient, and safe as this too facilitates happiness.”

Make it Easy to Work for Yourself “The more autonomy and control you have over your job, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with your work.”

Build a Town Square “… the people of San Luis Obispo refocused their town’s resources inward to a Mission Plaza to give people a place to meet socially, to provide a venue for the arts, and to serve as an icon of civic pride.”

46 | slo life magazine
| Book review
A Civic Project Can Galvanize a Population “One small project that rallies a community to make a difference can send a lasting message that citizens can have a voice in government.”
“ ”
slo life magazine | 47
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