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I believe that issues arise due to family and social influences. However, individuals are experts in their own lives and possess the strength to be resilient. Therefore, my goal in therapy is to help clients understand and access their strengths to overcome emotional and mental health barriers that may be hindering them from living a fulfilled life.
I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in San Diego. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters in Counseling from San Diego State University. I have had experience working in the community addressing core issues impacting individuals, couples, family, and the community such as depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, domestic violence and relationship conflict. I am also able to provide individual therapy and couples counseling services in Vietnamese.
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.
Ani Yufe, southern California interior designer, trained in architecture loves sharing cool design spots to invoke for more inspiration, creativity, and innovation! Ani’s curiosity and willingness to take fearless inspired action led her to travel and live internationally among diverse cultures in the most sustainable and livable cities on the planet, while seeking out and investing in re-known design and human potential education. Her graduate level research revealed how well-designed sustainable architecture and urban design positively contributes to the happiness and well-being of society, its economic, cultural, and ecological sustainability for all its inhabitants. Actively creating art and designing since she was a child, her skills are wildly varied within many scales and mediums of art and design.
Ashley M. is a San Diego native who has been in the Pet Care Industry for over 3 years. She shares her home with 3 cats; Arlo, Toby and Simon as well as a bearded dragon named Daenerys. When she isn’t working as Assistant Manager at our Carmel Valley location, Ashley spends her free time mastering the art of vegetarian cuisine, lounging at the beach and learning everything there is to know about dog and cat nutrition.
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.
Kris Mukherji is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning and business attorney at Law Office of Kris Mukherji, APC. Kris moved to San Diego in 2000 to attend the University of California, San Diego where he graduated with a Bachelors in Communication. Kris graduated from law school in 2012 and started his practice. Kris lives his wife and their pet Shih-Tzu Bailey.
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.
Jim and his wife Jo, have lived in Carmel Valley since 1987 and first got into the real estate business in 1992 after a successful career in the construction industry in South Africa. Kevin Dalzell joined the Dalzell Group Real Estate team in 2002 after playing professional rugby in Europe (represented the U.S. in two Rugby World Cups) and is now living with his wife, Nina, in Solana Beach. Ryan Dalzell coordinates the team’s marketing program, and he joined the group in 2004 after working as a flight instructor. Ryan lives in Carmel Valley with his wife Julie and their 3 children. Amber Worsham recently joined the team as the new Marketing Manager & Transaction Coordinator. With over five years of experience in marketing real estate in Coastal North County, Amber provides us with extensive expertise in the print, internet and direct marketing aspects of the business.
David A. Moya is a Carmel Valley San Diego community contributor and influencer for positive change. As founder of The Carmel Valley Life he focuses on education, transparency and helping others find a voice for their passion. During his earlier years, he fed his entrepreneurial spirit and founded a company focused on helping kids committed to peak performance. David went on to pay for his BA in Finance through his real estate business and after graduating flew more than 30 flights to over 10 countries in order to master the art of communication and business. Today, he enjoys creating value for his community by leading a movement of responsibility – one of sharing knowledge, stories and a helping hand.
Jae Berman, MS, RD, CSSD, serves as the Regional Registered Dietitian of The San Francisco Bay Club. As the nutrition expert and dietician for Western Athletic Clubs, she thrives on helping people live healthier, stronger, more confident lives. With an extensive education in nutrition, Jae has been featured as an expert in Shape Magazine, Better Homes & Garden and more. Her background is in sports nutrition, weight loss counseling and disease management. She is also a personal trainer and yoga and Pilates instructor. Jae earned a master’s degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and completed her dietetic internship at UCSF Medical Center.
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.
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.
Lexi Bunney grew up in San Francisco and has been living in San Diego for seven years. She’s worked in the pet care industry for 10 years and she is obsessed with all kinds of animals. When she’s not teaching people about healthy pet care at Dirty Dogs she enjoys reading, horseback riding and traveling as often as possible!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Riley Bandy heads up marketing at Dirty Dogs. He oversees events, partnerships and advertising while also making sure Dirty Dogs is helping San Diego communities and providing the best possible support to dogs in need. He coordinates all community involvement and fundraising.
Before Dirty Dogs, Riley worked for the marketing agency, Imagination in Chicago managing client relationships for Gold’s Gym, Allstate Insurance and Western Union. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California.
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.
Robin is CEO & Founder of Food4Thought, which is the newest division of DSN where Robin has been helping businesses prosper for the past decade. As an active member in the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, Food4Thought focuses on promoting the food service industry while assisting restaurant and other business owners with the latest technologies to improve thier business and the overall customer experience. As a native New Yorker and bona fide foodie, Robin is always seeking out the coolest places to tickle her keen palate. From the newest in town to the best beach side happy hours, Robin will bring them all to us from all around the Carmel Valley area.
Santiago Benito is a student at Canyon Crest Academy. Santiago hopes to one day become a documentary film director and producer. He also hopes to write and make Hollywood films. He enjoys reading almost as much as he enjoys writing; my favorite book is The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Santiago have had an interest in the art of cinema ever since he could remember. From an early age, Santiago has been mesmerized by the beauty of the lines said and the actors on the big screen. While many kids have a hard time trying to figure out what they want to do after they get out of school, Santiago knew right off the bat that he wanted to be involved in the world of cinema somehow. Aside from that, he enjoys playing basketball and spending time with family and friends. In addition, Santiago is very interested in being involved in things much larger than himself. For example, he is a part of many non-profit organizations whose goals are to help people and communities all over the world (i.e. Japan, Africa, and the Untied States). He was born in San Diego on August 14, 1998 and has had a wonderful life growing up in the Carmel Valley area.
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.
Tyler Chase is a studnet at Torrey Pines High School. Tyler was born and raised in Carmel Valley and loves making short films and skateboard videos on his free time. Tyler has been making all types of films since his parents got him his first camera when he was 5. Not only does he have a strong passion for filming and editing, he also loves to write. His dream has always been to one day be a film maker in Hollywood directing and producing movies.
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