Solutions for a SMART Home … and Breaking Free from the Big Box for Your Perfect Home Theater System
When I was younger, my Mom loved to read me the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” The plot essentially revolves around an ever-growing list of to-do’s that had to be accomplished, all set into motion by the simple act of giving a mouse a cookie. This tale came back to me recently when I purchased a new television at Best Buy. What was a simple shopping trip ended up being an adult’s version of that circular tale. If you give a grownup a television, they’ll have to measure their wall. When they measure the wall, they’ll realize they may actually have room for a bigger television. When they buy the bigger television, they’ll find out they have no idea how to mount it to the wall. When they start mounting it to the wall, they’ll see that the power outlets are all in the wrong places. When they realize the outlets need to be moved, they’ll call an electrician. (This could go on forever.)
Luckily for me, and for so many others who have been on the receiving end of ReelTime Sight and Sound’s patient, intelligent, and personalized service, the rabbit hole of home automation didn’t swallow me entirely. With the help of their independent certified Control4 dealer, it was easy to update my home without upending my entire life. After all, the true luxury of an integrated entertainment system is really dependent on its ability to deliver seamless entertainment. By placing every control at your fingertips, the team at ReelTime helps homeowners manage everything from how brightly lit your family room is, to your streaming devices - all with a single remote. And best yet? You can control your whole home from the comfort of your couch- even seeing who is at the front door, without ever leaving your seat. Simple, clean, and uncluttered.
And on the home entertainment front … when you started planning for your ultimate home theater set-up and sound system, could you find the right media cabinetry for your particular space – cabinetry that wouldn’t catch on fire from the heat of the equipment, or that would simply look good in the room? Did you understand half of what the televisions, receivers and other devices could do, and did you have anyone to hold your hand to make sure you weren’t overspending for what you wanted?
Yeah, neither did I.
Big box retailers, the professed champions of value, are happy to sell you any home theater and sound equipment you think you might like, and send you off to figure it out at home. That’s what they do. And that’s all they do.
If you want the home theater system that you envision, seek the services of Skip Myers and his team of experienced professionals at ReelTime Sight & Sound to take you from start to finish for the home theater or sound system of your dreams.
“Usually there is a part of the job that you find you just can’t do by yourself,” says Skip, who has overseen the design and installation of thousands of home theater and sound systems over the course of 40-plus years in the business. “You get your brand new television home, you’re so excited, then you realize you need to move an outlet or none of the cabinets you can find will fit your space. We’re here to make sure you get the equipment that will give you what you want and the system that will work with that equipment, without leaving you to fend for yourself.”
Skip opened the doors at ReelTime Sight & Sound in 1983. Today, the technicians and designers that Skip assigns to clients are all ReelTime Sight & Sound employees, knowledgeable in all home theater and sound technologies. First, they work closely with you to determine what you’re looking for. Then they custom design every aspect of the project, from wiring to custom-built cabinets, frames, or built-in wall designs. Finally, licensed, in-house contractors install your entertainment system with care and precision.
There are a couple of things that people may not think about when they embark upon the road to their own home entertainment system.
“You need to think about your home theater goals,” says Skip. “You don’t have to do everything at once – you can do it bit by bit – but if you know where you’re going, you’ll save money and when it’s all said and done, you’ll have exactly what you want and what you will actually use. We’re here to help you determine your goals.”
Skip is also an advocate for getting what you’ll use, which is part of the design and planning process.
“You can buy everything you want to, but if you can’t operate it, what’s the point?” he says. “There’s the television, DVD and Blue-ray; there’s the receiver, there’s Apple TV… it’s all great, but how do you get them to work together? We’re big advocates of the universal remote. Not everyone knows how to get the most out of their systems with one powerful remote – they’re not expensive, but the best ones are computer-based. We’ll set that up for you so you’re getting the most out of your custom system.”
It’s easy to assume that personal service is expensive, but a conversation with Skip and the experts at ReelTime Sight & Sound is free. Ultimately, in planning your purchases for the right outcome, you’re likely to save money while avoiding chilling setbacks. The only chilling you want to be doing is in front of your fantasy home theater system.
