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Fur-ever Saving Grace

Shima 0 comments 06.01.2016

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Every Wednesday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.

Today’s #WCW title belongs to South Bay resident, Daphne Ku’uleimealohaokalani Marie Garrett who is a veterinary technician at Country Hills Animal Clinic in Torrance.

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Daphne, 28, has lived in Torrance her entire life and was inspired to pursue the animal care field after adopting her very first dog at the Carson Shelter.

Five years  after high school, Daphne received her certificate as a veterinary technician in June 2010. She describes her position as the Doctor’s, “right hand man.”

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Daphne begins and ends each day by seeing in room appointments and checking on surgeries. Some of her duties include surgeries mostly of spay and neuters, dental cleanings, vaccinations, radiographs, lab work, placing IV catheters, dental radiographs and blood draws.

Due to the unpredictability of her work field, Daphne feels some days are harder than others and there is no “typical” day at work. “We see so many different types of dogs and cats with similar and different issues. We do our best to exceed beyond everyone’s expectations for themselves and of course for the pet’s best interest,” she says.

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When asked what is the most difficult part of her job, Daphne explains when “we have to send our furry friends to doggy heaven because we have done all we possibly could to help them.” This can be in result of many things such as diabetes, cancer, or old age.

“The only thing that gets me by is knowing the second they leave us, they are no longer in pain and are happy and free running around in heaven,” she explains. She says that even when the dog is not hers, it is the worst heartbreak she’s experienced.

Despite the difficulty of some aspects of her position, she believes the best days are when she can send the owners and their pets home happier and healthier than when they walked into the hospital.

Daphne wishes that pet owners understood that having pets is a lot of work. “They need to know it is just like having a kid, but sometimes even worse because dogs don’t have the ability to speak,” she says.

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She also wishes pet owners realized that dogs have to be cared for, fed, walked daily and both dogs and cats need to be vaccinated yearly dependent on age. In addition, she urges that they pay attention to symptoms of being sick and take precaution immediately if necessary.

Daphne has found that animals have feelings, know when you are upset or happy. In result, she believes that owners should understand that pets become members of the family. She believes that residents should choose a Veterinarian based on referrals from family and friends. She does not believe in relying on internet sites such as yelp. She explains that people can be cruel and lie.

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Daphne hopes to one day start her own business. She’d like to open a rescue or a doggy day care/grooming and dog bakery. However, she believes many can help animals by adopting those at high kill shelters or volunteering their time there.

When Daphne is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking with her own dogs, visiting the dog beach or traveling. Daphne is the furr-mom to Lucky, a mutt who was adopted at Carson Shelter and Winston who she got as a gift two years ago.

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Lucky inspired Daphne to pursue the veterinary field after showering her in unconditional love. He is now going on 12 years old and she likes to call him her “grumpy old man.”

Daphne’s motto in life is, “Adopt, don’t shop and give pets the love they deserve. Give them a FURever home.” She has found that dogs give her a sense of saving grace that no one is able to give her.

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Thank you, Daphne, for being a wonderful asset to our veterinary field in the South Bay and reminding us that it is possible to have a career doing what we love- like saving animal’s lives.

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Changing the world one punch at a time

Shima 0 comments 04.01.2016

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Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s MCM title belongs to Vance Bejarano who has helped so many individuals reach their fitness goals as well as achieving personal growth and confidence.

Vance, 32, grew up in San Clemente and only 17 years old, Vance realized he wanted to pursue boxing so he joined a gym in his hometown. However, he realized soon after that he was far better at kickboxing and martial arts. He explains, “I was better with my kicks.”

He began training at the gym, meeting with several coaches at a time. “I had a boxing coach and a kickboxing coach,” he says.  Not too long after, he began competing in tournaments against other opponents. Till this day, Vance remains good friends with his coaches.

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Prior to competing, Vance became a coach himself.  He moved to the South Bay seven years ago and began training at UFC Gym located in Torrance at 1431 W Knox St, Ste 1200.

