Category: Feature Stories

Kinecta Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive & Giveaway

November 24, 2020

Kinecta Federal Credit Union raised more than $90,000 during its 47th Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, which aided more than 1,000 local families in need.

During a drive-up event held at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson on November 22nd, families, selected by nearly 40 community-based organizations, received a bag of traditional Thanksgiving food items and a $75 gift card to help complete their holiday meal.

“We’re grateful for our employees, the community, corporate sponsors, members, and individual donors who contributed more than $90,000 to help local families enjoy the holidays with a nutritional meal,” said Latrice McGlothin, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Community Engagement Officer. “With the pandemic, the need this year has been even more than previous years and it’s an honor to be able to help.”

WhistlePig Whiskey Dinner @ Ragin Cajun Recap

November 11, 2020

Last night, my husband and I attended the WhistlePig Whiskey Dinner at Ragin Cajun Cafe. Can you think of anything better to do on a Tuesday night during the COVID era? I can’t.

While my husband John is a whiskey enthusiast, I most certainly am not. Whiskey is an acquired taste, and though I’ve tried valiantly over the years to develop a palate sophisticated enough to appreciate it, I’ve failed miserably…. But after last night, that may change.

This was Ragin Cajun’s third WhistlePig Whiskey dinner and since every one has sold out, I’m convinced there will be others. Attendees enjoyed a four-course tasting dinner with WhistlePig Whiskey pairings while the knowledgeable and enthusiastic WhistlePig rep, Blaine Adams, explained the characteristics and nuances of rye whiskey compared to scotch and boubon. Whistlepig was voted the World’s Best Whiskey in 2017, a high honor indeed considering the competition, namely Scots and Canadians.

Diners were comfortably ensconced in a large white tent, with generous breathing room between tables. Even with all COVID protocols in place, the soft lighting created an intimate setting…. and the Whistlepig only enhanced that.

Terranea Resort Recognized as one of the Top Resorts in Southern California.

October 7, 2020

Condé Nast Traveler announced the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Terranea Resort recognized as one of the Top Resorts in Southern California.

“We are delighted to be recognized by readers of the esteemed Condé Nast Traveler publication,” says Terranea Resort President Terri A. Haack. “Creating and delivering a truly exceptional and unparalleled guest experience at Terranea is our top priority, so to receive this accolade driven by consumer feedback is a tremendous honor.”

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. The full list of winners can be found at

“The results of this year’s survey, conducted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, are a testament to the lasting power of a meaningful travel experience,” said Jesse Ashlock, U.S. Editor of Condé Nast Traveler.

PVPLC Visit with the Goats

June 9, 2020

When I made a donation to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Adopt-a-Goat Program earlier this year, I never imagined that tiny bit of goodwill would later provide a much needed respite from the debacle that 2020 would soon become.

Every spring, the PVPLC brings in about 300 goats to naturally mitigate invasive plant species on the acreage they manage. A herd of goats can clear one acre of land per day and they leave behind that all-important natural fertilizer. Donors to the Adopt-a-Goat program are then invited to an exclusive photo session with the goats later in the year.

Last month, I received an invitation to schedule a visit and photo op with these adorable, hard-working members of the bovid family. Due to the pandemic, I’d barely left the house in three months, so I was thrilled to have an excuse to venture somewhere other than the grocery store. Directions to the site were provided, along with a reminder to wear a face covering and maintain a six foot distance from others in attendance.

PVAC Names Daniela Saxa-Kaneko Executive Director

April 13, 2020

The Palos Verdes Art Center Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Daniela Saxa-Kaneko has been named the Art Center’s Executive Director, effective immediately. Ms. Saxa-Kaneko’s history of exemplary service to PVAC has been extraordinary and her allegiance, passion, and loyalty have been evident from the beginning of her appointment as Interim Executive Director, as well as in her previous Membership Coordinator role. We are indebted to her leadership and look forward to a sustainable, fruitful future under her steady guidance.

Daniela Saxa-Kaneko is a graduate of Whittier Law School, has a legal master’s degree from the Strauss Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law, bachelor degrees from USC and Woodbury University and extensive administrative experience, both in the nonprofit and the private sector.

Before joining PVAC, she served as Executive Director of Loew Vision Rehabilitation Institute, where she helped build a comprehensive vision rehabilitation clinic from the ground up. She is also an accomplished facilitator, who managed the mediation program of the Disability Rights Legal Center, and served as a contract mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Orange County Human Relations Council and the Los Angeles County Office of Affirmative Action Compliance.

