Jody Robinson - Sorbet
Jody Robinson

Jody Robinson

I love the concept of consignment - finding a true treasure for which someone else paid full retail and I get the benefit of acquiring the same item sans the depreciation. But I have a friend for whom the word “resale” is synonymous with sketchy deals on Craigslist. Suffice it to say that it took some doing to convince her to explore the offerings of the San Juan Capistrano-based Revel Consignment.

20180329 105632We were on our way to lunch and had some time before our reservation so we walked in and got so caught up perusing the beautifully displayed furniture, art and home accent pieces that very nearly missed meeting our friends on time. Selling both new and consigned furniture is just the tip of the iceberg; eclectic decor, accessories, and design inspiration ensure a unique and ever-changing shopping experience for each customer who walks through the door.

Owners Kathleen “Katie” Dabney and Sam Gaylord came from relatively disparate backgrounds to start Revel Consignment. Their mutual love of design and flair for creativity blossomed out of years in the finance and marketing industries, reflecting in the detailed care and management of San Juan’s showcase consignment shop.

20171105 123841“We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind store, full of beautiful treasures our customers would be delighted to take home,” says Katie. “We’re upscale, but accessible: and we think that’s the main reason folks love shopping with us.” Revel’s inventory is updated daily, and covers everything you might want in your dream home: from quality furniture, lighting and wall art to accessories such as throw pillows, mirrors, and statement decor pieces.

Sourcing from all over the world, Revel takes only the best, and offers personal and quick delivery right to your home for a nominal charge.

“Some interior design firms offer up only full scale services, costing thousands of dollars,” says Katie. “We bring it home to you: one piece at a time, or everything you want at once.”

My friend is almost never actually looking for anything specific. She is one of those shoppers that seems to perennially window-shop. But, given the reins in this gorgeous store, she shopped like a stealth bomber flies: silent and deadly. We wandered around Revel chatting and laughing as casually as if we were walking down the street, until she saw something she liked. It was all over after that.

IMG 20170811 105751 555 resized“We’re not an antique mall,” Katie says with a laugh. We would heartily agree. My friend walked through Revel like she had been let into a museum full of fine art that she could take home and show off to the ladies in her garden club.

“We’re here providing quality that lasts, for a style and design sense that will survive trends and fast fads. Yes, it is eclectic, and edgy, but there is a piece for every room, no matter what vintage or vision our customers have.”

We walked out of Revel with a pretty pewter serving tray, complete with scrollwork edging and the weight of history behind it. Headed for a life on an antique steamer trunk in my friend’s receiving room, the tray had not one thing to do with her image of Craigslist deals in supermarket parking lots. In fact, you’ll have a much easier time finding brass and crystal accents or the latest spring combinations within the walls of Revel Consignment.

“It isn’t enough to provide a single space with a few beautiful elements. Walking into the home of your dreams requires following the golden rule of decorating from William Morris; ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’”. And my friend and I would agree: there’s certainly no shortage of either here.

Revel Consignment is located at 31896 Plaza Drive, Suite E3 in San Juan Capistrano. To connect with Katie and Sam directly, call (949) 388-9070 or visit

The word ‘omni’ is the root of a great many words in the English language. From Latin, it means ‘all, every, the whole’, and can be attached to both ‘omnis’ and the more simple root: ‘op’. Abundance. Wholeness. What a magnificent pair of adjectives to describe a weekend away. Omni La Costa Resort and Spa takes those adjectives very seriously, as well as the root word they came from. An all-inclusive location in gorgeous, sun-kissed Carlsbad, California, the property has everything one might need for a girlfriends retreat, family vacation, or romantic getaway. You name it, Omni provides it: all within easy reach of long beaches, popular tourist attractions, and just thirty miles from San Diego International Airport. It’s all there: luxury omnipresent.

With upwards of 600 rooms on-premises, Omni La Costa has exactly what you need for a good night’s sleep, and an abundance of in house amenities to make your stay more comfortable. Choose from a variety of guest rooms, or upgrade to a villa. From vibrant hues matching the championship golf courses to the deepest blues of the Pacific: relaxation made thoughtful. A plush bed all you need? Look no further than the elegant furnishings in each room. Close to the centre of the hotel or overlooking the golf course, or even upgrading to a room as expansive as the views it offers, no ask is too great.

