SLO LIFE Magazine Summer 2010

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Meet Lief McKay home The Minnery Family + Premier Issue! recipes, announcements, neighbors and more... Summer 2010 whirlwind romance, moped mishap & rugby
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Publisher’s Message

Eight years ago I was hard at work in my office at The New York Times, fully absorbed in yet another deadline when my wife called with life-changing news: we were going to become parents. The intense and overwhelming joy I felt was followed by an almost reflexive instinct to slow life down. Each ultrasound appointment increased my resolve to find and relocate our little family to the best place on Earth.

In the months that followed we talked almost non-stop about where to plant roots, the type of parents we hoped to be, and the life we wanted for our family. We started the process by creating a list of 20 or so communities that we imagined would be a good fit for us. San Luis Obispo steadily climbed our Top 20 throughout our many visits and ended up in the number one spot.

As it turns out, relocating to San Luis Obispo is easier said than done. It would take us nearly six years - just before our baby girl started kindergarten – for the stars to align for us. Our little family, which is no longer so little with the addition of two boys, often stops to marvel at the magic of our hometown.

The magazine that you hold in your hands is a celebration of the good people who make it happen here every day, you and I, our friends and neighbors. We all talk about the fantastic weather and the beautiful landscape, but it’s really the people who make the “SLO Life” what it is. This magazine is dedicated to you. This is your story and I invite you to join me in sharing it.

As you read through this first issue, you will notice that we ask for leads on interesting stories, insight into what’s new in SLO, listings for the Community Calendar, recipes, and announcements. Please take a minute to visit our website at and send us your contributions. Also, I would love to receive your feedback on what we have created here, so please send an email to me at and let me know what you think.

Live the SLO Life!

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slo life magazine | 5 go to www.livetheslolifecom for submissions and more | 5 contents 10 Meet Your Neighbor: life in the SLO lane with Lief The Way We Live: at home with The Minnery Family 18 24 Local Food by Local People: SLO families share their favorite recipes 8 How I Found My Way Here: from Sweden to San Luis Obispo 6 14 20 26 30 16 22 28 Word on the Street : what does the SLO Life mean to you? The Way It Was : Virginia Hurley shares her story Let’s Talk Business : advice for the entrepreneur To Your Health : omega family fued No Place Like Home : cattle, cowboys and campfires Real Estate : learn how to forecast like the pros Community Calendar : the best SLO has to offer Milestones & Memories : spreading good news far and wide 2584 Victoria Ave. San Luis Obispo 805.541.1082 1149 W. Tama Lane Santa Maria 805.922.7742 Your cars are your second largest investment, and we’ll help you take care of them. At Rizzoli’s we understand that different cars have different purposes, we can provide service for all your cars to keep them safe and reliable. And we always keep your budget in mind! For a full line of cars serviced visit Service for your family of vehicles Personal service and exceptional car care for over 30 years

Talk of the Town

What does the “SLO Life” mean to you?

The SLO Life to me is easy and relaxed, not so much of the city bustle. You can live here without a care or a worry, whether you are retired, working, whatever lifestyle... that’s why they call it SLO.

Uncle Sol

The SLO Life means relaxing, basking in the sun, having a good meal and going downtown.


...the SLO Life is having big city fun with a small town feel.

Lacey McNamara

The SLO Life means relaxing and taking a walk on a Sunday afternoon, it means to just walk downtown for some coffee and lunch and walk home. What could be better than the SLO Life?



It’s Summertime! Hit the open road and enjoy the fresh air... Stop into SLO Mopedtoday! • over 100 miles to the gallon! • European craftsmanship • 2009 models on sale now • We also service and repair all mopeds and have hard-to-find vintage parts 169 Granada Drive, Suite 3 San Luis Obispo 805.544.PEDS (7337) “ ” “ ” “ ”

How I Found My Way Here our path from Sweden to SLO

An Interview with The Skvagerson Family

“The late 60’s were a crazy time,” explains Lena Skvagerson. “My father was a Westpoint Cadet stationed in Germany for a short time when he met my mom. She is from Sweden, but was going to college there. They were both very young, only 18 or 19 years old. I was about 2 years old when my dad returned to the States, and my mom moved back to Sweden. My dad’s mother – my grandmother – kept in touch with my mom. I was her first grandchild.”

“When I was growing up in Sweden,” Lena continues, “my grandmother used to send me packages with books and other goodies. Since long distance calls were so expensive, my grandmother would record herself talking and mail the cassette tapes to me. She would tell me all about my dad, what he was like, what it was like in America. I really couldn’t speak English until I was probably 13, but I loved hearing her voice even before I could understand what she was saying.”

Fast forward to 1997 - Lena and her husband, Johan, along with their two kids, Hilda and Luke, set out to meet Lena’s “American Family” for the first time. “It was such an amazing visit for so many reasons. We have a really close relationship with my dad – I found out that I am so much like him – now we are all one big family. Even my mom back in Sweden recently ‘friended’ my dad and his wife on Facebook,” Lena laughs.

It was during their second trip to the US that the Skvagersons started thinking seriously about moving here. “My half-sister was going to school at Cal Poly and we went to visit her and just fell in love with the area, plus we were tired of six months of winter,” recalls Lena. Five years later, after much help from her father, who hired an immigration attorney to facilitate the process, the Skvagerson Family arrived in town with only two suitcases each.

Their son, Luke, was 13 years old when they settled and he enrolled at Laguna Middle School. Hilda, then 15, began at San Luis Obispo High School. After some initial culture shock, the difficult days of transition quickly became a thing of the past at the Skvagerson household. Both of the teens are excelling in school and are looking forward to attending college in the near future. Lena recalls, “when we first moved here, we said that we would give it two years to see how it goes, but now we all say ‘no way, we are not going back’ so we just sold our house back in Sweden... we’re going to stay here forever.”

