Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon. We tried to meet as many locals as possible, especially in a few of the smaller towns we visited, because they could give us the best recommendations.

We’ve found that same experience to be somewhat rare back in the States, though we have our own favorites in South OC. Brio Tuscany Grille is one of those. Enzo Scognamiglio and Peppe Rivera have operated the absolutely iconic Dana Point restaurant for over twenty years. Somehow, they have managed to keep the family-run business fresh for its patrons, even after all this time, and now, they’re stepping into the next chapter and extending the family tree over the restaurant a little bit more.

Welcoming Marco Scognamiglio to the team solidifies Brio Tuscany Grille in South Orange County’s cadre of family run businesses. Catering to locals and caring for the internal team is about as clear a mission as one can pursue in the restaurant industry, and Marco couldn’t be more excited to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Marco as a young boy with his father and Peppe.Marco as a young boy with his father and Peppe.

“It’s been my home away from home," he says. “I grew up with the restaurant, the granite bar, smell of the wood fired oven. I even learned how to ride a motorcycle in the alley out back.” It’s a part of my heritage, he notes later on: and the partnership couldn’t have come at a better time. “We’re open, we’re ready to serve the public and welcome our beloved customers into this newfound synergy.”

No small feat, driving energy into a longstanding business. “Some of the team have been with us for 25 years or more, watching me grow up.” Keeping the classics classics, and innovating around everything else has become synonymous with Brio. Craft cocktails and live entertainment round out a generational approach to the business, “and if we’re lucky, we’ll be serving pasta, insalata and zuppe for 25 more years.” Turns out you don’t have to go all the way to Italy for a small town taste with big flavor.

Brio Tuscany Grille
24050 Camino del Avion
Dana Point
(949) 443-1476

The last 12 months have been some of the most taxing in recent memory. Nearly a year of intermittent lockdown, skyrocketing unemployment rates, global pandemic.

Not necessarily the right time to start a business, when so many need assistance. Unless, of course, the business you start is the business of helping others out. Amidst one of the more nutty summers on record, the Irvine-based Ola-Help! got its start. Looking to assist people with fast and efficient services and delivery for personal shopping, buying, sending gifts, or even scheduling rides for appointments for residents in South OC, there isn’t a challenge too large for the team.

Specifically targeted at those most compromised by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ola-Help! looks for ways to meet the demands of a world driven by technology and connection when so many were driven into isolation, separated from the ones they love who helped them stay relevant through computers, tablets, and the seemingly endless scroll of smart phone apps. My Mom turned 88 in September, and we haven’t seen her in months. As such, we’ve taken to screens as much as we can to help walk her through paying some of her bills online, downloading podcasts from the cloud, or getting her set up on a shared photo feed so she can see incoming images of the grandkids.

But not everyone has the bandwidth to support what sometimes feels like a part time job keeping their loved ones afloat, especially during such trying times.

“We believe in humans helping humans," says Owner Prashna Raniga, Ph.D. "Assisting those that are the most vulnerable part of the community is our priority.” When you call Ola-Help!, you speak with a person, and not an automated message system asking you to repeat your command until you’re blue in the face.

A recent 5-Start Yelp review by client Mariam A. of Irvine speaks to the level of customer service you can expect: “Ola-Help! is an amazing service! I was looking for a someone to deliver some perishable items to someone locally and Ola-Help! was the PERFECT SOLUTION to my problem! I will definitely use this service again!”

Ola-Help! serves as your “one-stop, personal assistant” to navigate the myriad of online resources - whether you are looking for someone to run errands, seniors who need help with online purchases, scheduling transportation to a doctor’s appointment, grocery shopping or food delivery.

“We’re a tele-concierge service that understands the difficulties of living in a predominantly online community platform,” says Dr. Raniga. “It can be tough to know who to trust, or which app to open.” My Mom used to say how nice it would be if she had an- other set of hands to get everything done, and now you do: just call up Ola-Help!

(833) 927-3782

On average, California gets 284 days of sunshine per year. To an outsider, that might mean endless days on the beach. (To be clear, it could mean that exact thing.) For Jeremy Griffin, founder of South Coast Window Tinting, sunshine was the perfect niche product on the market.

