Kristen C. Tiessen
Freelance Writer

Photo by:  Alexandra Wallace


Kristen C. Tiessen is a storyteller.
She's currently living and creating on the California Central Coast. 



Kristen has been freelancing as a feature writer for magazines, blogs, and online publications for more than a decade. The breadth of her work focuses primarily on people, culture, and the arts. Her background as a dancer, performer and health and fitness professional, and her education in human and behavioral sciences provide her with a broad base from which to approach many topics. Her favorite part of her writing adventures is interviewing new people and discovering the kind of stories that almost write themselves.

You can find samples of her work in publications such as Coyote + Oak, The Wedding Standard, Wine Country this Month,, and the Deep Thoughts blog for Breakaway Tours & Event Planning among others.





“Next Level Picnic”

With Santa Barbara Picnic Co., Nicole Leza has turned her love of picnics and her interest in event planning and styling into a career. She launched the biz in August 2018, and today she offers private parties of 2 to 35 guests an experience unlike anything they ever thought a picnic could be. Birthdays, anniversaries, and engagement parties alike, Nicole has totally reimagined your standard field day.


“The Historic Santa Maria Inn”

The landmark Santa Maria Inn stretches and entire city block in all its architectural splendor. Constructed in 1916 and owned by retired Union Sugar feeding and house manager Frank McCoy, this historic hotel has become an attraction for everyone from average Joes to worldwide celebrities.


"American Son"

Steven D. Soria is a third-generation leather smith and creator of Make Smith Leather Co. A native of Santa Barbara, California, he's been working leather side by side with his family since he was just a kid. Today he's on his own producing high quality handcrafted goods and accessories. For Steven, art is life and life is art.



Kimberly Walker is the creative force between Granada Hotel and Bistro as well as a number of other places of fun and relaxation. Read the story of how she went from student and writer, to inventor and designer of amazing spaces across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

"Behind the Scene"

An Animator's Advice on Standing Out in the Creative Crowd


"...Another Man's Savior"

Interview with Jared Peter Kirby, founder of Salvage Audio.


"Peace In the Blue Hour"

An introspective conversation with musician Chris Lambert as we discuss his process in creating his 2016 album The Blue Hour.


"Something is Stirring In the Spirit World"

Dominique Gonzales and Robin Kirk-Wolf are two female creative entrepreneurs mixing it up in the cocktail game. Dominique is the genius behind an all-natural carbonated mixer, and Robin refreshes our drinks with her handmade small-batch bitters.


"Dinner @ Six"

Chef Ricky Odbert and I explore Six Test Kitchen, his Arroyo Grande, Caiifornia six-seater restaurant. We discuss his start in the restaurant biz and how he does what he does best in his world class, home based dining establishment.


"Electric LadyLand"

Erica Hamilton is Creative Director at Blackwater boutique in downtown San Luis Obispo, California. An artist at heart, she seeks to create a shopping experience that's truly magickal.


"Everything's Coming Up Roses"

Get to know the wonderfully warm Stephanie Hendry, owner of Ruby Rose Vintage in downtown San Luis Obispo, California. We talk about taking risks, making your passion your business, and the magic of vintage.


"Breakaway Tours & Event Planning:Deliciously Fun, Educational Wine Tours"

Ask Jill Tweedie why she started Breakaway Tours and Event Planning and she jokingly replies “I needed to support my habit.” But it’s her entrepreneurial spirit and deep love of wine, food and hospitality that have made her a leader in the wine tourism industry of the Central Coast, and for twenty-two years the company has offered unforgettable tours to locals and visitors alike.


Photo courtesy of Serrano Wine

Photo courtesy of Serrano Wine

Sarah Garrett: Owner/winemaker, Serrano wine

Brice and Sarah Garrett started Serrano Wine in hopes of creating a craft wine that reflects their tastes and that will be appreciated by young and old alike. Their wine is made from grapes sourced from the family estate, Russell Family Vineyard, in the prestigeous Willow Creek Appellation in Paso Robles, California.

In this exclusive interview for Breakaway Tours & Event Planning, Sarah reveals what drew her to a career in wine and how she's seen the industry change since she got in the game three years ago.

Photo credit: Parrish Family Vineyard

Photo credit: Parrish Family Vineyard


David Parrish is owner and winemaker at Parrish Family Vineyard in Paso Robles. In the industry for more than 40 years, he's been growing grapes since 1995 and making his own wine since 2004. He truly knows all the ins and outs of the winemaking process, from grape to glass. 
In his Deep Thoughts interview with Breakaway Tours & Event Planning, he shares the story of how his Grandpa Earl inspired his start and what's ahead for Parrish Family Vineyard in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Chef Drew Terp

Photo courtesy of Chef Drew Terp


Chef Drew Terp has been in the culinary industry for nearly two decades, working in Michelin-starred kitchens around the world, from Napa to New York City to Las Vegas and Brazil. Today he is running the kitchen at PICO Restaurant at Santa Barbara County's Los Alamos General Store. 

(Written for Breakaway Tours & Event Planning)

Photo credit: Stolo Family Vineyards

Photo credit: Stolo Family Vineyards


Nicole bertotti-pope: winemaker, Stolo Family Vineyards

Stolo Family Vineyards is the only Estate winery and vineyard in Cambria and the surrounding area. Located just 3 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, Stolo is one of the closest vineyards to the California coast and uses the ideal cool climate growing conditions to produce award-winning wines. Stolo's 2014 Estate Syrah was voted #27 on the 2017 Wine Enthusiasts 100 list. Nicole has been winemaking for 12 years and is now leading the charge for Stolo.

(Written for Breakaway Tours & Event Planning) 

Photo credit: @stephenrosswinecellars

Photo credit: @stephenrosswinecellars


Stephen Ross Dooley is the owner and winemaker at Stephen Ross Wine Cellars. Based in San Luis Obispo, California since 1994, Stephen Ross serves their small production, limited release Pinot Noirs and other wines in his urban tasting room, just steps away from the cellar where he creates them. 

(Written for Breakaway Tours & Event Planning) 

Photo credit: @ellugarwines

Photo credit: @ellugarwines

Coby parker-garcia: Owner/winemaker, El Lugar Wines

Coby Parker-Garcia is the winemaker behind El Lugar Wines. He has a deep love for Pinot Noir and has dedicated his label to this single varietal. In this exclusive interview for the new Breakaway Tours & Event Planning Deep series, Coby gives readers an insider's perspective on his life and experiences in wine.

Photo credit: Grace Kathryn Photograhpy

Photo credit: Grace Kathryn Photograhpy

Alexandra Wallace: photographer,
Editor-in-chief, Coyote + Oak Magazine & The Wedding Standard Magazine

Alexandra Wallace is a freelance editorial photographer known for her work in fashion and bridal photography. She is  also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Coyote + Oak Magazine and The Wedding Standard Magazine. 

tulsi bagnoli: Astrologer, writer, yoga & meditation teacher

Tulsi Bagnoli is a writer, astrologer and teacher of Transcendental Meditation. We get to know her as she is embarks on a brand new chapter of her life as a spiritual practitioner and businesswoman.