When asked what really motivated the move three years ago, Lena, who is employed by GarnStudio, a Norway-based yarn manufacturer, quickly identifies “family, weather, and the American Dream.” Johan, the proprietor of NordicMart, an online yarn store, too believes that his family is living proof of the American Dream. He has recently opened a retail outlet in the Soda Water Works building downtown where he has a unique selection of hard-to-find Nordic gifts and treats. He adds the “friendly people” to the list. “For example, we have a dog, and every day when we walk the dog, people stop, even in their car, and ask what kind of dog we have and say ‘what a great dog’… That would never happen in Sweden.”

How did you find your way here? Go to and tell us your story.

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Meet Lief McKay

his life in the SLO lane

In the first installment of our “Meet Your Neighbor” series, SLOLIFEMagazine sat down to talk with Lief McKay (he pronounces his last name as if it rhymed with “McGuy”). He is an Australian native and twelve-year resident of San Luis Obispo, who, together with his wife, Amy, a local artist and landscape designer, have two young children, Ian and Maggie. Lief stays active in SLO-based charities, works as a landscape architect employed by RRM Design Group and is the President of the SLO Rugby Club. Here is his story…

Where are you from originally, Lief?

I’m from a small town of 5,000 people or so about 2 hours southwest of Sydney, Australia. It’s a rural town. My mom is a school teacher and my dad was a potter. He passed away when he was only 46. He was an artisan and made really fine pottery. I have a younger brother, Huw, who is an economist. He’s sometimes interviewed on the news about the particulars of Asian economies, which is his specialty. I went to university in a city called Canberra, which is about 4 hours south of Sydney. While I was there I had an opportunity to come to Cal Poly for an exchange to continue my studies in landscape architecture.

What was it like coming to San Luis Obispo the first time?

I arrived in town, knew nothing, knew no one. I didn’t have accommodations squared away so I went up to the Lab, which is what they call the landscape architecture studio at Cal Poly, and was looking for ads seeking roommates. You know the kind where you tear off the phone number on the bottom of the paper. I called on one of them and, unbeknownst to me, it was Amy’s number. She and a girlfriend of hers were looking for a housemate. I called on it and they weren’t home, so I left a message. School hadn’t started yet, so I didn’t know her from anyone else in the world. I didn’t have time to wait around because I was staying in a hotel and it was getting expensive, so I called another place and took it sight unseen. Not 20 minutes after I committed to this other place I get a call from Amy saying she got the message and I had to tell her ‘sorry, I found something else.’ That’s really the first time we met.

Then when did you first meet in person?

School started and I show up at class and get introduced to everyone as one of the two exchange students there. It just so happened that Amy was in the class too and she figured out pretty quickly that I was the voice on the other end of the phone about the room for rent. We hit it off immediately and had a whirlwind romance. We were engaged within 3 months of that day.

Wow, that was fast! What happened next?

We finished the year together there at Cal Poly and then Amy came back with me to Canberra for my last year in university. She was able to do the same exchange I did in reverse. We got married at the end of that school year in Australia. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary last December.

What was the plan from there? We really didn’t have a plan at the time, to be honest. We decided to come back to San Luis Obispo, but we had to go through this long, convoluted immigration process. Right after we got married Amy had to leave because she was on a student visa that was expiring and my paperwork wasn’t even close to being ready to move to the States. So we were newlyweds, but we had to spend the Millennium New Year’s Eve at opposite sides of the world. I was at the Sydney Opera House and I believe she was in San Francisco somewhere. It was pretty ironic, we had just been married and here we are so far apart. So, everyday I’m calling the US Consulate, you know, I’m newly married, but my wife has left and I want to be with her. I’m basically begging these guys to help me out and I finally get through to someone who is sympathetic to my story and he says to come in on such-and-such a date with your wife for a meeting and if everything checks out my visa will be issued.

But, at the time Amy is still back in SLO finishing out her last year at Cal Poly? That’s right. And, we just paid for our wedding and we’re just completely broke. We had to spend the cash we got as a wedding gift to buy a ticket and she was there in Australia for about the same amount of time that she was in the air. We

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were completely stressed out because we had so much riding on this moment. We were trying to coordinate our stories so that everything checked out in the interview. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Green Card’ it was a lot like that. So, we got ourselves all worked up and are basically freaking out and thinking that we will be placed in two separate rooms for interrogation. You know, the whole ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine. We had been advised to bring proof of the relationship, so we had this huge dufflebag filled with every single keepsake possible, you know, birthday cards, wedding photos, and on and on.

The day of the big appointment finally arrives, so how did it go?

We are cramming like we would for a final exam or something and we get to the bloody consulate for the appointment and I remember walking down a long hallway to a window, which is kind of like something you see at a train station where you can pass papers through a hole at the bottom of the window and it has one of those little metal things that amplifies your voice. Anyway, we passed a few forms under, she stamped it and we were done. They didn’t even look at anything we had brought!

You make your way back to San Luis Obispo, was it a difficult transition?

Amy actually found us a place to live and it was all set up when I came to town. She was finishing up her last year at Cal Poly and I was able to get

a job. I remember driving my moped to work one morning. I stopped off at the Lincoln Deli on Broad Street for a bit of breakfast. Anyway, I somehow ended up merging my moped onto 101. Mind you, this thing tops out at 35 miles per hour. There was a huge big rig that buzzed me doing about 75 and my heart was thumping out of my chest. I ended up turning around somehow and driving back down the onramp. It was an eventful morning.

rugby clubs. They’re not associated with schools. These are guys that are generally really active in their communities and do a lot of socializing around their club. For many small towns, they are like the hub. Most of them have a clubhouse, which is basically a pub attached to their playing field. After the games they invite the opposing team for a celebration. We beat up on each other for 80 minutes but we’re good friends afterward. So, yes, I suppose you could say that, when I moved to San Luis Obispo I was looking to preserve that part of my upbringing a bit.

