Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

Modeling America’s Youth Through Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley

It has been exactly 157 years since the first Boys Club was founded in Hartford, Connecticut. Elizabeth Hamersley and Sisters Mary and Alice Goodwin were first to share the vision of enabled, successful youth, eventually stoking the fire to inspire the likes of former US Presidents, Postmaster Generals, and even the director of the FBI to form the Boys Clubs of America in 1956. Since then, the Club has undergone a second redesignation, upgrading its name to Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990. In total there are now organizations in all fifty states - serving, by totals from 2010, as many as four million boys and girls.

James Littlejohn, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley, has certainly followed in the illustrious footsteps of those who came before him. Providing stimulating and challenging programs in order to reach their potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens has never before been such a daunting or rewarding venture, and James is preparing the South County to be a vanguard for the next 157 years of Clubs.

BGC Logo 2 ColoredThe notion of a productive future is wildly subjective, but James views his mission through a similar lens to that of a creative designer, achieving perfection “not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”, as Antoine de Saint-Exupery noted in his 1939 text, Terre des Hommes. This act of distillation has proven to impress upon its youth a sense of self-worth by minimizing the vast and oft overwhelming scope of moral principles to a simple development strategy: academic success, good character, citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. One could spend all his time debating the merits of each facet of social, educational, or vocational leadership.

To that effect, James and his team in the Capistrano Valley are attacking all of the above, with tailored development programs from which their full time staff is seeking results. So how much does it cost? A better question in James’ mind is how much is it worth?

“No child is ever turned away due to lack of ability to pay,” says James. “More than 88% of our membership qualifies for the free or reduced lunch program which grants them scholarship opportunities. And all of our services are provided to our members for a single $70 annual membership fee.”

While at the club, members have the opportunity to choose the programs they wish to participate in. The only mandatory activity is POWERhour homework time. “Allowing our members to make positive choices helps them to grow as a person and prepares them to become responsible citizens.”

The full time staff develop the Clubs’ programs, and are supplemented by volunteers; both part and one-time. Programs are geared towards the Formula for Impact. Like Saint-Exupery’s design strategy, the Clubs’ Formula is driven by select key positive youth development elements: High-Yield Learning activities and regular attendance. The outcome of Academic Success then, is graduated members leaving high school ready for college, trade school, military, or full-time employment. Registering to vote and engaging in the community with model character is a direct outcome of paring down the programs with Good Character and Citizenship in mind. Adopting a healthy diet goes hand in hand with the Clubs’ priority outcome area of Healthy Lifestyle - creating a lifelong commitment to fitness.

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“Summer has a devastating effect on America’s kids, especially those who don’t participate in enriching summer activities,” says James. “Summer Brain Gain is hugely important to help keep kids on track in time outside the strict direction of schooling months. Youth aged 13-18 can explore a broad range of career areas, match their interest to development clusters, and identify the skills and education they need for their decided path. We work with the Club to recognize members for extraordinary achievements - standing as ambassadors for Boys & Girls Club youth in a Youth of the Year role.”

Kids can also join the Keystone and Torch Club - both of which offer opportunities for small group leadership and service, maturing younger adolescents at a critical stage in their health, education, community, and social development. Sports like wrestling, tennis, basketball and indoor soccer are on the table too - and participants are exposed to various activities designed to hone their decision-making and critical-thinking skills: learning how to successfully avoid and/or resist alcohol, tobacco, and premature sexual activity.

Want to help out, but not sure how to begin? “Any investment is a worthwhile investment”, James notes. “Expertise, financial, or just your time. Add your name to the list of mentors who have brought this program through the last 157 years.” Who knows? You might be that key piece in Saint-Exupery’s design koan: you add, the kids take away.


Connect with James and the Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley by calling (949) 240-7898 or visit www.bgccapo.com

The legend begins with an apple. Perhaps the crux of all legends are apples: Adam and Eve, Snow White, Atalanta and Hippomenes. This apple, however, dropped from a height onto a specific gentleman’s head, thusly and in a flash confirming all of his ideas regarding gravity, inertia and, as he named it, the “drawing power in matter.” Most of my experience with apples does not include a flash of genius - and most of my experience with gravity just helps me explain away the feeling of my body growing heavier with age. Whatever the legend though, the truth of Newton’s laws of gravity ring true still today, and find special purchase in the fitness arena, when you consider that a body in motion (tends) to stay in motion. Cara Fraser and Nicole Howard at Align Pilates and Yoga in San Juan Capistrano couldn’t agree more, and have a method of to keeping their clients in motion through the connection of “Mind, Body and Spirit.”

