Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

When we moved into our home three years ago, the property came with a very pretty pond stocked with colorful koi and goldfish.

But for someone who can barely keep a potted plant alive, the prospect of being responsible for the livelihood and longevity of these beautiful fish was daunting – I don’t have a clue about the right ratio of additives in the water or the importance of algae or how to combat fish disease.

 

photo12356A koi pond is clearly much more than a backyard water garden feature. It is a living, breathing eco-system which requires the expertise of a pond professional.

Thankfully, we also inherited the services of Glenn Cecil, owner of the South County-based Water in the Garden. He had maintained this particular pond for the previous homeowner for several years and it was clear from our first meeting that he was committed to quality care and customer service.

Glenn specializes in “total koi pond and water garden maintenance,” repair, construction, pond and filtration design and consultation.

Serving Orange County since 1999, Glenn specializes in “total koi pond and water garden maintenance,” repair, construction, pond and filtration design and consultation.

Aside from feeding the fish, Glenn literally takes care of everything during his weekly visits, including removing excess debris and dead plant matter, inspecting the pond equipment for proper function and making adjustments as needed and inspecting the fish for signs of distress or disease. He also tests the water quality, back-flushes the filters and adds bacteria or other agents as needed and offers 24-hour emergency service. In short, he keeps our pond looking beautiful and our fish healthy and happy.


To connect with Glenn directly, call (949) 872-3833 or visit www.waterinthegarden.net

logo tea housePerfectly situated between the hustle of Los Angeles and the bustle of San Diego, the historic Los Rios District lies just off the I-5 freeway in San Juan Capistrano. Originally settled by Juanenos Indians allowed to live outside the mission compound, this idyllic town has grown over the years, but still retains its old town charm. Some of the original homes built still house relatives of the early settlers, generations later. A surprise gem for tourists and locals alike, Los Rios is no stranger to its own delights - including an immensely popular tea salon and boutique. Founded by the Niccola family, the Tea House has remained a family owned and operated business building relationships one cup at a time since its inception 20 years ago.

16508454 1235980816450186 692487539271961670 n“Our guests are treated like family, given an intimate and welcoming experience such as you might have at home on the holidays, within a quaint and elegant setting built to enhance your enjoyment.” The beautifully quaint tea house and salon, gorgeous verandah and picturesque gardens provide an atmosphere ideal for bridal and baby showers, women’s group meetings, corporate luncheons, anniversary celebrations and office parties with a bit of panache.

16265452 1228426590538942 7331455077200926631 nDon’t let the “tearoom” part fool you; their menu arguably outshines the décor (and that’s saying something). In addition to traditional tea and fare (scones, pastries, finger sandwiches), the Tea House offers a full lunch menu (and weekend brunch) of handcrafted soups, salads and hearty sandwiches, as well as delicious, traditional English entrees with a contemporary California twist (including a tender and flavorful rosemary roasted chicken, baked-to-order shepherd’s pie and - a Tea House favorite - an authentic Bombay chicken curry with peanuts, shredded coconut, dried apricots and golden raisins service on bed of seasoned rice). All their breads are made in-house and the extraordinary desserts are almost as beautiful as they are delicious. If you only take one thing away from the Tea House, perhaps consider making it a scone with their Early California Cream, a treat for which they have become famous or a freshly baked coconut cake with pecans.

teahouse FotorWhether you are planning an intimate gathering in a beautiful garden setting or the use of a private room or exclusive use of the verandah for a corporate function, the Tea House staff takes pride in offering personalized special events defined by simple elegance, unsurpassed service and an atmosphere unlike any other.

“Fresh, local ingredients, made-from-scratch sauces, and home-baked goodness awaits each guest every day: be it a special event or simply our daily tea.” If you’re looking for the full experience, High Tea services will take you away to another time. Any way you look at it, the Tea House on Los Rios is ready to make each moment a sippable delicacy.


