Dear California -a goodbye letter

Dear California.

You were the first place I called my home, I grew up not knowing any other way of life. I grew up with clean oceans, lush forests, snowy mountains, friendly people,  clean roads, small towns, orange trees, nut trees, farmers markets, fresh organic produce, chickens, cats, dogs, turkeys, rabbits, and horses.  I knew the names of all my neighbors, and people were natural and beautiful just being themselves. I grew up in flip flops and I walked on your shores. That smell I still remember when I close my eyes at night, the combination of the french fry vendor, the sea, and the orange trees mix into a memory that is more than just that, it has become an entity that is so real that all these years later I can still see each day, and smell each smell as if I am living it again for the first time.

California I want you to know, you gave me the best childhood a kid could have. Although I do not remember it, I had my first birthday with you, and every birthday up until I was 30.  I spent many days and nights camping in your northern forests,  walking through your amazing cities, and getting lost in your vast deserts. Almost everyone I love, everyone I know, everyone I respect- all my great friends from childhood and adulthood, I met them all with you. These are just not everyday normal people, these are the people that forged a part of me, and even 30 years later I still think about my childhood best friend as if no time has passed at all.  I remember getting older, and I remember mini golf, and coin op arcades, and there was this lake.

Ah yes, the lake.  It was called Berryessa it was so clear once you could almost see the bottom, it was the place I learned how to water ski, it was the place of my first kiss,  it was the place that provided many  amazing nights with friends sitting by the fire, playing guitar,  drinking beers and smoking cigarettes when we were to young to do either.  I went to high school with you, a high school with no metal detectors, no real violence or sense of danger, and even though everyone said they were having sex… No one really was. We were all just kids, listening to rock and roll, and moving from crush to crush, wondering and dreaming what our lives would be like when high school was over.   I got my first job with you, back when they had such things as video stores,- it was a fun job.  When I was just 18 years old my life changed forever, but you helped get me over the loss of my Mother, when I couldn’t sleep, or eat, or do anything other than lay in bed and cry, you were there.  I could only find comfort in walking and riding in your golden hills, and powerful mountains. I remember smelling the fresh air, feeling the warm wind pass over my skin as I would ride, pedaling my bicycle harder and harder, just trying to push my mother from my  mind.  In places like Pena Adobe,  Big Sur and Skyline Park I found peace.

California, you were the place I formed my first band, played my first shows, and had my first real heartbreak. You were there when I bought my first car, lost my best friend, and said good by to my mother who sleeps under your earth.

But now California , I have to say goodbye to you.  I have to learn how to live my life knowing that I can not go home again, that the California I knew exists in a time and is no longer a place.

California you have become tainted, you have become wicked, you have become sad, you are broken, and the people who call you home do not care about you and have no interest in helping you. You are a place where people care more about what Kim Kardashian’s sister is posting on twitter more than what their own sister is doing in real life. I hate  to abandon you, but I am just 1 person and I alone can not save you. They are still washing their cars, and watering their lawns like nothing is wrong, they are still pumping thousands of gallons of water into water parks. Most of them are all so far removed from anything natural and organic, and have been for so long they don’t even feel that anything is missing. Some of them are even farther removed, and have lost any connection to what it means to be a human of the planet earth. They are all so caught up, and so busy keeping up. While more and more Generic track home neighborhoods spring up overnight. Would you like floor plan A,B,C, or D? they are all available in Beige…  Repeat that 2000 times and you have an “Upcoming” neighborhood,  soon to have a Target, Starbucks, and Gamestop.  2 years later no one can afford to live there, so city planners just expand inland and north even further, destroying more, and knowingly using inferior building materials and putting families into areas that could very well be out of water in 2 years.. These homes are all  placed on extra wide perfectly paved roads with names like: Oak street, Shady Glen, Meadowbrook, Almond way, and Orchard ct. Yet there are no meadows, there is no shade, and their are certainly no orchards. These streets don’t have a single tree on them, or sign of life other than that of human origin or placement. No one thinks this is unusual, no one is asking where have the real trees gone.

