Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

California is the home of a number of famous sights. You have all the obvious: the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Disneyland, Hearst Castle. But there are those that are so embedded in the culture and identity of the state that you’d almost never know how famed they were. Chateau Montelena, home to the historic winner of the “Judgement of Paris” wine competition. The Gamble House, American Craftsman styles’ pinnacle example of aesthetics and philosophy under one roof. And then there’s Studio (located within the Montage Laguna Beach), with its own menu of star attractions that pay homage to California’s legendary tastes.

Modern French with its roots deep in California heritage, the culinary team at Studio - helmed by Chef Benjamin Martinek - has worked tirelessly to craft the region’s most sublime dishes from the finest seasonal and artisanal products. Impeccably appointed with an elegantly comfortable approach to fine dining, this Forbes Five-Star Craftsman-inspired restaurant is reminiscent of an elegant, yet charming beach cottage.

Chef Benjamin MartinekChef Benjamin MartinekPerched on one of Laguna Beach’s oceanfront bluffs facing due west, the dining experience here is replete with ocean breezes and stunning views. Guests can enjoy the private dining room or the Chef’s Table, an intimate room adjacent to the kitchen where the sky is truly the limit for your culinary curiosities. Complete with a fireplace and the attention of Studio’s gifted experts, no pairing is too far-fetched.

Ever-changing a la carte menus, chef’s tasting menus and private dinners at the Chef’s Table, perfectly paired selections from an extensive, carefully assembled wine collection - the concept and overall experience of Studio is dedicated to showcasing the best.

MLB Architectural Studio Interior EveningTo our delight on a recent evening out for “date night,” my husband and I sampled several of Chef Ben’s newest compelling small plate specialities: an absolutely delectable Roasted Pork Belly with garlic soubise, black eyed peas and sherry cipollini, the literally “melt in your mouth” roasted Mero Arctic Seabass enhanced with sunchoke, matsutake mushroom and Chinese broccoli and tender, cooked to perfection Grilled Beef Tenderloin paired with black trumpet mushroom, mustard greens and potato glass.

Mero Arctic SeabassMero Arctic SeabassA seafood aficionado? There are no shortage of options, including Seared Maine Diver Scallops (with roasted baby corn, miso-potato puree and dashi), Chilled Oysters (paired with hibiscus mignonette, fresh wasabi and cucumber) and Pacific Swordfish (accompanied by tarbais white beans, artichokes barigoule and meyer lemon). More of a meat eater? Try the Superior Farms Lamb Loin or Dry-Aged Beef Strip Loin accompanied by cordyceps mushrooms, sungold tomatoes, fermented garlic and braised parsnip.

Roasted Pork BellyRoasted Pork BellyPoised at the entrance to the picturesque dining room is the restaurant’s piece-de-resistance, custom-built wine vaults showcasing a more than 2,500 bottle wine collection, a unique, turn-of-the-century bar and a communal bar area offering an interactive dining experience for sampling fine wines or small tastes. Both boutique and esoteric selections combine to create a library of flavors bound to please any palate.

Roasted Filet of BeefRoasted Filet of BeefStudio’s sommeliers have assembled the restaurant’s Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine collection to help manufacture the most specialized menu in the nation: with endless pairing options and menus specifically crafted around guests wine preferences. The list features labels from the world’s major wine regions in a variety of formats, with an emphasis on benchmark wines and notable emerging wineries. On hand at every meal, they are constantly educating themselves to offer the finest suggestions and tastes of difficult to acquire vintages. On this night, Beverage Manager and Sommelier Troy Smith and Sommelier Gary poured the perfect pairings to accompany each taste - many of which we wouldn’t have known enough to order if left to our own devices and as such, would have missed out on some rather remarkable vintages including an 1997 Laurel Glen Estate Cabernet and a 2011 Soliste L’Age d’Or Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley.

Roasted Filet of BeefRoasted Filet of BeefFor any special occasion, celebration or a most memorable date night, Studio is the romantic getaway spot for two: an elegant, oceanfront Craftsman cottage, a rare vintage, unrivaled culinary creations, superior service and a legendary sunset every night. Truly, famously, the best that California has to offer.


Studio Restaurant is located in the Montage Laguna Beach at 30801 Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach. For reservations or more information, call (949) 715-6030 or visit www.montagehotels.com.

The last time I spoke with Sheri, she was crushing customer service one real estate client at a time in Orange County, managing expectations and maximizing her results.