Connect with Skip Myers and ReelTime Sight & Sound by calling (949) 240-0555, stop by the showroom at 26381 Via De Anza in San Juan Capistrano or visit www.reeltimesightandsound.com
I have to admit - I’m pretty particular when it comes to deciding where to go for dinner on date night, out for a family meal or simply stepping out to enjoy a glass of fine wine and live entertainment after work. Lucky for me, I live in Dana Point and am only a stone’s throw from a popular eatery that dishes up all this and delicious Italian cuisine to boot: Brio Tuscany Grill.
This place isn’t the kind of establishment that has huge, bedazzled lights pointing to it with acrobatic sign holders out front. This restaurant respects itself in a quaint location at 24050 Camino Del Avion in Dana Point. If you didn’t know about it, you might miss it driving by. But after you read this, I guarantee you’ll make it a point to seek it out.
For starters, the Antipasto Italiano Platter arrives with an array of flavorful favorites - Prosciutto di Parma, artisan salame, fresh buffalo mozzarella, Tuscan olives, grilled artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers and toasted ciabatta bread. Yum! A seafood aficionado? Try the Mare Platter which is made for sharing: Buttermilk battered calamari fritti, seared Ahi tuna and blue shrimp scampi.
I love the wood-fired pizzas here. They don’t make deep-dish-American-football-sweatpants pizza. No. They serve handmade, thin, crispy, flaky crust pizza. I had “Make Your Own Pizza” with prosciutto and arugula, complete with a soft flurry of mozzarella. You know, the kind of pie you sip wine with, reflecting on the old country while a hot steam of freshness rises poetically around you. Or, as others put it: one heck of a tasty pizza.
For heartier appetites, I recommend the Filetto Toscano (USDA Premium choice filet mignon medallions pan roasted and served with a sweet red onion, shallots, Chianti reduction and melted fontina cheese, and favorites like the Rigatoni Casa Brio characterized by grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, baby spinach, cremini mushrooms, sweet baby peas and fresh basil topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella.
Brio Tuscany Grill has an incredible selection of fine wines (and a full premium bar), great nightly specials and the kind of attentive-yet-unobtrusive service that makes any meal that much more enjoyable. Visit briotuscanygrill.com for their menu and catering options or call (949) 443-1476 for reservations. You won’t be disappointed!
Certain things in life I am very grateful for. These things include chocolate, wine, soul music and places like the Doheny Clothing Exchange in Capistrano Beach. If you’ve been to a place like this, then I know you’re already giving me a mental “Hallelujah.” But if you haven’t, you are so missing out!
Picture this: racks and racks of men and women’s name brand or designer clothing and accessories, all gently used or sometimes new, at way, way less than the original price. And the beauty of it is I can bring in my own gently used clothing, and trade in for something trendier and better fitting. The owners, mother and daughter team Pamela and Caia take the time to truly inspect each item, so there’s never any mystery stains, rips or smells.
Because they get new merchandise every day, their store stays fresh and new. Personally, I love the fact that I can buy jeans here and I don’t have to spend the next few weeks trying to break them in. Plus, I can pick out a funky outfit and know it’s not something everyone is wearing. That fact alone makes this place fabulous. This place is awesome for guys, too. And the fact that they have a variety of sizes and styles for one stop shopping rocks.
Now, I’m sorry to have tortured you into reading this when you could be on the road, driving there to shop. So, to reward you, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Pamela and Caia will give you 20% off your entire purchase through the month of September if you mention this article. Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, they are awesome about updating with pictures, sales and must-have items. Have fun!
Traveling as a family can not only be a wonderful learning experience, but a great way to reconnect with your kids by spending quality time together and even a quick trip to a nearby destination provides the opportunity for many memory making moments.