Ise-Shima: Two Italians Walk into a Japanese Restaurant….

March 10, 2020

I’d previously been to the impressive bar at Ise-Shima Restaurant & Lounge at the Miyako Hotel for cocktails following an event at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, but it was only recently I dined there for the first time.

Prior to my visit, I perused the menu online and learned that Ise-Shima specializes in the highest quality seafood and traditional Japanese dishes, in addition to a few unexpected American favorites. The photographs made my mouth water and there were so many tempting items, I knew a dining companion was essential.

Since the Miyako Hotel is located in the City of Torrance, I asked Torrance City Council Member Aurelio Mattucci to join me for lunch. I like to keep up on local politics and issues (Torrance just had a municipal election), and the best way to do that is over a fine meal with someone on the inside.

The bar, lounge and restaurant work on many levels – you can settle into a swanky booth for a romantic date, conduct business at the elegant bar, gather round a table in the dining room for a family meal, have an impromptu meal with friends at the sushi bar, or dine under the stars on the outdoor patio.

Dine Around Riviera Village

March 2, 2020

It is often said that Riviera Village is the South Bay’s best kept secret. I don’t know how that’s possible considering the gorgeous coastal location, fabulous shops and incredible dining options. In 2008, there were only eight or nine restaurants in Riviera Village, but the dining scene has exploded and today there are about twenty eateries. Somebody has to be eating at all those restaurants, so it can’t be that big of a secret, right?

Last week, I once again attended MaryAnn Border’s Dine Around LA excursion through Riviera Village. Several new restaurants have opened in the last couple of years and this event offered the opportunity to sample many of them.

Dine Around LA was conceived specifically for hotel concierges working in the greater LA area as an occasion to learn about the dining options in various locales to better serve their clientele. There are half a dozen events each year in different Los Angeles neighborhoods.

What Lifts You?

February 12, 2020

The City of Manhattan Beach Murals Project introduces the mural titled What Lifts You? by Kelsey Montague.

As part of the city’s effort to bring more public art to the community, Kelsey Montague has created a mural that explores how interactive art and social media intersect.

The mural specifically invites people into the piece and then invites you to share your experience online!

The mural is located at Metelox Plaza, on the side of SunLife Organics. #whatLiftsYou

To learn more about the Manhattan Beach Murals Project, visit the website at

The Brews Hall Grand Opening

November 21, 2019

Earlier this week, I attended the Grand Opening of The Brews Hall in Torrance.

The Brews Hall is a food court concept conceived by a couple of the partners in Rock & Brews, Michael Zislis and Dave Furano, in addition to two new, yet very famous and recognizable faces, comedian George Lopez and sports analyst Colin Cowherd.

The space is huge, with communal high tops and giant TV screens throughout. There is also a large outdoor seating area with plenty of umbrella coverage for the warmer months. Behind the bar are gigantic vats where they make the two in-house offerings, George Lopez Brewing Co. and Buzzrock Brewing Co. There are three beers on tap right now (Buzzrock Golden Ale, Colin Cowherd Herd Pilsner and George Lopez Ta Loco Brewing Naranja Crema) but they’ll have twelve very soon.

There are four food stations to choose from: George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen, Chicken T.W.I.L.I. (The Way I Like It), Rock & Fish Grill and Colin Cowherd’s The Herd. Basically, every bar food imaginable, only done exceedingly well.

Don’t let the name fool you – The Brews Hall has a full bar, along with craft beer and national beer brands. I had a Blackberry Margarita and it may have been the best cocktail I’ve ever had in my life, no exaggeration.

Fall into Fashion Recap

November 19, 2019

I recently attended the Fall into Fashion event at Manhattan Village Shopping Center.

Hosted by Cachita Hynes of Style on the Spot™, stylish attendees enjoyed an afternoon of beauty tips, ideas and inspiration, in addition to a tote full of swag.

After checking in and consulting a map of participating stores, the LBD clad fashionistas were free to roam in any direction they chose.

The event featured sips, bites, activities, exclusive offers and samples at several retail shops including Macy’s Beauty, Origins, MAC, Sephora, Kiehl’s, Holly & Hudson Nail Salon and others, along with customized makeup bags.

Skilled beauticians and aestheticians offered complementary make-overs, mini facials, hand massages, oxygen facials and more.