The Tea House on Los Rios is located at 31731 Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano.
For information or reservations, call (949) 443-3914 or visit www.theteahouseonlosrios.com

At elementary schools all over California, fourth graders have been making missions from craft supplies for years. My son constructed Mission San Diego Alcala (the first of 21 established in the state) last year, which made our visit all the more exciting and impactful. The city’s first downtown area and the true birthplace of California, San Diego is now famous for its pristine stretches of sandy shore and hip shopping and bar crawls through Pacific Beach. But once upon a time, San Diego was known for the historic sites, cultural lore, and the nearby Mission San Diego de Alcala.

The parks by themselves are enough to draw you into the heart of the city, where the local flora and fauna bloom year round, thanks to the balmy Mediterranean clime. Offering an escape to the botanist at heart or the happy camper, both Balboa Park and Anza Borrego State Park are Trip Advisor don’t-misses - welcome and waiting with a full lineup of bird watching tours, plant sales and workshops. With cruises docking year round, five star restaurants, theme parks, skating, kayaking, shopping, and more, there is something to satisfy the whole family. But on this particular stay-cation, we opted to explore the charm and ambience of Old Town San Diego and bonus! happened to book our stay during the lively, colorful Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration (Oct 31 - Nov 2). Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday of prayer and remembrance honoring the lives of friends and family members who have passed away. It is believed that the souls of the dead come back to visit their loved ones at this time. Contrary to popular belief, Dia De Muertas is not a sad time, but a time of happiness and celebration of life, which we discovered firsthand.

Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel Old Town

Finding comfort, charm, and hospitality all in one place aren’t difficult when you’re staying in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Surrounded by colorful courtyards, patios, and gorgeous landscaping, a stay at San Diego’s Best Western Plus Hacienda Old Town proved to the perfect place from which to explore the area. Literally walking distance to entertainment, art galleries, family-friendly restaurants, and a locale adjacent to the historic Old Town Presidio: where California began.

BWPHaciendaHotel kingroomThis charming property boasts 200 spacious guest rooms appointed with handcrafted Santa Fe furnishings inspired by the simple elegance of the old Spanish missions which truly lent itself to the historic “theme”of our visit. Each guest accommodation includes a private balcony or shared courtyard with abundant seating areas to soak in the ambiance, access to a heated swimming pool and spa and on-site Old Town Tequila Factory Restaurant and Cantina.

Casa de Reyes Restaurant in Old Town State Historic Park

Everyone needs to eat, but not all meals were created equal. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, drinks, or even a brunch you were after, Casa de Reyes is certainly the place to be. Serving up authentic Mexican fare, breakfast is served until noon, and all tortillas are handmade fresh daily. Platters to share, and all the classics ensure that dinner out with friends, coworkers, or family will never be dull. The stage in the middle of the Fiesta de Reyes plaza features free, live entertainment nightly. Every weekend Old Town’s favorite mariachi band and beautiful folklorico dancers make for an unforgettable dining experience.

Casa de Reyes entreeAmong the most popular dishes include the El Gran Fuego burrito stuffed with tender pork marinated in Mexican spices, chorizo, pineapple juice and guajillo pepper, pinto beans, chopped onion, cilantro and fresh habenero peppers. Seasonal specials range from the Agave Chipotle Chicken (a delicious bone-in, oven-baked half chicken rubbed with Mexican spices and topped with a chipotle agave salsa and served with Mexican-style quinoa and black beans) to the Salmon A La Diabla (salmon filet marinated in roasted salsa with chile cascabel).

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Of the 21 missions in California, San Diego de Alcala marks the birthplace of Christianity on the West Coast. Providing an important cultural and significant look at the start of Catholicism, the mission, which was founded in 1769 serves as an active community hub, parish church, and grandiose placeholder for the migration of faith from Spain to the United States. The California olive was first cultivated at the Mission in San Diego, and many thousands of children’s appreciation for California history.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Mission San Diego de Alcala Courtesy Joanne DiBonaPresenting the best of California culture, San Diego’s Old Town State Historic Park gives visitors the opportunity to experience the history of its early connections to our storied present. Restored buildings from the interpretive period are complemented with early twentieth-century buildings designed in the same mode. Original adobe buildings are part of the park, which remains a favorite place for social gatherings and family-friendly historic activities, like the park’s working blacksmith shop.

