Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at

Nikolas Allen is using all of his creative talents selling homes in Siskiyou County. For more than 10 years Nikolas has been an active member of the creative community including as an artist, musician, art marketing instructor, and the emcee for Liberty Arts Fashion Shows and Butteville Art Auction. Nikolas is the author of several books: “Death To The Starving Artist – Art Marketing Strategies for a Killer Creative Career,” and “Heavyweight Marketing – Knockout Strategies for Building Champion Brands.”

Lauri: How did you get interested in the real estate business? 

Nikolas: In 2015, I purchased my first home after decades of renting, and fell in love with the experience of home ownership. I got my real estate license in order to help other first-time homebuyers experience the same thrill. I never thought I would become a realtor, but now that I'm in it, I love what I do, and can't imagine doing anything else. I'm now a Realtor with J. Harris & Associates of Mount Shasta.

Lauri: Where do you get the inspiration to do what you do?

Nikolas: The thrill that buyers and sellers feel when the deal closes successfully makes it all worthwhile! I love helping people through the complex process of buying and selling their homes. There are some people who are super fun to work with as we move towards achieving their real estate goals.

There is plenty of hard work, uncertainty, and struggle with every deal. Some clients are more challenging, but that’s okay, too, because it offers lessons on patience, compassion, and communication. Becoming a Realtor has been the most fun, challenging, and rewarding career, both personally and financially, that I have experienced to date.

Lauri: I know you from your artwork and books. Do you still make time for your creative work?

Nikolas: One cool thing about having this extensive creative background is that I can put all of the skills to use as a realtor. When marketing myself, and my clients' properties, my use of design, music, video, and writing really helps me stand out from the rest of the pack. Lately, I have been bitten by the music bug again, and am writing, recording, and performing songs. I’ve just debuted Electric Layer Cake, a new solo album.

Lauri: What is your favorite part about sharing a meal friends and family?

Nikolas: There’s nothing quite like talking, laughing, relaxing, and catching up with friends and family over a leisurely meal to make you feel connected to the people who matter in your life. I love the conversation and connection that happens around the table with friends and family. My partner, Brenda and I try to have one small dinner party every quarter. And at least one house or yard party per year. Plus, we’ll hit restaurants with friends or clients every month or two.

Check out music by Nikolas Allen at

Nikolas Allen's soft-shell street tacos

One of my favorite meals to prepare at home is soft-shell street tacos because they are small in size, with minimal ingredients. It’s a fresh, healthy, and gluten-free meal that is tasty and easy to prepare. You can add a veggie side such as steamed broccoli, brussel sprouts or corn on the cob. Chips and salsa are optional, but always a fun addition.

Ingredients:  These can vary depending on what you’re in the mood for, but ours often look something like this ...

Organic white corn tortillas (choose corn tortillas and chips for gluten-free)

Fresh cabbage or lettuce



Black or green olives

Protein of choice (beef, chicken, fish)


Spicy mustard

Avocado oil mayo


Cook your protein on stove or grill. Dice lettuce, cabbage, cilantro and slice olives, and avocado. Heat tortillas on stove or in the oven. Add light dab of mayo and squirt of spicy mustard on warmed tortilla. Assemble ingredients and top with salsa. Enjoy!