I noted that it was rare to find something that you were both talented in and passionate about; in fact, despite corporate spending reaching the $100 billion mark last year in training and $1 billion plus in “employee engagement,” a Deloitte Study showed that less than 35% of the U.S. workforce actually felt engaged at work.

That means 68% of Americans feel the opposite, or something close to the opposite of Sheri, every day at the office. “I go beyond what is expected, which changes with each client. Selling or buying a home can be an emotional experience, and making it as positive as possible is my goal.”
Pacific Sotheby’s International has made it their business to enrich the client experience: in fact, even moving beyond borders. “It’s easy to feel satisfied when you’re working toward a shared goal,” Sheri notes, “when your job title is literally Agent of Change, you start to look at everything with renewed meaning.”

34122 Chula Vista Drive, Dana Point34122 Chula Vista Drive, Dana PointA certification that enables realtors like Sheri to build and gift homes to impoverished people around the world, the Agents of Change title comes with a certain set of responsibilities. Every home sold by an agent like Sheri means a donation is given toward constructing the next home on the list; the next home that will inevitably change the lives of those that move into it. Since 2017, Pacific Sotheby’s has already raised over $150,000 to fund the building of homes in Tijuana, Mexico. One of the poorest communities, in one of the most impoverished cities in the world.

normandin2Earning top sales awards is one thing. And one thing that Sheri does well, I might add. But “top marks are that much more rewarding when they’re earning floors, and windows, and walls for a family that needs them.” I couldn’t agree more. With a background in negotiation and marketing, Sheri navigates the fluctuations of the market as only a consummate professional would, full time. Having an agent who is bound and determined to help you find the right space is the main difference between buying a house, and finding your home. A disparity much like that between those who feel engaged at work and those who don’t.

“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.” The market can feel out of reach for both buyers and sellers, regardless of what kind of market it is at the time. “The needs of a buyer are vastly different than those of a seller,” she says. “Attempting to forecast what may or may not happen over years to come takes an intuition built from years and years of closely paying attention. That’s where my mission to provide hyper-responsive customer service comes in.”

28412 Camino La Ronda, San Juan Capistrano28412 Camino La Ronda, San Juan CapistranoAnd her attention to detail pays off. “Down to the last dial and knob, the paint color and the cabineture - each detail means the world to my clients. Additionally, knowing that each decision they are making impacts a family in an impoverished area drives my passion for each day’s work.”

“I’m also uniquely situated to welcome folks in as well, since I was exactly where they are when I first came to Orange County to buy a house for myself,” says Sheri. “Whatever their individual goals, I’m deeply interested in helping my clients find their way into the home they’ll call their own.”

Friends are good for a great many things. Laughing with you, getting out of tight spots every once in a while, bringing hot soup when you’re sick, makeovers: the list is almost endless. Advice, however, is one of those beautiful friend-offerings that can literally be life-changing. For Deb Massey-Arnold, a friend’s recommendation that she look into Rodan + Fields changed the trajectory of her career.

Drs. Rodan and Fields first gained international recognition and acclaim for PROACTIV, the incredible anti-acne miracle. The brand brings to mind commercials with fresh teens splashing cool water on their faces: free of pimples thanks to one of the most popular skincare products of all time. In 2004 Drs. Rodan and Fields went back to the laboratory to work on solutions to issues they found in their private practices. The developed the #1 Premium Skin Care Redefined. After their success with Proactiv, they sold their product to Estee Lauder to distribute in high end stores. When they the did some research, they realized that it was by word of mouth that women were buying their products. In 2007 they purchased back Redefine and completed the line of 4 skin care regimens. In 2008 they opened up in the Direct Marketing arena.

Screenshot 1Though she got her start in 2015, there were a few setbacks. “My daughter was finishing her last year in high school, my mother passed away, then my family relocated from San Jose to Orange County. It took a while to get settled back in.” The following year, Deb took her business to social media, meeting new people in the Rodan + Fields family. “I am truly blessed by the people who have supported me physically and virtually. Everyone is so positive and uplifting!” Negativity has little place in a business that has grown exponentially since its inception. 2017 saw the launch of Active Hydration, which uses 3D3P - to provide a reservoir of moisture for the face. “It was a breakthrough to aging in reverse!”

