Episode 17: Ian Magruder is taking off with Landed

Ian Magruder joined me for a discussion of Landed, the San Francisco-based startup company he works for.  When you sit down with Ian, you can really feel how excited he is about Landed’s work and its mission.  The mission is simple:  to help people buy a home, by providing down payment assistance.

Ask anyone living in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area today what the biggest challenge facing the area is, and you’re likely to hear that it’s the exorbitant cost of housing.  One group of people that is especially vocal about the high housing cost is teachers and other school employees.  Most communities in high-cost areas like ours are finding it a challenge to keep great teachers, many of whom simply cannot scrape together the down payment to purchase a home in the bay area.

Landed has stepped into the breach, making it possible for some of these folks to achieve the dream of home ownership.  And while Landed today is working with school district employees in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay region, they are already at work expanding both geographically and also beginning to work with would-be home buyers outside the academic realm.

The startup has a fascinating story to tell, and it’s not just one aimed at home buyers.  Landed is also working with community-minded investors to help them make long-term gains by investing in housing in a socially responsible way.  If you’re interested in hearing about a market-driven approach to addressing the high cost of housing, you’ll want to queue up this week’s edition of the Bay to Bay Podcast.

Landed – web site

Ian Magruder on LinkedIn


Episode 16: Khalil Moutawakkil and California’s Legal Cannabis Industry

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of legal, recreational marijuana in California was simply a pipe dream.  For those of us who grew up with the war on drugs and “just say no,” the idea that one day recreational marijuana would be a legal and regulated industry in California seemed pretty far-fetched.  Khalil Moutawakkil grew up in Santa Cruz during this time, and like many of his contemporaries he had an appreciation for the cannabis plant that wouldn’t be dampened by its legal status.

When medicinal marijuana became legal in California in 1996, the cannabis industry began to come out of the shadows.  As of January 1, 2018 recreational cannabis use became legal in California, and it seems as though everyone today is talking about this new era in cannabis cultivation, production, sales, and consumption. One person that talks about it more than most is Khalil Moutawakkil, and I was fortunate to be able to speak with him about this new era of cannabis use in California.

Khalil Moutawakkil is one of the founders of Kind People’s Collective, based in Santa Cruz, California.  Kind People’s Collective became the first state-legal cannabis dispensary in Santa Cruz county, and they received the first 8 of 20 licenses granted by California’s Bureau fo Cannabis Control.  In addition, they obtained one of the first three cultivation licenses issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  When it comes to the booming and rapidly evolving legal, recreational cannabis industry in California, Khalil Moutawakkil knows what he’s talking about.

In a way, California’s nascent legal cannabis industry is like the California gold rush of 1849, with thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the industry.  In the podcast discussion, Khalil likens it to a tech boom.  With the potential to generate billions of dollars in yearly revenues, it’s no surprise that the industry is receiving such intense interest from so many entrepreneurs and investors.  So tune in, turn on, and learn about the past, present, and future of California’s legal cannabis industry.

KindPeoples – web site

KindPeoples – Yelp

KindPeoples – Facebook


Episode 15: Adora Deva and the Cures for What Ails You

There’s a lot of unhealthy people in today’s crazy, mixed-up world.  Of course, there are many different ways to be unhealthy, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and on many other levels. Let’s face it:  many of us are not living our best lives.  We’re not peak performers.  We’re being held back, we’re stuck.  It may be that we’re a little overweight.  Drink too much.  We smoke, or have chronic pain, feel sluggish and lack energy.  It could be we feel a lack of joy in our lives or have trouble connecting with other people, even those closest to us.  This is what I mean when I say that there’s a lot of unhealthy people around, because so many of us are afflicted in one or more of these ways.

But what’s there to do, if you sound something like what I’ve just descried?  Look, if you break an arm, it’s easy:  go to the hospital.  But if what you’re suffering from isn’t quite so acute, you should consider talking to someone like Adora Deva.  She takes a non-medical, holistic approach to healing that is uniquely hers.  Listen to this interview where she discusses the different healing modalities she uses to help people get on the path to health and well-being.  It’s a fascinating talk with a very fun and interesting person – who just might have the cures for what ails you.