What one might not consider when it comes to 284 days of sunshine a year, however, are the overall costs that run up because of the persistent solar radiation. A Southern California native, Jeremy grew up in Redondo Beach, and was exposed early to the tinting industry, getting his start in commercial window film with Blue Sky Window Tinting. During his tenure there, he learned how to manage large projects, and eventually let his experience and the persistent call of opportunity lead him to calling to Oahu, Hawaii home for a decade. There, he crafted Aloha Glass Tinting, providing excellence for his customers on the island, and reaping the benefits out surfing big waves.

20191119 134552Building relationships with property managers, building engineers, small business owners, and now individuals with tinting needs has been Jeremy’s work life for the last 20+ years. But he’ll be the first to say that his appreciation for quality, timely work wouldn’t exist without a healthy understanding of the sunshine that delivers demand for his products. As such, playing hard outdoors comes just as naturally for the crew of South Coast Window Tinting, and informs each decision made inside to reduce energy costs, ensure your heat or A/C runs less frequently, and shrink your carbon footprint.

Established in San Clemente, tinting has brought Jeremy and his family back to the California coast, where they look forward to building a reputation atop the core values of honesty, integrity, excellence and quality: from pricing to product.

“We used South Coast Window Tinting to tint some windows in our house,” says Ryan H. on Yelp. “Jeremy was a true pro from the start. The measurements, estimates and installation were all very quick and easy. Very fair price and excellent service. Would highly recommend and definitely use again.”

As the exclusive Orange County 3M authorized window tinging installer, Jeremy and his team cover all residential, commercial and automotive projects. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays, your shop front from graffiti, and boost your optical clarity on the road. Operating with values at the center of the business is no easy feat, but South Coast Window Tinting will only recommend a solution that is specific to their client’s problem at the best possible price on the market.

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Contractor Lic. 1045003
30081 Crown Valley Parkway, Bay C
Laguna Niguel
(949) 422-5486

Being a teenager is hard. There isn’t really another way to say it. Having some distance from those years and looking back, I realize now just how harrowing it can be.

My friend’s younger brother struggled with underage drinking and drug use, both coping mechanisms for his ongoing depression. She shared the struggles he and their family underwent as he battled his addictions.

For Derek Walsh, co-founder and COO of OC Revive, that struggle is all too familiar. Throughout high school and college, he struggled with peer pressure, learning challenges and substance abuse. On October 15, 2012, Derek overcame his own substance abuse problem and dedicated himself to helping others work through their own addiction - starting his career in recovery the following year. Over the course of the ensuing decade, Derek worked his way through numerous roles at top rated treatment centers and began to see a pattern that those struggling individuals would have benefited immensely from receiving help earlier in life.

Determined to be a part of the solution in finding a way to address those issues at an earlier age with interventions before adulthood, Derek and Tyler Michaelis decided to start OC Revive - to make sure teens get the help they need to find a purpose that leads them to a life of happiness and success. Tyler, whose story mirrors that of Derek's in many ways, shares the same passion and purpose - dedicating their life's work to helping teens and their families.

OC Revive started because a team of like-minded professionals wanted to bring change and hope to their community. Offering services that are rarely found in the area, OC Revive (OCR) will be celebrating its second anniversary this spring. Derek, Tyler and their team of psychologists, family therapists, addictions counselors, tutors and direct care staff are proud of what they have built, focusing on the younger population.

“We’re not a large corporation, so we can relate personally to clients.” With primary mental health and secondary substance abuse services, their licensed clinical staff utilizes comprehensive treatment modalities that are tailored to individual needs, incorporating "evidence-based care for each client's personalized treatment plan."

Working alongside myriad community organizations such as California Youth Services, Waymakers, CHOC, UCI Medical and Irvine Unified School District helps to get the word out, and ensure they are able to help the widest range of adolescents possible.

“Early intervention is the key," says Derek. "If we can break the cycle, these teens and young adults won’t struggle like I did. That’s all I can ask for.”

OC Revive
24432 Muirlands Blvd., Suite 221
Lake Forest
24/7 Admissions: (866) 628-4672
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There has long been an unfortunate stigma attached to men getting manicures or pedicures. The “salon” is for women. Seemingly, all dudes need is a quick buzz cut or a close shave.