They are still paying the highest gas prices in the country to sit in traffic breathing smog for an hour just to travel 10 miles. They still think someone else will fix you for them. For a state that was once the forefront of progress and education you are now almost last in every survey of progression and quality of life. More people are leaving you each month that are moving to you,  you are a place that once lead the way as an example of what the rest of the country could be,  and now you are populated by a majority that was not even born there, and have been made to be oblivious, ignorant, and have become cut off, and desensitized by their own way of life. While places like Orgeon, New Hamphire, South Dakota, and Texas thrive because the people that were born as your natives are all leaving and populating these places.

They legalized the growth of Marijuana,  and by doing so they turned the northern part of you into a war zone, where legal growers get raided and illegal growers are clear cutting your forests to set up temporary growing facilities.  Fueled only by greed and not even realizing the impact that  a single marijuana plant can have on you.  1 plant that consumes an entire gallon of water a day, and you have been thirsty for 20 years now.   You are a state that is constantly on fire, and have been in a drought for 20 years so there is no water to put you out with.  since 2012 you have become so dry that inland counties are already living like squatters in their own homes, they turn the tap but nothing flows.They say in 18 to 24 months half the state will be out of water completely.  The rain clouds have abandon you and the few times it does rain you are drenched in a radioactive drizzle.  A drizzle that does not even absorb into your ground and is not retained. This is do to the destruction of the natural ground cover by farmers,  aggressive home builders, city planners,  and people who just do not want trees and bushes blocking their 5 million dollar view or your dead ocean.  The water that does fall just runs off of your ground and causes mud slides, and sink holes.

Your central valley has been scorched  with Liberty and Monsanto products, this is a place you are as likely to see a crop duster flying over highway 5 dropping a cloud of neurotoxins as you are a car driving on it throwing a fast food container out of the window.  In the south you are home to  one of the most poverty stricken and violent places in the country, while a few privileged citizens that were not even born in CA have moved in, bought up all the land and homes,  and drove the housing prices so high that the average cost of a home built on your land is 3 times higher than the average of the United States, and in some places it is as high as 9 times higher. The Liberal Coastal Elite sit in their sea side mansions with stilts jabbed into your shores in complete denial that the ocean, the air, and everything around them is baking in radiation. A radioactive  marine layer of fog smothers highway 1, while girls take selfies,  men get abdominal implants, and people live in massive dept just to keep up with their neighbors whom they probably do not even know the names of, and likely would not recognize if they bumped in to them in the store do to the massive 6 foot privacy fences that separate the most dense population of families in the country from ever really knowing who lives next door.

Those who  bathe in your ocean, the surfers, the swimmers, the divers, are now getting Sinus Cancer, they are losing their hair, they are getting skin lesions, and vision problems.  Yet they remain still, inactive, and oblivious, still refusing to acknowledge something is wrong with you.   How on earth anyone could believe that a massive nuclear breach into our ocean would not effect them is beyond me, but I suspect It is your way with people California, it is your appeal, it is the media that has told everyone you are the only place worth living, you are sexy and you have a way of making humans lose every last bit of their humanity, common sense, and intelligence. How easy it seems to be for your residents to believe what ever lies they are spoon fed out of Sacramento by politicians that represent what it probably the most corrupt and destructive state government in history.  “Don’t worry about a thing, we are Californians! We are the best, we are invincible”. While they fill their pockets and pay for their hookers and yachts by closing schools and reusing text books that are 10 years old. Why wouldn’t you trust someone that tells you that nuclear waste won’t harm you. Even though this is the same stuff that destroys life forms at the DNA level,  and you are currently 15 times higher than the safe limit of radiation on a regular basis. They tell you it’s safe, so it must be…

Your sea life is dying, sea lion cubs are beaching themselves in record numbers partly because of neurological damage, partly because of burning skin. Fish are bleeding from the eyeballs and gills, star fish are turning into piles of mush, tuna are almost extinct in your ocean, oysters have just vanished, and whales have been seen swimming with massive tumors on their heads.  Air pollution is at an all time high, taxes even higher and minimum wage is still lower than the state that is just above you that has no state tax, and provides affordable housing.