La Costa QQIf you’re more interested in turning your weekend away into an athletic adventure, the world class golf and tennis, athletic club with yoga, pilates, body sculpting, spin, and zumba classes, or even the mind expanding exercise of meditation and the rejuvenative properties of the Carlsbad Spa offer guests the chance to up their fitness game and recover in style. Customize your day with an early or late start, and surrender stress, whatever your routine may be, with a facial, massage, aromatherapy consult, or salt soak before your mani/pedi.

Resort EntranceEat up at VUE, where fresh, local, earthy fare, craft beer and fine wine abound. Featuring creative dishes inspired by the magnificent “vue” of northern San Diego, the restaurant has a unique selection of cocktail options to offset its morning favorite: daily pancakes and a chef’s calendar or Benedicts over a sunrise breakfast. If you’re not an early riser, check out the all day menu for a long lunch, or family dinner. Also on-site? Bob’s Steak and Chop House, where the mission is simple: prime steaks, big pours, exceptional service. Bob’s tees up on simple elegance and lively atmosphere and hits a homerun every time.

VUE PatioI know when I’m headed out for a relaxing weekend, the last item I want to look at is a calendar, yet, Omni La Costa’s weekly events download is the best resource out there for adding some unexpected flair to a luxury weekend. Headed to the resort with your best girlfriends? Perhaps a spin class is just what you need to get going. Have the kids in tow? Kidtopia Kid’s Club is just the thing. A full and rotating list week-to-week gives you just the amount of flexibility needed to feel untethered yet still occupied. If the kids’ need a bit more on their plate, perhaps the mention of the resort’s Splash Landing Pools will do the trick.

VUE breakfastOur kids literally lived at the pools - where they spent several hours plunging down the two 100-foot water slides next to the family pool. Splash around in the water play area or wade into the Splash Cafe, where sandwiches, salads, cocktails and sweet treats await each hungry family member. Eight different pools, cabanas, gazebos, heated garden pools and jacuzzis: even a sandy beach pool for the young ones. All-inclusive luxury was never so easy, or omnipresent.

Kids at Villa Pool


The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Take yourself out of the ordinary and spend a few hours in one of nature’s wonders; a place where kids can run and adults can linger. This 50 acres of extraordinary color is in bloom on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean and offers a special nursery, garden, and gift shop by Armstrong Garden Centers in addition to festivals throughout the season.

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California Water Sports at the Carlsbad Lagoon

There’s something for everyone here … if you’re looking for a relaxing time out on the water, they rent kayaks, canoes, peddle boats, aqua cycles and standup paddle boards (including kid-size kayaks and paddle boards). If you’re looking to add a little more horsepower to your visit, they offer a few different motorized options: a runabout, waverunners or a pontoon boat (that accommodates up to eight guests) that you are able to drive around the lagoon yourself. For info, visit

The Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is located at 2100 Costa Del Mar Road in Carlsbad. For reservations, call (760) 438-9111 or visit


All the stars were in alignment in early April. Our kids and our family friends’ children (who live in Napa) ended up with the same spring break schedule AND all the grownups were able to arrange time off of work to spend a few days away in one of the prettiest places on the planet: Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

Since we’ve been back, our children haven’t been able to stop raving about the trip. In fact, they’ve been talking it up so much that friends here at home joked that someone must have put them on retainer while they were there: “they must be on commission, right?” No, no. It was just that much fun.

2014030901658crOur family has always been partial to the south side of the lake and some of the best memories we’ve made over the years have been on those vacations we have taken there with friends.

With some of the world’s best skiing, restaurants, nightlife, and family friendly fun all within a stones throw of what is arguably one of the most beautiful alpine lakes south of the Canadian border, it isn’t a wonder that we found more to do in a weekend than most visitors experience over a two-week vacation.

IMG 4141Situated on the California-Nevada Stateline, South Lake Tahoe of the only destinations in the country with all the outdoor adventure of a national park, and the amenities you might find at a world-class resort, there is something for everyone. Especially coming into the most beautiful time of year in the American West. Late season skiing at Heavenly, with virtually no lines and open runs beckoning to get the day started, and an apres ski cocktail or hot cocoa to end a day on the slopes – you couldn’t ask for a more idyllic way to spend the day.

Local hiking to snowmelt filled waterfalls in the early months of summer or a family camping trip in the crisp mountain air await, with most RV-parks and campgrounds open mid-May through October. Then, of course, the region’s well-earned distinction as a world-class winter (and spring) ski destination.

