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Originally from the Midwest, Amy moved to San Diego in 2001. A graduate of Valparaiso University, Amy had been a Financial Advisor since 1997. When Amy began taking Pilates with her neighbor Wendy, in 2006, she fell in love with the method and benefits of the program and knew she wanted to help others achieve their fitness goals. It was not until Amy took her first barre class that she discovered her true passion for fitness. She loved the challenge and energy of each class. And more importantly, she was excited by the results as her body became more toned than through any other workout routine she had tried in the past. Amy would be one of the best testimonials for Fit in 60 Pilates and Barre. In less than a month’s time, attending 4-5 classes a week, Amy went from a size 10/12 to a size 6. She came home one day and told her husband, Mike that “if every girl knew this, every girl would do it.” Amy is passionate about getting to know her clients and provide modifications and corrections to challenge every client, while making classes as safe as possible. Amy lives in Carlsbad with her husband, Mike, and her dog Emma. She loves what she does, and is thrilled to present the Fit in 60 workout to Carlsbad and Carmel Valley and is eager to help women look and feel great!
Angelina Hardy is a Private Piano Teacher in the Carmel Valley San Diego community. She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. In addition, she is a member of Music Teacher Association of California and currently serves on their board of directors in the San Diego chapter. Angelina is married to Jason Hardy, one of the lead Pastors at the Wave Church SD (a new church in Carmel Valley), and together they have two toddler boys whom they absolutely adore! They both love their jobs and love serving the Carmel Valley community and the amazing people that live here.
Candy Stokes is a Carmel Valley resident and local business-owner. She is an Interior Design Specialist with a passion for giving back to her community. There are few things that energize Candy Stokes more than facing a room full of tumbled furniture and art with the challenge of transforming it into a buyer’s delight for resale, or a happy place for a family to live and flourish in. She recently took her passion and opened up her own staging and redesign company, Studio C Home Design. Four years ago, Candy and her husband Clay shifted their belongings and four children from the SF Bay Area to Carmel Valley, where Clay is co-pastor of Wave Church. In their spare time, the Stokes’ love to explore San Diego, find good places to eat, and hang out with their family and friends.
Christina Small and her husband Doug have lived in Carmel Valley for 11 years. They’ve been married for 12 and are loving it! They have two sons, ages 3 and 7. Her hobbies are surfing (when she gets an opportunity to), scrap booking, scuba diving and hiking. She quit my job to be a stay at home mom at the end of 2004, which she says was the best decision she has ever made. Though she does sometimes miss the life of a scientist, she have plenty of opportunities at home to share science with my kids.
Founder of Healthy Chats, Dr. Chrystal de Freitas is a pediatrician, author and mother of three children who has a special interest in health education. She completed her pediatric training at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and has been in private practice for 22 years. She practiced with North County Health Services in Encinitas, for 6 years. In 2004, Dr. de Freitas opened her solo private practice of pediatrics, Carmel Valley Pediatrics in San Diego, CA.
As the Operating Manager and Founder of Jason Paul Marketing, LLC. Chris Placencia skills’ range from online web design, internet marketing, sales, management and public relations. Chris has taken his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, which he received from California State San Marcos University, and implemented it in both his own company as well as Marketing Director on the Board of Directors for organizations such as the San Diego Association of Realtors YPN and the Red Bird Foundation.
Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC. She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego. She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.
Clay Stokes is a typical California transplant, having hailed from Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, and the SF Bay area before relocating to the community of Carmel Valley San Diego with his wife and 4 kids in 2007. Living here fits Clay and wife Candy like a glove. The ocean, the weather, the golf, sports and people are great. Clay also has a little Guy Fieri (host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) in him. Constantly on the hunt for “The Best Of” in terms of food, he and Candy often cruise for new “good eats” on their day off. Being co-Pastor of Wave Church and caring for the people here in Carmel Valley San Diego community gives Clay plenty of opportunities to glean opinions and invite others along on his quest.