Pilates 201As a practice, many cannot tell the difference between yoga and pilates. And if you were to compare them apples to apples, many facets of both disciplines come down to joint stability and alignment. Yoga takes you away from your center and opens up the entire body. However, pilates tends to bring you back to the core, with the added benefit of spring weighted resistance. Being California natives and dancers brought Cara and Nicole to CSULB in the early 2000’s, but being constantly in motion brought them to pilates. Dance, as a discipline relies heavily on muscle control, which depends on a combination of fast and slow twitch muscle responses. Training for flexibility, strength, and agility seemed a no-brainer. Enter the apple and its magic flash. “Pilates and yoga made so much sense to both of us from the outset,” says Nicole. “The higher quality your movement, the higher quality of life: and pilates trains for it all.” Back care, pain management, breathwork, scoliosis, special populations - even just your basic strength conditioning.

Pilates 202Emphasizing proper alignment and technique, the team that Nicole and Cara have built at Align includes a staff of highly educated and talented instructors who want to meet you on your level of movement. “We offer a full schedule of pilates mat classes and an array of yoga classes, which are very hard to find in one location,” says Cara. “We are also one of the only studios in the areas to offer aerial yoga classes utilizing a large supportive hammock to deepen and help one’s yoga practice; not to mention it makes things a little more fun.” As children, both Cara and Nicole spent a great many hours in the outdoors: hiking, camping, and skiing. So it’s no wonder that the study and application of movement has become their life’s work. “I recently took up 6 Man Outrigger Canoeing,” Nicole says with a smile. “I just can’t seem to stop trying new things, and each sport takes joint stability, core strength and long, agile muscles. Pilates brings a focus to my everyday practice that I can take with me anywhere I go.”

20170312 DSC 2282Both graduates of CSULB and recipients of Master level Pilates Certifications, Nicole and Cara have been teaching for the last ten years. “I started teaching in San Clemente after I graduated college,” says Cara. “Nicole moved to San Clemente in 2003 and starting teaching Pilates that same year at a physical therapy office in SJC. She has been teaching in the area ever since, and truly has found her home here.” Being local daughters of the community has helped them gain a unique perspective on their clients and the special demands of our Southern California lifestyle. “You want meditation? Take Pilates. You can’t get anything out of it if the effort is mindless and sloppy. You want to recover from a surfing injury? Everyone has some form of muscular imbalance from habitual patterns. Pilates helps to correct them.”

Pilates 203Perhaps just feeling like you’re a bit more apple or pear shaped that you’d like to be? Not only has Pilates been linked to mental and physical stress reduction, which lowers cortisol levels in the body, it can transform your physique as well. More and more studies are showing that an improved physical state can lead to increased stimulation and brain function - bringing the body back to its true balance. Overworking already tired and weak muscles leads to injury and strain. But choosing to mindfully engage weak or underdeveloped areas brings fresh blood flow to the body which contributes to healing joints, tissues and correcting postural deviations.

“Our yoga classes are non-heated, which means you warm up your body the natural way, and the concept of following breathing patterns isn’t just some transcendental B.S.,” says Nicole. “Breath is life, and fully using correct breathing patterns can actually increase your lung capacity, invigorating you, and releasing stress and tension in the body, even as you’re working hard.”

Most studios can get to feeling like you’re in an intro to Physics 101 class - lost in huge numbers of students trying to follow along with the textbook because the professor has already moved on. At Align Pilates and Yoga, they have instilled a deep commitment to specialization: and all their instructors have been trained by the top certifying programs in the world. Most have over 10 years of teaching experience, and want to get personal with each client, and each client’s condition. Suffering from any physical ailment can be crippling over a long enough period of time, and if we are to follow Newton’s theory - a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Of course, certain back or neck conditions, for instance, shouldn’t be moved in certain directions to maintain a safe exercise program. But when done correctly, pilates and yoga are a low impact, safe form of exercise. “It’s hugely important before you go into a class to inform the instructors of injuries or preexisting conditions to reduce the risk of further injury. But it shouldn’t exclude you from using your body to its utmost level of capability.”