You were once paradise, not long ago. Some would say that paradise has been lost, but I disagree it has not been lost, but willfully destroyed by the people who call themselves Californians. As a native Californian, it pains me, it hurts me, and it brings a tear to my eye to know this is what has happened to you, you…my home…  I have lived away from you for almost 9 years now, and I have missed you everyday.  I have tried to return to you, but life has a way of never going the way we plan it to.  June 2015 I was supposed to return to you, it was planned, it was actually going to happen this time.  I was going to come home to you California.  But my home is no longer there, you are no longer the California I once loved, I don’t even know you anymore. My home is now a place in time that I can not travel to, and only exists in my mind.  I hate to leave you in a letter, but I am afraid to see you in person as I fear I may not have the strength to stand on your earth and speak these words to you.

How great a sacrifice one must make to live inside your borders. Perhaps this is your ultimate revenge again those who cut down your trees, polluted your waters, and bathed your soil in chemicals.

Yet a handful remain, those who still fight for you and remember what you once were, there are still good people with you, I pray that those people will restore you and know peace and joy. But I will not cry if those who have destroyed you are themselves somehow destroyed by you.

I wish you well California, you are the great love of my life, you will always be the better part of my life – the best part of my life.

Goodbye.

The road to the perfect Chef Coat.

Born and raised in southern California. Orange County / Los Angeles based Fashion Designer Sandra Harvey has always had a love, respect,and deep appreciation of chefs, fine restaurants, and quirky little bistros. Sandra grew up around restauranteurs playing in kitchens, and learning to cook from her Mother.   Sandra will tell you many of her favorite conversations and memories have been over meals with friends, family, and clients. Sandra’s sister made a career as a chef in La Jolla California where her restaurant still operates today.

Sandra is a well traveled and educated women with over 20 years of design experience. She is best know for her amazing detail, her sexy yet non revealing way she cuts, and her  magical ability to craft and weave some of the finest suits and separates Women’s fashion has ever seen.  She does not design exclusively for women, yet that is the area she puts most of her focus.

Sandra Harvey fitting Lorena Cortez Photo©SGSéguret5

In the 90’s Sandra was featured on MTV’s house of style hosted by Cindy Crawford , and she has been Designing for and dressing some of the worlds notable musicians since the 90’s. Always sweet, approachable, and genuine. Sandra is a fierce humanitarian, an eternal optimist, and the most real, unchanged, dedicated, and driven person I have ever had the chance to know.

Sandra Harvey 1990’s Commercial

In 2005 Sandra took a break from designing and removed herself from the Los Angeles scene when her husband and also the father of her 2 young boys was killed when hit by a drunk driver.  Sandra had always been a dedicated, loving, and great mother.  With the loss of her husband she needed to switch focus and put 100 percent of herself into helping her children through this difficult time , and create a fun world for them to grow up in.

One afternoon the words of her late husband came to her, as clear as if he was standing next to her.  The feeling of warm hand on her shoulder and the words “Take my boys to my home” filled the room, echoed in her ears, and stuck in her mind for days.

As a little girl Sandra’s father used to take her to Arkansas every summer. He would tell her about the south, about ghosts and banshees, and swamps. He would show her how to catch fireflys and appreciate nature and the unique peace and magic that is found in the more quite and still parts of the world.  Sandra has always been connected to the South in one  way or another. Her late husband and his entire family were originally from North Carolina.