Screenshot 2A follow up to the Active Hydration Line, Bright Eyes kicked off Deb’s business. Reducing the appearance of puffiness, dark circles, and tired looking eyes, the products that Rodan + Fields are creating aren’t just remarkable, they’re groundbreaking. Starting with their online solution tool, you can find a personalized skin care regimen. From there, take your routine on the road; whatever and wherever. The promise Deb made is to ensure that her clients can take the healthiest, most beautiful version of themselves wherever they want. Noticeably softer, smoother, and more nourished skin is nothing to brush off, and like a good friend’s advice, goes further than you’d think.

“Our company was established on the principle that living better in your skin means living better in your life,” she says. "We believe everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in their own lives - and in the lives of others.”

No stranger to making an impact in the lives of others, Deb is deeply invested in her community, supporting the Prescription for Change Foundation, and Build On. Helping youth in urban areas that are underperforming in school, they ignite an interest in students to engage in their community by focusing on their grades, in order to help others.

“To speak with these students is a blessing; to see how their thought patterns have changed, and how they are reaching out - out of the county, out of the country. Building homes and community centers.” Another reason for Deb’s love for Rodan + Fields? The organization raises millions of dollars each year specifically to match nearly all the money raised by its consultants to give back to the causes closest to their hearts. After all, giving back is what friends are for.


PastedGraphic 9This month, Rodan + Fields introduced a groundbreaking new product - Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid Broad Spectrum SPF 30. Formulated with dermatology-inspired skincare ingredients to deliver a radiant, healthy-looking complexion in six natural-looking, lightweight, oil-free shades. Its unique and proprietary RD3 Complex helps neutralize the harmful effects of environmental aggressors, repair skin’s natural moisture barrier and protect it from sun damage caused by UVA and UVB rays.

 

 

PastedGraphic 7Rodan + Fields signature line for noticeably smoother, younger-looking skin in three simple steps. Based on Multi-Med Therapy, REDEFINE is a comprehensive skincare regimen that layers cosmetic ingredients and potent peptide technology to help defend against and reduce the visible signs of aging.

 

 

 

 


IMG 0004To connect with Deb directly, call (408) 250-3439 or visit Debluvsmassage.myrandf.com

There is something inimitable, romantic and breathless about sheer cliffs. Around the world, these dramatic earthscapes draw the eye and make the heart gallop. The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, Molokai’s 2000 foot Kalaupapa Cliffs, Chile’s Torres Del Paine: windswept and rugged. The immense sprawl of land’s end in California, falling from its northernmost point near the border of Oregon, to the seaside bluffs in Big Sur, to Southern California’s sandy overlooks in Laguna Niguel.

Oceanfront lounge at 180bluOceanfront lounge at 180bluPerched hundreds of feet above the shoreline lies the Ritz-Carlton, poised for an endless supply of idyllic sunsets just steps away from some of the most luxurious accommodations on the golden coast. With guest rooms featuring airy layouts and private balconies, the hotel is the perfect location for a romantic weekend away.

Most beachfront hotels will boast “spectacular views” and “breathtaking scenery,” but the stunning views from the bluffs of Laguna define those claims. Emerald lawns and rugged sandstone fall away from the doors of the resort, diving off into the deep blue Pacific. First floor ocean-view rooms have their own fire pits, and the list of other amenities on site are enough to send one into the throes of relaxation even before stepping foot on property.

Stay-cation

With all the preparation and waiting that travel requires, vacationing can often be more exhausting than relaxing. After planning an itinerary, arranging papers, booking tickets, prepping sundries, hauling luggage and staying “alert” per the TSA, CHP, FRA, the PA and all the other acronyms – not to mention your better senses – by the time vacation ends it is not uncommon to feel as though you need a vacation from your vacation - exactly the opposite of what my husband, Tim, and I were hoping to achieve on our recent weekend away in celebration of our wedding anniversary.

RCLAGUN 00507When the goal is to truly unwind, there is a strong case for a stay-cation, which means there is always a strong case for the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Since a weekend at the Ritz offers OC locals all the “away-ness” a vacation promises without the attending hassle, it’s an especially attractive option. Within a half hour, you’re in paradise, with no need to leave it until you’re headed home.

Of course, if you find yourself at any Ritz, you find yourself in luxury; but our Ritz has some special advantages. Most rooms offer breathtaking ocean views from private patios or balconies, and the entire southwest side of the property is ocean-facing, with nothing but sand interrupting the space between building and water. This factor alone transports you; but then it’s all the ritzy little things that make it a getaway. As aspiring foodies and oenophiles, the only challenge Tim and I experienced during our stay was in deciding which of Ritz’ array of dining destinations to choose from.