After all the pampering, the well-coiffed group met on the patio at the new Mercado restaurant for specialty cocktails, appetizers and a generous raffle. Several lucky ladies won a variety of items and experiences, including a couple of $250 Manhattan Village gift cards.

BCHD’S Tom Bakaly Named CEO of the Year by the Association of California Healthcare Districts

October 23, 2019

The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD), which oversees 79 health districts in the state, has named Tom Bakaly from Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) CEO of the Year. Bakaly, who oversees an organization that provides preventive health partnerships, programs and services to 123,000 residents in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, was cited for his leadership and achievements that have positively affected the wellness of the Beach Cities community.

“The ACHD award is a tremendous honor that I share with our hundreds of dedicated volunteers as well as our hard-working, enthusiastic BCHD staff and board who are truly responsible for our organization’s success,” says Bakaly. “Since 1955, BCHD has responded to the evolving health needs of the community to achieve our vision of a healthy beach community. With 80 percent of all illnesses being preventable, our team works diligently to deliver essential health services and education to Beach Cities residents of all ages.”

Under Bakaly’s guidance, BCHD has helped the community save an estimated $3 million annually in direct healthcare costs through education and programs provided to residents; the community recently achieved the third-highest well-being score in the United States; smoking among residents is down 36 percent; and the rate of overweight residents is down 25 percent.

A Tunisian Dinner @ Barsha

October 11, 2019

I recently attended a Press Preview Dinner at the new Barsha Restaurant in Hermosa Beach.

The eatery is the most recent venture from Lenora and Adnen Marouani of Barsha Wines & Spirits in Manhattan Beach.

Lenora is a classically trained chef who previously worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Las Vegas and was the Executive Chef at a Beverly Hills hotel, in addition to curating merchandise at her former boutique, The Souk. Adnen, originally from Tunisia, has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, working as a sommelier in Los Angeles and running a major Las Vegas hotel kitchen.

Their experience and success at Barsha Wine & Spirits – serving small bites and boutique wines – was the ideal precursor for their foray into a full service bar and restaurant.

Sandpipers Back-to-School Shopping Event

August 23, 2019

Sandpipers, the South Bay’s largest philanthropic organization, hosted their annual Back-to-School Shopping Event on Sunday at Kohl’s in Torrance.

The event benefited 73 underprivileged youth in the South Bay. Each pre-selected child was referred by 10 local nonprofit partner agencies and paired with a member of Sandpipers and Sandpiper Juniors who assisted them with selecting and purchasing school clothes, shoes, uniforms, and supplies valued at over $275 per child.

The continued support of this program is made possible by Kohl’s, which opened their doors before normal business hours, provided staff for the event, and gave our shoppers an additional 20 percent off and no sales tax. Additionally, Sandpipers donated backpacks loaded with school supplies for each student.

“Back-to-School Shopping program started in 1999 and continues to be a favorite amongst our membership,” said Sandpipers Philanthropy Vice President, Joyce Chaput. It is a special day where the membership gets to see their fundraising dollars at work, making a direct impact in the lives of those in need who working hard to overcome challenges.”

AC Hotel South Bay Makes its Debut Near LAX

July 29, 2019

The 180-room AC Hotel Los Angeles South Bay recently opened its doors in El Segundo. The new-build lifestyle property, part of AC Hotels by Marriott®, is located in the South Bay, just minutes from both the coast and Los Angeles International Airport.

Developed and managed by El Segundo-based Welcome Group, the six-story design-led hotel provides a modern option for business and leisure travelers. From its sleek design and scenic rooftop, to its state-of-the-art fitness center, tech-friendly and flexible meeting spaces, and guest room options ranging from pet-friendly to sky-high ceilings, the nearly 100,000-square-foot property embodies a contemporary style that is sophisticated yet unpretentious.

“We are excited to bring AC Hotels to South Bay, a thriving destination for entrepreneurial spirits,” says Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader , AC Hotels by Marriott, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands for Marriott International. “The proximity to the airport and beach, paired with AC Hotels’ design-minded flair makes this hotel ideal for today’s modern traveler.”

Hermosa Beach Summer Series Line-Up Announced

July 15, 2019

5B Artists + Media has announced the lineups for the 2019 Hermosa Beach Summer Series, presented by KROQ.

The popular FREE community event returns to the sands of the quintessential Southern California beach town over two weekends in August, and for the first time ever, is expanding to both Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 17/18 and Aug. 24/25), each offering a jam-packed lineup of music, comedy, movies on the beach and other family-friendly experiences.