Vital Farms Brightens the Holidays

Making a Vital Difference

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the holidays here and everyone thinking about special meals and celebrations it’s nice to see a family farm that is devoted to “improving the lives of people, animals and the planet through food.”

The chickens and cows at Vital Farms couldn’t be happier. At this collective of family farms that was established in 2007 “the girls” are allowed to roam free with year-round outdoor access. The goal is “to bring honest food, ethically produced to your table.”

Vital Farms says that it began as a single-family farm in Austin, Texas. “As we grew, we didn’t want to make our farm bigger. So, we found more like-minded farmers who put the welfare of their feathered friends first. And today we partner with over 225 small family farms who give the girls the outdoor lifestyle they deserve.”

Unlike conventionally raised “factory” chickens that are kept in cages, the pasture-raised chickens at Vital Farms each have at least 108 sq. ft. of pasture and plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

And the cows aren’t confined to barns or fenced-in yards either, but allowed to contentedly graze in open pastures, putting them in a “mooed” to create delicious milk for an array of dairy products.

The company’s website has a video that lets you see the chickens enjoying the outdoors, stretching their legs and foraging for local grasses, succulents and wildflowers.

And it prints the name of the farm where the eggs came from on each box so you can see for yourself.  When SurfWriter Girls looked at the box we had just bought we were surprised to see that the name of the farm – K & K – was the same name as Patti and Greg’s consulting business. Small world.

SurfWriter Girl Sunny discovered the delicious eggs from Vital Farms a few years ago and has been a fan of them ever since. She’s not alone. The farm’s egg and milk products are sold nationwide in over 16,500 stores.

So, they’re sure to find a place at many Thanksgiving tables and holiday meals, making everyone – the chickens, cows and us – all a little happier.

Happy Holidays!

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Coral Reefs Dazzle with Color!

More Fall Colors to Sea

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With autumn’s red and gold leaves taking center stage now, it’s easy to overlook the dazzling colors hidden from sight below the sea in the ocean’s coral reefs.

Exotic and mysterious, coral reefs around the world, from Hawaii and the Caribbean to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef exist in an endless variety of color.

More than just objects of beauty, coral reefs are underwater living ecosystems that provide food and shelter to more than 25% of the ocean’s sea life. Coral reefs have been called the “rainforests of the sea.”

And like trees protecting the land from the elements, coral reefs protect the world’s shorelines from storms and erosion and help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

The different colors of the reefs – red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, and more – come from the mix of algae in their tissues and varying light conditions and water temperatures. The brighter and bolder the colors, the healthier the reefs.

Marine scientists are working to keep the vivid colors in the reefs – no easy task given the threats from climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing.

In her children’s book The Great Barrier Thief author Dr. Sue Pillans (AKA “Suzie Starfish”), a marine scientist and visual artist, tackles the problem of “coral bleaching” and the reasons that many coral reefs are losing their colors.

With the help of her protagonist, a pink fish named Anthia, Pillans hopes to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t lose its dazzling colors.

From the tallest trees to the deepest coral treasures SurfWriter Girls are excited about the world of fall colors to sea.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Japan’s Ichigo Ichie

Living in the Moment

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Summer is always a time to relax and make time for ourselves, something that’s especially important now. While you’re enjoying sunny days, the Japanese philosophy of ichigo ichie (living in the moment) may be just what you need to regenerate.

A phrase that might sound silly the first time you hear it, ichigo ichie is a tenet of Zen Buddhism that dates to 16th century Japanese tea ceremonies.

It calls on us to use all our senses to take in and celebrate the beauty of the moment, here and now. Instead of fixating on the past or worrying about the future, it is a chance to get rid of our negative emotions and feelings of fear, sadness, or anger.

Performing the tea ceremony’s intricate rituals of preparing and drinking the tea causes us to focus intently on each step of the process and the environment itself, being fully engaged in the moment and finding harmony and tranquility.

Ichigo ichie also heightens our awareness of the fleeting nature of time and the need to embrace the things and experiences that are meaningful to us before they are gone – such as the famed Japanese cherry blossoms that only bloom for a short time in the spring.

When Japanese greet each other by saying “ichigo ichie” it tells you that the encounter is unique and special and should not be allowed to slip away. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be savored.