I understand that you had a game last weekend, how did it go?

Aside from learning how to identify an onramp, did you have any trouble adjusting to life here?

At some point, I think I must have been missing home a bit, so I looked up the SLO Rugby Club and showed up for a game. I got to play right away and met some great people. I knew about the club from my first visit here when I played rugby for Poly during my exchange.

It’s interesting that you sought out rugby as a way to stay connected with Australia.

I had never really thought about it that way, but there’s probably a lot of truth to that. I think it may be similar to you moving to Australia and joining a basketball league with some American guys. Actually, there’s a lot more to it with rugby. What you have in Australia, and around the world, are

It was good, but I took a cheap shot from their fullback. He cracked me around my head and I don’t remember a whole lot right afterward. I got up and I was seeing all sorts of colored spots. He got penalized. I was knocked out there for a moment, I reckon.

How are you doing now?

Much better. I went to the doctor afterward and he said that he thought I had a broken jaw and I thought to myself, oh no… not again. Amy is going to kill me.

You mean, this wouldn’t the first time you have broken your jaw?

The last time it happened was a few years ago, my daughter, Maggie, was only a few days old and it wasn’t a very popular move on my part. They had to wire my mouth shut.

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...I somehow ended up merging my moped onto 101. Mind you, this thing tops out at 35 miles per hour. ” “

What was that like? For some reason it makes me feel a little claustrophobic just thinking about it. They literally get wire and they stitch your teeth together. So, it looks like you got braces that were put on in some back alley. They’re not real neat about it because they know it’s temporary. There’s steel everywhere and you can’t budge. But, they give you these little wire cutters that you keep in your back pocket in case you get into trouble and start choking or something and have to get them off quickly.

So, what’s the prognosis now?

Well, I had to get a CT-Scan, but personally, I don’t think it’s broken. I was only able to fit my pinky between my teeth earlier in the week. Now I can fully open my mouth. I’m pretty sure that it has self-righted. It can’t be broken. [editors note - we are happy to report that Lief has been cleared of all injuries since the interview]

Apart from the occasional bumps and bruises I’ve been pretty fortunate in rugby. I did fracture my sternum, which was maybe the worst but wasn’t that bad, frankly. Some banged up fingers and just typical stuff that anyone would get. I’ve been pretty unscathed really. The last few years, I’ve realized that I’m really not invincible and infinitely young, because the injuries have been piling up apparently.

How did you get involved in rugby in the first place?

Growing up in Australia, it is the biggest thing around. Just like a kid growing up in the States would idolize the guys in the NFL, we would have posters of our favorite rugby players. We’d wear their jerseys to school and play footy on the playground. It’s a bit of a novelty here, but worldwide rugby is huge, the Rugby World Cup is the third most viewed sporting event behind the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup.

…“footy”? That’s what we would call any sort of football sport. It’s slang. If you grow up in the South around Melbourne, footy is Aussie Rules or Australian Rules Football. If you grow up in New South Wales or Queensland it’s one of the two rugby codes. The two codes are quite similar, but there are some differences in the rules. Rugby in Australia is like football here in the States. Not everyone plays it, but everyone watches it or at least knows about it. The same is true about rugby over there.

It was great talking with you, Lief, thanks very much for sharing your story with us. No worries, mate.


The Back You have to feel it — to appreciate it.


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You talk about breaking your jaw with the same casualness I might use to describe my last trip to the grocery store!
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The Way It Was Hurley’s Pharmacy

An Interview with Virginia Hurley

“It was a wonderful journey with John,” remembers 94-year-old San Luis Obispo resident, Virginia Hurley, about life with her pharmacist husband, the late John Hurley. In 1945 the couple purchased the Hotel Drug pharmacy at the Anderson Hotel (today the space is occupied by the jewelry store, SerengetiWest). “We started on a shoestring. I would meet him down there on a Sunday afternoon after he had already worked half the day. And, together we would close the store and put paper on the windows and doors so nobody could see us from outside – you know, we had pride – then we scrubbed the beautiful marble floors and the wonderful old mahogany. It was small and nothing to brag about, but we did what we had to do to.”

< Ground-breaking ceremony in 1956 for the new mall. Pictured left to right are: Loren Krabill (partner in Hawthorne Market); Mrs. Krabill; Virginia Hurley; Jim Bodie (owner of The Favorite Bakery); John Hurley; the man sitting on the tractor over Mr. Hurley’s left shoulder is unidentified; Mrs. Truchan; Frank Truchan; and Ted Maino

According to Virginia, business downtown was “consistently steady” and after 11 years they learned about a new mall being built “on the outskirts of town” by the highly regarded local contractor, Ted Maino. At that time, in 1956, the now-ubiquitous “strip mall,” was dismissed by many as a passing fad in retail. Today, the building still stands in University Square on Foothill Boulevard. The space the Hurleys had occupied is currently vacant; its most recent tenant, Foothill Cyclery, moved out about a year ago.

The decision to relocate from downtown to the then-rural Foothill Boulevard area was considered a risky one at the time, and John Hurley had received an ominous warning from the mayor. “’Mr. Hurley,’ he said, ‘I understand that you are going to move and I want to let you know that I think you are making a big mistake because no one is going to go way out there and you’re going to lose your business.’ And to that John said, ‘Well, I think I am going to try,’” laughs Virginia. “Of course, he [the mayor] didn’t realize the potential of a big area like this opening up… neither did we, really. We just hoped and prayed.”

With the move came a new name: Hurley’s Pharmacy. The larger space allowed for a wider variety of items to be stocked and a

home delivery service was added. At first there were only a smattering of ranches in the area, but before long homes with “diapers and toys in the front yard” started popping up in neighborhoods all around both sides of Foothill Boulevard. Virginia recalls that “the town was growing around us. You felt it and you saw it in the books.”