We recently planned a long weekend in San Diego (specifically Shelter Island and Point Loma, both a stone’s throw from downtown). It doesn’t get much easier than loading everyone into the minivan for a road trip that literally lasts less than an hour. Home to scores of museums and art galleries, restaurants, retail, world-class beaches, historic landmarks and world-renowned attractions, San Diego offers everything from an action-packed “stay-cation” to a leisurely take-each-day-at-your-own-pace respite from the workaday world.
With a 9 and 8-year-old in tow and only three days to pack in the fun, we decided to forgo arts and culture this time around and focus instead on relaxation, recreation and gain a little historical perspective so we were hoping it wasn’t too tall an order to arrange for accommodation that was on the water, amenity-rich with family-friendly recreational opportunities (bike rentals and a - preferably heated - swimming pool were on our wish list) and centrally located to the USS Midway (more on that later). We scored in finding Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites (www.halfmooninn.com), an intimate waterfront boutique hotel on secluded Shelter Island that offers up an ambiance and experience that feels as though you’re on a Hawaiian island vacation sans the five hour flight.
Cool ocean breezes, warm, friendly hospitality, sunny days, starlit nights, lush, manicured grounds, majestic palms swaying in the afternoon breeze, stylish event facilities, resort-style activities and stellar event facilities - these are among the things guests can expect of this property. Humphrey tropical vibe artfully blends the Aloha spirit whether you are staying in one of the hotel’s guest rooms, luxury Junior Suites (ideal for up to four guests), View Suites or Grand Marina Suites. We opted for a Junior Suite, which provided a spacious 450 square feet and featured a plush king-sized bed, sleeper sofa in a separate sleeping/living area, a mini refrigerator, microwave and private, furnished balcony (in our case, overlooking the sparkling marina lined with all manner of watercraft from small sailboats to luxury yachts).
More than three American football fields in length, the USS Midway bore the distinction of being the largest ship in the world for a decade. Today, it’s a remarkable, incomparable floating museum that offers a history lesson unlike any other.
The enormous USS Midway was the first of a new generation of carriers called “battle carriers.” She measures nearly 1,000 feet in length and from 1945 to 1955, she was the largest seagoing vessel in the world, a marvel of engineering in her day and one of the largest man-made moving objects.
After nearly 50 years of active service, including tours in Vietnam and Desert Storm, she was decommissioned in 1992 and is now the largest aircraft carrier in the world that you can tour. I’m a fan of the guided or self-guided tour and on the USS Midway, optional self-guided audio tour feeds you info at your leisure as you wander through all the open parts of the ship - and you’ll be surprised to find how much of the ship is open for exploration: multiple crew messes, kitchens, ready rooms, officers and enlisted quarters and more. A few dozen planes and helicopters are on display on the various decks and former aviators on the flight deck give visitors a glimpse into the complexities and unique required training and skill of pilots engaged of carrier takeoffs and landings.
After we spend the better part of the afternoon touring this historic ship, our family headed across the way to experience San Diego’s version of Central Park, The Waterfront Park in Little Italy (open daily from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.). This expansive 12-acre park is just a stone’s throw from the bay and is offers a wonderful (and free) way to expend a little extra energy - complete with fountain jets, a splash pad, playground and expansive jungle gym equipment.
Then it was time to re-fuel. San Diego has a huge variety of restaurants to choose from: Thai, Lebanese, Indian, Mexican, and even Eritrean. For a funky rock n’ roll dining experience, the Corvette Diner (www.cohnrestaurants.com/corvettediner) was entirely too much fun – with a classic diner ambiance and servers resplendent in 1950s style, it felt like a true slice of Americana as we ate burgers and salads. The retro atmosphere and music is upbeat and energetic - the theme is carried over to their menu, with food items named after celebrity icons and pop culture from the 50s and 60s. It’s not just the theme that is fun, however: when we walked in the door we were greeted by an outgoing and welcoming server, and the staff really care about making the experience enjoyable for kids. And if there’s a wait for a table, not a problem. An adjacent arcade complete with from modern era touchscreen video games and classic favorites (pinball, skee ball) keep the kiddos (and their parents) plenty entertained.