RCLAGUN 00370If you are a local, dining at the Ritz-Carlton is itself a worthy reason to pay a visit any day of the week, but for a romantic retreat, you could literally have a different experience for every meal, each appropriate to the moment: a light, casual breakfast at the Market Place (try the quinoa bowel for a guiltless treat); a poolside snack while lounging midday (the fresh pita and house-made hummus from the Dana Pool Cafe is surprisingly finger-licking); craft cocktails and small plates at the outdoor, oceanfront lounge, 180blû (the Tequila Sangria is a specialty) or the fine dining experiences at Raya or enoSTEAK.

With a coastal illuminating facial to start your morning and ocean-view experiences into the early evening, the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel offers romantic, breathless, and inimitable views from the cliffs, far above the sea (and all your worries!) below.


The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is located at One Ritz-Carlton Drive in Dana Point.

For information or reservations, call (949) 240-2000 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com

There are very few places in the world with such consistently phenomenal weather as La Jolla, California (sandiego.org/lajolla). Check out the weather charts if you don’t believe me. The temperature graph is virtually a straight line. Almost no rain, and the slight bump in highs and dip in lows at the tail ends of the year are mostly due to the marine layer coming off the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Waterfront restaurants wend their way down the coast, and world-class shopping awaits. Just minutes from downtown San Diego, the village has been a haven for artists and tourists alike since the early 1900’s.

La Jolla beaches Photo credit Brett Shoaf Artistic VisualsLa Jolla beaches Photo credit Brett Shoaf Artistic VisualsHotels dot beach breaks all the way up and down the coast, but few come close to matching the verve and excitement you’ll find at the La Jolla Shores Hotel (ljshoreshotel.com). Smack-dab in the middle of California’s most beautiful weather lies one of Fodor’s top 12 family friendly spots in the nation. You can choose to stay in - the accommodations here are gorgeous and designed to be “an extension of the sprawling Pacific Ocean” just steps away. The decor and ambiance of the 128 rooms and suites (19 with kitchenettes) are inspired by California’s laid back attitude and movies on-demand en suite for the kids (or use the DVD player and lending library). Or you can opt for outdoor endeavors on property at the pool or jacuzzi or … as the beach is literally your backyard, enjoy spectacular front-row views of sand, surf and sunsets; complete with seaside service and complimentary chairs, umbrella and towels.

La Jolla Shores HotelTry out the Shores Restaurant where award-winning Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Percy Oani incorporate the best seasonal and local fare into every menu (dishes showcase the finest regional ingredients from around La Jolla and San Diego, including fresh-caught seafood). Popular entrees include almond butterfish accompanied by fingerling potatoes, sunburst squash and lobster cream and sesame salmon paired with zucchini noodles, beechwood mushroom, sweet peppers and yuzu butter. More of a meat eater? Try a grilled to taste craft Angus burger or tender Angus short ribs. Chef Guillas also serves up “finger-lickin’” good meals for foodies 10 and under. The Marine Room offers an intimate date night overlooking a seaside panorama.

World-famous Waterfront Attraction

Just down the way, one of the area’s most famous attractions provides a taste for everyone’s palate: family friendly fun with some of the coolest critters around. SeaWorld (seaworld.com). Rides, shows, eats, drinks, characters and more await at one of the country’s most famous theme parks. For the older kids, try the newest Electric Eel coaster, with insane inversions, energetic twists, and incredible loops. Got the little ones in tow? Elmo’s Flying Fish in the Sesame Street Bay of Play is the place to be. From the gondola to the rafts on the river, SeaWorld has something for every age.

La Jolla Shores Hotel La Jolla Shores Hotel For guests who want to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing seafaring creatures, SeaWorld offers educational and entertaining animal experiences and tours. Enter the chilly Arctic waters to interact with white beluga whales, venture behind the scenes for a face-to-beak encounter with a penguin, take a trainer-led poolside trek to touch and feed bottlenose dolphins or have a face-to-face connection with majestic killer whales. In all encounters, behaviorists share personal stories and unique facts about the animals.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis ClubLa Jolla Beach & Tennis ClubWhile you’re in town, catch Clyde + Seymour spoof your favorite TV show, or learn more with your little environmentalist about the award winning rescue team through Sea Rescue, available in the Mission Bay Theatre. Killer whales to dolphins, beluga whales and penguins, every animal has a special place in the blue waters of the most playful park around.