Of course, proper pampering isn’t gendered. And surprise, you aren’t any less of a ‘real man’ if you don’t constantly have sawdust or motor oil under your fingernails.

Mike & Beverly Shepherd, Owners of the first Hammer & Nails Franchise in Orange County, premier full-service grooming shop for men couldn’t agree more. But of course, that doesn’t mean your next MANicure has to be in a petunia-scented, white-walled, home-shopping network-watching salon. No. What Mike is offering is ... quite bit more.

“We’ve built a man cave, and it has everything you’d expect," he says. "Each client gets their own TV and remote, top-of-the line noise cancelling headphones, a complimentary beverage (of the frosty kind).” Lounge away 45 or 90 minutes in an overstuffed leather chair or a buttery soft all-black classic barber throne while the staff at Hammer gets your haircut, shave, MANicure or Pedicure on point.

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Open since November 2018, Mike’s team offers straight-razor shaves, facial waxing, and even quick beard or neck trimming for those in-between times. Upping the service ante even further right now during Covid-19, the crew are prepared for anything, practicing elevated cleaning and sanitizing routines to ensure every patron’s safety.

“We’re 100% focused on you. That’s why we’re here.” He and his wife Beverly first came across the concept of Hammer & Nails on Shark Tank, TV’s hit entrepreneurial reality show. “We wanted to start something that we could both be passionate about that would allow us to work together,” so the pair purchased three franchise licenses for Orange County and the dream was born. “Now, be it during a pandemic or not, your most difficult decision when you come hang out with us is what cable program to watch or which premium beverage to enjoy.”

“Hammer & Nails is a haven for men who are looking to combine the absolute necessity of a haircut or beard trim with what Mike calls ‘man-cave nirvana’”

Relax without all the astringent smell you find at a normal salon, and add in instead the natural musk of Macallen®, cedar, leather, and steel. An incredibly cool custom ‘57-Chevy lighted door panel greets every client, and the warm reception beyond makes even one’s very first grooming experience a welcome one. Hammer & Nails is a haven for men who are looking to combine the absolute necessity of a haircut or beard trim with what Mike calls “man-cave nirvana”; all at a surprisingly low cost for such a luxury experience.

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“Best one word description for Hammer & Nails would be.... EXPERIENCE,” says client Angelo T. of Aliso Viejo. “From my wife’s gift card purchase experience to the check-out experience with Mike where I signed up for the monthly grooming club membership, and everything in between were world class. Upon arrival, I was greeted and escorted to the man cave by Bev while waiting for my head shave, Van did my head shave and it was a relaxing experience and I was impressed by Vans’ attention to detail, then I opted for the Milk & Honey Experience which is a signature manicure and pedicure. I thoroughly enjoyed this treatment along with my Jack/Diet. Thank you Hammer and Nails and I can’t wait to come back!”

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Another happy client John C. from San Clemente adds “I have finally found a place to get my haircut and also provide other services, the staff at Hammer and Nails consistently provides top-notch service. LuLu in particular, has been very consistent and listens to exactly what I want. The atmosphere is very comfortable, you’re offered a multitude of beverages while watching TVs if you wish. I look forward to my next visit - thanks again Mike and crew!”

HammerNails 210



Our ultimate cutting experience
This cut includes extra time for complex styles and finishing details. You’ll be pampered with our straight razor outlines, warm foam, and aftershave massage. Following a shampoo, conditioning scalp massage, and a lavender-infused hot towel, you will love the way you look and fee

A rejuvenating skin treatment and shave
An epic combination of cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration is delivered with warm foam and a straight razor for your face or head. Our charcoal mask, facial massage, and essential oil-infused towels will put you in a trance.

A revitalizing shaping and facial massage
We’ll revive your beard with a rich oil massage, reconstruct its shape with crisp razor lines, and make your skin say “ahhh”. This exfoliating cleanse uses a charcoal mask to draw out impurities and ends with a hydrating lavender facial massage.


Refresh & relax with our most popular hand & foot experience
This clarifying lemon and peppermint-infused Premium Manicure and Pedicure combination includes a warm soak, callus resurfacing, sugar scrub, massage, nail care (clip, file, nip, and buff), warm paraffin, and our hot towel wrap.