Medical insurance was rare in those early years of Hurley’s Pharmacy and most customers paid with cash, often charging to a trade account they had with the store. “There was no application they had to fill out or anything like that, but John would talk with them for a bit then he’d okay them. We kept track of it all in a little file box,” explains Virginia.

As the years passed by, many generations of San Luis Obispo families had come to rely on John Hurley and his pharmacy. In 1972 John sold the business to Richard Wilson, who ran it until 1987 when he then sold it again to Dana Nelson. Today, the pharmacy, since renamed Dana Nelson’s HealthPlus, can be found across the parking lot from its original location. Virginia, who remains a loyal customer, is quite fond of the current owner and admires his stewardship of the local institution that she still remembers so clearly on the day they moved in, “it was like walking into heaven.”

Know a bit of history? Go to and share your story.

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Let’s Talk Business

What advice would you give someone starting a business?

One of the things I have observed in my 37 years as CEO of the Chamber, is that it’s easy to go into business - maybe too easy - but it’s difficult to make a business that is successful and will last. Here’s my advice on how to start a sustainable business: 1) Get professional advice. Up-front business, legal and accounting advice is essential; 2) Make sure you really know the business (being a surfer doesn’t qualify you to own a surf shop, for instance). Do rigorous market research on your idea (don’t just ask friends and family!); 3) Have enough cash available to both build your business and to live on for a full year without taking anything out of the operation. Undercapitalized start-up businesses have two strikes against them from the get-go; And, 4) be prepared to put in 10 to 12 hour days six days a week or more. Don’t start a business unless you’re “all-in” and totally committed to success, just “trying it out” will most certainly lead to failure.

Every day great ideas are born, but few of them actually come to fruition, let alone succeed. In the case of Juice Club (now Jamba Juice) we hit on many levels including: having a strong, viable concept, a higher purpose, great timing in the marketplace, excellent brand building and execution, and infinite passion.

I believe these were all key factors that ultimately led to our success. While you need to start with a good idea, it’s then having the vision, resources (and, often resourcefulness), and complete commitment to doing whatever it takes to make your


the best. It’s also that commitment or passion that continues to push you forward and keep you focused when obstacles come into your path - and they will! Finally, you need to be having fun, as starting a business is truly a long journey!

Be thorough in identifying your market. Then decide how you are going to reach the customer - print advertising, broadcast media, internet? Have every “what if” at least thought out, such as how much money will you need to have on hand to pay the bills while waiting for the clients to pay? This is simply called “cash flow” and it is the single most important factor in running a successful business. Many businesses fail because they did not take the time to work out a plan on paper, and then get blindsided when problems arise. Look ahead three to five years and visualize where you would like to be. If you do that you will have a goal to meet, and you will work toward that goal. But, if you don’t have a “fire in the belly” about your undertaking, don’t waste your time and money! Above all, be prepared for a lot of hard work, which will be rewarded by planned success!

Have a business question? Go to to get an answer.

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SLO LIFE Looking for a place to meet with your client? Remember, San Luis Business Center • 6 meetings rooms varying in size • accommodations ranging from 4 to 30 people • courtesy reception to greet your clients • classroom seating available • break room, vending machines, and kitchen 16 | slo life magazine

Of all the decisions we’ve made for our new business locating in the San Luis Business Center has been one of the best. The office was ready for work on the first day, which has allowed us to focus on growing our business. The staff at the San Luis Business Center helps us in so many ways; it’s like being part of a family.

When it came time for us to expand out of our home office, quick research revealed the San Luis Business Center to be a perfect option as a flexible and scalable way to bring instant credibility and support to our business.

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The Way We Live

the Minnery family opens up their home


eff & Leah Minnery knew that they were rolling the dice a bit when they bought their home in August of 2008. “Our realtor actually said to us, ‘if I had children, I would not buy this house’ because we kept seeing a lot of mold on the carpet,” Leah remembers.

Forget the mold for a minute because there were more pressing issues. “The portion of the home inspection report that outlines all of the problem areas of the house was nearly 100 pages long,” explains Jeff, who is an attorney at the law firm of Adamski Moroski Madden & Green and frontman for local band Truth About Seafood. “It really would have been easier if they just told us what was not wrong with it.”

The most immediate problem was that the house seemed to be sinking on one side, as much as six inches, which opened up massive cracks in the walls. At the time of the sale it was possible to stand in certain parts of the house and actually see outside through the walls. The foundation needed major repairs, which was going to involve lifting up one whole side of the house so it could be rebuilt.

“Our budget was so tight and we got four or five bids before deciding to make an offer on the house, and they all came in at twice what we were able to put into it,” explains Leah. Fortunately for the Minnery Family, they now live three doors down from Rob Gantenbein, a local contractor, who also rebuilt his own home and understands the nuances of the Bowden Ranch neighborhood that features an underground water spring. Says Jeff, “he just walked in and he had vision… he said, ‘oh, this is great, we can move walls, we can do this, we can do that,’ he kept coming up with these ideas for how to make what we wanted to do work.”

It was with the confidence they had in their contractor combined with the vision that they had for the Mansard-style house that the Minnery’s boldly submitted an offer. But, their hopes quickly faded when they learned that they had been outbid by a competing offer for the house that was originally designed and built by lifelong SLO resident and community leader, Marybeth Schroeder, in 1966. “We just have a huge passion for this house, just like she [Schroeder] did and we told her son, who was handling the sale that we’ll do our best to restore it because we really love it,” explains Leah. Upon learning that the high bidder intended to tear down the structure, the son decided to sell the home to the Minnerys.