Before heading back to Humphreys, we drove a short distance to the Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of Point Loma - the site that marks the point where Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to set foot on California soil. He landed near Ballast Point in 1542 and claimed San Diego Bay for Spain.
At just 422 feet above the Pacific, the view eastward from Point Loma spans the San Diego Bay, the city skyline, and the low silhouette of the Laguna Mountains against a brilliant sky. To the west, the surf smashes against rocky cliffs and the blue ocean stretches as far as the eye can see. The top of the dramatic vista of the rugged peninsula is now home to the 144-acre Cabrillo National Monument - the site of what has been called “a park for all seasons,” characterized by tidal pools teeming with marine life, meandering hiking trails with unparalleled scenic views, historical and military museums bringing to life the bunkers and gun emplacements that protected the bay during WW((. With a lighthouse and Naval and Coast Guard stations, the Peninsula has long been an important landmark for navigation and the protection of the bay since San Diego became the state’s very first city in 1769 and is today home to Point Loma Naval Base and the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery with its rows upon rows of white headstones undulating across the rolling hills.
The rest of the evening was spent splashing around Humphrey’s expansive heated pool where the kids befriended other young travelers and launched into a seemingly endless game of Marco Polo (somewhat apropos given our recent sojourn) under the watchful eye of their parents, chatting up other (adult) hotel guests in the adjacent jacuzzi.
After checking out the next day, we made one more stop before heading home - for lunch at Soda & Swine (www.sodaandswine.com). Another unique Liberty Station eatery (Corvette Diner is also located here), Soda & Swine provided another fun-filled afternoon experience - complete with an extra long foosball table (spanning the length of four regular tables set end to end) to keep the kids entertained while we waited for our meals to arrive. Step up to the counter to start the ordering process: Choose your base “meatball”: The Swine is soaked port with Chipotle BBQ and pepper jack; The Hog arrives as Chorizo with Chipotle and mozzarella;; The Grain is quinoa with pesto and feta (there are several others, but these are the ones we sampled). Then move on to “Select Your Style” (how you’d like your meatball(s) to arrive): as a slider, on a submarine, as a “skillet of three” to sample multiple flavors sans bread; or atop spaghetti. Then you choose your sauce (marinara, mushroom, cream, Chipotle barbecue or pesto, select your cheese topping, add a side or two (our favorites were the roasted Brussel sprouts and mac and cheese) and enjoy!
I am a mom. It’s a fact that may belie my bias when I tell you that sometimes a girl simply needs a break. Children, husbands, work, the unending demands of every single day… it catches up with you. Even the oft-offered advice, “You must make time for yourself!” can feel like just another pressure.
The anecdote to the mayhem? A few relaxing days away in wine country, visiting family and friends. With our two young children in tow, my husband and I headed to Napa, where we whiled away the days wining, dining and spending quality time with the kids and engaging in adult endeavors like wine tasting and fine dining.
You might not think of Napa Valley wine country as a family-friendly travel destination, but there’s plenty to keep the kiddos entertained, particularly at both of the premier properties we experienced on a recent visit: The Silverado Resort and Spa (www.silveradoresort.com) and The Meritage Resort and Spa (www.themeritageresort.com) - more on both later.
Napa is known for its panoramic vistas, fine dining and history. Because we were only in town for a few days, we wanted to be able to sample the best of the region’s varietals without having to drive from winery to winery. Having friends with local knowledge proved to be a particular boon - they turned us onto what was arguably the highlight of the trip: the Napa Valley Wine Train.
What better way to experience the views and vintages, enjoy a gourmet meal and step back in time to a bygone era of luxury, class and nostalgic train travel in the days when rails ruled as the preferred mode of getting around than to step aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train (www.winetrain.com)?
The Napa Valley railway dates back to the late 19th century and eventually became part of the Southern Pacific Railroad (the original passenger service was discontinued in 1929). Sixty years later, when Southern Pacific petitioned to abandon the line, a group of local investors formed the Napa Valley Railroad (NVRR) and purchased the right of way to preserve a piece of history for future generations.
