by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Rock Collecting & Disney Devotion

family_bustardes_1The Bustarde family has lived in San Elijo Hills for the past two years. They love the small town atmosphere and all the parks, trails, and eateries around the town center. Both lawyers, Darwin and Melissa Bustarde met in a political science class at UC Riverside, and married after their first year of law school. The couple both practice at Mayfield Bustarde LLP, located in Solana Beach, in the areas of business/corporate, employment, and real property. Melissa is also on the board of directors for the Bar Association of North San Diego County. A funny story: one time, both Darwin and Melissa were arguing different cases, but their court appearances were at the same time in front of the same judge. When the judge asked if they were related, without missing a beat, they said, “Yes, we’re brother and sister!”

“They love the small town atmosphere and all the parks, trails, and eateries around the town center.”

Darwin and Melissa are both very active in local social and professional groups. Darwin is a Kiwanis Club Board Member, and also co-founded San Elijo Business Breakfast, a networking group that meets at Café Stoked. Melissa co-leads her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and is on the Board of Directors for three nonprofits, in addition to North County Bar Association, Women in Business, Vistancia HOA, and the San Elijo Elementary School PTO. She is also active in Women of Wonder (WOW) doing community service projects throughout North County.

family_bustardes_2The choosing of the children’s names in the family included an elaborate multi-part competition. Daughter Virginia R. Bustarde, a second-grader at San Elijo Elementary, is a Brownie Girl Scout who just started playing soccer. Her nickname, Ginny, was Darwin’s choice after Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series. William R. Bustarde is three and loves everything Star Wars. His middle name, Ryker, was inspired by the Star Trek: The Next Generation character William Riker. “So both our kids are named after TV/movie characters,” Darwin laughed.

A Disney family, the Bustardes enjoy everything Disney. They have annual passes, go to Disney World almost every year, and even have a Disney timeshare. Most of their pets are Disney namesakes: a rescue German Shepherd mix named Mickey (after the Mouse, of course), and a rescue Black Lab mix named Mulan. The only diversion from the theme is their new Betta fish, Blue, so named by the children because he is, of course, blue. The Bustardes are a fun-loving, community-loving family who’re loving life in San Elijo Hills.


Meet the Bustardes

Parents: Darwin L. Bustarde and Melissa L. Bustarde
Children: Virginia R. Bustarde (7) and William R. Bustarde (3)
Community: San Elijo Hills for 2 years
Parents’ Hometowns: Darwin – Spring Valley, CA; Melissa – Victorville, CA
Parents’ Occupations: Attorneys
Pets: Mickey, a German Shepard mix adopted from the Carlsbad Humane Society; Mulan, a Black Labrador mix adopted from Escondido Humane Society; and Blue, a blue Betta Fish
Favorite Places to Visit in 92078: Jack’s Pond, Double Peak Park, and wandering all of the trails and parks in our community