Heavenly Ski and Ride School

Although my husband is an experienced skier (and the only one of the adults qualified to attempt to teach the collective four enthusiastic first-time snowboarders ranging in age from nine to 12), he was more than a little overwhelmed at the prospect. So we made what turned out to be the BEST decision by signing the kids up for private snowboard lessons at the Heavenly Ski and Ride School (

Our very own world-class instructor, Ryan Goralski, went way, way, way above and beyond our (and our kids’) wildest expectations in terms of amping up the fun factor and turning two half days of private lessons on the slopes into the adventure of a lifetime.

Ryan’s personalized attention and approach to customizing his lesson to match their individual goals and abilities allowed each child to grow at the speed and level they were comfortable with and made for what just might be the most memorable trip to date!

While parents can structure a private lesson “however you like” for a unique mountain experience, we left the kids in Ryan’s completely capable hands and they came back regaling us with tales of “conquering the mountain,” building their very own “Snowdawg” mascot, skipping the lines (exclusive ski school lift lanes provide quick access to the slopes) and “chowing down on burgers and fries” at lunchtime and spectacular, panoramic views of the lake from their vantage point atop the mountain and on the roundtrip gondola to Heavenly Village.


If sleeping under the stars just isn’t your cup of tea, there are myriad hotels and motels all around the South Shore. But for our family – who enjoy meeting up with extended family or friends with their own kiddos on a semi-annual basis - we have found the comfortable, cozy and convenient accommodation is to bypass a traditional hotel room and opt instead to rent a privately owned vacation home rich in amenity for all ages.

2203W ext 17 orgThe Tahoe Keys Resort and Lake Tahoe Reservation Bureau ( or 800 698 2463) offers an extensive selection of rental homes, condos and cabins to suit your specific needs and budget – whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic retreat, a family of five or a large group of friends.

As anticipated, this trip more than delivered. Driving into the region, the views of deep gorges, craggy mountains and the tall green trees are singularly beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay - the deluxe mountain home we selected, located at 2203 White Sands Drive in the Tahoe Keys, is a super spacious newly renovated four-bedroom waterfront house centrally located to everything - grocery stores, shops, the casinos at stateline.

2203W channel orgThe mountain and water views from many of the rooms are breathtakingly beautiful and the back door opens out onto an expansive deck steps from the water’s edge. Between its location, the large, open concept living space and multiple dining areas, renting this particular house for our four-day stay proved to be the perfect choice – we had plenty of space to stretch out and everyone had their own rooms to retreat to (the master and second bedroom both feature a king bed and private bathroom) and a queen bedroom that shares a bathroom with fourth bedroom outfitted with a pair of twin beds was ideal for the younger set.

2203W mbr 18 orgWe saved time and money by being able to cook our meals and dining in rather than eating out three times a day. A couple of cozy fireplaces provided the perfect ambiance for cool nights and a foosball table in the bonus room kept the kiddos occupied indoors.

2203W lvr 18 orgUnlike vacations where we schedule a series of specific activities designed to keep everyone busy and entertained away from the hotel room, this trip was all about taking full advantage in all this rental home had to offer – after returning from the slopes, the kids were in and out of the house all afternoon and early evening, spending hours tossing snowballs and making snow angels in the yard. Evenings were filled with board games and “movie nights” with kid-friendly programming on Netflix and big buckets of popcorn. Lunches and dinners were either easy outdoor affairs - steaks, burgers, hot dogs and grilled corn cooked on the barbecue - and for the adults, “happy hour” on the deck was a nightly highlight sipping a glass of fine wine while watching the sun slip over the horizon - a perfect end to each fun-filled day.

From winter sports to water sports and everything in between, who needs a commission?

Assisted Living facilities have struggled with their reputation for a great many years. The emotional understanding of what those facilities actually do is mired in miscommunication. Ivy, or rather Hedera, as it is known in the scientific world, has also suffered from a bad rap for years. An immigrant to the States, Hedera is a genus of 12-15 species of evergreen that climbs or creeps, loves rocks, and is native to western central, and southern Europe, Africa, Asia, Japan, and Taiwan. Making the list of best air-freshening plants, ivy also takes one of the headers in place of non-native invasives that threaten wildlands. But, what things connote aren’t necessarily what they denote, as I learned a number of years ago in my tenth grade English class.