Girls viewing Orca Whales Courtesy SeaWorld

Squarely in our middle-age, my husband, Tim, and I often joke about the attendant aches and pains that seem to accompany growing older. But when sciatica set in (for him) and a pulled muscle post-exercise had me favoring one leg over the other, it became decidedly less of a laughing matter.

A wrestler in high school and an outdoor enthusiast in adult life, my husband swears by the “RICE” method recommended by his coaches and physicians over the years. Short for “rest, ice, compression, elevation,” the steps have been stock-standard in our home for as long as I can remember. When I sprained my ankle, his advice? Stay off of my ankle, ice it 20 minutes on, 20 off, wrap it up, and prop it up on a few comfy pillows. In past years, however, American physicians have been tapping into a new “I” in that equation - or “C,” rather. Cryotherapy.

Submitting the body to cold temperatures, be it a polar plunge into an alpine lake, an ice bucket challenge, or just a sprained ankle in a Home Depot bucket on the sidelines, works to reboot the body’s sympathetic nervous system. Responsible for triggering the “fight or flight” response, our nerves can bring rest and relief or rage; stress or serotonin. As the first Orange County-based whole body cryotherapy center (and one of the first in nation), Cold Rush Wellness Cryotherapy in Laguna Niguel is a full service, physician-run cryostimulation clinic dedicated to whole body health, starting deep in the core of its clients.

A Historical Perspective

Developed in its current form by Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) quickly gained recognition in the Japanese - and subsequently European - medical communities for its benefits beyond treating arthritis. Physicians began using WBC to treat a broader range of ailments including chronic inflammation, fibromyalgia, psoriasis and to revitalize skin. In Germany, for example, cyrosaunas are available in 60 hospitals for the treatment of autoimmune disease and post-surgical recovery.

Unlike traditional ice baths, WBC is a dry process - because dry cold doesn’t penetrate the body like cold water or cold air with moisture, WBC temperatures are able to be much colder than what the human body could normally tolerate without extreme discomfort. Patients step into a cryotherapy sauna to expose their body to hyper-cooled air -200 degrees to -240 degrees Farenheit, triggering the body’s natural healing mechanisms as though it were freezing. Blood accumulates in the body’s core in order to warm itself and capillaries expand to nearly four times their normal diameter. This allows white blood cells to flow through the body faster, accelerating the healing process. During the two to three minutes your body is exposed to these extreme temperatures, the brain triggers the release of endorphins, adrenaline and other hormones for an increase in energy, a boost to the immune system and promote overall healing.

“Cryotherapy centers in Europe are all physician-run and deemed safe by the medical community,” says Owner Scott Young, D.C. who relocated his chiropractic and rehabilitative practice to Orange County over four years ago after 20 years in The Netherlands. “Benefits include decreased inflammation, improved athletic performance and rapid recovery from workouts, improved post-surgical healing and pain relief, faster healing of strains and sprains, improved metabolism, increased energy and is particularly helpful in relieving the symptoms of chronic skin conditions such as shingles, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and dermatitis. At Cold Rush Wellness, we adhere to the European model and take all precautions to keep it a safe and effective treatment.”

Dr. Young, who operates his holistic health practice by “finding the problem, fixing it and leaving it alone,” discovered the benefits of whole body cryotherapy for himself while living in Amsterdam. He found the health benefits rejuvenating and importantly, backed by sound science.

With years of experience treating such varied conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, post-surgical rehabilitation, strains, sprains, eczema, shingles, and dermatitis, it is no wonder that Cold Rush Wellness has been embraced by a growing number of patients.

Personal experience

One of the benefits of publishing South County Magazine is that it affords me an opportunity to share my own experiences at local businesses or in meeting business owners and entrepreneurs in the area. In this case, my husband and I both decided to give WBC a try. Over the course of 30 days (with treatments three times per week), I can personally attest to increased energy levels and surprisingly better sleep. For his part, my husband has long suffered from low back pain resulting in significantly decreased range of motion. A month into treatment, he can bend and stretch further than he has been able to in years without pain and feels “much less stiff.”

Athletes swear by it for a boost in metabolism and rapid recovery from strenuous workouts. Given the results Tim and I have experienced, I’m anxious to see how we feel in another 30 days. I’ll tell you one thing though … so far, WBC has proven to be quite the upgrade from a bag of frozen peas on my ankle.