Life Spirit Healing – Adora’s Web Site

Adora’s Yelp Page

Adora’s Facebook Page

Episode 14: Bay Area Bygone Days with Matt Wanhala

Ever meet a guy who you just loved to shoot the breeze with?  The kind of dude where, even in today’s hectic mobile-this, app-that, instant-everything you just want to stop what you’re doing and sit down to enjoy a good old fashioned conversation?  I met a man like that – his name is Matt Wanhala.  He’s in his mid-70’s now, and has spent pretty much all his life in California.  In those decades, Matt got around quite a bit, and he’s seen and done a lot of interesting stuff.  And some of the stuff he’s done hasn’t maybe been that interesting, but when you hear him talk about it, you’re interested nevertheless!  Listen to Matt talk about growing up in the rugged north coast, fishing for tuna, filming a movie, hanging out with the rat pack, a brush with Charles Manson, black helicopters, throwing rocks at President Nixon, and so much other fun stuff!  Matt’s had a lot of good times, and he shares quite a few of them with us in this charming and rambling episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast.  Tune in, turn on, and enjoy!

Episode 13: Residential Assisted Living with Gene Guarino

The San Francisco and Monterey Bay area is full of high-earning families who are always looking for good investment vehicles to bank their hard-earned gains.  Many folks with money to invest consider the real estate market – but with real estate prices as high as they are, the cash on cash return for many real estate investments hardly justify the risk of the investment itself.

For all those would-be investors who are finding diminished returns on their real estate portfolio, Gene Guarino at the Residential Assisted Living Academy has a message you’ll want to hear.  There’s a tremendous investment opportunity for folks who are looking to buy, open, or lease residential assisted care facilities.  That may sound like a lot of work to some – but it doesn’t have to be, as you’ll discover when you listen to this episode.

There’s an incredible opportunity here, as the number of people who will be needing assisted living continues to grow for the next twenty years as baby boomers begin to reach that stage in life where they can no longer live on their own.  Smaller facilities such as are run in single family homes often provide residents a better, yet more affordable quality of life than offered by many of the larger, institutional senior care facilities.

If you’re looking for a sound investment strategy that is taylor made for America’s greying demographics, you owe it to yourself to listen as I speak with Gene Guarino at the Residential Assisted Living Academy.

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit this link to sign up for a 1 day free introductory course from the Residential Assisted Living Academy!


Episode 12: Turn Around Interiors takes Home Staging to a Whole New Level

I managed to get Jo Ann Cureton and Lisa Nicks-Balthasar on the line to talk about their passion: home staging. This dynamic duo runs Turn Around Interiors, one of the most popular home staging companies in Santa Cruz County (California). As you listen, you’ll understand why they’ve been able to stage some of the finest homes in our coastal region. We discuss how they got into this business, what attracts them to it, and why they keep at it after so many years. You’ll learn what their background and training is like, and why it’s so important that every home being sold get staged.

I asked them a lot of questions a homeowner might as, such as:

  • How much is a typical home staging budget?
  • Does every home need to be staged?
  • What homes benefit most from staging?
  • Is it important to stage a home, even in a tight market with no competition?
  • Should you stage the exterior as well as the interior?
  • What are the hottest trends in home staging these days?

Before the episode is over, you’ll understand why and how home staging gets homes sold more quickly, and for a significantly higher price than the non-stage competition. If you keep listening until the very end, you’ll hear about a very special offer they’re making just for listeners of the Bay to Bay Podcast!

You can contact Jo Ann and Lisa through their web site: www.TurnAround-Interiors.com. You can also reach them by telephone, Lisa at (831) 586-1844 or Jo Ann at (831) 239-7719.

Turn Around Interiors staged Villa Monte Verde

View more photos of their staging work on this home’s web site

Episode 11: Dr. Krista Healy on Life, Health, and Making it Work

We had the pleasure of conversation with Dr. Krista Healy, a chiropractor in Aptos, California.  Dr. Healy is a native of Canada, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area (specifically, San Jose) to attend chiropractic school in 1997, and has been living in California ever since.

When people think of the immigrant experience in California, we don’t often think of Canadians – but yes, many do live among us, and are immigrants like tens of millions of their contemporaries from other countries.  During our discussion, she relates the early years of living in San Jose in an expensive, overcrowded house – a familiar tale from students and immigrants alike.

She shares the journey she took from a new immigrant and student to a chiropractic professional in southern California, and how she ended up living back in Santa Cruz – and what she loves about living in the area.

Each of us who lives in the area has our own story to tell, about what we do to (at least try to) stitch together a happy and healthy life and career.  Dr. Healy’s story is one that is engaging and that many people will see themselves in.  We hope you enjoy listening to Dr. Healy share her northern California journey.  Be sure to listen all the way until the very end when she makes a very special offer for listeners of this episode!