I’m dating myself here, but about the time I was attending that English class, the company dedicated to residential senior care that would eventually become Ivy Glenn opened its doors for the first time. Including the 14 bed home originally opened on Venice Island in Florida, it has been over a quarter century since Ivy began taking care of seniors in Laguna Niguel. Plenty of time to disprove the negative connotations that go hand in hand with assisted living, and plenty of time to perfect each service in its handbook of home assistance. Hospice care, end of life care, Alzheimer’s, and dementia fall under the truest definition of what Ivy Glenn provides. Yet, mention any of these words by themselves and their denotations fall short of the meaning of loving care and kindness, which Ivy Glenn actually specializes in.

Matt Posselt with  Ivy Glenn residentsThe tagline on their website states simply, “residential senior care reimagined.” Matt Posselt has a much bigger picture in mind than that tagline states at surface level. Matt’s mother Gail, and father Tod lent him the unique privilege of not only growing up in a senior care home but also learning the value of life and family. Growing up in the service field, “I learned how to make the important decisions to keep my elder care homes consistently delivering quality care while working to truly improve the lives of the seniors in my care.”

A job too important to do all alone, Matt relies on the expertise his mother - now retired - has provided him over her time in the industry. “My mother continues to believe that the growing senior community is in desperate need of quality homes,” says Matt. “This means an entirely different thing to us than most.” Setting the benchmark for care in senior living is no small task, and upending the reputation assisted living has garnered over the years? Even larger.

“Ivy Glenn is the pinnacle of my mother’s experience, love, and dedication to her residents,” most of whom are still high functioning. Residents are often still extremely alert and independent when they come to assisted living homes.

“We’re also just equipped and qualified to care for every sort of condition that comes across our plate,” says Matt. Keeping individuality and independence intact is the first task, and maintaining the family’s respect for their care and maintenance as a human being means each one of our residents can continue to live life to the fullest. “I believe, and have heard from our families, that the reason they love Ivy Glenn is due to the fact that we treat our seniors like family; not only living in an environment that feels very much like home, but being taken care of, waited on.”

Residents enjoy a variety of scheduled activities each week and furry friends visit regularly as Ivy Glenn has coordinated with a provider of “pet therapy.” From the beautifully appointed rooms, to the exquisite grounds, you won’t find another home that combines all the amenities of a four star hotel with the comfort of one’s own living room.

“The most important work we do is provide our seniors with a loving home.” Love, like ivy, grows exponentially with the proper care and attention. It can strengthen walls and rebuild that which has begun to crumble. That’s a connotation worth fighting for, a distinction Ivy Glenn finds worth defining.

To connect with Matt directly or to schedule a complimentary tour, call (949) 697-1410 or visit

It takes a trained eye to note the subtle shading needed to contour a surfboard. To taper the rails just so. To send the airbrush lightly over the fin box and trace the shape perfectly, symmetrically, precisely. It takes a trained eye to paint the female form, to counter shadow and shape until a living woman appears on the page. It takes a trained eye to dive below what William Asbury called the “large-scale manifestations of classical biology” to the molecular plane below. For Kristy Fleming, MD, each of those became immediately necessary and tangential to another when she discovered that skin cancer often occurs in cosmetically sensitive areas that take a nuanced hand to repair. “My specialty is repairing the defect left by the removal of cancer. Each one is unique, a puzzle to solve in order to give my patients the absolute best cosmetic outcome.”

A board-certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, Dr. Fleming has been preparing for this task her entire life. An attendee of the University of San Francisco, Dr. Fleming graduated summa cum laude, moving on to the University of California, Irvine - where Alpha Omega Alpha elected her as part of their top tier graduate honor society. Not quite finished with her education, she moved to Houston, Texas for a residency in dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine.

“In my training at Baylor, and later as a faculty member at UCLA, I became accustomed to seeing very challenging cases,” says Dr. Fleming. Everything from minor skin concerns to life-threatening dermatologic disorders. Those are the cases that keep my days exciting and force me to stay current with emerging treatments.”