As a freelance travel writer/photographer since 1988 Cynthia Dial has visited the world’s seven continents (most recently Antarctica) in quest of a good story . . . from getting her hair cut in Paris, horse whispering in Hawaii and touring Burma (Myanmar) only months after Aung San Suu Kyi’s release . . . to celebrating Summer Solstice within Finland’s Arctic Circle, hiking to Machu Picchu and visiting Molakai’s former leper colony atop a mule alongside a plunging cliff. In short, she experiences and writes about topics at the top of many readers’ bucket lists. Cynthia is author of the award-winning non-fiction book, Get Your Travel Writing Published. Now in its third printing it was published in London, England, and sold worldwide (U.S. distributor is McGraw-Hill). Among her outlets are national and international newspapers and magazines including Time magazine, Hemispheres, Destinations Weddings & Honeymoons, Shape, Dallas Morning News and the Toronto Star (which featured her around-the-world shopping column, Shopping Trips). She also contributes to TraveLife Magazine (distributed throughout Canada) and JustLuxe.com (a luxury portal receiving 2.1 million monthly hits). Radio experience includes World Footprints Radio (formerly Travel’n On) and the Travel Hub show on WorldTalk Radio, on which her No Passport Required segment was a regular feature. She additionally appears as a travel specialist on LiveFitMagazine.com. The travel-addicted writer admits that each time she steps onto an international flight, boards a train or steps onto a ship’s promenade deck to go to work, she congratulates herself on her career choice.
Darcie Czajkowski lives, works, and plays in Carmel Valley. While she is a securities litigation attorney by day, her passions lie in writing, cooking, and traveling. She has written two women’s fiction novels and is pursuing publication. She also enjoys playing tennis, hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve, and frequenting North County’s best happy hour spots.
Dave Clegg is a self-taught amateur chef and recipe creator who has always been inspired by his mom’s great cooking. He has been cooking for over 40 years and has lived in Carmel Valley with his family since 1985. He created “Carmel Valley Kitchen” as a way to share his passion. Dave was recently selected as a semifinalist in the “Next Great! News Instructor Cooking Challenge” and his basic cheese cake took third place at the 2011 San Diego County Fair. Dave has a comprehensive knowledge of ingredients, equipment and cooking techniques that he is always happy to share.
Born and raised in San Diego, Dr. James Tasto attended University of San Diego High School where he lettered in both golf and wrestling. After earning a Bachelors in Science from Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Tasto graduated from University of Southern California Dental School with an emphasis on cosmetics and sports dentistry. Dr. James Tasto was selected by his peers to be included in the List of Top Dentists in San Diego for 2007 – 2011. He appeared in the May issue of San Diego Magazine. Dr. Tasto is also a member of D.O.C.S. (Doctors Offering Charitable Services), a local organization that offers medical services such as plastic surgery, vision and dental to the less fortunate patients in San Diego. Dr. Tasto currently resides in San Diego with his lovely wife Traci and their 3 children. He enjoys golf, beach volleyball and playing with his kids.
With a mission to provide a higher standard of mortgage lending services, Julie began her career in mortgage banking in 1990. To date, Julie has successfully closed over $1 billion in mortgage loans and helped over two thousand customers achieve their mortgage goals. Program availability may differ slightly in different states. Terms may vary. Subject to change without notice. Bank of Manhattan is not affiliated with nor endorses The Carmel Valley Life. NMLS# 401422.
Karen helps attorneys, mediators, individuals and couples, navigate through the financial morass of divorce and widowhood. Her expertise lies in understanding the special tax and financial issues that can plague divorce and she helps clients get their financial fair share and equitable settlements. She provides financial analysis, projections and solutions so clients can avoid long-term regret over decisions made early on in divorce and widowhood. Karen offers a range of financial, investment and insurance services that address clients’ complete financial picture and long-term needs before, during and after marriage. She is currently writing a book entitled, “To Have and To Hold Onto Your Financial Fair Share: Financial Decision Making When Marriage Ends in Divorce or Death.”
Katherine Randall is a Cardiff Resident and founder of Katalyst Public Relations, a full service PR and social media agency, based in Solana Beach that works with clients in the lifestyle, hospitality, new media and technology space. Katalyst creates customized communication campaigns using a well-balanced mix of public relations, social media, digital publicity, blogger relations, event planning and promotion, community relations, marketing and reputation management. The agency’s specializes in restaurants and hotels, food and wine, travel and leisure, design and home decor, fitness and beauty, and accessories and retail. With her superb connections and media relationships, Katherine is in the know about current San Diego lifestyle trends. A fitness enthusiast, Katherine enjoys taking barre classes and running on the beach. She also enjoys scoping out the newest and most buzzed about San Diego restaurants.