Learn more about Dr. Krista Healy

Healy Chiropractic web site
Rodan and Fields Consultant Site

Text her to make an appointment for a consultation:  831-419-9289

Episode 10: Santa Cruz County Greenway Presentation

Listen to a presentation by Santa Cruz County Greenway about their vision for the future use of the Santa Cruz Branch Line Rail Corridor.  The rail corridor is a 32 mile stretch of track that runs from Davenport in the north of the county all the way to Watsonville in the south.  The corridor is very scenic and runs through many communities in Santa Cruz, including the city of Santa Cruz, Live Oak, Capitola, Aptos, and La Selva Beach.  Santa Cruz County Greenway is promoting a vision of the rail corridor as a linear park, used by pedestrians and bicyclists to get around the county.  This is in contrast to the plan promoted by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, which wants to establish passenger rail service on the corridor with a pedestrian and bike path on the side.  Listen to the presentation and make up your own mind about how to best use this priceless asset.

Video of the Santa Cruz County Greenway Presentation

As you can see from watching the video of the presentation, the event was well attended – standing room only. There is enormous interest in the future use of the Santa Cruz Branch Line rail corridor. While many people in the community support passenger rail service when it makes sense, many folks feel that it is not the right fit for the Santa Cruz community.

Episode 9: Get the Low-Down on Flooring with Zach Liske

With a booming economy comes new home construction, and a lot of remodeling and upgrading. If you’re looking at doing some significant home improvement, you’re probably thinking about flooring – and Zach Liske is an expert on the topic! Listen to an hour of talk and become an expert too. In this episode, Zach talks all about the incredible business he’s built: Floor Huggers.  We discuss how and why he built the business, where his business comes from, and of course we talk about the various products available on the market today, and what any discerning buyer should be concerned with.

Floor Huggers specializes in sustainable flooring, and we learn a lot about sustainable flooring products, and what to look for when it comes to quality flooring. We discuss genuine hardwood flooring, recycled flooring, engineered floors, laminate flooring, bamboo – there’s a dizzying array of options and you’re sure to learn a lot about what goes into a quality floor for your home.

We also spend some time talking about a business that sprang out of that, which is EcoDemo – a company that will demolish a home in an eco-friendly manner by recycling many components of it (and by doing so, a home owner can receive a fat tax credit!).  Many home owners today are choosing to demolish older homes and rebuild them in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way, and EcoDemo is at the forefront of this trend in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay region.

Floor Angels

At the end, Zach also talks about Floor Angels, a soon-to-be-launched endeavor where Floor Huggers will help a worthy cause (e.g. a non-profit, etc.). A worthy organization can be nominated by the community, and each year Floor Huggers will donate materials and/or labor to help make the new floor a reality. What a tremendous example to set and a great way to give back to the community!

Check out Floor Huggers on Houzz

Check out Floor Huggers on Yelp

Check out Floor Huggers on HomeAdvisor

Episode 8: Digging California Archaeology with Dustin McKenzie

In this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast we talk to Dustin McKenzie of the Cabrillo College anthropology department.  Dustin is a local archaeology expert on the history of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.  We enjoyed an hour long, wide-ranging chat in which Dustin shared a wealth of information about the people who have historically populated the region.  In particular, we discussed:

  • How long have humans lived in the region, and where they came from
  • How many people lived here millennia ago, who did they trade with, where they lived
  • What kind of technology did they have, and what language(s) they spoke
  • Ancient forms of California government
  • What life was like for women in ancient California
  • The arrival of Spanish explorers in California
  • Archaeological study European history in California
  • The Spanish Missions vis a vis the experiences of the native people
  • Where people can go today to see ancient artifacts from California’s history
  • Archaeology meet-ups in the area where people can go geek out on the subject and meet fellow enthusiasts
  • Where and how to get a job in archaeology

One thing that really comes through in this episode is the guest’s love for this field of study! It’s infectious, and you’re sure to gain a better appreciation for this field of study, how much work is yet to be done, and the surprising number of opportunities for people interested in pursuing this as a career.  Towards the end of our discussion, we talked at some length about the Cabrillo College archaeology summer field program, where participants spend four weeks over the summer doing archaeology work around the region.


Cabrillo College archaeology field school blog: http://ccarchfieldschool.blogspot.com/

Society for California Archaeology: https://scahome.org/

Santa Cruz Archeological Society: http://www.santacruzarchsociety.org/