Treatments which have gained Dr. Fleming a dedicated patient following- one that made her transition from Newport Beach to Laguna Hills difficult. “I’ve been slow to move out of the Newport office because I didn’t want my patients to feel abandoned. I know it sounds cliche, but patients really become part of our family. And I believe our dedication to them is really what sets us apart.” Dr. Fleming’s sister also works in the office; a talented hair stylist and brow expert. Unique in their ability to provide multiple services at once, it is not uncommon to see Dr. Fleming offering Botox or filler treatments to patients waiting for their hair to set. Though the Mohs micrographic surgery allows Dr. Fleming to treat her patient’s skin cancers, its efficacy can affect a cosmetic change, and however small, the team wants to fix it all. “All procedures are performed in-house, under my hand. We don’t have nurses or physicians assistants working on our patients. I want you to know you are personally being taken care of.”

On top of skin cancer removal and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Fleming is personally invested in the physical health of her community.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with the Orangewood Foundation to provide laser tattoo removal to victims of human trafficking,” says Dr. Fleming. “The girls are branded with large tattoos across their necks, or chests. We’re out to change that.” Dr. Fleming and her team also began a program called Fresh Start, which provides basic skin and hair care products to women and children who fled from unsafe living conditions, and are currently residing in shelters for battered women.“

Now open 5 days a week at their location in Laguna Hills, Dr. Fleming and her team are excited to become a staple in the local community, and start changing the way patients view themselves. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see the good in that.

Fleming Dermatology & Aesthetic Center
23141 Moulton Parkway, Suite 110
Laguna Hills
(949) 916-5956

Dining at the Ritz-Carlton is itself a worthy reason to pay a visit any day of the week and enjoy a different experience for every meal, each appropriate to the moment: a light, casual breakfast at the Market Place (try the quinoa bowel for a guiltless treat); a poolside snack while lounging midday (the fresh pita and house-made hummus from the Dana Pool Cafe is surprisingly finger-licking); a late drink at the outdoor, oceanfront lounge, 180blû (the Tequila Sangria is a specialty). RAYA, however, is a singular dining experience that simply mustn’t be missed.

RAYA Seafood Risotto 1RAYA showcases Chef Steve Wan’s signature Pan-Latin coastal cuisine, prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce, and natural and organic meats. You can find breakfast and lunch here, but we recently opted for an indulgent dinner with foodie friends - an experience enhanced by panoramic views of the Pacific as the sun set brilliantly. At RAYA, every detail of each dish is lovely to the eye as well as the palate, and every detail of table service is expertly executed – all a fitting counterpoint to nature’s exquisite display just on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sand and surf below.

RAYA Steak 3RAYA’s menu encompasses an array of small (appetizer) and large (entree) plates. If you’re having trouble deciding, a great option to start is the restaurant’s signature Seafood Sampler, which arrives with a trio of popular picks from the small plates options, including oysters on the half shell, rock shrimp aquachile, tuna tataki and salmon tiradito.

Colorado Rack of LamWe shared lobster tacos, Hamachi tiradito (served on a jicama “tortilla”) and petite lamb lollipops, all succulent ways to start a slow meal with good friends. One of us ordered the miso Alaskan black cod, one of Chef Wan’s most popular offerings, and all of us benefitted – this flavorful fish dish literally melts in your mouth and is perfectly paired with charred asparagus, daikon (Jap- anese turnip), kabayaki sauce (think a sweet soy sauce) and togarashi aioli.

RAYA Miso Black CodThe halibut and New York prime were delicious, too, accompanied a la carte by the Dungeness crab mashed potatoes (a special recommendation by our server that was the perfect complement to all our main courses). Dessert was an adventure – the churros were an obvious choice, but we were also glad our server suggested the pineapple upside down cake with homemade coconut ice cream, which was like Maui on a plate.

Inventive cuisine, an ocean-inspired dining experience, stunning floor-to-ceiling surf and sand views - these are all uniquely RAYA at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is located at 1 Ritz Carlton Drive in Dana Point. For more information, call (949) 240-2000.

Yum yum

Yum Yum is an eight year old kitty who is ready for a new start. Calm and mild-mannered, she enjoys sunbathing and having her fur brushed.  Yum Yum is declawed and would do best as the only pet in a quiet home.






josephineJosephine and Napoleon are two sweet bunnies who are looking for somebunny to love.  A bonded pair, they enjoy their supervised hops in the yard together and lounging in the shade.  With a lovable pair like Josephine and Napoleon, you’ll always have a hopping good time.





kurtOne year old Kurt is a poodle mix who just loves a good snuggle.  His favorite thing in the world is a proper belly rub.  Kurt would do best in a home with adults that can lavish attention upon him.






jadaThis big sweetie is Jada, a two year old German Shepherd Dog available for adoption.  She can initially be a tad shy, but quickly shows her affectionate side.  With big brown eyes and a warm personality, Jada would thrive with a patient and loving family.