While in high school, Vance knew he wanted to one day become a coach, so he began taking necessary steps such as studying kinesiology and human biology his junior and senior year. Upon graduation, he completed his schooling and became a certified coach.

Vance believes that besides learning the sport of boxing, a “good boxer” is one who has a strong mind and determination. “A lot of it is mental, a lot more than physical. The strongest guy can do so much in the weight room, but when it comes to boxing it can show he can be broken as well,” he explains.

He says that ultimately as a boxer you must be strong-minded. His favorite part about boxing is competing and witnessing himself become stronger and better. He explains that each fight is something new and that’s what he likes most about the sport.

 Vance finds so much joy in his career and truly feels blessed to be able to do something he loves every day. However, he takes his role in his client’s lives very responsibly and understands that as a Coach, he is to maintain a positive image inside and outside of the gym. “I think that what you do outside of the gym reflects in the gym,” he explains. To Vance, coaching is more than just a job. It is a responsibility.

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“I like grabbing the average kid and watching him learn something or grabbing the average woman, or the weakest in the room and next thing you know she’s the strongest woman. Helping the weak get stronger, the kid that gets bullied. You know, teaching them how to survive out there? There’s so much that comes inside the gym besides showing people how to kick and punch,” he says.

Vance has maintained strong relationships with many of his clients. He has watched many of the younger kids grow up into strong-willed individuals, some who’ve even faced bullying. In addition to boxing and kickboxing, Vance coaches in MMA, self-defense, wrestling and even proper lifting.

Vance explains that the one difficult part of is job would have to be getting out of bed sometimes to be in the gym by 6 a.m. However, as soon as he’s in the gym, he is pumped and ready to go!  He maintains a strict diet of lean meats, vegetables and brown rice, but enjoys his fun days too. “I just try to eat the right things at the right time,” he says.

When Vance isn’t instructing classes or coaching, he enjoys bowling, spending time with his dog, and going for nice walks.

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Vance would like anyone who’s interested in boxing but is afraid to try it to know that it is a fun sport and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. “It’s a lot more than just learning how to take a punch. It’s more of an art. Whoever doesn’t know it should be able to learn it. it helps build confidence and is a great exercise,” he explains.

To learn more about UFC Gym located on Knox street, please visit their website here or contact store Manager, Michael, at torranceknoxstreetgm@ufcgym.com

 to schedule a free class at their website here.

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Tis’ the Season

Shima 0 comments 12.12.2015

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For today’s “Tourist in my own city,” I visited one of South Bay resident’s favorite activities to do during the holidays- walk through Candy Cane lane!

If you grew up in the South Bay like I did, you know all about Candy Cane lane and look forward to visiting it annually. It is located in the 5000 block of Sharynne Lane in Torrance, CA.

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During the holidays, several streets in South Torrance are decorated elaborately and free to the public for viewing unique lights. Homes in the area between PCH and Calle Mayor are lit up for locals to drive through or park their car and walk.

Personally, I love walking even if it’s a little chilly outside. I love to layer on sweaters and walk through the neighborhoods with family and friends. Residents of the area are often home with company. Many sell items such as hot coca and popcorn in front of their homes.

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I love walking the neighborhood to see all the joy the children feel and the awe in their expressions as they see their favorite characters from movies used as décor such as, Frozen.

Many kids will pop their head out of their parent’s car and joyfully shout “Merry Christmas” as they go through the neighborhoods and it is adorable to hear the pure excitement in their voices.

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It is nice to see how unique the decorations are from surfing Santa’s to gingerbread men with Hawaiian tshirts. I love how residents use the lights to express their passions such as musical notes, animals drinking from a pond to a house with a large picture of the world expressing world peace.

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My favorite house to see each year is quite simply, but the meaning is huge to me. They wrap a large yellow bow over a tree with red, white and blue lights below it with an American flag flying nearby. The yellow bow is a symbol in honor of supporting our troops and it always hits home for me.

No matter how young or old you are, visiting Candy Cane lane is a must during the holidays.