Then the real work began. Walls were removed, the house was lifted by hydraulic jacks, the foundation was repaired, much of the plumbing was redone including the sewer main line which had to be replaced, all new floors installed, it was rewired, many of the windows were upgraded, and the list goes on. Most of the rooms

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The Original 1966 Schroeder Home

were small and compartmentalized, so much of the focus was on opening up the interior for better light and flow. For example, there was one wall in the living room that was particularly dark and was dominated by a massive fireplace. So they decided to remove the chimney and create a space for a gas fireplace insert, which allowed them to fill the wall with windows that now provide views of Bishop’s Peak and Cerro San Luis.

And, what about that mold issue? “Right after we bought the house, whenever people would go upstairs they would start feeling sick and we thought ‘oh, no… there’s mold in the walls after all’ but once we removed the carpet everything was fine,” Leah explains.

The whole project took about eight months from start to finish, during which time the Minnerys were living off-site awaiting their move in. “I truly feel like, and I know this is going to sound cheesy and I hope you don’t print it,” [editor’s note - sorry!] Leah says sheepishly, “but I feel like our home kind of hugs you when you walk in.”

Have a unique home? Know someone who does? Go to to tell us about it.

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Jeff and Leah with their daughters, Hannah and Zoe, exploring the grounds behind their home. SLO LIFE

To Your Health

omega 3’s vs. omega 6’s

While it may sound like some sort of strange sorority competition at Cal Poly, the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet may be one of the most important factors to overall good health.

You do not have to walk far down the aisle at New Frontiers or Spencers to see that the food companies are touting omega-3’s as the latest way to entice you into buying what they are selling. But, just what are omega-3’s and why should we care?

Both omega-3’s and omega-6’s are essential nutrients, which must be obtained from food (in other words, your body cannot produce them but must have them to survive). They are also both unsaturated fatty acids. To tell them apart you would have to look under a microscope where you would see that omega-6’s are “short-chained,” meaning they have few carbon atoms and omega-3’s are “long-chained,” meaning they have more carbon atoms. [editor’s note – stick with us here, there’s a really exciting ending!] In addition, DHA and EPA, which you may have seen on those same food labels, are types of omega-3’s.

What is important to know about all this is not how long or short-chained the omegas are, but the ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s in your diet. In the typical Western diet, this ratio has become completely out of balance, and it is estimated that the ratio is as high as 40 to 1 (omega-6’s to omega-3’s). Most professionals claim that the optimal ratio is somewhere between 2 to 1 and 4 to 1, while others argue with great passion that this ratio must be 1 to 1 as it was believed to be before the Industrial Revolution.

While the biochemistry of the interaction between the omegas is far beyond the scope of this article (it turns out that it has everything to do with inflammation), what is becoming increasingly clear

from the research that has been conducted thus far is that the primary beneficiary of a good omega ratio is the cardiovascular system. The body’s ability to efficiently pump and distribute blood, as simple as it sounds, is likely the single biggest contributor to health and longevity.

Understandably, all of this information can quickly become overwhelming. Just remember this: it’s all about the ratio! Keep it simple and try to eat foods with more omega-3’s and less omega-6’s. Here are some representatives from each family:

Foods Rich in Omega-3’s: fish (watch out for mercury – that’s an entirely different subject), flaxseed, walnuts, cauliflower, cabbage and green-lipped mussels (they have a rare blend of omega-3’s and have been used to treat certain inflammatory diseases like arthritis)

Foods Rich in Omega-6’s: beef (although the grass-fed variety has a much better ratio of 3’s to 6’s), vegetable oil (corn oil is a big one to watch out for), nearly all processed foods, mayonnaise, and margarine

Finally, we here at SLOLIFEMagazine could hardly be considered health experts, but in our many conversations locally with people who do know something about this stuff, we found that the ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s is key and should go to the top of the list when it comes to your health. [editor’s note – well, it may not have been the exciting ending you were hoping for, there were no unexpected twists or turns, but we are pretty jazzed about this discovery and hope you are, too!]

recommended reading:

Flesh foods [meat] in the modern diet are very different because so many animals raised for food today ... no longer graze in the wild. Instead, most are fattened with grains such as corn that provide omega-6 but not omega-3. Moreover, people take in a lot of their fat in the form of vegetable oils and products like margarine made from them; most of these, again, provide omega-6 fatty acids, but not omega-3’s.

Have a health question? Go to and share your curiosity with us.

20 | slo life magazine 20 | slo life magazine
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slo life magazine | 21

No Place Like Home

The V6 Cattle Drive

The V6 Ranch is located just outside Parkfield, a town of 18, known primarily for its proximity to the San Andreas Fault. Encompassing some 20,000 acres, the ranch stretches from Monterey County to Fresno County. Jack Varian got the idea of inviting folks on this family chore after seeing the movie “City Slickers” almost 20 years ago. He figured they have to do the work anyway, why not have folks tag along to help?

The Varians have about 80 horses, plenty of them mild-mannered enough to escort just about any city slicker across the amazing vistas of the V6 Ranch. “It is fantastic!” says Carol Abreu of San Rafael. “There are places where you can see the Coastal Ridge Mountains and the Sierras. It’s just fantastic!”

Many guests from outside California falsely believe our State has all been paved over with sub-divisions. “And, when they come up here in this Diablo Range and see no power lines, and no after-lights, no light, they just say, ‘you mean there are parts of California that are like this?” Varian says with a smile. “And there are.”

Varian and his wife Zee have put their ranch into a conservation easement, which means it can never be subdivided. It is one parcel, forever. “Forever,” he reemphasizes. “Somebody said ‘How long is perpetuity?’ I said I think it’s a long time. We’ve decided that the best way to keep family harmony, as best we can, is to take subdividing out of the formula. I’ve seen too many ranches fought over, where brother loves sister

until the ranch gets divided, and then they hate each other forever. So we decided if we didn’t allow that to happen in the first place, well, they can work it out.”

Jack and Zee’s kids and grandkids all were on horses before they were on their feet. All live and work the ranch. “I hope that Jack and Zee and the rest of the kids and the grandkids understand that what they offer to the people. It’s a big deal!” exclaims Paul Abreul.