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.

Mission Viejo Wigs is truly a family business. Not in the traditional sense, where its owners and operators share the same genes. But rather in such a way that every person who has walked through Owner Betty Darroch’s doors in the 30+ years she has been in operation immediately felt like a member of Darroch’s extended family.

As a professional hair and wig stylist since 1962, Betty began her career at CBS where her résumé reads like a celebrity screenplay starring the coifs of a veritable “who’s who” of Hollywood: Ann Margaret, Carol Lawrence, the Midnight Specials and the Sonny & Cher Show. She went on to work for the Hallelujah Hollywood Show at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas.

Depositphotos 19082205 originalBut it wasn’t until she opened her own business in Mission Viejo that she felt as though she were “truly doing God’s work.”

Her clients today include people who are experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment, alopecia or other medical conditions. Betty specializes in wigs, hairpieces and toupees for women, men and children and carries only the highest quality brands. Each wig or hairpiece is custom fit to the client for the most natural look and feel – no one will know you’re wearing a wig unless you tell them.

“Hair loss, whether it is the result of illness, the aging process or heredity, can be a traumatic and emotionally draining experience,” says Betty. “We work with people on a daily basis who are facing the issue of hair loss for the first time. Our goal is to help you find the solution that works best for you and do so in a caring way that makes you realize that you are not alone.”

There are wonderful testimonials from longtime customers on her web site (, but for me, the best testament to Betty’s genuine, caring nature came from a source closer to home.

Depositphotos 177635438 originalWhen my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago, there were so many aspects of what she was facing - including the side effects associated wit chemotherapy treatment – that were out of our control. But my mother’s appearance was something she felt she could dictate. We knew she would lose her hair, but she was determined not to “look like a sick person.”

From the moment my mother met Betty, she knew she had found the right place and more importantly, the right person to help her. Betty shared so many stories of survival – of longtime customers and friends who fought a similar battle and won. Her warm embrace and inspired  hope and help steel her resolve to maintain a positive, fighting attitude when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The wig Betty selected was the perfect color and style for my mother’s face (and head) shape. The wig was so natural looking that my mother received many compliments on her “new do” and no one was the wiser.

It’s been over nine years since my mother completed treatment and is now leading a cancer-free life. Although her own hair has long since grown back, she still often prefers to wear Betty’s wigs on “bad hair days.”

Thank you Betty!

You can connect with Betty by calling (949) 581-4549.
Mission Viejo Wigs is located at 25571 Jeronimo Road in Mission Viejo.

PastedGraphic 1I do not trust advertisements on television. I am certainly not one of those people who sits up watching late night cable dialing in for the newest in skin care, workout equipment, or nutrition supplements. I trust my friends. My family. Folks who can offer me sound advice based on years of experience. (Call me old fashioned.) When I met Libby about a year ago, we chatted for a bit, asking each other the usual (where are you from, what do you do for a living?). I was curious when she referred to herself a “wellness resource.” I inquired further, and found that instead of a talking infomercial head, she was the real deal when it came to lifestyle consultants.

She’d begun her lifestyle consultancy a few years prior, and was looking to build a business centered around bringing awareness to women: of how special and valuable they are. “Caring for themselves is of great value, because each woman’s growing confidence brings value to those around them.” Libby grew up on the move, and fitting into new schools became the greatest challenge of her young life.

“I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t have a particular style, or something that just screamed: me. I would have loved to have someone mentor me, especially through those awkward years.” Putting her focus as an adult towards empowerment techniques and specialty branding, Libby has grown into a powerhouse with over 22 years in the style and wellness industry.

“I delight in group gatherings, because that is where women connect with each other,” says Libby. But it isn’t just about ladies’ nights and massage therapy. Lifestyles by Libby works on the interior as well as the exterior: and offers a bit of bling to spice up even the most dull of weeks. A believer in the power of restorative minerals, Libby works with products from the Dead Sea. Nourishing bodies with organic alkaline wellness products that don’t taste like you dug them out of a green waste trash can, and rejuvenating the skin with mud masks; specifically formulated to offer the maximum hydration and elasticity to the skin on one’s face. In fact, studies have shown that said masks are proven to assist in the treatment of psoriasis and rosacea, as well as eliminating wrinkles without the need of surgeries, injections, or prescriptions.