Dr. Keith Kanner is a Licensed and Board Certified Clinical Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychologist and Psychoanalyst. In addition to a full-time private practice in Rancho Santa Fe, California, he is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego where he teaches both human development and also trains medical students how to better understand and relate to their patients. He also serves as the Director of Clinical Counseling for La Jolla Country Day School in La Jolla, California, and is a Clinical Professor at The San Diego Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. Dr. Kanner also sits on the National Board of Directors for Kids Korps USA, which is the largest organization in the country that teaches children and adolescents the importance of volunteering to help the community at large. As a father of three children, he is also a dedicated baseball, football, and soccer coach.
Kristin Rude is the Owner and Center Director of FasTracKids, Del Mar & Carmel Valley. She previously taught in the Del Mar Union School District. Kristin obtained her teaching credential from the University of San Diego and has her Masters degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on second language learners. When Kristin is not working, motherhood keeps her plenty busy with her 2 children, Connor, age 3 & Katherine, age 2. She looks forward to having her own children beneﬁt from the FasTracKids program. Spending time with her family, golﬁng, traveling, and continuously learning are among her favorite activities.
Lindsey Smith is a Del Mar resident and founder of San Diego Office Properties. She serves as a trusted advisor for San Diego’s owners and occupiers of commercial space. Lindsey comes from a family of “serial entrepreneurs” and has a true passion for helping local businesses find office space that is aligned with their corporate strategy, culture and budget. Lindsey is a graduate of the University of San Diego. She began her real estate career in 2003 working at a large corporate brokerage house and founded San Diego Office Properties in 2012. San Diego Office Properties functions under the KW Commercial umbrella which allows clients access to a national platform and corporate resources while capitalizing on the flexibility that only a boutique firm can offer.
Liz Hughes serves on the North Shore Girls Softball League board as Fall Ball Coordinator and Social Media Director. She also has her own food blog called Virtually Homemade and is an experienced writer. Liz is a Carmel Valley San Diego community resident and mom to two wonderful kids and a wife to a loving husband. She will be working on behalf of North Shore Girls Softball League to feature information about youth athletics and also inform the community about their softball events and the North Shore Girls Softball League in general. We are excited to have both Liz and NSGSL as part of our growing “Sports” section.
Louis McKay has performed and taught Master dance and musical theater classes in 42 of our 50 states and Europe and South Africa. In 1980, Louis McKay opened Louis McKay Dance Studio, later to become North County Dance Arts, Inc., which is a teaching facility that is best known for its professional teaching staff and quality dance training. Dancers from beginning level to professional are taught technique, terminology, and discipline in a nurturing and fun environment. Louis currently lives in Carmel Valley San Diego with his wife Tanya and is the proud father of four grown children and two grandchildren. Louis and Tanya McKay also own DanceHearts, a 501 (c) (3) Public Charity called Bells of Freedom Program, serves military men, women and their families by providing emergency care and support, back to school backpack program, vehicle donations and the annual “The Big Thank You” Military Holiday Event.
Luis Espana is a current Carmel Valley resident and the proud business-owner of LGE Prime Plumbing. Born and raised in San Diego, Luis knew early on he was going to be a plumber. What he did not know was that his work was going to centered in one of the most community enriched areas in San Diego. This was the only location that he would come to decide was the best place to live and work for his family. Luis comes to share his experiences and tips for the local San Diego Carmel Valley residents. If you do happen to run into a problem, LGE Prime Plumbing The Carmel Valley Plumber, is dedicated to providing plumbing, drain cleaning, install & repairs for all Carmel Valley Residents and San Diego County.
Meghan Carraher is a passionate Sassoonhair stylist and colorist at Salona Mar Salon, a quaint boutique hair studio in Solana Beach, CA. In the fashion side of hair, Meghan has worked under world renknown Wella hairstylists in Los Angeles, bringing San Diego a taste of the celebrity treatment and trends yet in a comfortable and peaceful spa like salon. Her professional highlights include working the Emmy’s, Oscars, Grammy’s and Golden Globes, as well as leading ad campaigns for national brands including Charlotte Russe. Meghan uses her 10 year esthetician background to create a relaxing and unique hair experience, including hand/arm massages during color processes, options for facials/peel ad ons and waxing. Meghan prides herself on a perfect blow-dry that lasts for days, and amongst her peers is considered the Blow-out Queen!