IMG 4994Scott Young, D.C. can be reached by calling (949) 281-6853. Cold Rush Wellness is located at 30251 Golden Lantern in Laguna Niguel.

For more information, visit www.coldrushwellness.com

Backstreet Home Decor 0081Looks can definitely be deceiving. From the road, Backstreet Home Decor appears to be a small storefront, its windows displaying beautiful decorative items, jewelry, handbags and accessories. Step inside, however, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll discover that you could literally spend hours looking at all of owner Susan Smith’s wonderful offerings, which range in style from Old World to contemporary.

Each piece is reflective of Susan’s keen eye for color, quality, texture, design detail and style - a fact not lost on the scores of professional designers who regularly shop here to decorate their client’s homes.

Homeowners who have taken advantage of Susan’s in-home consultation rave that she was able to suggest just the right furniture, decor, florals and color palette to create the look they were dreaming of - a fact that I can personally - and happily - attest to.

IMG 3473When our family moved from San Clemente to San Juan Capistrano, Susie’s showroom the first and only stop I needed to make for the decorative items and accessories that would make our new house a “home.” Susie’s vision of color, texture, line, shape, natural proportion and balance resulted in the beautiful floral arrangements and wall hangings that adorn our home, along with just the right accent and “statement pieces” to visually tie everything together.

While everything in her store speaks of high quality, her prices are surprisingly affordable. Because of longstanding relationships with vendors from the top decor lines across the county, Susan is able to acquire furniture and accessories at substantial discounts - which she in turn passes along to her customers.

IMG 0358“We only LOOK expensive,” she says. “What sets us apart is that all of our florals are custom designed on the premises. We work with our clientele to create exactly what they want. We really try to come up with the unusual - unique items that you just won’t find in every single store.” That philosophy extends to her holiday offerings - from gorgeous decorative items and seasonal specialty home accents and ornaments to fun pieces like her holiday gnomes.


Connect with Susie by stopping by the showroom at 307 N. El Camino Real in San Clemente, by calling (949) 498-2210 or visit www.backstreethomedecor.com

I’m about to date myself, but maybe not in the way you think. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. I missed out on the classic western shows of the fifties: like Gunsmoke, Marshal Dillon, The Roy Rogers Show. “Happy trails to you, ‘till we meet again,” sang the theme to Roy Rogers, wishing godspeed and goodwill to all who watched. That song came to mind when I stepped through the doors of the 11,000 square foot retail space that American Horse Products occupies in San Juan Capistrano.

IMG 5338Launched in 1999, right around the time Roy Rogers celebrated its 42 year anniversary, American Horse Products opened its doors to the public. Having recently sold their handheld computing company, it was a pivotal year for owners Jim and Diane Carter as they contemplated their next career path. "Diane’s love was horses and on occasion, she referred to me as her ‘Cowboy from Oklahoma,’ so it seemed a natural fit to pursue these possibilities in a new business,” opening their original 2000-square-foot store location that year in Laguna Niguel.

Pictrue3Diane was uniquely suited to stocking the store with products she had personally used and preferred. The pair also asked customers to help test products, a tradition they still employ today, to ensure that “if we were to provide a service to the horse community, we should offer merchandise that went well beyond their guarantees and provide a customer experience that would make folks want to come back.”

Toward that end, store associates are all horse people that “you can really talk to” about all things equine - from issues and concerns to products and more. As the company grew, the couple discovered that there was an even larger horse community just a few miles south in San Juan Capistrano so they expanded their family-run operation into an 11,000-square-foot space in the Capistrano Center in 2007.

Image 1That year, their eldest daughter Brooke graduated with a degree in Agriculture Business and Marketing from Cal Poly San Louis Obispo. After cutting her teeth in the industry for a few years, the team roping enthusiast came home to join the management team and currently serves as the store’s general manager.

Offering the largest inventory of English and Western products in Orange County, they’ll get you set up with everything from the newest turkey tail supplement, an upcoming Grand Prix at the Riding Park, or even a new trail to explore. Along with throwing out a “happy trails” to you each time you’re in, the knowledgeable staff will ensure they inject a little excitement into the equestrian world. Going so far as to install a corral at the San Juan Hills Golf Course, they’ve ensured that all the bases, and basics, are covered. From allergies to boots, breeches to hoof oil, they’ve got what it takes to make the trail a little happier, guaranteed.