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For those unfamiliar with finding Candy Cane Lane, I suggest parking your car at Seaside Elementary located at 4651 Sharynne Ln, Torrance, CA 90505 and walk towards the residential area. Also, avoid entering from PCH. Instead, turn on Calle Mayor or  try turning on a side street like Carlow or Susana.

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Dress warm and enjoy the lights and fun decorations!

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Sprinkles

Shima 0 comments 10.12.2015

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For today’s, “Tourist in my own city,” I visited Los Angeles’ famous cupcake shop,

Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a huge sweet tooth and love of chocolate. I’ve personally never been crazy about cupcakes, until I tried Sprinkles!

Upon walking into Sprinkles, you’ll notice that the front door is closed tightly. I asked an employee why this was and she explained that the door remains closed so that the room can maintain its temperature so that the cupcakes stay fresh and moist.

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The room isn’t very large, but there is a strategic method in ordering your cupcakes. About four-to-five parties, dependent on size can fit in the room. While the party in front of you is selecting their cupcakes, one can inspect all the varieties and decide on what they will be choosing.

There are so many options to choose from including  banana, carrot, black and white, chocolate marshmallow, coconut, dark chocolate, chai latte, lemon, cuban coffee, etc. Keep in mind, however, that cupcakes vary location to location and flavors are listed on the website per location,

A single cupcake cost $3.75 while a dozen is $42.00.

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Founder and pastry chef, Candace Nelson, opened the world’s first cupcake bakery, Sprinkles Cupcakes in 2005. The first location was the one I visited today in Beverly Hills.

Next door, there is a Sprinkles Ice-cream shop where delicious creations are made. A cupcake not sweet enough for you? You can purchase a scoop of Sprinkles’ tasty ice-cream on top of a cupcake.

Ice-cream flavors include banana, butter pecan, mint chip, red velvet, and more.

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According to the Sprinkles website, the cupcakes are handcrafted from “the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests.”

The cupcakes are topped with their trademark of modern dots, chocolate sprinkles from France, or designed with seasonal sugar decorations. During the holidays, you’re sure to find unique flavors such as gingerbread for the month of December.

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The cupcake shop is also well-known for their adorable dog cupcakes. The small cupcakes are designed specifically for your favorite four-legged friend and were a hit with my dogs.

Since the opening of Sprinkles, many businesses have tried to compete with the bakery. According to The Washington Post, “”most cupcake bakeries take their inspiration from Sprinkles.”

Today, Sprinkles Cupcakes can be purchased in several states including Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and New York. Furthermore, there are numerous locations in California including The Grove, La Jolla, Newport Beach, and Westlake Village.

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 I think one of the neatest parts of Sprinkles Cupcakes is that they have a Cupcake ATM! Yes, you read that correctly. In select locations, one can purchase a cupcake or cookie from Sprinkle’s ATM machine which is in front of the store. The ATM is perfect for late-night cravings. Several locations that have the ATM include the Beverly Hills location and Las Vegas.

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Today, Sprinkles Cupcakes include cupcakes, ice-cream, dog cupcakes, and cookies. For those unable to visit a shop, you can order items directly from their website-including ice-cream!

Special features include cupcakes and cookies for pickup, cupcakes and cookies for delivery, ice cream & cookie dough shipping, and retail shipping.

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I highly recommend Sprinkles Cupcakes for special events from office parties, weddings, to birthday parties. The cupcakes are delicious and tasteful.

For more information on finding Sprinkles Cupcakes locations or an ATM near you, please visit their website here.

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Corazon

Shima 0 comments 04.12.2015

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For today’s “Tourist in my own city,” I visisted Rolling Hills Estates’ new restaurant, Corazon.

This may sound silly, but I typically judge a Mexican restaurant in the first few minutes based on their SALSA! I personally have no tolerance for spicy, but I do love a good salsa that is mild enough for me to eat and spicy enough for me to feel a kick.

Corazon did not disappoint.