Junipero Serra Museum

Operated by the San Diego History Center, the museum dedicated to Father Junipero Serra sits on the site of the very first European settlement: the very first permanent settlement in the state of California. Standing tall today, the site is one of the area’s most popular preferred wedding and event sites, with exhibits that present a time capsule of California’s most distinguished historical record: that of its original people, art, historical documents and more.

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Belmont Park

After an educational afternoon, we were off for to indulge in the entertainment of Belmont Park, the iconic beachfront amusement center with games, indoor children’s play center and rides including the Giant Dipper (a restored wooden roller coaster originally built in 1925) the Beach Blaster (I took a pass on this one, but I’m told this is one of the park’s most popular rides for adrenaline junkies - easy to see why as the ride swings passengers 60 feet in the air while spinning 120 degrees). Our family went with the decidedly “tamer” attractions - bumper cars, carousel, laser maze, rock climbing wall and zip line.

Developed originally by sugar magnate John Spreckels, Belmont Park opened its gates for the first time on July 4th, 1925. Though its moniker has changed over the years, from the Mission Beach Amusement Center to Belmont, it has always been an historic center for amusement in San Diego. Various cafes dot the park, from rooftops to taco stands, making Belmont Park the perfect spot for a day out in the idyllic San Diego sunshine.


Get Airborne! Family Fun Freefall at iFLY San Diego!

For an adventurous and exciting endeavor, our family decided to give indoor skydiving a try at iFLY San Diego in heart of Mission Valley. I say adventurous because this is as close to the real thing that I’m personally likely to experience (by choice anyway) and exciting because our 10-year-old son in particular could barely contain himself when he learned where we were headed.

iFly San Diego kid courtesy iFly San DiegoiFLY allows flyers from age 3 to 103 to experience free flight in a state-of-the-art 14-foot wind tunnel. After we checked in and watched a brief tutorial, we suited up and awaited our turn while watching an instructor spin, flip and perform fancy trips flying around inside the tunnel (suffice to say it’s a skill attempted only after multiple visits and ample training).

Flying in tunnels like this is part of a fast-growing sport called bodyflight. As a mom, I was pleased to learn that an instructor would be by my son’s side the entire time, making sure he understood what he needed to do in order to fly on his own. Then for the last portion of the (approximately) two minute flight, the instructor amped up the fun quotient by holding my son’s hands and spinning them both up toward the top of the tunnel.

So how much fun was the flight? We hadn’t even made it out of the building when our son asked if he and a friend could celebrate his 11th birthday at iFLY San Diego. I’d say that’s a resounding endorsement.

iFLY San Diego is located at 2385 Camino del Rio North in Mission Valley. For information, call (619) 736-3348 or visit www.iFLYworld.com

There is a marked difference between a capable contractor, and the near-comical profile of an incapable one. Akin to the often long-winded and dry jokes about terrible lawyers, the myriad tales on home-improvement horror populate many a family’s dinner time storytelling. Tipping the scales in favor of customer service you remember in rosy hues is a feat. One that GM Pacific Remodeling has been leaning on for the past 16 years: building their remarkable reputation from the ground up.

20130706 181327 4Gil Moscovich grew up in the business. “My father was a framing foundation specialist, and my mom was a plans drawer - way before the autocad software was in use.” As a second-generation contractor in the business, GM prides itself on being straightforward with their clients. The way they are with their own family. “I didn’t want to do business the way most companies do it - slapdash, haphazard. My employees are trained to be extremely customer service oriented, taking pride in the company’s reputation, and taking care of each project as if we are working on my own house.” Providing remodeling services from kitchen to room additions, GM Pacific Pro is dedicated to offering the best prices on the market for any kind of construction you might need.