American Horse Products is located at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite C-4 in San Juan Capistrano. To connect with Jim, Diane, Brooke or their team, call (949) 248-5300 or visit www.americanhorseproducts.com

I remember when one of my college friends was appointed Payroll Specialist for a large company in Pasadena. When we were talking about the job, he noted that all he could think of was that scene in A Christmas Carol, Scrooge watching Bob Cratchit balance his books on Christmas Eve, too scared to ask for the following day off. Obviously, his daily tasks turned out to be nothing like the Dickens novel, but it is worth noting the stigma that he associated his bookkeeping business with. Nadia Milner is no stranger to the association. She’d like to point out however, that while she specializes in bookkeeping, she’s much much less Ebenezer Scrooge, and more Jennifer Lopez from The Wedding Planner: on top of everything you need far before you ever thought you needed it.

Having spent the last 15 years as a bookkeeper and executive assistant, Nadia handles all aspects of the job description: A/P, A/R, Bank Deposits, Bank Reconciliations, Payroll and more. But she prides herself in the level of service made available to her clients beyond the books: making bank deposits at their behest, and even creating travel arrangements for executives.

“I truly believe that what sets me apart is my loyalty,” says Nadia. "Anyone can be single-minded, and stay task oriented for one job or one client. The dedication I show is treating each client as if they were the one and only.”

Responding to clients emailed requests within one hour is no easy feat, but Nadia would prefer to be available, efficient, and accurate to the highest level, ensuring client satisfaction. “I can come by the office with only a single days notice if a client needs me to handle something right away that cannot be done remotely.”

One of Scrooge’s major shortcomings of course, other than his lack of compassion, was a quality of short sightedness: something Nadia counters in spades.

“It is my primary focus to get clients taken care of on a a daily basis. In the long run, eliminating the stress of finances for my clients enables them to stride confidently forward in their own business, knowing their books are in order from start to finish.”

Organization is an obvious game changer. Look no further than the million copies sold of Marie Kondo’s international bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Putting her clients minds and books in order, she undoubtedly had made clients for life. “I’ve had clients who, before hiring me, never knew where they stood financially. They just hand me all their papers and I set them up from scratch. Now their peace of mind is something they can’t live without."

Nadia’s drive and dedication are apparently family traits, too. Her eldest just graduated from San Clemente High School as a valedictorian and has had the same job for two years. Her youngest, 15, ended the year with straight A’s and also volunteers at the Shea Center, something that “opens us to making a long term impact in our community.”

Currently Nadia is involved with the Orphan Care Initiative and Wells of Life which brings running clean water to villages in Africa. In the past, she has also prepped food for the homeless and served lunches to Wounded Warriors at The Food Pantry in San Clemente, and been a greeter or receptionist at various American Red Cross locations across the OC. “Sure, I love going to the beach and spending time with friends and family, but giving back is one of the most important things in my life."

There isn’t much that Nadia can’t accomplish in the bookkeeping world, with her keenly developed sense of anticipation and broad sense of loyalty to her clients. That combined with the work she puts in outside the office too, she might as well be the signifier of Dickens’ conscious ghostly guide, “Mankind my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence,” making clients for life, and easing the burden of stress on us all.


NadiaBusinessCardPicNadia Milner is CEO & Owner of the San Clemente-based Top Notch Services. She can be reached by calling (949) 303-3211 or visit tnsandcompany.com

A Q & A with Dr. Michael DeYoung, M.D., LaSara Medical Group

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) often suffer in silence. For many, it’s a taboo topic associated with a stigma that affects their self esteem. So much so that they don’t even share the details of what they are experiencing with their primary care physician or urologist.

What these men might find surprising is how much they have in common with approximately 18 million other men across the country. Erectile dysfunction impacts men of all ages from their 20s to their 90s. But here’s a particularly staggering statistic: It is estimated that 50% of men will be affected by ED by the age of 50. That means that when a group of 50-something year old men get together, nearly half of the men in the room are likely struggling with ED.

The physicians at LaSara Medical Group have seen men from age 27 to 95 walk through their doors. For those with a vascular disorder, or blood flow disorder, as the root cause of their ED, LaSara offers a clinically proven treatment option without drugs, without surgeries and without needles.

As the Southern California leader in low intensity focused shockwave therapy, LaSara has seen incredible results for its patients utilizing the only proven method of reversing ED for the long-term. Before obtaining treatment anywhere, Dr. Michael DeYoung, Medical Director at LaSara, strongly encourages men to do their due diligence, investigating the efficacy and research behind provider care.