Melanie is a San Diego native, a lover of outdoor activities, cooking, friends & family, & is an entrepreneur at heart. As a personal chef and fitness coach, she has been able to combine her two career passions – which has proven to be an exciting journey. Inspired by a love for cooking & entertaining, Melanie attended the Art Institute of San Diego and in 2006, she became a personal chef. Ever since been then, she has been preparing nutritious gourmet meals (personal meal deliveries & private party catering) for residents in La Jolla, Carmel Valley and all over North County San Diego. Melanie is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certiﬁed and is the founder of Rock Body Food. Melanie truly loves her job of teaching others how to do what she loves & lives herself!
Mike Sick is an independent marketing consultant that has worked businesses and clients around the world from his home office in Carmel Valley since 2003. Having worked with over 50 businesses in a cross section of industries, Mike will write about tips and tricks learned along the way to help you grow or start your business. Prior to starting his business, Mike was a migrant marketing worker that traveled around the country as a corporate marketing executive. He has worked for many well known brands including Jack In The Box, Pearle Vision and Arby’s where he was a Marketing VP. Having worked with a number of inventors, Mike was inspired to invent his own product, a body surfing paddle called the Surf-Grip. So now even a trip to the beach has a business angle! A long time volunteer with Connect Springboard, Mike will also introduce San Diego start-ups and Carmel Valley entrepreneurs in his column. The Sickness is the belief you can get better every day. Go for it!
Our family created and distributed The Beach Break News, a local news magazine showcasing the coastal communities in north county san diego. We felt a website would be a fun way to continue spreading the word on what’s happening around our town and so Coastal Family Living was created. We share thoughts on local restaurants, events, favorite boutiques, raising children, and all things that inspire us like the many local families that have a great story that should be shared. We also love photography and love to share moments captured through a lens, whether it’s from our lens or yours. We are a family of five and we love our life!
Pablo A. Fernandez is a Carmel Valley resident, the Creative Director at Pablo & Branko’s Kitchen, and is involved in inspired community-based projects throughout San Diego. Raised in an health food environment thanks to his parents’ 17 year venture owning and operating a plant based restaurant. Pablo, spent many years learning from family, their customers, and countless educational programs and opportunities. His many years in business as an entrepreneur have helped him to understand the dynamic relationship between himself and his clients in delivering a service or product that is highly valuable. He has a passion for living his purpose and sharing it with everyone he meets. “There is an energetic exchange every time you encounter another human being, my purpose is to help people become happier through healthy sustainable food and wellness.”
Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning film/ entertainment critic & animator, artist, speaker, and entertainment personality. He started writing movie reviews at 8 using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, under the guidance of his mom Dr. Zhu Shen and his 3rd grade teacher Ms. Harris. Perry’s debut on the CBS Evening News in 2009 made him a national sensation. He has been featured extensively on local, national, and international media, including NPR, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, The China Press, and many more. He has interviewed prominent filmmakers at film festivals, red carpet premieres, and press junkets. He won a prestigious “Excellence in Journalism Award” at the San Diego Press Club in 2010 as its youngest member. Perry currently writes movie reviews for the Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews website with a combined readership of over 2 million worldwide.
Building on a long time passion, Rich Miño has taken on the role of Regional Director at Virtualproperti.es, LLC. Under contract with Google as an Authorized Google Business Photographer, Rich is responsible for photographing businesses throughout Southern California to showcase their venues via 360 degree panoramic tours that are directly linked to Google Maps and Google+ Local pages for businesses. As Regional Director, Rich is responsible for Marketing and Operations of Virtualproperti.es in California. With deep ties to the small business community in San Diego, Rich enjoys working with small business owners to enhance their online presence and increase their visibility to current and potential customers. He considers this an initial step in helping small business owners secure a financial future for their business, themselves and their families.
Robert has always gravitated towards art at a very early age. Even winning numerous awards in various mediums as a child. He’s always believed that he’ll become an architect one day, realizing later that life had different plans for him. After spending several years behind a drafting table and a successful decade on stage and on screen, he discovered photography on a dare. His connection with talent agencies gave him the break to start shooting fellow actors and celebrities and eventually led fashion photography. A self taught photographer, he had the great fortune of assisting and being mentored by some of the best commercial & fashion photographers. He has an extensive background in the studio and location, but is best recognized for his natural light photography. His work can be seen on a number of magazine covers/editorials and fashion campaigns. When he’s not shooting, he can be often found at the beach surfing or taking detours out on his motorcycle or blazing trails on his mountain bike with his dog Cole.