20160415 111940Design, budgeting, and execution: all under one sturdy roof. No minimum job cost, and free consultation continue to set Gil and his family business apart from the rest. “I am constantly reachable, and value clear communication. None of our pricing is a surprise, and we’re not going to jump up in cost while we’re on a job. We offer the highest level of workmanship and materials”, and their customer testimonials speak to a level of effort and care missing in most of the industry. A client based in San Diego mentioned even that Gil and his team “cleaned up well at the end of the day”. A trait unheard of in construction. In fact, I just had to change a tire on my car this past week from construction on a neighbor’s house: and a slew of nails left in the street.

With satisfied clients from Lakewood to San Diego, it is no wonder that Gil and his team are finding success in the field. Word of mouth is a powerful thing when it comes to taking care of one’s home. Finding someone you trust to take on what can occasionally be a massive undertaking, from someone you trust, is the best case scenario. And finding countless reviews online noting that “everything was perfect”, “I’m extremely happy with the job”, “everybody was really easy to work with”, is a close second.

Whether you need a bathroom redone, new paint, pavers for your driveway or back patio, windows, garage doors, stucco, heating, plastering, or plumbing work, Gil and his team at GM are up to the task. Specializing as well in remodeling for the disabled, no job is too complex for the team to handle. In a world where folks can barely make time to all sit down together under one roof, spending unnecessary time to find a contractor to fix that roof just seems excessive. And aggravating. Let GM Pacific Pro step in, take care of your house as if it were their own, and leave you to bask in the rosy glow of a home project well done.


20150828 083855To connect with Gil and his team, please call (888) 664-0099 or visit www.gmpacificpro.com

There is something powerful about true, deep calm. The spread of quiet. Perhaps the draw of it is why so many seek the peace of the woods, the white noise of the ocean, the exquisite contentment a great yoga class can bring. People are drawn to it, animals can’t get enough of it. Ryan Furlet is the possessor of a powerful calm. With the laid back aesthetic of a Bob Marley fan and the grace of a Zen master, Ryan is perhaps the gentlest soul I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. And what’s even more important than my first impression was that of our family dog Bella.

I have never seen anyone elicit such a serene demeanor out of our otherwise rambunctious labrador retriever pup than Ryan did when we signed on for a Life Center Evaluation, and then a Private Life Center Session. He truly is a K-9 guru. And he is looking for new pups to join the pack.

“Here at the Life Center, we understand that just as parents may differ in their method of directing their children,” Ryan notes, “so do our pet parents with their K-9 companions.” Their mission is to provide the healing and rehabilitative process needed to improve on the standing expectations between pets and their parents. What is actually reasonable to want from one’s pet? What can your pet expect from you? Ryan is a firm believer that creating better pet behaviors makes a happier home life. Now expanding his services to include nearly the entire South Orange County area, from Aliso Viejo to Laguna Beach, the K-9 guru is literally willing to go the extra mile to help you and your canine compadre reach the powerful center of true, deep calm.

Offering one or two hour private Life Center sessions, group classes, or two or three hour private sessions at your home, each pet and parent will “move forward from their own foundation, tap into a required understanding, and create positive energy”. Home sessions are built around the balance of communication between pet and parent, and maximizes the training experience by allowing the trainer the insight into the way parents nurture, and pets respond.

And boy, do pets respond. Not many people can take over 10 dogs to the park, off leash, and put just one into stay and walk away with the rest of the pack and have the dog patiently wait until called. Going out of town and want your pup to relax just as much as you are while on vacation? At the Life Center in San Clemente, Ryan will board and train your dog at the same time. Keeping Bella overnight the first time cemented our family’s belief in his methods - Bella came home a more well behaved, more calm canine. So much so, that we regularly leave Bella in Ryan’s care when our family travels.

logo guruFrom a wee pooch to those looking for more intermediate or advanced training options, no dog is too much for the deep well of calm that comes from someone as dedicated to their craft. With 5 rescue dogs of his own, it really is no wonder that Ryan has found himself as the guru of South Orange County when it comes to pups and their parents.

To connect with Ryan, call (949) 449-9618 or visit www.k-9guru.com

KingThis scruffy little guy is King, a four year old cutie who is hoping to meet his match. While King enjoys playing in the yard with the other dogs, his favorite place to be is curled up in your lap. With his happy personality and gentle nature, King would be great for family members of all ages.