Varian embraces holistic land management. He moves cattle often to keep them from overgrazing. On the cattle drive, you help move about 300 head a few miles each day. It’s rugged, but there is running water, and the meals are better than you will find in most restaurants.

Nights are spent at camp, under the stars, in front of the fire. (And, yes, singing cowboy songs.) There is more interaction and connection between cowpokes than there is among most families in front of the TV. “You just don’t get this. You really really don’t,” says Carol Abreu. “You can see pigs, you can hear coyotes. I think it’s a way of life that’s going away.”

It is a way of life a lot of people don’t realize even exists anymore. But, thankfully, it does and it’s right here in our own backyard.

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

22 | slo life magazine
The Central Coast is magnificent in its diversity, and I sometimes wonder if people think I’m fibbing when I talk about all that is available here. Like the V6 Cattle Drive. How many people get a chance to play cowboy with the real McCoy?
22 | slo life magazine

Local Food by


It was late at night when Sue Waterbury received an urgent call from her very pregnant next-door neighbor. “Sue, we need your help…” was all she needed to hear to know a new baby was ready to make his way into the world. The soon-to-bebig-brother, Donovan, who was then one of Sue’s students at the SLO High School

Tiny Tigers Preschool, was sound asleep in his bed when Sue came over and sent his parents on their way to the hospital. Donovan got quite a surprise the next morning, when instead of his mommy…there was his teacher in his bedroom! She comforted him with a warm bowl of Best Ever Granola and shared the wonderful news, “Donovan you have a little brother now.” To this day whenever the smell of Sue’s Best Ever Granola fills the air you can be sure that Donovan will be the first one to knock on her door with his little brother, Harrison, following close behind.

BeST eVer Granola

8 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 ½ cup unprocessed bran

1 ½ cup natural wheat germ (not toasted or honey)

¾ cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 ½ cup dried cranberries

1 cup raisins

• Sue recommends using different dried fruits and nuts for added variety •

1. Stir in oats, brown sugar, bran, wheat germ, walnuts, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Put vegetable oil, honey and vanilla in a small saucepan; heat stirring until bubbly. Pour the liquid over dry ingredients, mixing, thoroughly.

2. Divide the oat mixture evenly and spread on two rimmed cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring once to keep granola evenly browned. While it cools, stir mixture several times to keep it from sticking together. Add cranberries and raisins. Store in an air-tight container. This granola keeps for weeks and is yummy for breakfast or snacks.

24 | slo life magazine
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Local People

Grilled Shrimp and Mango Salsa

Alex LaChapelle loves cooking with her girls, Sadie and Josephine. She sees it as a great way for them to spend time together and a perfect opportunity for her to teach them about the importance of healthy eating. One of their favorite summertime dishes, inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, is grilled shrimp and mango salsa. “This dish is quintessential summer to me,” she explains. “We love to have beach parties and this is one of those dishes where you can prepare everything at home and then just throw the shrimp skewers on the grill at the beach. It’s always a crowd favorite.”

Grilled Shrimp

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined, tails intact Vegetable oil, for grilling

1. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, onion, parsley, basil, mustards, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the shrimp and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

2. Heat a grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the rack or pan with vegetable oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Skewer 5 to 6 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for a dinner serving. Grill the shrimp on each side, until opaque and lightly charred, about 1 1/2 minutes.

manGo SalSa

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (2 onions)

2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 ripe mangos, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over mediumlow heat. Add onions and ginger, and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, 1 minute more. Add the mangos; reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 more minutes. Add orange juice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orange juice has reduced, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, and stir in mint. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

have a recipe to share? Go to to tell us about it.

slo life magazine | 25
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by the numbers

Let’s face it, we love to talk about the local real estate market and we often describe it in terms of temperature, as in “the market is hot” or “real estate has cooled off” which provides a useful visual, but begs the question: “what is really happening in the real estate market?”

In order to understand the market, you have to decipher the meaning of the numbers behind the market. To do this, SLOLIFEMagazine spent several hours studying reams of data with Ron Burkhart, President of the San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors, who explained how to spot trends in the market, and gave us some tools to truly gauge its “temperature.”

According to Mr. Burkhart, this is what we should be paying attention to:

1Total Homes Sold – this is the number of homes that are sold in a given period of time. It does not include “active” or “pending” listings, only those homes where the sale has been completed.

What this number tells us: Total Homes Sold can be a good indication of where the market is, where it has been, and where it’s heading. This is often referred to as overall “volume” as in the “volume of transactions is increasing,” which signifies an active market. Generally, a number going up over a period of time indicates a strengthening market and a number that gets progressively smaller could identify a weakening market.

Caution: you want to make sure to adjust for seasonality, as certain times of the year are often stronger or weaker than others.

2Average Asking Price – here we add up the original asking prices of the total homes sold then divide by the total number of homes sold.

Sum of Asking Prices = $2,000,000 / 5 Total Home Sold = $400,000

What this tells number tells us: this gives us a rough idea of what sellers believe their homes are worth.

Average Selling Price – here we add up the total selling prices of all the homes that sold, then divide again by the total number of homes sold.

Sum of Selling Prices = $1,900,000 / 5 Total Homes Sold = $380,000

4Sales as % of Asking Price – this is a big one, as it indicates how close to the asking price buyers are willing to pay sellers. For example, a home that is on the market for $500,000 and eventually sells for $490,000, essentially $10,000 off the asking price – or a 2% discount – would be represented simply as “98%”... that is, the seller sold his or her home for 98% of the asking price.

What this number tells us: the closer the number is to 100% the less discounting happens to bring a buyer and seller together on a sale. If the number is much lower than the 100% baseline, that means that asking prices are too high for the market and significant discounts are taking place.

