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

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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.

 

 

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.

Jane Goodall Changing the World

The Difference One Person Can Make

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

“Every single day each of us makes an impact on the planet,” says anthropologist and primate specialist Dr. Jane Goodall.  The question we have to ask ourselves, she says, is: “What kind of impact it will be?”

For Goodall, who was born on April 3, 1934, the answer has been to spend her lifetime studying wild chimpanzees and protecting them from extinction.

Goodall’s goal has been to “use the gift of our life to make the world a better place” – something that is more important than ever now.

Goodall, who first traveled to Tanzania in 1960 at the age of 26, was the first person to immerse herself in the chimpanzees’ natural habitat and study their unique society as a “neighbor,” rather than an outsider.

Through her observations, Goodall discovered that chimpanzees had many social behaviors similar to humans – both good and bad – and were able to make and use tools, such as modifying twigs to dig for termites.

Launching her work because of a love for animals, Goodall, who had no college training in the beginning, went on to receive a doctorate from Cambridge University and start and support a variety of animal advocate and environmental groups, including the Jane Goodall Institute.

In addition to focusing on chimps and the ecosystems around them, Goodall’s approach to conservation looks at the needs of local people and the environment.

She is the author of numerous books and articles, including My Life With the Chimpanzees, In the Shadow of Man, Reason for Hope, and Seeds of Hope.

Frequently speaking around the world, Goodall has received many awards – the Order of the British Empire, United Nations Messenger of Peace Award, French Legion of Honor, Kyoto Prize, and Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences.

Whether it’s protecting the Earth, its animals or mankind, Dr. Jane Goodall continues to show us that each of us can make a difference and effect positive change when we take the time to understand and care about others.

“Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue”

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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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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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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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Rumi – The Spinning Sage

A Poet – Philosopher for All Time

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

At an uncertain time like now, the writings and wisdom of the 13th Century Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī are more needed than ever.

Known more simply as Rumi, this learned individual was a man of many talents – a poet, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic (whirling dervish) – who left the world a beautiful legacy of poetry and wisdom for the ages.

Revered for both his insights and humility, Rumi thought that it was important to look inward before we can hope to change things around us. He said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to save the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi also believed that intellectual matters of the mind often stemmed from questions and feelings of the heart. He observed, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

The underlying theme of most of his poems and writings is the need for love and its ability to transform us and our relationships…if we will only let it.

Hoping to bring people together in harmony, Rumi was opposed to violence and discord.

One of the most translated, quoted and enjoyed writers of all time, Rumi’s books sell millions of copies each year.

He spent most of his life in the Sultanate of Rum, the center of Persian Society, in what is now Turkey.

Rumi, who became a whirling dervish, believed that poetry, music, and dance could be combined as a path for reaching God. In Rumi’s honor, the Malevi Order of Whirling Dervishes was founded in 1273 after his death to perform the rhythmic, spinning dance called the Sufi.

Dazzling to see, dervishes can often spin for several minutes at speeds up to one revolution per second.

Whether writing, teaching, or spinning Rumi never forgot the importance of love, noting that it is there “in the silence of love you will find the spark of life.”

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Mangroves – Nature’s Giving Trees

Protecting Our Planet

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Like the tree in Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, who gives everything to the young boy who loves him, mangrove trees give everything to our planet and its inhabitants.

Mangrove forests, which grow along salty ocean shorelines in tropical and subtropical latitudes, are made up of some 80 different species of plants that can subsist in low-oxygen soil.

Noted for their tangle of roots that appear to grow above ground supporting the plants as if on stilts, mangrove trees oxygenate the environment and stabilize coastlines from erosion.

Mangrove trees truly are giving trees. Five times more effective than rain forests at removing carbon from the atmosphere, NASA calls them “among the world’s best carbon-scrubbers.”

Mangrove forests also provide food and shelter to sea life, including a wide variety of fish, shellfish, algae, plankton, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

Critical to the health of our planet, mangrove trees can be found along the shorelines of over 100 countries and territories, with over 40 percent of them located in Asia.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that the world’s largest forest of mangrove trees covers an area of about 10,000 km in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Reserve Forest between the Baleshwar River and the Bay of Bengal.

Due to coastal development, deforestation, climate change, pollution, and other factors, though, forests such as this are at extreme risk and could even become extinct unless countries come up with sustainable practices to protect them.

To create more forests, the SeaTrees Project, started by the Sustainable Surf non-profit organization, is on a mission to plant 1 million mangrove trees (with 228,000 trees planted and protected so far). 

Other organizations supporting the mangroves include Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Working together they hope to expand the world’s mangrove habitat 20 percent by 2030.

To save these trees that give so much, the place to start is by giving back.

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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.

Solitary Pursuits

Stimulating Our Creativity

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With much of the world staying at home now and engaged in solitary pursuits, an artistic renaissance is blooming as we explore the different ways to express ourselves.

People are passing the time developing their creative abilities. Writing, painting, making videos, playing musical instruments, perfecting culinary skills, gardening.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) recognized the value of solitude. He wrote his introspective American classic Walden in 1854 while living alone in a log cabin on Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts.

Thoreau moved into the remote cabin where he spent two years so he could be closer to nature and explore his own thoughts: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach.”

Reflecting on the benefits of solitude and the healing powers of nature, he wrote, “The only medicine I need is a draught of morning air.”

Many others have channeled solitude into creativity, from poet Emily Dickinson to scientists Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein – who literally changed the world with their theories of gravity and relativity.

– Albert Einstein

Dickinson (1830-1886), an avid gardener, spent much of her life alone tending her plants…and writing poems – close to 1,800 in all, making her one of America’s premiere poets.

Now, while spending time at home, people are nurturing creative talents they didn’t even know they had…and opening themselves to new discoveries each day.

Even everyone’s favorite dog Snoopy is unleashing his inner artist!

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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.