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In the next installment of our ‘Get To Know a Blaster’ series, we are asking Hollis Guerra Bateson, Account Supervisor and Blast’s most tenured employee, to share some fun details about herself. Hollis works out of the stunningly beautiful Santa Barbara headquarters and has more energy than that battery-operated bunny! She is always looking for her next adventure — inside and out of the office — with a go-getter attitude, a great eye for style, and any opportunity to get active.

Please enjoy getting to know a bit more about Hollis Bateson…

1. What is your favorite home cooked meal?

My all time favorite home-cooked meal is pasta al forno – baked pasta with mozzarella. My Nonna made the best meals (I mean, we are an Italian family!) and after living with her one summer in Italy, this quickly became my go-to, “Please, can we have it when I visit!” meal. I’ve since learned to make it myself, getting the secret ingredients for the sauce from my dad!

2. Were you named after anyone?

I went a long time without knowing who I was named after – I have maybe only met 3 other Hollis’ in my lifetime. I really didn’t know the story until fairly recently.

Apparently, when my parents were living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my mom met a woman named Hollis who was president of the Junior Philharmonic volunteer group and also coached soccer in her spare time.

Sounds fabulous enough for me!

3. If you weren’t working in the job you have now, what would you do?

There are a few activities I fancy – baking, flowers, yoga and traveling. When I was little I used to pretend to host a “Cooking with Caroline” after school show (Caroline being my middle name) to teach people how to bake cookies, cakes and brownies. I’m obsessed with series like, “The Great British Baking Show” and often wonder how my own berry crumble would stack up! (I have now taken to speaking with a British accent and commenting on “the bake” of pastries before I eat them.)

I also love filling our house with fresh flowers and thought being a florist would be so pleasant — creating beautiful bouquets for people to enjoy. Combine that with my yoga practice and I could run a yoga/floral/baking studio! Just need a name.

And in the total dream world, I would simply be a professional traveler.

4. What is one thing on your bucket list?

Travel is my absolute, number one favorite hobby! Since my first trip when I was 3 to Hawaii and Hong Kong, I’ve been hooked on adventure. Wanderlust is real! I try to travel at least 2 times a year (long-haul trips) and make sure there’s plenty of time for weekend / long weekend getaways.

Though the list of places I’d like to go just keeps growing, my #1 spot has always been Australia. I’m thinking it’s in the cards sooner rather than later!

5. What makes you wildly happy?

My husband, whom I’ve known since I was 19, brings me the most joy in the world, more and more each day. It’s crazy that every time I see him it’s like seeing him for the first time and being so pumped! He’s definitely my best friend.

More than that, being with our families is the most important thing to both of us, so any time we get to spend with them I really try to focus all my attention on being in the moment and enjoying their company. Our families are all over – from the East Coast to Abroad – so when we get together, wherever in the world it may be, it’s wonderful. I know it can be a rare thing to be so obsessed with your family (immediate & in laws), so I’m extremely grateful.

6. What big life changes have you recently experienced and how have they affected you?

Last year I tore my ACL skiing in Mammoth. As an avid runner, outdoor enthusiast & yogi, this was by far my most difficult challenge to overcome. Every day is an opportunity to do something active, and I always prioritize my health. So being forced to stop was heartbreaking… although I probably only “sat still” for a week before I jumped headfirst into physical therapy. Over the course of my recovery – which moved exceedingly fast (I was back running after 5 months) – I learned a lot about persistence and patience. I learned about self care and how to be kind during trying times. I learned that I can truly overcome anything and that through determination I can conquer any of life’s challenges.

7. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m already living in my dream paradise of Santa Barbara, but I hope, one day, to be able to spend a significant amount of time in Italy / the Mediterranean. Last year my family did a gorgeous trip to the Italian and French Riviera. My Father is from Vercelli, a small town in Northern Italy between Turin and Milan. I’m absolutely the happiest there – and with its proximity to the Riviera, I fell in love with some gorgeous seaside towns (a favorite being Antibes). I would truly love to do extended work-vacation stays there in the summer for a month or 6 weeks. I’m studying / practicing my Italian and immersion is the best way to learn quickly! One day…

8. What is your favorite family vacation?

It’s almost too hard to pick – Icelandic adventures in the snow is pretty high up on the list, but so are surf vacations in Nicaragua. I think any time the family is together and we can just explore but also stop to relax is my favorite. There’s something about just playing a few days here and there by ear that’s really lovely, but balancing those out with super active days of water sports, horseback riding, boat tours, skiing or snowmobiling, hiking, and/or wine tours just caps off a nice vacation for me!

9. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

Ride a bike. With the Blast Santa Barbara office so close to my home, I’m a big believer in biking to work! It’s so much easier and nicer than being shoved in a car. The Santa Barbara weather certainly helps should I decide to take the beach-route to work!

In fact, as a 1-car household, my main form of transportation on a daily bases is by bike. Two wheels are certainly better than four.

10. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?

My first nickname, that I’m still called today by family and very close friends, is “Gek.” Gek is also, apparently, my first word (or all that my Mother can remember – being the 2nd baby is hard). My Father had been traveling somewhere and I was giving him my famous cold shoulder. After some prodding, legend has it I slowly turned to face him to finally give him a moment of my day, looked at him, uttered the word (?) “Gek” and then simply turned back around.

I think I made my point.

11. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Regarding the ACL incident, I think the most daring thing I’ve ever done recently was when, exactly 1 year after my surgery, I took a flight to Colorado to go skiing! I got back on the slopes and conquered my fear of getting back out there. I had rehabbed and trained for 12 months for this moment. While that first day back on the slopes I had my doubts and thought at a few points that this was “the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” I also was able to think back to the lessons I learned from the injury, surgery and recovery. I was able to be kind to myself, take my time, have patience with each run and take comfort in the the confidence I had built through dedicated hours of training. I knew I could do it, I had trust in my knee and muscles, and ultimately had the best time ever!

12. What was the last book you read?

I recently finished two fantastic books:

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman – a coming of age story of one supremely unique little girl through a wild adventure encouraged by her Grandmother, whom she had a special bond with. Their relationship, cemented by incredibly beautiful and intricate fairy tales the Grandmother made up, had me sobbing. It was just so gorgeous!

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin – a salacious read about the glamorous lives of New York High Society ladies and their relationship with Truman Capote following his rise and fall.

13. Do you collect anything?

I do – I collect medals. I just received one the other day for running a 10-miler race alongside Santa Barbara’s beautiful coast! Coming in at 1:24, it was my first time running over 7 miles since that darn ACL. I’ve run several full and half marathons and countless 5 and 10k’s. There’s nothing better to me than that feeling you get when running and all your stress disappears and all you are left with are joyous thoughts of life, family and friends. The runner’s high is real!