 

 

 

 

SlaterFive month old Slater is an adorable little kitty looking for his forever family.  Very sweet and good with other cats, Slater has a great personality and just loves lap time.  He would make a wonderful addition to almost any home.

 

 

 

 

ChicoChico is an easygoing gentleman who is ready to be your new best friend.  At four years old, Chico is a great mix between fun-loving and calm.  Potty-trained and well-mannered, he would make an easy transition into a home.

 

 

 

 

Trick treatBrothers Trick and Treat are quite the dynamic duo.  This guinea pig pair is sure to brighten your day with their cute coos and adorable squeaks.  Trick and Treat are both very sweet and would love to go home together.

 

 

 

If you would like to know more about the animals listed here, please call the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter at (949)492-1617, or visit with them at 221 Avenida Fabricante, San Clemente.

Serving private residences/homes
Nursing homes
Corporate buildings
Veterans’ communities

There are countless things to worry about in our world: Large and small, tangible and intangible - hurricanes, supervolcanoes, bills, hidden gluten in our food. the dryer eating socks mysteriously. The list is long, and often feels like it’s getting longer. Most folks are already a little apprehensive when it comes to going to the dentist, but the worry of tooth decay, gum disease and plaque can pile upon all the other worries until the basic thought of leaving our homes becomes a little too much to handle.

Dental care, for most of us, is tough to get excited about. But we all go because the complications that can arise from not taking proper care of one’s teeth are enough to keep one up at night. Like most complications as we age, they are further complicated – by limited mobility, transportation issues and forgetfulness.

Busy caregivers are hard pressed to take residents in assisted-living facilities to dental appointments on a regular basis, and family members barely remember to schedule appointments for themselves. As an unfortunate result, the majority of the population that actually needs the most care is left to their own devices.

Making a Difference

Dr. Charles Zahedi believes there is too much at stake to forget the residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities when it came to their dental care. He first came up with this novice idea when he noticed the lack of elderly patients coming for what he believed much needed attention. “Mobile Dental USA provides a full range of dental services at your place of residence (via a full size 40+ ft mobile dental clinic or mobile equipment for ‘concierge dentistry’ performed in a client’s home). Using state-of-the art equipment, Mobile Dental performs x-rays, cleanings, cavity treatment, dentures, and implants.” For those with missing teeth or denture wearers, Mobile Dental can work up their exclusive Bone-Loss and Denture-Loss Prevention Programs because as Dr. Zahedi put it “a healthy smile is part of a healthy body and visiting a dentist has never been easier.”

MDC Mobile Dental Clinic 2Most folks could pinpoint exactly what it is about a shark that scares them. Or a tsunami. More likely than not, those same folks wouldn’t be able to articulate what it is about dental care that scares them, or the direct correlation between tooth replacement and malnutrition. Knowing more about certain things can help alleviate the fear - and being well informed about dental health can only bring us closer to a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. For these reasons and much more (that can’t be covered in this article) Mobile Dental USA is an accessible and educational concept, targeting its efforts on Orange County’s aging population.


“It can be frustrating to eat certain foods or even to speak with confidence at times for those without stable dentures,” Dr. Zahedi says. “But most people don’t know that the trouble doesn’t stop there. Not replacing missing teeth prevents adequate food intake, resulting in a lack of proper nutrients and vitamins, leading to weight loss, and even other serious medical conditions.” Dr. Zahedi even advises those with dentures, without missing teeth, become more aware of their fit. The pressure of their removable dentures on the jaw can result in the loss of that precious jaw bone. Mobile Dental USA is a pioneer, the first of its kind, with the ultimate goal of improving the standard of life for the elderlies of Orange County.

Not replacing missing teeth results in the rapid loss of the precious jaw bone, inadequate food intake, weight loss and a cascade of serious medical conditions.