Beer-lover’s bliss
This Premium Manicure and Pedicure combination will have you walking on clouds. This service includes stout beer and cedarwood oil-infused soak, callus resurfacing, sugar scrub, massage, nail care (clip, file, nip, and buff), warm paraffin, and our hot towel wrap.

Mike Beverly Shepherd3Hammer & Nails
32411 Golden Lantern, Unit H
(Located in the
Ocean Ranch Village)
Laguna Niguel
(949) 340-3559

The most recent season of Netflix’s revolutionary bio-drama The Crown follows Britain’s royal family to the Queen’s Scottish estate house, Balmoral. Views of verdant, rolling hills, and moody, dark skies await its guests. As a fan of the show and an avid traveler, I’d been dreaming about a family getaway. I couldn’t have been more excited when my husband and I planned a weekend retreat to La Jolla’s atmospheric the Lodge at Torrey Pines. I’d only seen photos of the sprawling expanse, and on the drive in felt utterly transported - just to the north of the property the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve showcases 1,750 sprawling acres of unspoiled land that protects its namesake - one of America’s rarest pine trees. By the time we pulled in under the Lodge’s porte-cochere and were greeted by doormen attired in traditional Scottish kilted dress, we knew we were in for an experience unlike any other.

Palisade Room Balcony 3rd FloorWith warmer, Craftsman detailing than you might find at the Queen’s residence, the AAA 5 Diamond rated resort boasts expansive public rooms with fireplaces, marble mantles, leather chairs, and unbeatable views of the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Beyond, you’ll find you’re looking at the Pacific, not the cool Atlantic - but to be honest, I knew I’d be hard-pressed to be pulled away from the cozy poolside cabana. The heated pool, especially during California’s winter months, was just what we all needed to unwind and relax.

Understandably, travel looks decidedly different these days and as a family with two middle-school aged children, safety is a top priority. Transparent in its commitment to ensure the well-being of resort guests, The Lodge’s Clean & Care Commitment protocols have earned the property a Clean + Safe Certification from the California Hotel & Lodging Association (see website for details).

Accommodation + Amenities

It’s easy to see why Sunset Magazine rated The Lodge as the #1 Hotel in the West and described it as “one of the most beautiful hotels anywhere.” Our stunning guest accommodation featured the most luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, gorgeous oversized soaking bath, a cozy fireplace, spacious living quarters and breathtaking views of the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course overlooking the California coastline.

We chatted with a couple who raved about the 36-hole facility owned by the City of San Diego, originally designed by William F. Bell. The South Course was redesigned in 2001 by Rees Jones in preparation for the 2008 U.S. Open and is now 7,698 yards with a par of 72. The North Course is 7,258 yards in length with a par of 72.

Grill fireplace rockingchairThe Lodge features a full-service spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Although these may be closed due to state guidelines at the time of your visit, there’s no shortage of open-air recreational opportunities - from outdoor yoga and croquet to golf, guided hikes and of course, the gorgeous heated pool.

The Lodge’s signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, highlights seasonal cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients - delicious dishes we enjoyed “outdoors” in an elegant, open air, timbered dining room. The metal-strap post-and-beam structure, hand-crafted wood framed windows and stained-glass lanterns all a nod to its Southern California heritage and Craftsman architecture and further enhanced by the panoramic views overlooking the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Lodge Aerial CopyFor starters, we sampled wonderfully fragrant and flavorful artisanal cheeses paired with spiced nuts and jam followed by a delectable crispy skin sablefish butternut squash tortellini, lobster consommé, pomegranate and preserved orange relish.

During our stay, we also indulged in room service with wood-fired favorites (think chimney roasted chicken and wood-grilled tri-tip). My daughter and I are completely addicted to the charcoal bread avocado toast topped with smashed avocado, fennel, pickled and fresh vegetables, watercress and Everything seasoning and the wood roasted vegetable quinoa (our attempts to replicate the recipes at home came up a little short so she’s already angling for a return trip). My son would eat the Grill’s “Drugstore Hamburger” at every meal if you let him and my strictly meat-and-potatoes husband thoroughly enjoyed the cooked-to-perfection New York Strip paired with a glass of regional wine.