Whether you’ve had a flash of genius or you’re just feeling the effects of gravity in a new way, there’s no time like the present to stop making excuses for your quality of life, and start making changes. Align Pilates and Yoga will mindfully keep you moving in the right direction for years to come.


Connect with the Align Pilates team by stopping by their new studio at 31986 Plaza Dr., Suite E6 in San Juan Capistrano, call (949) 481-3577 or visit www.alignpilatescenter.com

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that physical photos are a medium worth preserving. When I recently sat down to put together my daughter’s baby book, I thought of how printed images might at times seem like a thing of the past. But then I can’t imagine showing off my family photos by scrolling through all the images I posted to Facebook once upon a time.

Diana Schmitt of the San Juan Capistrano-based Accents Portraits by Diana understands the desire for individuals and families to preserve their most precious memories in more than merely a digital format. She has spent the better part of 30 years specializing in family portraits, wedding photos and capturing the most priceless of moments in all types of life celebrations.

With nearly 30 years of experience, Diana’s focus is families, and she always aims to deliver “extraordinary customer service.”

“Diana is amazing,” says Heidi Hitt. “She has taken so many special pictures over the years for me and my family. They all turn out so beautifully. I am so blessed to have someone I can trust to help me capture special moments in time. Everybody loves when we send out our Christmas cards; they can’t believe how beautiful the pictures are. Thank you Diana for all the beautiful memories.”


Accent Portraits by Diana and San Juan Photo and Digital is located at 32281 Camino Capistrano, Suite C-104 in SJC.

They can be reached at (949) 661-6465 or online at www.accentportraitsbydiana.com

It’s no wonder Carolyn Franks is always smiling ... as the owner and operator of ZOOMARS Petting Zoo, her days are defined by pony rides, hundreds of fluffy bunny rabbits and guinea pigs, creatures big and small and unforgettable children’s excursions punctuated by squeals of delight.

Located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano’s charming historic district, ZOOMARS Petting Zoo opened in the early 1980s as a “backyard barnyard” called the Jones Family Mini Farm. Its buildings date back to the 1800s and the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

ZM ZooCD W119 FRNTIn the 12 years since she originally envisioned the innocent, affordable family entertainment opportunities that would come to define this local landmark, Carolyn has continually grown its offerings - both in both in animal attractions and unique activities.

Today, ZOOMARS is home to many different kinds of animals, including goats, sheep, llamas, ponies, horses, alpaca and hundreds of bunnies and guinea pigs to feed, cuddle and love. Although activities currently include pony rides, train rides and gemstone mining, Carolyn has recently introduced new musical merchandise (a CD of children’s songs created especially for ZOOMARS by a local singer/songwriting parent of kiddos who have long enjoyed the zoo) and has other equally fun ideas in the works (think jewelry design using the semi-precious stones your little ones have “mined”).

Owner Carolyn FranksOwner Carolyn FranksCarolyn has been harboring a not-so-secret wish to bring a special guinea pig “mascot” to life on the pages of a children’s book. While she had a very “specific idea” of Gillie the Guinea Pig’s “story” and what he would look like, the artists and illustrators she enlisted over the years weren’t quite able to truly capture the character’s personality and “sparkle.” That is, until she met Michele Dodds , a local artist - and fan of ZOOMARS - who created a “spot on” rendition of Carolyn’s vision.

From the minute you arrive at the ticket counter, you are greeted with smiles and happiness that is found throughout the zoo. If you need a quick lesson to hold a guinea pig, an extra pair of hands to set up a party, or a fun-loving miner to help your little guy strike gold, there is sure to be a caring zookeeper at every turn.

“The things I hear every day from people who have been coming to this petting zoo for years are just inspiring beyond words,” says Carolyn. “Especially when I hear things like, ‘I used to take my kids here and now I take my grandkids here.’ Wow, that’s so amazing to me. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed or had a challenging day, I just GOOGLE ZOOMARS and watch the stream of endless pictures, blogs and videos from moms and dads who have posted their child’s first pony ride or a story about the wonderful time everyone had at their 4-year- old’s birthday party. Then I sit back in my swivel chair and say, Yep, this what I do. How blessed am I that I can create these milestone memories for people? That feeling makes it all worth it.”