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Corazon Mexican Kitchen, located at 767 Deep Valley Dr., Rolling Hills Estates has a trendy, yet welcoming atmosphere.  The restaurant opened earlier this year in June, but I finally had some time to get in there and I wanted to share my experience.

I found that there are several areas designated for parties where groups can separate themselves from others to enjoy their privacy. In addition, the restaurant has an outdoor patio and a bar where individuals can enjoy their lunch or a drink.

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What makes Corazon differ from other Mexican restaurants is that the ambiance and presentation of the food brings elegance to what many may consider a casual dinner. The restaurant is well-known for their cucumber margarita which Cucumber has cilantro, jalapeño, agave nectar with sweet and sour and Han Teq. Tajin Rim. Furthermore, there is a large selection of beer and Latin American Wines.

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Based on my experience, I would rate the restaurant an A+ for their efficient service, friendliness and quality. The meals were brought on a timely manner and our waiter, Jacob,  checked on our large party of 12 often. It also didn’t hurt that our chips, salsa and water were refilled often without mentioning.

For a restaurant as elegant as Corazon, I was very surprised to find that prices were very affordable. Customers can mix and match from a variety of options that is perfect for someone who isn’t very hungry. Some options include a soup and salad, a taco and Mexican salad, or a tamale and salad.

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Many of the meals are homemade recipes and as mentioned previously, the salsa is AMAZING! Only suggestion I have, don’t get too full off the fresh tortilla chips and salsa like I did.

To learn more about Corazon and to make reservations, please visit their website here.

For some of their specials, please refer to the photo below.

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Surviving the Holidays in the South Bay

Shima 0 comments 29.11.2015

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Christmas is one of the most loved holidays. It’s a time where (most) people are in a jolly spirit and make the most memories with their loved ones.

Although many parents love the fact that their children have a two-week break, most fall short of activities to do, leaving their children constantly nagging, “I’m bored.”

Despite the excitement of having time off, we tend to forget all the great activities we can do. Here are some fun ways to celebrate the holidays and the time off- South Bay style.

  Go see Christmas Lights:

It’s not Christmas until you pack the car with your family and friends and visit Candy Cane Lane at 200 Acacia St in El Segundo, CA 90245. Kids can meet Santa and view extravagant light displays, all for free.

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Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights in South Torrance is another great site to visit. The entire neighborhood is involved. I personally love to park my car so that I can walk along the sidewalk. It’s easier to capture photos and neighbors sell delicious treats along the way.

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Buy a Christmas tree:

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One of the most admired traditions of the holidays for families is buying a Christmas tree. It’s one of the best ways to get the family together, working towards the same goal- finding the best one.  This Christmas, stop by Christmas Tree House and mention “SELL WITH SHIMA” to receive 10% off.

Ice-Skate with Friends:

Ice-skating makes for unforgettable memories. With all the falling, laughing and hot cocoa, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. One of the best parts of ice-skating is trying to keep your balance while taking silly photos with friends.

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Head down to Santa Monica’s ICE or LA Live’s outdoor rink this month for some outdoor fun.

Have a Secret Santa Party:

Giving gifts can be a hassle, especially when you’re blessed with a large group of family or friends. Grab a group of friends or cousins and place names into a bowl. Everyone picks a name and keeps it a secret until the gift-exchange date, which you can choose. This is a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate the holidays, all while keeping everyone involved in the fun! A tip: have everyone agree on a budget for gifts.

Bake:

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nvite your friends over and have each person bring over their favorite homemade treat. I love sitting around the TV and enjoying warm cookies with a cup of milk with friends.

Visit Big Bear:

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Sure, we don’t have snow in Los Angeles. But hop in the car and drive 2 hours to Big Bear and you’ll have fresh snow where you can sled, ski, or snowboard for the day!

Sand Sledding:

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Is Big Bear too far? No worries, winter in Los Angeles consists of sleds on sand in Hermosa Beach. Who’s complaining? Sun and Sleds.