5Average # of Days on the Market – this is also a great way to judge what is happening with real estate. With a really hot market listings will sell much more quickly than in a cool one. Days on the market, particularly the direction or trend over a period of time, is good way to gauge the temperature… a hot market will show homes going unsold for fewer days, while a cool market will show homes going unsold for a greater number of days.

What this number tells us: this one is pretty intuitive... when a buyer has a strong desire to make a purchase because he or she may be competing with other buyers, it tends to happen quickly. Conversely, when that strong desire does not exist or there are many options to choose from, decisions may come more slowly.

Home Price

$501,000 - $1,000,000 2009 2010 +/30 48 63.33% $706,703 $722,841 2.28% $664,127 $671,314 1.08% 93.98% 92.87% -1.11% 101 97 -3.96%

$1,000,001 - $2,500,000 2009 2010 +/4 8 100% $1,295,250 $1,582,000 22.14% $1,243,125 $1,411,000 13.50% 95.98% 89.19% -6.79% 140 143 2.14%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors

26 | slo life magazine
the numbers at a glance
the first four months of 2009 to the first four months of
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
- 04/30/09
01/01/10 - 04/30/10)
$100,000 -
2009 2010
15 38 153.33% $446,477 $432,371 -3.16% $417,523 $415,421 -0.05% 93.52% 96.08% 2.56% 95 88 -7.30% Home

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June 1, 3

Event RSVP XV: Chiaroscuro Time 8:00pm

Location Chistopher Cohan Center


Description Presented by Cal Poly Music Department


3, 10, 17, 24

Event Farmers Market Time 6:00pm-9:00pm

Location Downtown SLO Contact

Description More than 120 vendors and various food booths. You’ll also find freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, bouquets of garden-grown flowers, and other seasonal treats.

June 4

Event Art After Dark Time 6:00pm–9:00pm

Location Downtown SLO Contact

Description ARTS Obispo coordinates this monthly event where local galleries and businesses present SLO county art work.

June 4-20

Event Sherlock’s Last Case Location San Luis Obispo Little Theatre Contact

Description Come travel back to Arthur Conan Doyle’s foggy Victorian London to witness hair-raising twists and turns, scenes of odd happenstance and outbursts of comic brilliance.

June 4, 11

Event Concerts in the Plaza Time 5:30 – 7:30

Location Mission Plaza Contact

Event The summer concert series features the best local musicians from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Local restaurants and eateries provide food for hungry concertgoers while Firestone Brewery and Edna Valley Vineyards supply beer and wine for purchase.

June 5

Event Cal Poly Wind Band Concert Time 8:00pm

Location Christopher Cohan Center Contact Description Don’t miss this extraordinary preview of the Cal Poly Wind Ensemble.

June 5

Event Vocal Arts Ensemble Time 8:00pm

Location Mission San Luis Obispo Description Solstice Theme Concert. Children over 6 welcome.

June 5

Event SLO Wine & Grill Affair Time 12:00pm-4:00pm

Location Per Bacco Cellars Contact

Description Enjoy live music and art while local wineries present food and wine pairings. Proceeds benefit Transitions Mental Health Association.

June 5, 6

Event San Luis Obispo Greek Festival Time 11:00am-6:00pm

Location Mission Plaza Contact (805) 546-8337

Description Join St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church for the Annual Greek Festival! There will be Greek food, live music, dancing, and a kid’s area.

June 5, 12, 19, 26

Event Farmers Market Time 8:00am–10:30am

Location Forever 21 Parking Lot Contact Over 60 vendors bring produce directly from the farm within a day of picking. The freshest local produce brought to you by California farmers.

June 6

Event Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Time 7:00pm

Location Christopher Cohan Center Contact

Description Selections from the Mediterranean and Middle East.

June 12

Event Saturday at the Garden Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location SLO Botanical Garden Contact

Description Master gardeners, professional landscapers and garden writers share their knowledge.

June 27

Event Jack House & Garden Tour Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location 536 Marsh Street Contact

Description Guided tours covering the history of the Jack Family and it’s turn of the century estate.

July 2, 9, 16

Event Concerts in the Plaza Time 5:30 – 7:30

Location Mission Plaza Contact

Description The summer concert series features the best local musicians from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Local restaurants provide food while Firestone Brewery and Edna Valley Vineyards supply beer and wine for purchase.


Event Old Fashioned 4th of July Time 11:00am-3:00m

Location Mitchell Park

Description Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday filled with plenty of activities and entertainment for all at Mitchell Park.

July 8-31

Event Showstoppers!

Location San Luis Obispo Little Theatre Contact

Description The Best Shimmies, Shakes, Shines of 5 Time Emmy Award Winner Suzy Miller. Martini Night performances include a light gourmet supper before the show and dessert during intermission.

July 10

Event Saturday at the Garden Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location SLO Botanical Garden Contact

Description Master gardeners, professional landscapers and garden writers share their knowledge.

July 11

Event Pride in the Plaza Time 12:00pm-6:00pm

Location Mission Plaza Contact

Description Gay and Lesbian Alliance Presents the 14th Annual Pride Festival. Vendors, entertainers, kids areas, and a beer garden.

July 13-25

Event Festival Mozaic Time Various

Location Various Conact

Description Rooted in the rich legacy of five centuries of music, presented to you in ways that you can’t experience anywhere but here. Immerse yourself in a musical excursion!

28 | slo life magazine
28 | slo life magazine Gate opens 2:30 p.m. Concert 4:00 p.m. Tickets: $40 chair seating $50 table seating $375 table of 8 Order online ( or call OperaSLO office (805)541-5369 WE ARE THE MUSTANGS Season, Group, and Single Game Tickets on sale at the box of ce by calling 1–866–GO STANGS or online at Like us on Follow us at

July 17-18

Event Renaissance Festival

Time 10:00am-6:00pm

Location El Chorro Regional Park


Description Costumed participants converge in beautiful El Chorro Regional Park to create Donneybrooke, an English Renaissance village, brilliantly decorated for your ultimate summer fantasy entertainment.