With the revolutionary Bone-Loss and Denture-Loss Programs, the good doctor’s team can assure residents who undergo the procedures that they will be done in an hour. No sutures required. No endless months of healing. “They can immediately start eating, and speak with confidence,” Dr. Zahedi notes - “it’s a phenomenal solution for residents that cannot have extensive surgery for other, non-related medical reasons. And it eliminates the cost of replacing lost removable dentures, which is essentially an ironclad guarantee for those associates suffering from memory-loss or impairment.”

Giving Back

Repeatedly recognized as a leader in his industry by his passion and knowledge for the health and wellness of older adults, Dr. Zahedi has been honored by the American Dental Association’s Burton Wasserman and Dental Clinics of North America to write a book chapter (pub. July 2016) entitled Special Care Dentistry: Treatment of Orally Handicapped Edentulous Older Adults Using Dental Implants.

MDC Mobile Dental Clinic 1In 2011, Dr. Zahedi addressed a different need: that of the dental care of impoverished and disabled veterans living in Southern California. His first non-profit, Oral Disability Rescue, was comprised of a small group of volunteer dentists and dental assistants who looked after their target population. Since then, the name has changed to Dentists for Veterans (www.dentistsforveterans.org), to reflect their goals, and better call out the true needs of dentistry to the American population today. “Since its humble beginning in 2011, over $500,000 in dental services have been provided to veterans in need.” By eliminating pain and infection, which sometimes tend to be side effects of serving our county so valiantly, Dr. Zahedi is giving back to the community the best way he knows how – outstanding and convenient dental care.

When asked what prompted him to pursue this non-for-profit organization, Dr. Zahedi responded, “If I don’t do it, who will?” A noble question, rightly asked. Addressing the unknown worries of these disabled, or mobility impaired, or elderly populations is one thing. Bringing the care to their front door before they have a chance to worry? Another concept entirely. By bringing a complete dental care office to the community, Dr. Zahedi and his team are changing the way these residents look at dental care. Perhaps he can’t do anything about the super volcanoes, or what is and what isn’t gluten free, but he’ll rebuild your dental profile so it’s the least of your worries.


DSC 5411Dr. Charles Zahedi is a current UCLA School of Dentistry Faculty member and instructor and is practicing in Newport Beach with over 27 years of experience treating older adults and corporate employees.

Connect with your mobile dentist by calling (855) 99-MDUSA (855-996-3872) or visit www.mobiledentalusa.com

My first introduction to the city of Chicago was the 1995 film While You Were Sleeping. B-roll of the city’s skyline flashed through the movie, and the clickety-clack of the “L” ran through its soundtrack. A silver caterpillar cruising over bridges, past the Chicago River. Home to two and a half million people, the city boasts some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Parks, hotels, river walks and cruises: enough to fill a day, a weekend, or even a couple weeks of fun filled romping around The Windy City.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park boasts world-class architecture, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind: an award-winning center for art and music designed by Frank Gehry. Bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the North, and Monroe Street to the South: a virtual hotbed of activity any way you walk. Conceived as an outdoor space by then-mayor Richard M. Dayley, the plan evolved from a 16-acre park to the 24.5-acre triumph in the tradition of the city’s original founders.

Rising 1,353 above the streets of the Windy City, The Ledge is a transformative viewing experience. Not for the faint of heart, it’s glass boxes extend 4.3 feet beyond Willis Towers’ Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing a rarely seen view of the city. The original Sears Tower architecture firm (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) designed The Ledge so that the fully enclosed glass boxes retract into the building, allowing access for maintenance - and to keep the glass as crystalline as possible. Standing 110 stories tall, the tower itself is a world renowned feat of architecture. Being out on a glass ledge, over a thousand feet above the deck, you’ll never see Chicago with the same eyes again.

Cloud Gate Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyCloud Gate Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyNinety minutes isn’t that long. A typical Hollywood blockbuster runs exactly that - excluding credits and previews, of course. And yet, so much can happen in an hour and thirty minutes. Daily during the sailing season, discover the luxury of Chicago’s finest fleet, and hop aboard for 90 minutes of amazing. Choose Chicago’s First Lady and the Chicago Architecture Foundation to experience a river cruise from the Riverwalk, just three blocks north of Millennium Park. Complete with open-air decks and interior salon room, full bar service, and catering based on your group attendance, you can experience the city in a brand new way. Choose a private cruise for your company, wedding party or social engagement and travel beneath the city’s magnificent skyline alongside a CAF-certified volunteer docent providing stories of The Windy City’s original architects. Magic on the water, in just 90 minutes.