While most of LaSara’s competitors base their businesses on the same research, they use an entirely different machine with a type of energy (radial, acoustic or pressure waves) that produces less than half the success rate that LaSara’s patients enjoy. If that weren’t enough of a difference, the machine that LaSara’s competitors utilize requires the use of numbing cream to (hopefully) minimize what can be a rather painful process - unlike LaSara’s pain-free treatment option. “Our goal is to restore natural functionality in a safe, discreet environment for our patients. Our professional, all male staff is committed to providing a medical experience that surpasses all your expectations.”

In the following interview, Dr. DeYoung addresses frequently asked questions concerning the patient experience and shares specifics about low intensity focused shockwave therapy.

Q: How long has LaSara Medical Group been in existence and what does it specialize in?

A: Since January 2018. We specialize in Men’s sexual health providing treatment for erectile dysfunction and peyronies disease.

We’ve treated more men in southern California with focused shockwaves than anyone else around. On a daily basis, we have 14-18 men coming through our doors in each location. We use the exact machinery and protocol that’s been clinically studied and proven.

Q: What is low intensity focused shockwave therapy, is it a new treatment and how does it work?

A: The treatment is relatively new to the United States, but not to the world. It’s been studied and used for 15 years, originally in Europe (Switzerland, Germany, UK, Denmark, etc.), Canada, Asia (Japan, Korea, India), Australia, and most recently here in the US in the last couple of years.

The majority of men who experience ED have a vascular disorder or blood flow disorder. What happens is their blood vessels have prematurely hardened, there is plaque that builds up, or they have other medical conditions that attack the vascular system, such as Diabetes. When this happens, a man loses his ability for blood to easily travel into his penis allowing for an erection to occur.

We use low intensity focused shock waves to trigger the body to grow new blood vessels into the penis. The shockwaves create a small micro trauma. When this happens, new blood vessels begin to grow throughout a man’s penis. This is the process of neovascularization. Over time, the body miraculously repairs and heals the countless blood vessels damaged and prematurely hardened by the accumulation of plaque. As the plaque becomes eliminated, more and more blood vessels grow back... The ultimate goal is get a man back to achieving erections naturally and without the use of medication, like Viagra or Cialis.

Q: How do you determine if a prospective patient will benefit from treatment?

A: The process starts with a complete medical evaluation and history to determine whether a vascular disorder is the cause of a prospective patient’s ED. We weed out if he is experiencing ED as a result of a psychological or neurological issue. If the ED is determined to be caused by a vascular disorder and he does not have other major medical risk factors, then he is a good candidate for this treatment. Our patients range in age from 27 to 95 and 80% of our patients experience positive results from the treatment.

Q: What are the benefits of treatment? What is the process and when might a patient expect to see results?

A: The primary benefit or goal of treatment is to restore a patient’s ability to have spontaneous intimate experiences, restored confidence and a natural sex life. Unlike other treatment options, there’s no timing to take a pill when you want to perform. No injections to medically induce an erection, which can obviously be very intrusive when you are “in the moment.” Treatment is non-invasive - no surgery and no side effects.

In terms of what a patient can expect of the process, the first step is to schedule a consultation - a 10 to 30-minute phone call with a member of our team will give us an idea of whether or not he is a good candidate for the treatment. After he is determined to be a quality candidate and that the root cause of his ED is likely a vascular disorder, the patient will visit our office for an in-person consultation with one of our physicians.

The next step would be to begin treatment, which typically involves six visits over the course of three to five weeks. Then we wait for 90 days as the body takes six to 12 weeks to fully react to the treatment, at which time he’ll come back in for a follow up visit with the doctor. Because

LaSara is committed to achieving the best result for its patients, they will perform a second round of treatments, if necessary, at no additional charge.

Call for your FREE phone consultation to determine if LaSara’s treatment is right for you.


kslaksalDr. Michael DeYoung, M.D. is the Medical Director for LaSara Medical Group with offices in Tustin and Beverly Hills. A Fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine, Dr. DeYoung worked full time in emergency medicine for 43 years before retiring in 2017 to focus on his “second career” in the field of men’s sexual health. The Tustin office is located at 14642 Newport Avenue, Suite 250. The Beverly Hills office is located at 150 N. Robertson Blvd., Suite 205. For more information, call (855) 200-1111 or visit www.lasara.com.