With 100-year-old railcars and a 150-year-old rail corridor, the NVRR has evolved into one of the most popular excursion trains in the country. The Wine Train’s gourmet lunch and dinner trains began service in 1989 and the line, which now includes 36 miles of track, rolls by 26 different wineries at about 10 miles an hour (the trip, which lasted just shy of three, started and ended at the downtown Napa station).
Diners enjoy a delicious, multiple course gourmet meal prepared in one of the antique train’s trio of on-board kitchens, where the Wine Train’s passionate culinary team cooks up fresh, California cuisine made to order for each guest.
Our friends also turned us on to a pair of distinctly different and equally wonderful accommodations options: The Silverado Resort and Spa and The Meritage Resort and Spa.
Situated along Napa Valley’s scenic Silverado Trail, the Silverado Resort and Spa (www.silveradoresort.com) features four different family-friendly “neighborhoods” to choose from - the two-bedroom condo we stayed at came with perks like a fully-equipped kitchen, refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster and microwave and a dining area with a table for four for the convenience of eating in and plenty of square footage for everyone to have their own space.
There is nothing understated about this gorgeous, rambling property - from the palm-tree-lined drive winding its way up to the “mansion,” the resort’s white antebellum-style main building and the 390 rooms scattered across 1,200 acres to the sheer abundance of outdoor and indoor activities for enthusiasts of all ages, including two 18-hole golf courses, 10 swimming pools, three restaurants, 13 tennis courts, nearby hiking and jogging trails, bike rentals and onsite bocce.
Set against the rolling vineyards of California’s wine country, The Meritage Resort and Spa (www.meritageresort.com) proved to be an all-inclusive amenity-rich experience: the Four-Diamond Napa Valley property features wine tasting, award-winning cuisine, rejuvenating spa treatments, bowling and luxurious accommodations - all without ever venturing off the property’s 32+ acres of stunning real estate.
The Meritage Resort and Spa opened in July 2006 to become one of Napa Valley’s top luxury hotels and resorts. Situated in front of nine acres of hillside vineyards, The Meritage Resort opened in July 2006 along with the adjacent Vino Bello Resort, creating an ultimate Wine County destination. Combined, the Napa resorts feature 502 luxury guestrooms and suites (322 at The Meritage Resort and Spa; 180 at Vino Bello), a gourmet restaurant, casual dining options (including Crush Ultra Lounge which serves up signature cocktails and sports entertainment), two swimming pools, a premier meeting and event space.
In 2007, Spa Terra opened at The Meritage Resort, making hotel history with its unique location - 40 feet below the iconic Grape Crusher statue, the world’s first entirely underground spa was built. The 9,500 square foot, $7.5 million project features steam grottos, soaking pools, water walls, and lavishly appointed private treatment rooms for individuals and couples.
In today’s high-paced, high-stress society, we are accustomed to treating health problems after they negatively impact our lives, rather than proactively caring for our bodies. Unfortunately, waiting until a problem develops (such as weight gain) puts your overall health at risk. Poor nutrition, fatigue and stress can send your body on a downward spiral, leaving many people feeling hopeless and frustrated.
Imagine your ideal self. Would you weigh less? Have more energy? No longer struggle with chronic fatigue? Dr. Richard Mantell and the wellness team at RCMC Weight Loss are there to guide you to take control of your life and regain a healthy lifestyle. Whether you need assistance with medical weight loss, nutritional counseling and balancing stress, they can help. For several years, the clinic had aided many patients to successfully lose weight and change their lives through a truly transformative approach to “whole body wellness” aimed at helping them get healthy and stay healthy for life.