Thorsen Suite ExteriorAn offshoot of the early 1900s Arts and Crafts Movement, the Lodge boasts one of the loveliest examples of California Craftsman you can find. Clean lines, warm, open spaces, and naturally rough raw materials, like stone, wood, and plenty of natural light give beautiful complement to the deliberate and exceptional care the staff take to ensure each guest’s stay is comfortable and memorable. You’d think we were titled guests of the estate with the unprecedented service we received. The best part? You don’t have to claim a royal lineage to stay.

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The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla
(858) 453-4420

Creating Outdoor Living that Complement Your Family’s Lifestyle & Home’s Personality

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you may have spent an unexpectedly large amount of time at home this year. Maybe you even spent time in your backyard dreaming up new ideas for your space. And if you’ve ever considered building a swimming pool, now might be a great time to take the plunge! Let’s talk about reasons to install a new pool or update a tired and outdated backyard. I don’t just mean how incredible swimming pools are for increasing the value of your home or in the case of updating your pool, for energy and cost savings … I’m talking about a certain kind of admiration from your kids, grandkids and loved ones. I’m talking about a vanity-free, personalized outdoor entertainment space everyone will enjoy. Think of the unlimited possibilities – all because you make the decision to turn your own backyard into the kind of relaxing resort that you may have only dreamed of.

The fantasy is easy enough - but where do you begin? How do you know where to start?

image002 1That’s where Rich Tonti, owner and founder of Pacific Paradise Pools, comes in. He’s been transforming people’s lives and backyards for over 35 years, right here in Orange County. His team does every pool style: clean-lines mid-century, formal elegant designs, tropical rockscapes and any other at-home resort. It almost makes you want to charge admission for your own family and friends to take a dip.

“Our mission is to help homeowners enjoy their pools, maximize their fun in their backyard and create memories for a lifetime all while staying at home,” says Rich. “I am very proud that we have been able to continue to provide safe and serene spaces for homeowners in the midst of a year that brought many new challenges. I also feel tremendously lucky that we have some of the most professional, talented, experienced and polite staff in the pool and spa industry.”

If you’ve got an existing swimming pool that has been neglected as much as our beach bodies seem to get, don’t worry, they also do major pool and spa renovations. Rich and the Pacific Paradise Pools Team strive very hard to go above and beyond to ensure their customers are satisfied at every turn. They have an in-house staff of designers and work with Interior Designers, Landscape Architects and other Trade Professionals to ensure you get the full HGTV effect.

“We aim to please and make sure that we develop an outdoor living space that will complement your family’s lifestyle and home’s personality as well as provide years of outdoor enjoyment,” says Rich. They’re not the bragging type, but the truth is this Huntington Beach-founded business is an award - winning company and has been honored on numerous occasions from industry associations and a variety of professional trade platforms. Pacific Paradise Pools won one of only four Pinnacle Awards from Luxury Pools and many other industry awards from their peers for design excellence.

Our mission is to help homeowners enjoy their pools, maximize their fun and create memories for a lifetime, while staying at home."

While they appreciate the accolades and feel the awards “validate our hard work and business strategy,” their team is even more grateful for “the referrals from loyal, happy customers that truly prove our clients endorse what we do.” The fact of the matter is, these projects don’t just provide you with beautiful backyard entertainment, they give you endless relaxing weekends and evenings after a long day at the office or after the kids and grandkids sports games.

Alta Panorama ShrunkRich and their team may not be there to serve you drinks poolside, but then again, with their 5-star customer service, maybe you just need to ask (although, rumor has it they help you christen your pool with a bottle of Tonti Family Wine!). And, if you’re looking to sell soon, backyard entertainment areas are rated among the top requested home upgrades you can showcase.

Pacific Paradise Pools works its magic quickly, safely and efficiently when executing a project, just let their team know how they can help you during this exciting process.

We’d hate to make him blush, but we’ve got to get the word out about what Rich does when he isn’t creating backyard memories for his clients. Currently he volunteers an average of 10 or more hours a week on projects and spends a couple weeks every year volunteering overseas. Since 1994, he has been a part of “Men and Women of Action,” a volunteer construction and disaster relief organization. Traveling all over the world, he’s helped re-build homes, build schools, churches, orphanages and medical clinics on five of the seven continents. Hurricane relief in the South East, to Zambia, Brazil, Romania, Honduras, Nepal, Bulgaria, Ecuador, the

st ChoicePhilippines, schools in Mozambique and homes in Mexico. Rich’s last project was in “The Bush,” outside Mozambique’s capitol city where his team partnered with locals to expand their community with small homes, school classrooms and an afterschool mentor and feeding program, which ministers to 350 kids, 5 days a week.

