Meet Dayana! She’s the creative force and “farm mama” behind the new start-up eco-farm collaborative called Splendor Oaks near Little River Marina. In addition to developing the farm while homeschooling, she spends her days designing and overseeing the construction of custom tiny builds, teaching others about sustainability and holistic healing, and hosting guests in their treehouse & converted school bus Airbnb rentals. Beyond all this goodness, Dayana is a heart-driven person whose authenticity invites authenticity in return. Dayana oozes grace and joy and it is so life-giving to talk with her!
Thank you so much, Dayana, for all the time you spent with me exploring a breadth of topics and thoughts! I was dazzled by the beauty of Splendor Oaks, and walked away from our time feeling so full!
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: I just landed here by following my giftedness into doing a mix of the things I love!
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
A: Cylantros! It’s a tiny Venezuelan restaurant that’s actually located inside the Shell gas station at 92 & Canton Road. Everything is delicious, but we normally opt for the Cachapa which is a sweet corn pancake with cheese or the Sancocho which is a traditional stew!
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
A: Woodstock has been a regular part of our lives for over a decade of living in Cherokee county, however, moved to the Little River area in 2016 to start Splendor Oaks.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Woodstock?
A: We call him “Crazy Dave.” He’s the genius welder over at Iron Vine Metal Studio! We popped in there with questions about a stair railing, and we just hit it off! Interactions with him are so genuine and he always takes the time to truly be present with you. It’s clear that he does what he loves as well and he’s mastered his craft!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: If I was traveling for a family vacation, I would go back to Colombia. If I were traveling for adventure purposes, I would want to do a Holy Land tour, like the Dead Sea and Jerusalem.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: I’m not really much of a movie person, however when this comes up, the first one I always think of is ’Mystic River’ with Sean Penn, truth be told, I really don’t know why. However, the movie ‘Unstoppable’ really made an impact on me as it tries to explain why bad things can happen to good people. It bounces back and forth from a black and white documentary to an insanely colorful storyline.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Find your giftedness, like the “thing” that you are so good at and couldn’t not thrive at it even if you tried your hardest THEN make sure that your daily life is catered towards that letting that gift shine so that you’re living a passionate life. Life’s too short and too unpredictable to not live out your natural talents!
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I think ultimately it would be more travel, a LOT MORE TRAVEL. If there was one crazy big thing that I could make happen, it would be to do something similar to that show ‘The Amazing Race’! Just see the world, meet its people, and get a taste of all the cultures!
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: I love U2 but my playlist is usually JohnnySwim, Drew Holcomb, and NEEDTOBREATHE.
Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
A: Every fall I meet up with my best friend from Chicago and we take a road trip somewhere new (this year we are “cheesing” our way through Wisconsin”). I take along a whole Brown Sugar Chess pie from Pie Bar and we eat some of it at every meal. So while I’m on the trip it reminds me of home, but when I’m in Pie Bar anytime throughout the year it reminds me of all my adventures with my travel buddy!
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where would you have lunch?
A: I would take Bono from U2 to have lunch at my family’s farmhouse in the Colombian mountains.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
A: I love that it’s still quaint. While it has built up a lot more, when you walk through downtown on a business day, it just feels cozy and quiet.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: Here. We’ve spent over three years building Splendor Oaks into a hospitality homestead, so I think it will always “home”. In 10 years, our youngest son will leave the nest so we will probably do more extensive travel when that happens, but only if we find the perfect person to care for all of my farm babies!
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I really love to sing and on a consistent basis I’ve been told I’m really good at it. I feel like I should have leaned more into music. As a kid, my immigrant family definitely couldn’t afford any kind of formal training, and so I just never really had a chance to develop that outside of my kitchen or in a worship session at church.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Hammocks, Kantha quilts, nature (plants and animals). Oh and lots of people, we keep an open door policy so there is always someone around to connect with over a cup of coffee!
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: I wouldn’t pick a certain famous person like most… I actually think if there was a story of my life, I would like it to be told through the eyes of my first dog (McKawley). I grew up in a “cat” household and I always wanted to have my own dog. That finally happened in 2006 when Kurtis and I first started dating and now she will be 14 this coming January! I know she would tell the story unbiasedly as she has seen and heard it ALL!
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: This one is so easy- a housekeeper or in reality TWO! Two of our three dogs are Siberian huskies which means the dog hair is everywhere! Plus the nature of a working farm is the equivalent of a factory for undone laundry, DIY project supplies on every horizontal surface, and a sink full of dishes!
Follow Splendor Oaks online and find information to visit in person on their Facebook page! You will be blown away by what you find!