By employing ichigo ichie and savoring the moment we can enhance our awareness and joy of life and create harmonious interactions with others.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Kimonos Showcase Olympics

Japan’s Wearable Art at Games in 2021 

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The kimono, the national garment of Japan, has been worn by emperors and samurai, Buddhist monks and geishas, the rich and the poor.

Now, in preparation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Games, through its KIMONO Project, Japan has created 213 handmade kimonos inspired by each participating country’s culture, history, and scenery.

Valued at 1 million yen each – $9,000 – the handmade kimonos are each made by leading kimono artists using traditional handwoven and dyeing techniques.

Whether for everyday activities or to celebrate a wedding, formal occasion, festival – or even the Olympics – kimonos, with their different patterns and designs, are woven into the fabric of Japanese life.

A quintessential part of Japanese culture, the kimono was introduced into Japan’s Imperial Court by envoys from China’s Tang Dynasty during the Kofun period (300-538 AD).

Over the following years the original Chinese designs were supplanted by Japanese motifs often representing nature and the seasons. Made from the richest silks and finest cottons, kimonos are known for their deep colors and intricate patterns.

One of the most popular motifs is the Three Friends of Winter pattern depicting images of pines, plums. and bamboo – plants that do not wither in the harsh winter days. The pattern represents prosperity.

Kimonos with cherry blossom motifs are often worn just before Japan’s famous cherry blossoms bloom in the spring. But, only until the blossoms start to bloom because it’s considered unlucky to try to compete with the real blossoms.

Depending on the fabric and method of construction, kimonos can range in price from a modest amount to upward of $50,000.

Among the most beautiful kimonos are those made by Chiso, the iconic Kyoto kimono house established in 1555 that created the KIMONO Project Olympics kimono representing Japan. Chiso’s hand-crafted kimonos can take up to eighteen months to make and involve a production process of 20 to 25 steps.

Wrapping the wearer in folds of timeless fashion, the kimono truly is Japan’s wearable art…and the perfect showcase for the beauty and strength of the Olympics Games – games that for the first time will include surfing, which, like the kimono, has a long and storied tradition.

Let the games begin!

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 

Nook, Nook, Who’s There?

Finding Your Cozy Spot

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With people spending so much time at home there’s been an increased demand for private space. A cozy nook to call your own.

Today’s open concept floor plans, while great for family time and parties, often don’t provide the solitude people are looking for. A place of one’s own to work, create, read, relax, to dream.

With some ingenuity, though, you can find cozy spaces in surprising places. In window seats, alcoves, room corners, underneath stairways, in attics, and other spots.

Your nook retreat with comfy chair and coffee table or writing desk and computer is waiting for you to discover.

Nook, Nook, I’m Here!

Everyone needs a nook.

A place to read a book,

Curl up warm and snug,

Give the cat a hug,

Have some snacks,

Be creative or just relax,

Listen to music, send a text,

Dream about the adventures you’ll have next.

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 

 

The Amazing Elaine May

A New Leaf Film 50th Anniversary

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Spring is the perfect time to honor Elaine May – comedienne, film writer/director, and actor extraordinaire – whose laugh-out-loud, tour de force film A New Leaf is a testament to new beginnings and the transformative power of love.

May, who partnered with Mike Nichols (Academy Award-winning director of The Graduate) in the comedy act Nichols and May in 1957, has had a storied career in Hollywood, on Broadway, comedy clubs, and more.

Continually expanding her repertory, May’s focus is often on our abilities to reinvent ourselves. She has written, co-written or directed many of Hollywood’s biggest hits, including The Heartbreak Kid, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, Tootsie, and Dangerous Minds.

 

Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin, Cybil Shepherd, and Woody Allen have all praised her boundless talent. A two-time Academy Award nominee and Tony winner, May has received numerous accolades

Nichols and May’s popular comedy shows and TV appearances satirized social and intellectual trends while May proved that women could do stand-up comedy. Lilly Tomlin calls May one of her greatest influences. “There was nothing like Elaine May, with her voice, her timing, and her attitude.”