“I feel I can identify with the woman who is a bit tentative on self-care as well as the sophisticate who is fashion forward.” What a blessing to someone like me, who has voluntarily self-identified as fashion challenged for most of her life; one who still has trouble French braiding hair and is overwhelmed by the color options when I visit the nail salon with friends.

Libby had just the solution for me: nail wraps. Colorstreet, which Libby swears by, has been in the making for the last ten years - and made in the USA, creating a nail wrap with 100% real nail polish. “These aren’t stickers, and no heating is involved. They apply in minutes and one nail strip package equals two mani/pedis, so it is incredibly affordable, convenient, and fast.” I loved that they were simple and no stress, and offered some fun looks that I wouldn’t necessarily have tried at a salon (think solid, glitter and French designs). And you can throw them on over another manicure, pedicure, gel nail, or even a bare nail, as I am most often wont to have.

Specializing in helping women feel extraordinary about themselves is no small feat. But Libby has been joyously active in offering solutions to the stressed, overworked, sleep-deprived for years, and isn’t about to back down. Especially since, in her time away from the business, she is surrounded by two adult sons and a husband of 37 years. “I love the girl factor!” That’s a perspective I trust.

PastedGraphic 3Libby can be reached directly by calling (949) 422-9233 or visit or

Destination dining in Dana Point inspired by the authentic cuisine, tradition and charm of Venice, Italy

For a unrivaled dining experience derived from years of education, a passion for preparing delicious, authentic dishes from the freshest ingredients and a dedication to stellar customer service where the owners and staff make you feel like a personal guest in their home, look no farther than Casanova Ristorante.

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Owner Chris Lagaris and General Manager Stefano Xenos have clearly - pardon the pun - discovered the recipe for success in the Southern California restaurant industry. The cousins have been working together for half a century, having owned an operated 27 dining establishments together, including the landmark Maxwell’s By The Sea in Huntington Beach. Lagaris and Xenos take particular pride in giving back to the community by supporting a number of local charitable organizations such as the Ark of San Juan, Dana Hills High School, New Vista School, Pet Protect Foundation, the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment and the Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley.

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“There are three key ingredients to having a successful restaurant,” says Xenos. “The most important is that the restaurant must be clean from back to front, food handling and food quality is paramount and the chefs’ knowledge of the cuisine, flavors and pairings, and attention to presentation all contribute to our customers’ experience.”

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Having said that, I can happily attest that literally everything my husband and I have tried on the menu has been nothing short of superb. The service is excellent – attentive and unobtrusive – the ambiance is warm and friendly and its popular cocktail lounge featuring specially selected wine list (and full bar) has a loyal following among locals and visitors alike.


Start with the Mozzarella Caprese, which arrives with slices of fresh tomato topped with creamy buffalo mozzarella cheese and basil and served with virgin olive oil. Another popular pick is the antipasto misto made up of a selection of cured meats and complementary cheeses and my personal fave: the Carpaccio al Salmone defined by crisp romaine, capers, radicchio topped with smoked salmon, lemon and olive oil.

For the main course, Tim’s favorite dishes include the “Pink Lady Fettuccine” made with chicken and sundried tomatoes tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce and a flavorful Rigatoni Mamma Rosa with Italian sausage and mushrooms in a tomato sauce with a touch of cream. My favorites include the Lasagne al Forno which arrives with layers of perfectly al dente pasta, ricotta cheese and meat sauce baked with mozzarella cheese.

Casanova clredt161 2

A seafood aficionado? Options abound – ranging from the Linguini Vongole Veraci (long, flat pasta with baby Manila clams sautéed in a white wine sauce) and Farfalle al Salmone (bowtie pasta with smoked salmon tossed in a cream and tomato sauce with a touch of vodka) to the Linguini alla Pescatora (long, flat pasta with fresh fish of the day, shrimp, calamari, mussels and clams in a light tomato sauce.

Portions are generous, but if you’ve saved room for a little something sweet … try the crème brulee with its perfectly carmelized top or the homemade tiramisu, a traditional favorite or an equally delicious warm chocolate cake accompanied by vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce.

Casanova Ristorante is located at 33585 Del Obispo St. in Dana Point (at the corner of Stonehill). For information or reservations, call 949.496.0992 or visit

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