Since opening his first weight loss office in 1995, Dr. Richard Mantell has recognized that being overweight is a medical condition. At RCMC Weight Loss OC, he and his partner, Dr. Bryan Veirs (they co-own both RCMC clinics - the original location in Rancho Cucamonga and their new office which opened in San Juan Capistrano last June) determine the underlying cause of each individual’s weight gain. For many patients, eating healthy and exercising is simply not enough to take off the pounds. Dr. Mantell and the RCMC wellness team take the mystery out of weight loss by using a medical weight-loss program designed to help patients lose one to two pounds a day for up to 45 days - and most importantly - keep it off.
“Losing weight is more than just diet and exercise,” says Dr. Mantell, who graduated medical school with a specialty in Internal Medicine and completed his medical residency at University of California, Irvine. “It is simply overwhelming without guidance and direction. The program will provide you with a private nutritional counselor to help keep you accountable for achieving your weight loss goals. Many patients have failed numerous times in their past dieting attempts, but are amazed when they find real success here.”
RCMC’s cutting-edge medical weight loss treatments include integrating HCG injections, lipo injections, appetite control medication and nutritional counseling. The medically prescribed injections protect your lean muscle mass while turning your body into a fat burning machine. HCG is part of a fast track medical weight loss program which helps patients drop pounds fast and feel more energetic than they have in years. Most notably, nutrition counseling and lifestyle advice helps patients correct negative habits that may have led to their weight gain in the first place, so the pounds stay off for good.
“I’ve tried all kinds of diets and never thought I could make a life change,” says Annette P. “But thanks to everyone (at RCMC), I am doing it. I feel great. I’m loving the result. I would like to thank everyone (at RCMC) for giving me all the support I needed at times when I was going to give up.”
Rey R. of Ontario echoes Annette’s assessment and adds “It is sometimes difficult to describe such great experience. The staff is VERY welcoming every time I come for an appointment. They have always been informative and knowledgeable about the program I’m on. They are extremely encouraging and motivating to keep me on path without being pushy. I would like to mention my favorite person to talk to at RCMC, but I can not choose one - they are all awesome! Thanks again RCMC for helping me become a healthier me!”
“At RCMC, our patients are treated like family,” says Dr. Mantell. “We are available to our patients during and after hours. When our patients follow the advice we teach them, they will lose weight and keep it off.”
Certified Public Accountant Peter D. Prescott is single-minded: “I strive to make each client as tax efficient as possible. Using a client’s entire finances as a framework, we establish major goals and then combine tax savings techniques and professional financial planning to enhance the growth of their money!”
Peter’s background is impressive: A business degree from U.C. Berkeley, a Professional Financial Planning designation from U.C.L.A., a Masters in Taxation from Golden Gate University, Big 8 accounting experience at Price Waterhouse and the Personal Financial Specialist Designation (PFS) from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Overwhelming technical expertise belie the fact that Peter is a people person. His clients appreciate his professional knowledge of course, but love him for his down to earth sensibility, wit and humor. As a man who has participated in public speaking venues, stand-up comedy and a few game shows, Peter loves life and is not only dedicated to his profession, but also maintaining a balance of work and play. His most important priority is his own family. His wife Margie is a homemaker and formerly a special education teacher in San Clemente. Having three sons, Peter understands that early planning to meet family goals is critical.
Peter has been helping Southern Californians with their income tax returns, tax planning, and comprehensive financial planning needs for over 30 years. Peter is adamant when he says, “As long as the IRS keeps up with its annual “tax simplification” strategies, you will want to use a professional who understands the constantly changing tax and financial environment.”
Peter stresses that “the start of the year is the perfect time for tax planning. It enables us to achieve a good sense of direction and work together with my undivided attention. This is true for any individual, small business, or corporation seeking to become more tax efficient and a better financial consumer.”
Knowledge of the tax laws is of little value unless they can be applied wisely to fully meet your needs. That is why Peter Prescott follows a comprehensive approach combining effective tax savings, advance financial planning strategies and professional investment methodologies.
Why allow yourself to become anxious and stressed out about your taxes, retirement, college, or business planning? The best time to begin the process is now.
There are still many actions that can be taken to save you money this year and be better positioned for the future.