In SurfWriter Girls favorite film, A New Leaf – which was May’s writing and directing debut (1971) – she also stars as a wealthy botanist hoping to find an undiscovered plant opposite Walter Matthau, a bankrupt playboy who marries May for her money.

Little does Matthau know what he is getting into as the two opposites – the socially inept and unkempt May and the fastidious connoisseur of life’s finer things Matthau – hilariously embark on married life and the roller coaster of surprises it brings.

Based on a story by Jack Ritchie that May read in the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, A New Leaf is part murder plot and part love story, held together with quick wit that keeps the viewer guessing what’s going to happen right up to the end.

With spring planting underway and people seeking joy in nature’s new beginnings, what could be better than to discover A New Leaf and the cinematic talents of the aptly named Elaine May?

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Beautiful Beaches, Exotic Adventure Escapes

 Stunning Photography Books Take You Away!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

If you’re longing for a beach getaway or surfing adventure, the next best thing to being there is seeing these beautiful beaches captured by the camera lens of world-renowned photographers.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti found these stunning coffee table photography books to fulfill your travel dreams. Whether it’s a seaside la dolce vida or remote wilderness trek, you’ll find it in these extraordinary books.

Italy, by Gray Malin, highlights the playfulness of Italy’s colorful coast, putting you in the mood to spread out a beach towel and sip a limoncello. Like his earlier book Beaches, it treats you to dramatic bird’s-eye views taken from a helicopter of this storied beach playground for the glitterati.

The Life and Love of the Sea, by Lewis Blackwell, is a breathtaking tour of the ocean and its inhabitants from manta rays and whales to little-known sea life on the ocean floor.

Coastal California: The Pacific Coast Highway and Beyond, by Jack Rajs, is a pictorial ode to California’s iconic highway where each new twist or turn in the road makes your jaw drop from the visual splendor of this coastal gift from Nature.

Waves, by Steve Hawk, the former editor of Surfer magazine, looks at the beauty and mesmerizing power of waves around the world, combining insights about the poetry and science of waves with memorable imagery.

Harry Gruyaert: Edges, by Harry Gruyaert explores the “edges” or junctions where man connects with the world’s waterways and oceans – from the North Sea of Ireland to Israel’s Dead Sea, bustling coastal towns and idyllic nature preserves.

High Tide: A Surf Odyssey, by Chris Burkhard, lives up to the name “odyssey,” taking you to the most remote and frozen spots imaginable to put your board in the water. An homage to extreme surfing, it’s a journey to the ends of the earth, pitting man against the elements.

And, if you want to bring the beach to you, Surfside Style: Relaxed Living by the Coast, by Fifi O’Neil, is the perfect guide for turning your home into a seaside retreat…no matter how far inland it may be.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Frank Lloyd Wright Honored

Eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

In the world of architecture, no name is more highly revered than Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). So, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently designated eight of his buildings as World Heritage Sites it was cause for celebration.

A design genius inspired by nature to create iconic structures perfectly suited to their environments, Wright designed more than 1,000 structures.

The master builder of the 20th century, Wright changed the idea of how buildings should look with his open concept, unified approach that “brought the outdoors in.” Whether it was a home in the Midwest, the Guggenheim Museum in New York,

or the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Wright’s innovative style became instantly recognizable.

After starting in Chicago, Wright established his renowned architectural studio Taliesen in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where much of his creative output occurred. The name of the studio is from a character in Welsh mythology.

Honoring Wright’s contributions to the human experience, UNESCO stated that his buildings have “outstanding universal value.”

“The architecture reflects functional and emotional needs; the design is rooted in nature’s forms and principles; the works align with the evolving American experience, while being universal in appeal.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are Wright admirers and have been lucky enough to see his works – including Hollyhock House (built in 1921) in Los Angeles and the Calori House (1926) in Glendale, CA.

“Hollyhock House is an architectural tour de force,” says Patti. “Massive in scale, it’s built out of hollow clay tiles and wood covered in stucco – revolutionary materials at the time. The walls are decorated with hollyhocks – the favorite flower of oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who commissioned the house.”

Wright said that the house was inspired by Mayan temples and dubbed its style “California Romanza” – meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.”