Give back:

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It’s not the holidays, unless you’re giving back to those who need it most. Try donating items no longer needed to the Salvation Army or donating jackets, umbrellas, and blankets to homeless. My friends and I enjoy making sandwiches and giving it back to homeless in Skid-row. It helps you remember how fortunate we are.

Take silly Christmas photos:

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Enough said.

What are some of your favorite local attractions to visit during the holidays?

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Christmas Tree House

Shima 0 comments 27.11.2015

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Growing up, I remember the excitement and joy I felt when my mom would pull into the Christmas Tree House lot. I’d have a 100 acre smile plastered on my face, eager to see all the beautiful trees.

Christmas Tree House, located at 17520 Prairie Ave Torrance, CA 90504 is special to me because I grew up purchasing my Christmas trees there. I remember jumping out of my mom’s car uncontrollably as I ran through aisles of trees, determined to find THE ONE.

Granted I was so young, but I was convinced that I was the tree-guru and knew everything. The men working always gave me more credit than I deserved and agreed that I was right about “the perfect tree.”

Truthfully, as I’ve grown older, I value all the trees-in different ways. I love the Charlie Brown trees as much as I love the full, bushy ones. Over the years, as I have grown older, I’ve learned more about the variety of trees.

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This is because of the knowledge, service and joy the employees have. I wouldn’t have known the difference between a Silver-Tip tree to a Noble one, but they were able to inform me of what makes one unique from the other. I also learned that a 6 ft. tree will take a minimum of 6 years to grow- wow!

Today, the lot has many more features than I remember from my childhood. They have an on-site jumper that is free for all the children to use, popcorn, wreaths, lights, mistletoe, and a small gift shop. In addition, snowmen and reindeer created with real wood are for sale.

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The crew of men who cut and place trees on the cars for customers are sharp, polite, and efficient. But best of all, they have the Christmas spirit! It’s clear to see that they’re happy helping and make the entire experience worthwhile.

I’ve had to shop at other lots in the past, such as Home Depot, and it personally didn’t feel the same. I noticed that the employees were more focused on getting me inside their store to purchase new lights than help me pick the best tree.

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At Christmas Tree House, they carry Douglas fir, Grand fir, Noble fir, Nordman, Turkish Fir and Silver Tip trees which are well taken care of as every tree on the lot is placed on a stand and in water. If you’re not aware of the difference, I highly suggest asking a member of the crew who will gladly educate you.

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The lot opens at 7 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving and remains open until each last one is sold.

My favorite part of having a tree in my house growing up was always the smell. I still remember from a young age coming home to my house smelling like a walk through the forest. I’d read books under the tree, eat popcorn from the huge tins, and then place ornaments on while watching Home Alone 2.

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The trees at Christmas Tree House are very affordable and greener than ever and stay smelling fresh until the very last day. I appreciate knowing this ahead of time and that’s why I continue to buy my trees there every year.

I am so grateful for all my family and friends who’ve supported my business this past year and in result, I’ve teamed up with my favorite tree lot to give 10% off to customers who mention

SELL WITH SHIMA.

I hope that the season brings you as much joy as it does for me.

Happy Holidays to all!

To learn more about Andy and the Christmas Tree House, please refer to the website here.

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ICE

Shima 0 comments 24.11.2015

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For today’s “Tourist in my own city,” I visited Santa Monica’s “ICE.”

Year after year, I would drive pass the outdoor ice rink, promising myself that I would try it one day. Well, this year, after finding a coupon on Groupon, I made it a priority to attend.

ICE at Santa Monica is a little ice skating rink that comes around every holiday season. What makes the rink so fun is that it resides in the beach-side community and is on the corner of 5th Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica.

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According to the downtown Santa Monica website, the rink measures at 8,000 square feet. I visited the rink today when it opened at 2 p.m. I was surprised to find so many young children waiting in line at 1:45. Parents, nannies and children of all ages skated and laughed with joy, even when they fell.