With Peter’s help you will benefit not only from his experience, but you’ll be able to relax a little more too! Call today to schedule a tax planning or tax return preparation meeting to take advantage of Peter’s New Client Offer.
I remember what it was like learning to drive. That’s why as a parent, I know my teenage kids haven’t a clue what they are doing behind the wheel.
I believe driver’s education is an imperative and to be honest, I think I (and they) would much prefer to learn the rules of the road from professionals rather than with their Nervous Nellie mother sitting beside them.
Having said that, I couldn’t think of better, more qualified instructors than current and retired law enforcement officers to help new drivers be safe on the street. And talk about revving up the fun factor (pun intended) – because Teen Road to Safety is connected with local Ford dealerships, young drivers get to put what they learn to the test behind the wheel of a new model Ford mustang.
As Southern California’s premier defensive driving and driver’s education programs, Teen Road to Safety is a unique driver’s education course that aims to teach teenagers safe driving techniques in a fun and exciting environment. The program promotes safe driving and educates teenagers on the rules of the road, as well as the responsibility of sharing the road with the public.
“Unfortunately, preventable traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States,” says Andrew Wunderlich, president and CEO of Teen Road to Safety. “We believe that with education and practical training, the number of teen accidents and teenage traffic fatalities can be reduced. What sets us apart from other drivers education is that our Instructors and the training we provide prepares young drivers for the real world of driving and preventing these young drivers from serious injuries and death.”
After 21 years in law enforcement, Andrew Wunderlich founded Teen Road to Safety after retiring from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2004. As a law enforcement officer he trained police recruits in defensive driving techniques.
Repeatedly at the top of his class in police drivers training, Andrew holds numerous commendations for safe driving and traffic awareness. He is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a Drug Recognition Expert and is licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Andrew has also participated and advised in other professional driving schools. All of the instructors involved in Teen Road to Safety boast similar credentials.
“We offer the best qualified defensive driver training in Southern California,” says Wunderlich. “All of our instructors are current or retired police officers – each with over 25 years of driver safety experience. Each one of our instructors has a law enforcement background and are trained police officers, expert traffic investigators and have received hundreds hours of training in traffic and driver training.”
The Teen Road to Safety program involves classroom sessions on safe driving techniques and traffic laws. Teens will then have an opportunity to put the lessons they learned to the test.
“My son recently completed the (Teen Road to Safety) in-class Driver’s Education course,” says Teri Belmer. “Like many teenagers, my son is not normally a fan of the classroom environment, however, each day that I picked him up from class he enthusiastically shared with me something he had learned. I believe that taking the class not only helped him to pass his driver’s permit test - the first time - but has also encouraged him to be a responsible driver. We look forward to enrolling our son in the Advanced Driver’s course once he has obtained his license.”
For Wunderlich, the most satisfying aspect of owning and operating Teen Road to Safety comes from “knowing that we have saved lives, reduced the accident/death rates of a young driver by education and training by developing outstanding, skillful and knowledgeable drivers.”
What parent could ask for more?
The evolution of this iconic dining destination is defined by distinctive modern cuisine, live entertainment and delicious dishes with its youngest guests in mind
To remain at the forefront of any industry, it’s necessary to continually reinvent yourself. The same holds true in the restaurant business where success is found in continually evolving even the most popular of dining concepts.
For Celebrity Chef Chris Tzorin and General Manager Phil Roberson of Savannah Chop House in Laguna Niguel, this thought process is at the core of the many of the exciting changes taking place in every aspect of the eatery’s operation. While the restaurant still serves its signature steaks, chops, seafood and Southern specialties, it has incorporated a number of innovative new dishes, popular live entertainment and the introduction of a new kid-friendly menu.
For my part, Savannah has long been a favorite destination to spend “date night” with my husband. Whenever we have visitors in town, it’s at the top of the “wish list” of places to dine and now that the restaurant features dishes for our little ones, Savannah is sure to become a popular place for our family to dine together.