“This gives life meaning, and couples my skills as a builder and my passion to assist those in need of a helping hand,” says Rich, who also often completes projects a little closer to home. These have included a multiple school building roof project in Fresno, a church hall in Bakersfield, a drywall project, in Simi Valley, for a senior citizen and a dozen homes in Tijuana, Mexico, with a Santa Ana based group named Corazon. There, the recipients of the homes are worthy candida­tes who have perfor­med hundreds of hours of community service and are nominated by their neighbors to receive, their first home, using funds generated through donations here in the states.

AI2I9207 HDR“Raised right here in Huntington Beach and a graduate from HBHS, it’s always especially nice when we have the opportunity to give back in our own community as well.”

Learn more about Men and Women of Action by visiting or Corazon at

IMG 0382Interested in their Pool Design and Construction Services? Read unedited testimonials and experience their unparalleled customer service by visiting:
Or call Rich directly at
(714) 437-POOL (7665)
(949) 756-8442

Recently, I, much like many Americans headed into their mid-50’s, realized that it was going to take much more than a brisk walk or a high intensity interval gym session to hold onto the muscle mass I’d worked so hard to attain, then maintain over the years. Also like many Americans, I spent too much time and money attempting to uncover the one magical combination of spinach salads, green smoothies, and exercise that would help me achieve that increasingly elusive goal.

ba 555Adults who don’t add a weight regimen into their weekly workout routine lose an average of a half pound of lean muscle each year after the age of 25. Women and men in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond who are striving to stay strong, avoid eventual falls, and keep up their energy levels sometimes need a little extra help. That's where LeAnne Fuller and The Perfect Workout comes in.

More than 20 years in practice, The Perfect Workout is LeAnne’s long-time purpose come to fruition.

“After taking pilates and yoga through my 30’s, I started the certification process to train them both," she says. "Going through the certification process led to some important realizations about my trajectory in life, and where I wanted to end up. Not one option included working just to work, or simply to bring home a paycheck. I needed to help people: to help them get healthy.”

hailey client pulldown squareSometimes, slow is fast, and the road LeAnne was on led her straight to The Perfect Workout’s doorstep a week later. Taking a step from training to running studios was simple, and from there to hiring trainers and leading certifications a no brainer. “My capacity to educate grew and grew, and thrilled me as I saw clients get stronger with every class. Folks started avoiding falls, having more energy to play with their children and grandchildren. It has been unbelievably satisfying.”

From Facility Manager of Redondo Beach to Regional Manager of Dallas, Houston, LA, SF, Orange County and San Diego, LeAnne has seen a broad range of clients, and an even more amazing spectrum of results. Specializing in 1-1 personal training, The Perfect Workout takes participants through slow motion strength training, engaging more muscle fibers than a typical workout. Reducing momentum provides a bigger challenge in a smaller time frame: so you can get the results you want in two 20-minute workouts a week instead of hours in the gym day after day. “Each exercise is performed by lifting weights for approximately 10 seconds and lowering the weight for another 10 seconds. You reach ideal intensity quickly- and then move on!”

Practicing safe, efficient movement allows LeAnne to guarantee you'll be stronger in 12 weeks and should see appreciable results after the first six weeks. Built for men and women who don’t want a traditional gym experience, or have never worked out but want to be healthy and strong, The Perfect Workout is, well, the perfect workout.

headshot1333The Perfect Workout

LeAnne Fuller
(310) 569-1517

There’s an old adage from a George Bernard Shaw play, ‘Man and Superman’: “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach.” Essentially saying that it is easier to teach someone how to go about a task than actually do the task itself. While that might be true in some professions, there is something to be said for a general contractor (GC) who can do, and teach. Benni Bayat is one such GC. A trained interior designer, Benni realized when she was going through the stress of remodeling her own home that finding a trustworthy, hardworking contractor was harder than she thought.