Despite what people were telling her during this dark time in her life, leaving everything and starting over in North Carolina just made sense to her. She knew this was where she needed to raise her children, and she felt guided to North Carolina from her husbands words that she heard from beyond the grave.  She just somehow knew deep down that this was a place where they could all heal. Leaving her entire life , her friends, her family, her business, and her beautiful Laguna Beach home. Sandra packed up her 2 boys, their cat, and a few of her most precious things and move to the small mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina.  Now this was way before Asheville was a destination, and before it was known for its fine dining and foodie culture.

The Culinary Girl Short Film 2014 Asheville NC

Sandra and her boys spent their first few years in Asheville just trying to adjust to having lost her Husband and the boys father. They would spend summers on the river, take trips out to Charleston and Savannah to visit the ocean. She also got a family dog, and  built a very wonderful organic garden for all of them to work in. It was during this time is when Sandra started becoming interested in the Culinary world.

Soon the town of Asheville started to grow and quality restaurants sprung up all over downtown, there were new 4 and 5 star chefs moving in every month. Sandra soon made friends with many of these chefs and restaurant owners.  Still not ready to go back to designing, Sandra became fascinated with the passion, and dedication and the almost militant type discipline she witnessed from many of chefs and restaurant owners.  Sandra wanted to understand this first hand.  So… She enrolled in the Culinary Program at AB – Tech.  Studying both Culinary, and Baking Science at the same time. Sandra quickly became immersed in the Culinary world.

Some of Sandra’s Clients.

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Over the 2 years of her formal education, Sandra has worked over 1500 hours volunteering in various restaurants, performing demos, doing food prep and service for many different events. Some of which include: the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, Star Chefs new york , the IACP, and countless other events.   She never backed away from the hard work, the cleaning, or any of the more difficult duties of a culinary student. All while being a very active and fun Mother to her boys that were quickly turning into young men.

Spending day after day in school Sandra would hear the girls talk about how their uniforms were stiff and unflattering, and the men would often mention how hot and uncomfortable they would get in their uniforms.  Sandra spent two years in those uniforms herself so she knew first hand. For Sandra her biggest issue was with the baggy sleeves that don’t stay rolled up, and the stiff non flexible materials.

These were clearly uniforms, these were not made by a designer or a person who had done a hard days work in a professional kitchen.  They were not made with any real understanding of what the title chef means to those who work so hard to earn it,  or to those who spend hours laboring in the kitchen as cooks.  As Sandra would go to school and work in the kitchen and stage in various restaurants the design started to appear in her minds eye.   The real challenge was to make something highly functional, yet fashionable, and at the same time pay tribute and respect to the men and women who spend their lives working in kitchen. To give them a coat they could not only work in, but show pride in.  It would be another 2 years of diligence, dedication, and overcoming many set backs to finally see her dream realized.

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In school, Sandra earned the respect and admiration of her instructors, her fellow students, and many of the countries top chefs. She was featured in the AB Tech course catalog as an Entrepreneur of the Culinary Industry. Her coats appeared on Good Morning America, and were featured by Martha Stewart Made in America. She has had numerous publications, articles, and radio spots all singing her praises. But Sandra measures her success by what her clients say. Sandra still takes the time to personally write and call each of her clients. She has built her company on hard work and there was never a doubt that her product would be American Made. Even when keeping her product made in America caused her numerous set backs in production, she never wavered and even helped bring sewing jobs to North Carolina by doing so. She personally oversees and runs her company with old fashioned American values where customer service and her strong connection to her customers is the most important thing to her. She currently has a client list of executive chefs, cooks, bakers, caterers, and other culinary professionals from every continent,  and she keeps in contact with all of them personally.

 Original concept sketches done in between classes and labs while attending AB Tech.