Tzorin, who brings more than 12 years of professional culinary experience and extensive knowledge of Orange County’s restaurant scene, recently unveiled dishes that are characterized as “contemporary coastal with elements of worldwide cuisine.” What that translates to wonderful seasonal starters including the Tempura Squash Blossom stuffed with herb goat cheese and sundried tomatoes atop baby mixed greens and paired with a Ponzu dipping sauce. The Shrimp Cocktail arrived with a trio of colossal gulf shrimp amid a flavorful Chipotle cocktail sauce and the Seared Sonoma County Foie Gras, Nectarine and Honey Gastrique over a Crostini was a huge hit with our dining companions who are self-professed “foie gras” aficionados.
The Lobster Bisque with Sherry Cream drizzle and chives always delivers with bites of fresh lobster and the new Watermelon Beet salad which arrived with candied pecans, goat cheese and a herbal vinaigrette was a delicious mix of tastes and textures that work well together.
Other great new dishes include the Pork Belly Cornbread, Skate Wing, Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Deconstructed Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Shredded Fried Chicken.
Savannah Chop House exudes a warm hospitality – from the clubhouse lodge vibe of its Lounge, featuring dark wood, half-round booths, soft lighting and stone fireplaces to the elegant white table cloth affair of its classic dining room. There is also a private dining room just adjacent to the main dining room - perfect for private parties, winemaker dinners and other special events.
But what many guests may not know about is the beautiful verandah – an expansive outdoor seating area with a fire pit from which guests can enjoy the ocean view and watch the sunset.
Imagine the meager amount of air you can contain by holding your breath. Now, imagine all the air that’s around you. It’s unlimited compared to what you can hold, right? It’s the same with energy; as essential to our lives, as unlimited as air and nearly as impossible to stockpile.
he vast abundance of energy around us doesn’t mean it comes easy and your monthly power bill clearly shows that it doesn’t come inexpensively. The skyrocketing costs of energy and the government incentives (currently scheduled to end December 2016) have many property owners taking a serious look at solar alternatives.
It’s seeing the reaction of his customers when they receive their first electric bill with a $0 balance due (or even a negative balance) that drives Vincent Curcie, President of the Orange-based Solar 360 Building Services Inc.
“It’s a truly rewarding feeling to know that what I do for a living results in helping people save real money every month,” says the City of Orange native. “The majority of the market today is focused on ‘leasing solar,’ but leasing just means the customer will spend twice as much for the cost of ownership. We help our customers finance their system so they can start saving money the very first month, but we also capitalize on all the available rebates and tax credits to ensure that we generate the maximum ROI (return on investment) for each client.”
As a residential solar installer, Curcie and his team at Solar 360 have designed and implemented custom power solutions for homeowners all over Orange County and Southern California. Every structure demands energy in a different way, spiking at various times of day for a host of reasons. The professionals at Solar 360 identify your current usage to determine your energy needs and in the future and help you make the necessary adjustments to your home to achieve power efficiency with solar technologies.
“When you go solar, you’re still hooked up to the electrical grid so when you need more energy than your solar panels can produce, you can still pull power from your utility provider,” says Frank Monteleone, partner at the renewable energy company. “But when you are away from the house and your panels are producing energy that you are not using, the grid picks it up, distributes it elsewhere and credits you for that energy. The net result is that your bill drops dramatically.”
“Many homeowners find that the installation of their solar energy system ends up being ‘budget-neutral’ for the duration of the financing period.”
Between the savings you realize from reducing your energy bill and taking advantage of the 30% tax credit from the federal government, the majority of customers are able to switch to solar and receive immediate savings and relief off their current electric bill without having to make any changes to their lifestyle. After that, your solar system should provide ongoing savings – a powerful offer at a time when energy costs continue to rise.
Another particularly gratifying aspect of operating his business in Orange is that Vince is able to personally “give back” into the community of his hometown (his current house is just around the corner from his childhood home near the intersection of Katella and Handy).
“I love living and working in Orange and being able to give back in a way that directly benefits our community’s residents and organizations and am proud to sponsor many local high school programs.”