Chicago Skydeck Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyChicago Skydeck Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyMany modern cities exist solely because their original inhabitants needed a place near the water to survive, a great many years ago. Chicago is no different, and in fact, the history of the city side by side its greatest river makes for some of the most fascinating reading out there. The Chicago Riverwalk offers an in-person look at the city from one of its most unique angles. Dining opportunities, public art exhibitions, local musicians and special events are hosted throughout the season. Tours of the bridges, birding walks with Audubon Great Lakes, and the McCormick Bridgehouse and River Museum offer up some of the city’s most incredible activities side-along its historic landmarks.

Chicago Riverwalk Photo by Ranvestel PhotographicChicago Riverwalk Photo by Ranvestel PhotographicNow accepting reservations in the heart of Chicago’s effervescent Gold Coast is the “new” Talbott Hotel (U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hotels in Illinois 2017). Built in 1927, the European-style boutique property recently underwent an extensive $20 million renovation to emerge with a fresh new look with updated interiors throughout - all without compromising the impeccable service, opulent accommodations (think plush beds with luxurious linens, marble accented bathrooms, a waterfall shower and Jonathan Adler amenities), unexpected delights and grace of a bygone era upon which it has stood the test of time.

Photo courtesy of City of ChicagoPhoto courtesy of City of ChicagoThe amenity-rich property boasts a new state-of-the-art fitness center, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet, pet-friendly accommodation, hotel room service, dry cleaning and laundry service.

The Talbott Hotel, Chicago Photo by Laure JolietThe Talbott Hotel, Chicago Photo by Laure JolietMere steps away from the iconic Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, the Talbott Hotel is fabulously appointed for meetings, weddings, and more. Worthy of a special mention is its brand new signature eatery - 20 East, distinguished by creative, quality-driven menus and a modern take on classic American fare. Playful presentation matches its inventive flavor, open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Everything you want for a taste outside the ordinary.

When one contemplates the term “health crisis,” images from the 1995 medical disaster movie Outbreak come to mind. Hazmat suits and quarantined children in terrifying plastic rooms. But the term is so much more than just the Hollywood scare tactics that have been built up around it. Alycemates, a yearling business, is working on eradicating a different health crisis entirely: that of isolation. ALYCEMates began when Jessica Yum (co-founder of its parent company, ALYCECare) recognized early on that senior isolation and loneliness were reaching epidemic proportions, with increasing numbers living alone at home, instead of in a vibrant, thriving family community, or assisted living facility. She began to realize that the need for companionship was more than just a simple relationship with a caregiver, or a neighbor next door, and Alycemates was born.

There is not a single business that does what Alycemates does. Jessica and her team are excited to offer the community ALYCEMates has built to seniors in the program, “which has evolved greatly from ALYCECare, our home care agency. We bring seniors out of isolation through check-ins, exclusive social outings, and of course, the most important part: their ALYCEMate roomate.” They wanted to create a unique program to alleviate the dangers of isolation without having to throw money at the problem. Home care often costs as much as $25/hour, which, for most folks living on their own at a more advanced age, is a steep going rate. Many individuals didn’t need round the clock care, and wouldn’t pay for it, putting themselves at risk then of falling off the social wagon, only to put them at higher risk of dying earlier. 45% higher, in fact. A staggering statistic, given that according to a 2010 study, that’s 15% more at risk than from excessive drinking, and 25% higher than obesity. 40% higher than losing years from air pollution.

By matching college students, recent graduates, and young adults with seniors as roommates, they could in fact, solve two problems. Senior isolation, and the student debt and housing crisis facing our youth. Seniors would no longer have to live alone: they could be mentors and teachers. Share their stories and dispense wisdom. Students could alleviate the pressure on their pocketbooks, and help others to stay connected. But how exactly are students and seniors matched up?