Connect with Carolyn by visiting ZOOMARS at 31791 Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano, by calling (949) 831-6550 or visit www.zoomars.com

Hospitality has its origins in antiquity, with the first records of guest baths in Greek villages in early biblical times. Over the last two thousand years, the simple act of offering care for others has grown into a massive industry: from the first French and English rural inns and stables for travelers, to the splendor of the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Caring for others can be complicated, or it can be simple: and the San Clemente Villas are looking to keep it simple.

Co-owners Paul and Aileen BrazeauCo-owners Paul and Aileen BrazeauAileen Brazeau and her husband Paul own and operate the Villas, and they’d like to think that hospitality is simply about listening. Listening to its residents, namely. “If we are successful at providing superior senior care and lodging, it is for that reason - we listen closely to what the residents tell us.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, seniors will represent 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030. As demand for senior housing rises, the Villas are ready to meet it with their signature recipe for success: hospitality.

Villas’ residents enjoy a level of service and care often missing from senior communities. Care plans are specifically tailored to residents’ daily individual needs, and with 24-hour assistance every day of the year, the center fosters as much independence as possible while still maintaining the highest level of comprehensive care. The staff, including an Assisted Living Care manager, Licensed Nurse, and Executive Director are involved on a daily basis with the well-being of each resident, ensuring that the safety, health and comfort of each resident comes first. “The first thing that Paul, I, and our staff focused upon when we opened our doors was that each resident has a story to tell, as well as unique needs. We are interested in their stories, and we care about their needs.”

2016 0309Walking into the “grand hall” of The Villas is like walking onto lido deck of a cruise ship - minus the cruise director and napkins folded to look like chimpanzees. Clearly, Paul and his wife know exactly what they’re doing, and are excelling at it, as there are smiling seniors everywhere you look: chatting amongst themselves, or with visiting relatives or staff. If it isn’t Happy Hour on Tuesday or Thursday, there is bound to be a Luau, or Karaoke Birthday Party. And if that wasn’t enough to keep you entertained, The Villas host an annual “Villas’ Got Talent” show. 

2016 0302Taking a peek into the kitchens is an experience in itself, where a team of chefs prepare several entrees, side dishes and desserts at breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Our residents look forward to every meal”, Aileen states, noting that it is not unusual to see a home baked pie or cobbler on the menu, following a fresh, home-style lunch or dinner. “Casual “cafe-style dining is available, as is formal. Residents can even reserve a private dining room for family visits”. But balance and moderation are keys to offering a tailored care experience, and so the Villas also boast an exercise gym and beauty salon, a library, and a game area. Nightly movies are one of the most popular venues for the residents, showing on the “big screen” in a roomy theater setting.

Like any five star hotel, the Villas rely on the services that an on-site concierge offers. Through telephone and personal interactions, the Concierge provides exemplary customer service: allowing the residents to focus on the meaningful moments they have throughout their days, instead of stressing about what the day’s schedule looks like, worry about how to pick up a prescription off site, or how to challenge themselves to keep mind and body active. The “cruise ship that never sails” couldn’t be more accurate a way to describe the Villas. As cruise directors, Paul and Aileen operate the fully-staffed community. She, her Executive Director, Karen Milroy, along with long-time Marketing Director, Diana Sanchez, work magic in the Public Relations, Networking and Marketing arena, often hosting events at The Villas that are open to local businesses and the community.

On-site presence is what sets this community apart, and what keeps the ship afloat. Most senior residence communities operate through a parent corporation, run by hired representatives. Taking hospitality to the next level, Paul and Aileen have made it a point to keep their offices onsite at The Villas, and can be seen regularly participating in activities during the week. If you see them on-site, say hello, ask a question, and expect to be hosted like you are a part of the San Clemente Villas family.

To learn more about The Villas and its history, founding, beginnings or review a list of available services, be sure to visit the web site at www.SanClementeVillas.com.