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~ From concept to reality ~

Sandra Harvey Women’s Brigade style in White

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The SHD culinary line by Sandra Harvey was born from a combination years of formal education, research, hands on kitchen experience, and design knowledge. She often says the Original SHD Brigade coat was Inspired by Georges Auguste Escoffier.  The original SHD Chef Coat is a brigade design, hand cut, hand sewn,and 100 percent American made from the finest fabrics on earth. The coat is Light weight, it moves and works with you, the sleeves stay in place when pushed up,  the coat is cut and designed only the way someone with over 20 years of design experience can. Yet it is durable and functions under real conditions in a way only someone with real working culinary experience could design. This coat is the marriage of a master designer, and a chef created by a Woman who truly loves both worlds.   Every last detail is perfect.  The women’s feature hidden side pockets, a high collar, elegant cuffs, over sized high quality 1 inch buttons, and can be worn both open and buttoned. Sandra also takes custom orders , and has an amazing Men’s line featuring shoulder epaulettes.

                                                  

Designer Sandra Harvey

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Still based in Asheville North Carolina, Sandra is now in her 4th year of production. This year the AB Tech Culinary team will all be dressed in SHD as they enter the Nationals. SHD will also have a booth just off the main event stage at this years National Restaurant Association event in Chicago from May the 16 – 19th 2015. At this even she will unveil her newest chef coat and chef pants.

The last thing I will say about Sandra is that she refuses to compromise quality, she is a patriot, she is a humanitarian, and she has a flawless reputation for always paying her employees, models, and photographers very well. She is Loved by all who know her.

Sandra Harvey Links

Official:  sandraharvey.com

On Instagram

INSTAGRAM

Company Sayings and Slogans

“How does your chef coat fit you?”

“Elegance reigns in the kitchen”

“A beautiful presentation starts on your way to work”

“Wear something the boys can’t”

“Chefs do it with knives and torches”

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Company Logo  : Sandra Harvey underlined with Sewing Needle

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Company Mascot  : Chef Trizzella Pin Up

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Company Mascot  : Chef Trizzella Cartoon

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Crossed Knives  Asheville NC

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 Behind the Scenes of Culinary Girl Short Film

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 From SHD Shop.

Our ‘Original Slender fit SHD chef Jacket’
designed and cut in the traditional Brigade style, using soft luxurious fabrics.
Elegant stand up collar is cut to stay popped up if worn unbuttoned, it also lays nicely down.
Slender perfectly cut sleeves.
Elegant 6 inch Fitted Mock French cuffs
Nipped in waistline with a generous curve around the hips.
~You will get lots of attention in this Jacket~
.Slender waistline
.Heavy designer coat buttons
.Side pockets
.Thermometer pocket

White SHD12-twill
.Imported twill / 4% spandex
.White
.Machine wash cool and tumble dry Low.
Wear directly from your dryer. Cool iron press for a crisp look.

All postage includes Insurance for full cost of garment.
*Return Policy- I understand sizing is difficult online and I will gladly exchange for a different size, however buyer must pay all return shipping charges, I will refund all initial shipping upon receipt of garment to your account.
Please return item in plastic to keep clean.

SOMETIMES ORDERS COME IN FASTER THAN WE CAN FILL SO PLEASE ALLOW UP TO 2 WEEKS.

All our Jackets are hand cut a and sewn by expert seamstresses

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Black with custom satin cuffs

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – a book review

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – by: Sandra Harvey

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is another example of Ms. Harvey’s non conventional, inspired, and creative approach to storytelling.   The main story of the book is told in a wonderful poem that spans over 76 Full color pages to tell that story of one magical moonlit night in Woods Cove.  Some people say rhyming books are easy to write, and this may be true to an extent. Everyone can find a rhyme for Sun right? -Did you just think Fun?  But,  every once and a while an author really comes through with a story that is told in Rhyme with no typical or forced rhymes.  This is  one of those books, the pace is almost hypnotic, there are no extra syllables, there is not a trace of the story being driven in a direction for the sake of keeping the rhyme alive, and their are no typical easy rhymes.  This is just FUN to read, it’s easy to get in the flow and to absorb all the humor, magic, and adventure while rhythmically flowing from page to page.  This book is great when read out loud, and did I mention it is FUN?
Some of the  other aspects of this book worth noting are: The Hand drawn cartoon art  matches the characters and story very well. The entire book is colored in blues, purples, and greens on black paper and is very soothing to look at and also creates a real feeling of night.    While the main story is written in rhyme, the characters also have non rhyming dialog with each other through the use of comic book style captions… What?  … Yeah you read that right! Comic Book style dialog and thought bubbles that tell a story all of their own. And in addition to that there are subtle words hidden in the background on some pages, that are not only fun to look for, but also convey a general message related to the story.  This combination of elements works amazingly well without one ever stepping on the other. This is distinctively a Sandra Harvey creation. How Sandra keeps  pulling out fresh and brilliant ideas I’ll never know.  I am currently trying to get her to sit down with me  for a YouTube interview.