July 24

August 8-15

Event A Midsummer Night Dream

Location San Luis Obispo Little Theatre


Description A Shakespearean light-hearted comedy and one of his most popular works. This audience favorite is sure to lift your spirits and make you laugh.

August 6, 13, 20, 27

Event Concerts in the Plaza

Time 5:30 – 7:30

Location Mission Plaza


August 14

Event Saturday at the Garden Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location SLO Botanical Garden Contact

Description Master gardeners, professional landscapers and garden writers share their knowledge.

August 21

Event Broadway by the Sea Time 2:30

Location Chapman House Contact

July 24

Event Studio Open House

Time 10:00am-4:00pm

Location 122 Bressi Place


Description Artist, Amy McKay is holding a Studio Open House. Free wine and cheese event, all available art for sale.

July 25

Event Triathalon

Location Sinsheimer


Description Completion, rather than competition, is the focus of the City of SLO Parks and Recreation Department’s Annual Triathlon. This short course triathlon accommodates the novice and still gives the experienced a challenge.

July 25

Event Jack House & Garden Tour

Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location 536 Marsh Street Contact

Description Guided tours covering the history of the Jack Family and it’s turn of the century estate.

July 30

Event Movie Under the Stars

Time 7:00pm-10:00pm

Location Edna Valley Vineyard


Description Bring you low lawn chair and a picnic. No outside beverages.

August 1

Event Obon Festival

Time 1:00pm-9:00pm

Location Veteran’s Memorial Hall


Description The annual Buddihist event for commemorating one’s ancestors. Music, food, crafts, bonsai, Marshall Arts, Taiko and raffle.

DescriptionThe summer concert series features the best local musicians from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Local restaurants provide food for concertgoers while Firestone Brewery and Edna Valley Vineyards supply beer and wine for purchase. Non-alcoholic beverages also available.

August 8-31

Event Pallet to the Palate

Location Countywide Contact

Description The mission of P2P is to broaden the awareness of the SLO County community about the importance of fresh, local food. This includes the local farmers that grow the food, the families, institutions and chefs that purchase and prepare the food for their friends, families and customers.

August 13

Event Dine in the Vines

Time 6:00pm-9:30pm

Location Edna Valley Vineyard


Description Winemaker, Harry Hansen, will join his guests as he shares his finest handcrafted limited wines. Gretchen LeMiere from In Good Taste Catering will prepare a Mediterranean menu with multiple courses that will pair perfectly with Edna Valley’s wines. Live music will accent the evening. Tickets $100.

August 14

Event Day with Creative Women

Location Mission Plaza


Description A day full of camaraderie, music, handcrafted work by women, children’s activities, food and fun at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo.

Description Opera San Luis Obispo has provided professional opera on the Central Coast since 1985. We are moving into our 25th season, and we invite you to come to one of our performances.

August 27

Event Movie Under the Stars Time 7:00pm–10:00pm

Location Edna Valley Vineyards Contact

Description Bring you low lawn chair and a picnic. No outside beverages. $10 donation.

August 28

Event Mommies in the Plaza Time 10:00am-4:00pm Contact Description Vendor Booths, Silent Auction and Family Entertainment by various performances including dance and gymnastics.

August 29

Event Jack House & Garden Tour Time 1:00pm-4:00pm

Location 536 Marsh Street Contact

Description Guided tours covering the history of the Jack Family and it’s turn of the century estate.

August 27-September 19

Event The Fantasticks

Location San Luis Obispo Little Theatre Contact

Description The worlds longest running musical.

August 28–September 20

Event The Clean House

Location San Luis Obispo Little Theater Contact

Description When all you want is a clean house, beware! Someone just may air your dirty laundry. An irreverently funny Pulitzer-Prize nominated play.

slo life magazine | 29
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Calendar slo life magazine | 29 The Very Best in Professional Arts and Entertainment at the Performing Arts Center New 2010-11 Season Highlights: STEVE MARTIN HALHOLBROOK BANJO & “MARK TWAIN BLUEGRASS TONIGHT” DIANE SCHUUR DAVID SEDARIS & SLO SYMPHONYSPEAKER SERIES RUSSIAN NATIONALBALLET “SWAN LAKE” SEASON SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW! Order 4 or more shows and receive discounts up to 20% off every ticket. Over 40 shows to choose from! Music, dance, theatre, Broadway, family fun shows and much more... Order early for your best seats! VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR FULL DETAILS WWW.CALPOLYARTS.ORG Or call 756-2787 for more info
event in
Community Calendar go to

Milestones & Memories



Geneva is celebrating her 7th birthday and continues on her path as an artist, author, musician, dancer, scientist, mathematician and anything else her dreams may bring.






30 | slo life magazine
Celebrating the generosity of Bridget Ready, Ronni Johnson and all of the children who emptied their piggy banks and raised $1,300 for the Children Caring for Children Fund helping the Haitian earthquake victims.
Christian and Jessica Carlberg will celebrate their 9th wedding anniversary on July 21st. Christian, a robotics engineer and, Jessica, an architect, are joyfully raising their three young children in SLO. Kate O’Leary is graduating from San Luis Obispo High School and will attend a Discipleship Program in Australia called Island Breeze Sydney with an emphasis in Performing Arts. Congratulations! A big Thank You to the Bishop’s Peak Elementary PTA for their fantastic effort in making the 2009-2010 school year such a success! Hannah Kenny and her family celebrate her graduaton from San Luis Obispo High School. She will attend Azusa Pacific University where she will play on the women’s basketball team. We’re so proud of you! an announcement to Go to and click on “Post Your Announcement” to submit yours today.
slo life magazine | 31 Call Me Want to see your card here? go to and click “Post Your Announcement”
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