 

A couple of years ago in 2015, automakers topped a 15 year peak, as the confluence of cheaper gas, higher employment, low interest rates and a stronger economy created the perfect storm for auto companies to sell a whopping 17.5 million cars and light trucks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans spent roughly $570 million. Two years down the road on an average new car, and you’re looking at light maintenance: a few oil changes, wiper replacements, maybe a belt or some shiny new tires. But as the years tack on, each one of those 17.5 million cars will begin to wear down. Alternators break. Tie rod ends need replacing. (Let’s not even talk about the fact that I’ve been calling them tire rods this whole time.) So where to take your car for those repairs and routine maintenances?

Performance Haus is here to answer your questions. A mainstay of the Dana Point community since 1974, the Haus specializes in factory scheduled maintenance and repairs for Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus and Volkswagen. Proud of the reputation and history they have in the industry, Performance Haus has recently rolled up their service doors to welcome all domestic brands as well.

“Repair shops just don’t stay in a community as long as we do unless they have provided folks with outstanding service and pricing,” says Ray, service manager. “We don’t believe in making extra profits at the customer’s expense.”

As idyllic as it sounds, the Haus has the gumption and longstanding to back up its lofty promises. Using only original or OEM parts, rest assured knowing that your repairs were completed with the highest quality parts available at the highest level of workmanship on the market.

Offering everything from brake service to suspension and steering, the technicians at Performance Haus have been schooled in industry best practices, and perform all of its services and repairs per factory specifications.

“Quit being a number at your local dealership,” says Ray. “Wouldn’t you rather be treated with respect, courtesy, and loyalty? And our service doesn’t just stop at the door: we have a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty.” Be it tie rods or tire rods, the team at Performance Haus has a fix for you, and they’ll make you feel at home while they’re at it.

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Why Choose Us


Experience
We’ve been providing expert auto repair and service since 1974.
Personalized Service
We provide local residents with a convenient shuttle service
Factory Scheduled Maintenance
Peace of mind with our 12,000 mile/12-month warranty
Convenience
Most repairs are finished the same day while you wait.
Nationwide Warranty
through Confidence Plus

Performance Haus is located at 34112 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Dana Point. For information, call (949) 493-3571 or visit www.performancehausdp.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

According to a recent LA Times article, “the Southern California housing market is red-hot again.” 2015 was the second-busiest year since the 2008 recession, and experts are calling for 2016 to be the year that the peak returns to Orange County. With so much hype in the forecast, it can be difficult for both buyers and sellers to track market trends, sift through all the numbers, and forecast what may or may not happen over years to come. I know I’d rather choose a new paint color or build my dream wraparound porch than pore tediously over CoreLogic statistics. And that’s where Sheri Normandin comes into the picture.

Often, determining the difference between one’s skill set and one’s passion leaves much to be desired: a rift not many of us have the luxury to cross over in our professional lives. For Sheri, seeing her skill set and passion collide in the real estate market has revolutionized hers. With over 25 years of executive level management and marketing in over 26 countries, Sheri’s transition to luxury property management was as smooth as can be. In fact, it doesn’t get much smoother than earning herself a top 4% spot in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Agents nationwide: and an entry in the 2014 and 2015 President’s Club. Yet, unlike a great many OC brokers, Sheri doesn’t hail from Orange County.
“I grew up on a farm,” she notes with a smile. “I’m interested in Orange County in the same way my buyers and sellers are interested: I came here to buy a house for myself, I dealt with the same process, the same negotiations; and I think that makes me uniquely suited to welcome folks to the area.”

With the increased global reach of real estate, understanding and appropriately providing services to meet the various needs out there are constantly added to the equation of buying or selling a home. Sheri services all of South Orange County, not just the city she resides in, and she is willing to go the extra mile to help her clients understand what it is they are really achieving with her at the helm of their housing project.

“The needs of a buyer are vastly different than those of a seller,” she says. “We have seen a strong recovery over the past few years, but with low inventories, it continues to be a sellers market.”

So what questions are you asking as either a buyer or seller in the current market? You may have the perfect paint chip in hand, but what kind of wall would you like to decorate? You may be approaching retirement, and are looking to downsize. Do you have specific square footage in mind? Do you have a budgetary cap? Is there room for the family dog? A yard?

“Floor plans and functionality of a home can vary greatly and rearranging the current use with minor changes can have a much bigger value to a buyer, if they can see it,” says Sheri. “Not all agents can provide that vision. I look for areas I can make the process easier for my clients and actively take things off their plate to reduce stress.”