IMG 8333“I had a hard time finding a really good, reliable GC who understood my concerns.” It was enough to motivate her to start a company of her own. “I wanted to ease for my clients the challenges and hassles I’d faced during the (home renovation process).” The Menekshe Group specializes in myriad services, from bathroom and kitchen remodels to custom pools and landscaping. Media rooms, entertainment areas, iron work; even sauna design. “Our designers will take any space and give it new life. We reimagine your space to ensure each facet is maximally useful and beautiful.”

thumbnail IMG 8616Menekshe’s goals for each client are entrenched in the values of transparency and quality. Being organized, meeting deadlines, and being present at the job site are all extremely important to Benni’s team-and makes all the difference for their clients.

“We have more freedom to pivot if we need to; make on-the-job decisions about material selection and designs,” she says. “Each moment we spend with you decreases the stress of the process by half.” Best of all? It lessens the overall cost of the projects as well. Turns out, those who can, do; but also show the best how it’s done.

The MeNekshe Group
CA Lic. 1069533
(714) 696-9574

There is a beautiful book on writing penned by Haruki Murakami called “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” From the title, you’d think it was a book on running.

And it is. But it is also a deep meditation on the act of getting a pure thought on paper, and the intersectional discipline it takes to be good at both: running, and writing. The truly standout feature of the book is its seamlessness. Learning and absorbing without noticing it happen. Michelle Bryant, owner of The Massage Associates in San Juan Capistrano, knows a thing or two about getting results without her clients seeing the process.

Photo by Diana Schmitt, Accent Portraits by DianaPhoto by Diana Schmitt, Accent Portraits by DianaBorn and raised in Southern California, Michelle got her degree in Biology from UC San Diego, and moved to Orange County when she got married. In February, she’ll be celebrating a special event, and if you guessed her wedding anniversary, well, almost. The Massage Associates have been in business since February of 2001, and while the impact of COVID-19 has put a bit of a damper on celebrations, Michelle and team are more dedicated than ever to providing best in class service, inviting new clients into the community, and helping people feel pain free.

At the outset, “there was me, and one other massage therapist,” says Michelle. “Then we added another, and another as our clientele expanded. We now have 6 massage therapists and specialize in deep tissue, therapeutic massage.” But like Murakami talking about writing when he is talking about running, what she means is that they offer massage as a vehicle to developing relationships with their clients that extend well beyond a typical therapist visit. They specialize in community pain management. “It’s the only way to help you feel better if your needs are known we can tailor our massage to fit.”

“The relationships built over the years (at Massage Associates) help determine the offerings, the order, and the onus to come back ... it’s dedicated, deep, and disciplined time spent on your health.”

I would venture to say that the majority of businesses offering massage also offer a litany of spa treatments: sauna, facials, skincare treatments, etc. But the beauty of Michelle’s service is that they only offer massage. “We want to specialize in one form of treatment, and do it the best we can.” Need a deep tissue focus on your shoulders but some reflexology on your feet? No problem. Hot stone to relax, with a light stretch and some CBD cream for that recurrent sports injury? “We can do that. And we all work together to make sure that even if one time you can’t see your regular therapist, our other therapists can see the detailed notes on what you like or don’t like so that we can take great care of you.”

The relationships they have built help determine the offerings, the order, and the onus to come back. It isn’t some cookie cutter massage. It’s dedicated, deep, and disciplined time spent on your health, and it is available to you even now, during a global pandemic, due to the focus and flexibility of the team in place.

“In 2019 we received designation as a health care service provider business so we were allowed to stay open during these wild days of the COVID crisis," says Michelle. "People are in pain, people are stressed. And we’ve taken all the CDC precautions and made all the modifications to our office so that our clients feel safe, comfortable, and most importantly, so that nothing interrupts our goal of getting you to total health.”

Michelle and her team do regular temperature checks, require masks, space clients out to allow for (even) more cleaning time, and even went so far as to offer at-home massage for those who don’t feel comfortable coming to the office. The experience is total: rich, and revelatory. Much like Murakami’s ode to the road he runs, and that which he writes, this 20th year for Michelle and her team bring constant challenges to be met, and yet also reminds us what we have been celebrating all along: the seamless triumph and trial. An end to pain and the work that gets us there.

The Massage Associates
31952 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano
(949) 489-7924