Patti also saw the architect’s Taliesin West studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Wright spent the winter months. It epitomized his minimalist approach to non-essentials. The “closet” he and his wife shared was just a single rod that could only hold a few garments. Whenever they bought a new article of clothing, they discarded something on the rod to make room for it.

The eight Wright buildings designated as World Heritage Sites are: Unity Temple (Oak Park, IL), Robie House (Chicago, IL), Taliesin (Spring Green, WI), Hollyhock House (Los Angeles), Fallingwater (Mill Run, PA), Jacobs House (Scottsdale, AZ), Taliesin West (Scottsdale), and the Guggenheim Museum (New York).

Like Wright’s Fallingwater house, perched above the flowing waters, each site is unique and impressive in its own way and is well deserving of this highest honor that a cultural landmark can receive.

Representing a time of American growth and endless opportunities, Frank Lloyd Wright was as iconic as his creations.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 

 

Martha Stewart Living – 30th Anniversary

Magazine Celebrates the Good Life!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Martha Stewart Living magazine is celebrating its 30th anniversary doing what it does best – reminding us of the joys of home and the things we can do to make our lives prettier, healthier and happier.

SurfWriter Girls think it’s fitting that the magazine’s milestone anniversary comes during the holidays because Martha Stewart is all about celebrating the special bonds that bring family and friends together…even when we are apart.

Even if you don’t grow your own vegetables, get honey straight from the hive, cook from scratch, or have much in the way of homemaking skills, you can still enjoy seeing how the amazing Martha Stewart puts everything together with ease.

An artist of the home, Stewart has turned her domestic skills into a billion-dollar business empire of books, magazines, TV shows, brands, and more.

A former fashion model and stockbroker, who graduated from Barnard College with majors in history and architectural history, there doesn’t seem to be anything that Martha (as everyone calls her) can’t do.

SurfWriter Girl Patti got a chance to talk to her when Patti was writing a business book on entrepreneurship and remembers how energetic and enthusiastic Martha was.

Not one to be idle, Martha always has something on her plate – pun intended! And, when you read her magazine, you feel like she’s your best friend and is talking directly to you.

Now, as Martha Stewart Living magazine enters its next decade, Martha is poised to help us make the best meals, turn our homes into comforting and inviting sanctuaries, and discover the beauty around us that comes from nature and our own efforts.

Following Martha’s example, to make life bloom, we just need to plant the seeds and till the soil.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 

Chris Ulshafer Hears The Call of the Wild

Focusing His Lens on Birds

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When Chris Ulshafer introduces himself, he’s likely to say, “Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a bird man.” Outside his home in Bear, Delaware, near Chesapeake Bay, there’s a whole world of wildlife putting on a show for his camera. Especially the birds.

From the ospreys, who he has even given names – Bonnie and Clyde, Boris and Natasha, Sonny and Cher – to Bald Eagles, blue herons, finches, wrens, vultures and more.

Now that he’s retired, Ulshafer – a former Eagle Scout and Boy Scout camp counselor – has time to pursue his outdoor interests, monitoring the birds’ comings-and-goings at nearby Locust Point, which is a haven for wildlife.

Ulshafer has come to know the ospreys, in particular, and keeps his telephoto lens trained on the new eggs and chicks in the various pairs’ nests, watching as the parents bring back food and teach their young to fly.

There’s lots to look at, too, since Chesapeake Bay is home to one of the largest concentrations of nesting ospreys in the world.

A volunteer and “resident scientist” for Cornell University’s School of Ornithology, Ulshafer works with the Audubon Society to collect data that helps to track and measure the birds’ habitats and migratory patterns.

“It puts me in my car on dirt roads where the osprey nests are,” says Ulshafer, who adds that the assignment’s “worked out quite well to relieve retirement boredom.”

In addition to the birds, Ulshafer sees other things that get his attention, including wandering turtles, butterflies…

And this horse named Bubba, who always comes to the fence to say “Hello.”

Ulshafer, who grew up in Southern California and went to Culver City High School with SurfWriter Girl Patti, has adapted well to his East Coast home and he and his wife Jan enjoy the natural world around them – or, as he calls it, “my outback.”

Whether it’s from the deck of his house or on the trails of the state park steps away, Chris Ulshafer has his camera in hand and is on the lookout for his wildlife neighbors.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.