Because everyone’s motivations are different, a good realtor connects with clients and can manage the expectations on the table, while successfully maximizing results. Finding a broker that will offer more than a minimum level of service however, can be painstaking. With her background in marketing and negotiation, it is no wonder that Sheri has found such success - invaluable when navigating the market and its constant fluctuations.

Listing price: $1,439,000. 28442 Calle Pinon, San Juan CapistranoListing price: $1,439,000. 28442 Calle Pinon, San Juan Capistrano“When I’m looking for a prospective agent to sell my home, I’m asking if they do this as a full time job - I’m asking for reviews and references - I’m asking what sets them apart from other agents. Professional photography, quality marketing materials and online exposure are base requirements these days to provide great results for the seller. I go beyond what is expected, which changes with each client. I’ve planted flowers, moved couches. Selling or buying a home can be an emotional experience, and making it as positive as possible is my goal.”

In the 5th century BC, Sun Tzu compiled thirteen chapters worth of military strategy and tactics. At a great many business schools today, The Art of War is required reading for those looking to conquer the corporate ladder, or succeed in courtrooms across America.

What is missing from the classic text however, is the ever necessary treatise regarding the age old battle that rages in those homes of our American tycoons of industry and their corporate lawyers. That classic skirmish against cracked, aged, moldy grout in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

And the war cry? Care. How to care for something that seems to so easily wear away, discolor, or become damaged. Luckily for you, a field medic exists on the battlefront, and the doctor is in.

Grout doctor 2Elvin Jenkins has been in the business since 1992, and as part of a nationally supported network, is bringing The Grout Doctor to your front door. Specializing in tile, stone care, and yes, grout, Elvin and his team can renew, restore, and protect your home -- or change the look of it dramatically!

“We want you to love your tile and stone areas every day, not just the day they were installed. While tile is a non-porous material, the grout between the tiles absorbs everyday spills and dirt, almost like a sponge. If not cared for, over time, you’re going to have a problem.”

Grout doctor 4Offering free evaluations and a written estimate, The Grout Doctor would like the chance to take a look at each option open to you as a homeowner. If you’re on a budget, “restoration is less expensive, can often be completed in one day, and is good ‘green’ karma for you.”

Repair, regrouting and recoloring are also options. Locally owned and operated, Elvin and his team use their own proprietary products to ensure the highest level of quality care for your home environment.

If you were to search “grout” on Pinterest, there greets you an endless scroll of advice from home improvement bloggers, 5,467 photos of subway tile, and a healthy handful of posts regarding the newest trend on the housing market: bold, colorful grout. (Including but not limited to glitter grout. Look it up, it exists.)

Grout doctor 3Clearly the battle is raging -- choose to attack on the home front by letting the Grout Doctor fight for you.

For a FREE estimate, call Elvin and his team at (949) 336-1893 or visit www.GroutDoctor.com

A friend warned me that if our family spent a weekend at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, we’d end up booking our next trip before we even left the property.

Nestled in the scenic rolling hills of the lush Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal is a full-service 10,000-acre, all-inclusive resort/dude ranch experience that combines the elegance and comfort of the western lifestyle with a working cattle ranch where 2,000 head of cattle and 100-quarter horses leisurely graze.

Beautifully manicured lawns characterize the grounds of the main “resort” - connecting 73 California ranch-style cottage studios and suites to restaurants and recreational facilities.

Historical perspective

Since 1843 when conquistador Raimundo Carrillo received a land grant and became the first cattle rancher of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Alisal (meaning “grove of sycamores” in Chumash, a Native American language) established itself as a working cattle ranch. In 1943, the property was purchased by The Jackson Family and evolved into a guest ranch. The exclusive hideaway opened its doors to summer vacationers with 30 initial guestrooms converted into bungalows.

The Alisal’s rich heritage and idyllic setting make it a haven for rest and relaxation and one of American’s most prestigious properties boasting a well preserved civilized past. Couples honeymoon here, families enjoy reunions and executives find a welcome respite from urban life.

In our case, we were looking for a brief respite from the day-to-day without having to travel too far from home. While Alisal is only a three to four hour drive from Orange County, it feels worlds away – the property is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and hiking trails meander around the resort’s rich flora and fauna (nature lovers can take a self-guided hike through Deer Canyon where some 64 different animals including deer, possums, bobcats, mountain lions, wild boar and black bears reside).