As Founder and Executive Director of Suit UrSelf, Robin grew up near the garment district in NY where she first discovered her passion for color and design. She has been living in San Diego for over 25 years raising her family in the Penasquitos Canyon area. Robin also founded Pacific Business Promotions, where she worked with many local and national companies including Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Downey Savings and Hendrick Motorsports, to create corporate apparel programs as well as working with non profits such as American Cancer Society and American Red Cross to promote and fundraise with them thru the use of media, promotional marketing and brand awareness. Spending much of her career in the financial, business and adverting arenas, Robin knows first hand how wardrobe choices and personal style make a significant impact in how clients and colleagues perceive you and more importantly, how you project and feel about yourself in both business and in your personal life.
Dr. Steve Ronco is a Wellness Doctor & Family Chiropractor located in the Torrey Hills Marketplace in Carmel Valley San Diego. Dr. Ronco is committed to providing a level of care that nurtures and supports the true nature of health. This involves ‘caring’ for each person’s individual needs as well as providing the education necessary to foster an environment of prevention. In addition to working with adults, athletes and typical injuries, he holds a strong belief that taking care of children starting early on in their developmental years, provides the best opportunity to prevent minor issues from contributing to a lifetime of discomfort. Dr. Ronco continues to provide free lectures in his office weekly (Wednesday evenings) and strives to maintain an active level of community involvement: most notably when he and several colleagues created the original Chiropractic Relief Crew (C.R.C.) during the San Diego firestorms of 2003, volunteering their services to hundreds of firefighters on a daily basis.
I am a California native, born in Santa Monica. My husband, Ned Hall, and I moved back to California from Connecticut in 1987, living first in Rancho Santa Fe, then Solana Beach and, in 2000, moved to the St. Augustine section of Torrey Hills. My very first interest in having a garden and my very first garden was when we moved to our home in Torrey Hills. Along the way I’ve become a certified consulting Rosarian and belong to three rose societies. My rose obsession began to wane a few years ago as I’ve become more and more interested in growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and now succulents. I am an obsessive reader and whenever a new gardening idea begins to beckon me, I head to the (Solana Beach) library for whatever books they have on the subject. I am eager for every growing season. The thing about a garden is that plants just want to grow and if they get the food and water they need, the possibilities are infinite. Just thinking about it makes me want to get outside and get my hands in the dirt.
Tommy Maurer has been interested in coaching and developing soccer players since 1999, when he moved back to San Diego after living in San Francisco for 15 years. His passion for coaching and mentoring young athletes was sparked after kicking the ball around with a family in Coronado. The parents suggested he become a coach and that is exactly what he did! The Sharks invited Tommy to coach two U-8 teams for the 1999 fall season and he hasn’t stopped being a part of the organization ever since. He currently is the Director of Sharks Recreation Soccer, which has allowed him to present the game of soccer to a great community and has given him the opportunity to coach and develop the skill of soccer players of all levels.
Tulasi is a San Diego native. She is a salon coordinator at Gila Rῡt Aveda Salon. Tulasi has also put in 23 years of beach going experience up and down the California coast line. Although loyal to her soil, she loves to venture and travel, exploring new cultures everywhere. She’s a lover of the arts, as a true Taurus should be. Dabbling in journalism, music, modeling, photography, doodling and conversation starting. Give her a slice of pizza, or a passport stamp and you’ll win her over.
William Traenkle, the founder of Tranquilnet, was practically born to be a leader in the IT solutions field. William has been building and solving problems ever since he was a kid, and has dedicated his life to being on the cutting edge of technology and helping others take advantage of all modern technology can provide. A little over a year after graduating from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (where he supported and managed the school’s infrastructure) in 2000, William founded Traenkle Networks.
Dr. Zhu Shen’s love for the movies started when she was a young girl, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where watching movies was the only entertainment available to the masses. Her journey to become a filmmaker took a convoluted path. She studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College before coming to the US and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado, and then an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School. She is a producer of the upcoming documentary feature “Average Joe on the Raw,” about journey into raw food and health. Dr. Shen is also an award-winning biotech executive, author, speaker, China business expert featured on national and trade media including CBS, Fox, Business Week, Pharmaceutical Executive, and more. She has worked at IBM, Bayer, Chiron, Immusol, and is the CEO of BioForesight, consulting on cross-Pacific life science business. *Photos of Perry Chen and Zhu Shen by Brian Bostrom