“We visit a senior’s home and sit with them for an extended period of time to determine if they are a good fit,” says Jessica. “Participating seniors are typically in good health, have an extra room, live in a safe neighborhood, and are sociable. We then interview several candidates for ALYCEMates to determine which individual would be the best fit for the senior in terms of maturity, stability, personality, interests, etc. - a process which can take several weeks.”

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Looking for candidates who also have a good sense of community, want to give back, and are comfortable with seniors is no small feat. If they pass the preliminary round of checks, ALYCEMates balances out the equation with a thorough background check, reference check, and credit check. Select candidates get to meet with the senior in person to ensure the chemistry is there. “We’re looking for big-hearted candidates who truly want to be part of the program, and it’s usually very obvious when a candidate is primarily interested in saving money on rent.”

With studies showing that seniors living communally add as many as 10-15 years to their lives, it’s no wonder that a business like Alycemates found its way into existence.

“If you are over 50 and have a spare bedroom, you can become a senior host. It’s as easy as that,” says Jessica. “Earn extra income, alleviate alone time, mentor a young person, make a life-long friend. The benefits are endless. Seniors can earn up to $500 a month through the program.” No hazmat suits, plastic-sheeted quarantine rooms, or reruns of Outbreak required.


JY SC Editrl IMGConnect with Jessica and ALYCEMates by calling (949) 339-7150 or visit www.ALYCEMATES.com

There has been a surge in popularity over the past decade in the field of home renovation. At first, it was simply Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that brought us all to tears each week as they went through a family home and overhauled it, granting years of wishes with each hammer blow and sparkling new backsplash. Now, you can’t log onto any social media platform without seeing mention of Magnolia Home, or Property Brothers, or Rehab Addict. It’s hip to fix things up. Some fixes are better than others, though. And that’s where Platinum Pacific comes in. Not just in the business for a quick flip, Platinum prioritizes quality over time.

The mantra for most flippers is “get in, fix up, get out” as fast as you can. Platinum co-founder Terry Alderson feels quite the opposite. “We never rush a house to the market if we don’t think it meets the Platinum Pacific standard.” Founded just over two years ago by partners Jerry Bridges, Pat Goldhammer, and Terry Alderson, Platinum is in the business of home renovations and residential redevelopment: what is now commonly referred to as “fix & flips”. “I’m the sales guy,” Terry notes - “Jerry has the construction knowledge dialed, and Pat can navigate the complicated legal and accounting aspects of the business like nobody else. We quickly realized that getting into real estate would be a no brainer.”

pacific 2Working under the constraints of quality instead of time frees the team at Platinum to only use top caliber materials. When customer satisfaction is at the top of the list, the work is allowed to speak for itself. As the team completes quality job after quality job, “we get quality referrals. And those have helped Platinum Pacific grow tremendously - quicker than we could have imagined!” Their goal is not only to have a positive effect on their clients, but they’d like the quality to radiate outwards, to family, friends, and each other. Dedicated to continuing education and professional growth helps the team stay abreast of burgeoning trends. “Our pledge is to treat our clients and team members with respect at all times. We believe there is always a way forward, and failure is not an option.”

Most renovation in the media focuses its attention on single family homes, or specialty projects, like Extreme Home Makeover. Platinum Pacific has developed a solid foundation of real estate knowledge, and has committed itself to full marketplace relevance. Not only the leader of retirement community remodels, the team is looking to satisfy the individual building needs of each buyer, investor, and realtor on the market. With each client’s unique goals in mind, Platinum Pacific will present specific opportunities that fit the criteria. Fair, firm, and friendly, across the board.

Securing funding, buying distressed homes, and encouraging home ownership are just a few ways Platinum works to renovate and revitalize their community, and those surrounding their business. They also make a monthly donation to the SOS Children’s Village, providing family support care centers, hospitals, and schools to over 150 impoverished countries. A greater scope for a greater return. The Platinum promise.


terryFor a complimentary quote or to connect with Terry, Jerry, Pat and the professionals at Platinum Pacific, call (949) 677-0450.

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