AlisalHorsesRiverBack at the ranch, children as well as adults can participate in the caring of the ponies, bottle-feeding the goats, calves, exotic miniature horses and sheep seven days a week at The Alisal Barn Yard. Because our kids (ages 8 and 9) were to be first-time horseback riders up to the historic Adobe Camp for pancake breakfast the morning after our arrival, we “practiced” riding around a corral atop a gentle horse that spends a few hours each day tethered to a tree so the resort’s youngest guests can have their parents lead them around the corral at their leisure). Kids can also participate in egg gathering, grooming and exercising the animals in the corral.

AlisalArcheryA recreation center unto itself, the 100-acre spring fed Alisal Lake, filled with bass; trout; and bluegill, offers “catch-and-release” fishing. You can rent a boat or fish off the dock – our son caught his first fish (a Bigmouth Bass reeled in with Daddy’s help) by casting (also with Daddy’s help) from the dock. This sportsman’s paradise attracts bird watchers and guests with canoes, rowboats, peddle boats, kayaks or sail boats. As one of two California properties to be an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing operation, Alisal offers fly-fishing and boating lessons for children and adults.

Visitors rarely leave the Alisal during their stay and for good reason. Leaving at dawn, guests enjoy more than 50 miles of equestrian trails on horseback circling the magnificent hills and sycamore groves. Twice daily group rides, private rides and breakfast rides to the historicAdobe Camp round out a stay.

AlisalHorsesRiverAspiring equestrians can hone their riding skills at the corral with private lessons. Children delight in the Alisal Rodeo with stick horse and gunny sack races and boot relays in an authentic western arena. Wranglers show off with quick draw demonstrations, calf roping and barrel racing. Following the rodeo is an extravagant western barbecue with live entertainment and traditional line dancing.

For those seeking more civilized pursuits, two 18-hole championship golf courses – the par 72, 6,500-yard Ranch Course and the par 72, 6,800-yard River Course with four lakes - provide impeccably manicured fairways and greens with spectacular views of the Santa Ynez River and nearby Santa Ynez Mountains. A full range of facilities and services are offered at both courses including a clubhouse, driving range, putting green and pro shop. Private and group lessons by PGA and LPGA professionals are also available.

A full-service Tennis Center with a well-equipped pro tennis shop is situated on a scenic area of the Ranch. Tennis buffs can choose from seven hard courts. Tennis professionals, one of whom is nationally ranked, offer both clinics and private lessons by appointment.

After a lengthy day of horseback riding, the Alisal’s outdoor heated swimming pool and adjacent eight-seat spa are the perfect way to unwind.

Frontier fare

The Ranch Room, the resort’s restaurant, serves American and western style favorites. Guests enjoy a choice of a hearty a la carte American breakfast menu items that include Linguisa scrambled eggs over a Grilled Portobello Mushroom, savory Huevos Rancheros and the Alisal’s own Buttermilk Pancakes. A lavish Ranch Room breakfast buffet of Eggs Benedict and Corn Beef Hash is also served with freshly squeezed orange juice and homemade baked muffins, pastries and breads.

Dinner is formal (dinner jackets are required for the men - and a great excuse to get gussied up for the girls) and frontier-size portions of juicy barbecued steaks, tender prime rib of beef and the fresh catch of the day including swordfish, John Dory and Seabass are guest favorites. Specialty dishes such as Osso Bucco, Hickory Smoked Briskett and slow roasted Farm Raised Wild Boar are prepared with the freshest ingredients for the guests’ dining pleasure. The Alisal features a Modified American Plan. Menus are rotated seven days a week, year round.

At the historic Adobe Camp, the resort treats guests to a full ranch breakfast including buttermilk flapjacks, scramble eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and more complete with a whimsical performance by Jake Copass, resident wrangler and cowboy poet, accompanied by Dave Stamey, the Alisal’s award-winning singing cowboy on guitar.

Accommodations

AlisalCottageAlisal’s 73 guest units are decorated in classic California ranch design and configured as either comfortable studios or spacious one-bedroom suites. Each unit, designed for maximum privacy and comfort, includes a wood-burning fireplace with complimentary firewood; high-beamed ceilings; Western art; refrigerator; coffee maker (coffee and tea supplied in rooms), and filtered water dispenser. To maintain the cozy, quiet atmosphere, there are no in-room televisions or telephones; however, complimentary wireless Internet is available throughout the ranch.