In a way it is also a bedtime book, but it is a bed time book in which the children stay up and play all night, get lost in a scary fog, end up at a mysterious  tower, and actually do not go to sleep until the sun starts to come up.  This is yet another example of Sandra and her deep understanding of children.

 Another aspect of this story I found to be fresh  is through the Characters Annie Blue, and Lily. Through these 2 characters the book briefly  touches on abandonment and loss but manages to keep it light and comforting.
Trizzella has magical powers, she can talk to animals,  and cast spells but to her it is just part of everyday life.  Where Trizzella’s real magic power is, is in her heart and her sweet gentle soul.  She has a magic sewing needle that has the power to mend hearts and sew stars into blankets. Trizzella doesn’t  hesitate to use her magic to help out a hungry caterpillar who arrives at an apple tree before apple season, or to clear a scary fog.  This story has pirates, ghosts, adventure, food, fun, and an devious little kitty cat (with an amazing hat collection) who has decided his purpose in life is to destroy any chance Trizzella has for finding love.
Like every Sandra Harvey Book I’ve reviewed so far, this book is intended for children, but adults will love it too.

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is available here.

There is also a collection of Free Trizzella cartoons available at
This is one of my favorite Ryhmes from the books.
Underneath the bookcase lives her strangest little cat
his room is full of pirate things like skulls, and books, and maps.
his name is Edward Villain.
He eats birds, and rats, and mice.
Trizzella calls him E.Vil because he’s really not that nice.
 He goes on vast adventures in his vivid little dreams
to destroy Trizzella’s chance for love
he plots and plans and schemes.

The Half Hearted Girl – a book review

The Half Hearted Girl is a skillfully written and superbly illustrated children’s book about a little girl that is born missing half of her heart. As the girl grows up she seeks out all things that are whole hearted, but never seems to be able to fill the empty part of her heart.  On the other side of the world is a boy that was born missing half of his soul, as he grows he tries to fill his life with soulful things but never fully feels whole inside.  When one day the two of them set out on their own journeys, each seeking to find something in the world that fill the part of them that is missing.  Their journeys lead them to the very  same spot at the very same time. The middle of the earth.  The girl and the boy go on many adventures together and in the end they both find what they were looking for…  This is a book that transcends age , race, and gender and has a very strong appeal to a much a older audience.

What is hidden deep in this book past a summary, is more than just a story of a boy and girl. It is more than just a coming of age tale, and more than a story of hope and love.  While the story is not written in rhyme the book has this amazing poetic flow, each page playing a perfect parallel with the next, the book is what I would define as “perfectly symmetrical” but what amazes me even more than this brilliant writing style is that no where in the book does it feel forced, the story flows from page to page so well that you may not even notice the symmetry at first.  The black and white art style and the lay out of the book also ties into the symmetry of the writing  flawlessly.

The book is a quick read, with large print and being under 80 pages, but it is deep, it evokes real emotion of longing, sadness, wanting, discovery, friendship, fulfillment, acceptance, and love.  It is a great coffee table book, a great book for swinging in a hammock, a great coming of age tale, and a tremendous accomplishment by Author Sandra Harvey.
The short Q&A section and Mini Journal in the back of the book are wonderful editions.

The Half Hearted Girl is available here:

https://www.createspace.com/4884015