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Personally, I LOVE ice-skating but go to larger, indoor rinks like the Toyota Center in El Segundo. Although the rink was fun because of the energizing music and the lack of needing a sweater, it was a little too crowded for my liking. I enjoy skating in large rinks because I don’t have to be too cautious of others whereas in a smaller rink like ICE, you have to be extremely careful.

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Furthermore, as weather is always unpredictable in So-Cal, it was a hot day. At 78 degrees, the ice was melting which made for sliding and lots of falls among the crowd. Despite the crowds and slippery ice, I suggest everyone visit ICE in Santa Monica at least once this holiday season.

It’s a nice place to gather with friends, drink some hot cocoa, and make everlasting memories.

The rink’s hours and days of service are as follows:
November 1, 2015 — January 18, 2016

Admission with Skate Rental: $15

General Hours of Operation
Monday-Thursday: 2:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday: 2:00pm – Midnight
Saturday: 10:00am – Midnight
Sunday: 10:00am – 10:00pm

Holiday Hours

Thanksgiving

November 26: 10:00am – 10:00pm
November 27: 10:00am – Midnight

Holiday Break, Christmas Eve 
December  21 – December 24: 10:00am – 10:00pm

Christmas Day
10:00am — Midnight

Holiday Break, New Year’s Eve
December 28 – December 31: 10:00am – 10:00pm

New Year’s Day
January 1: 10:00am – 12:00am

Martin Luther King Day (Last Day of ICE at Santa Monica)
January 18: 10:00am – 10:00pm

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Hermosa Beach Farmers’ Market

Shima 0 comments 18.11.2015

Today for lunch, I stopped by the Farmers’ Market in Hermosa Beach to visit my friends at BreadCrumbs Gourmet Sandwiches. I got to meet so many wonderful locals and try delicious organic fruits.

If you’re ever looking for a quick bite, stop by on your lunch break. There is a wide variety of delicious foods to try and you can never get enough of the ocean views. The Farmers’ Market is every Wednesday on the Hermosa Pier between 11-4 p.m.

To see more of the Hermosa Beach Farmers’ Market, please watch my YouTube video here. 

“It’s a sweet, sweet life living by the salty sea…”

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Fred Hesse Community Park

Shima 0 comments 16.11.2015

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For today’s “Tourist in your own city,” I wanted to share a local park I love.

Although Hesse Park wasn’t a new place for me to visit, I still wanted to play tourist so that I can share with you this awesome place.

Growing up, I spent every Saturday at Hesse Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. My father and his friends would play soccer there while my cousins and I spent several hours playing in the field, playgrounds, and dirt.

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Like most parks, there is a playground, walking path, and acres of green field. Yet, Hesse Park remains to be one of my favorite parks due to its serenity. I visited the park today, a lot older than my childhood days, and admired things a little differently.

When I was younger, a good park to me was one in which I could run freely and swing high. Today, I seek to find parks where I can gather my thoughts, read a good book, and possibly take a nap. Hesse Park seems to meet my criteria fully.

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he park which is located at 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard is a little different than most parks because of its meeting rooms. Guest can rent out the recreation rooms for events, weddings, and parties. Often times, park visitors can also find brides and grooms capturing their wedding photos in the park.

Some of the features of Hesse Park include baseball fields, picnic areas with barbeques, playgrounds, a sand volleyball court, soccer field, and plenty of walking trails. Stairs along a walking trail will take you “downstairs” to two playgrounds for children, recreational rooms, restrooms, and additional walking trails. Downstairs, which is considered the lower park area includes a sand volleyball court, picnic tables, and plenty of trees.

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Above, where the main park area is, one can find a beautiful panoramic view of Catalina Island. The breathtaking ocean view attracts many brides and grooms who come to the park to take their wedding photos.

Fred Hesse, Jr. Community Park remains to be one of my favorite places to explore on any day. No matter the time or day, one can find a shady tree to relax under or a picnic table to have lunch on.

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What park did you grow up playing at?

To learn more about Fred Hesse Community Park, please visit the website here.

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