Guest RoomFor more info, call (800-4-ALISAL), e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.alisal.com.

Last year, there were over 15.9 million aesthetic procedures performed in the United States. A 2% increase over 2014, and a staggering 115% increase since the year 2000. Liposuction, breast augmentation, facelift, tummy tuck: the list is seemingly endless.

For the past 29 years, AesthetiCare has been performing cosmetic surgeries of the like- discovering, along the way, that cosmetics aren’t simply about looking your best.

Lynne Brownell, RN, MSN, NPLynne Brownell, RN, MSN, NPThe face we present to the world affects our self esteem, and influences our personal and professional lives.” Though specializing in cosmetic and plastic surgery and medical spa services, AesthetiCare, in a rather stark contrast to other facilities that perform similar procedures, wants you to think carefully about your expectations. “Cosmetic surgery deals with improvement, not perfection. And it should be done to please yourself, not to meet someone else’s expectations. In fact, they’ve coined a phrase to that particular effect: “enhance your body, ease your mind.”

Ron Moser, M.D. likes to think that AesthetiCare’s favorite phrase is the key to their success- a deep rooted sense of service, and an attendance to the patient’s every need. “We do everything we can to make a positive change in patient’s lives. To help them regain the youthful image they had at a younger age, or to enhance their body or face. Customer service is the most important thing in this market. So many other physicians do not spend the time necessary to answer the patient’s questions and instill confidence in their services.”

Cutera Genesis tx for MelasmaConfidence is key in a practice such as this. Licensed surgery centers, surgeons named Diplomates of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and a minimum of ten years experience in outpatient surgery for nursing staff is nothing to shake a stick at. With new procedures and devices at their highly capable fingertips, AesthetiCare has more than you need to shape a whole new outlook on life. Cutura’s Laser Genesis Skin Resurfacing, one of the modalities in use at AesthetiCare, specifically and precisely focuses on the facial areas of concern such as brown spots, loose skin, fine lines and wrinkles. It can transform your skin to a more refreshed and flawless appearance. Full face or partial Genesis laser will give your face a more youthful and softened glow.

Over time everyone’s skin begins to show signs of the natural aging process. Overexposure to the sun, alcohol consumption and smoking are all known to accelerate the skin’s aging process and wrinkles develop. These wrinkles are most prominently seen on the upper lip, around the eyes (crow’s feet), and superficially on the cheeks and forehead. Laser light penetrates to a very precise controlled depth, making the procedure safe and more predictable.

Capable of safely treating ALL ethnic and sun-tanned skin, Genesis treatments are also known as the “lunchtime” laser because there is no down-time after each treatment (generally spaced three to four weeks apart to allow the skin time to “turn over”). The number of treatments will depend on the intensity of the skin discoloration and necks can be effectively treated as well.

Robinson pre txIn my case, I was intrigued by the idea that laser skin resurfacing is gentler and more exacting than chemical peels, which may burn the skin to unpredictable depths. Melasma is a patchy brown discoloration on the skin of the face that is often referred to as a “pregnancy mask” because the increase in hormones seem to trigger this common condition. While I was pregnant, I read somewhere that over time these patchy spots would fade. But my kids are about to turn 10 and 9 this month and my mask was showing no signs of vanishing. So I was keenly interested to see if the Genesis procedure administered by Med Spa Director Lynne Brownell, RN, MSN, MP would have the desired effect demonstrated in her client’s “before” and “after” photos.

After three treatments, I have to say that I was duly impressed with the results. Several friends whom I hadn’t seen in a few months commented on my “fresh” appearance. One said he couldn’t put his finger on what was different, but that I looked great. Perfect. That’s exactly the subtle change I was hoping for in treating my uneven skin color. Today, the dense “mask” has been transformed into a far less dense coloring that more closely resembles a dusting of freckles. I’m happy to add my own testimonial and “before” and “after” images to growing number of AesthetiCare’s satisfied customers.

capistranoFor more information or to connect with Dr. Moser directly, call (949) 661-1700 or visit www.aestheticare.com. AesthetiCare Orange County is located at 30260 Rancho Viejo Road in San Juan Capistrano.