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Started from the bottom…

Shima 0 comments 08.08.2016


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 Nathan Van Waardenburg, who works extremely hard five days a week at Little Company of Mary Hospital in the surgical Pathology department.

Nathan, 27, who was born and raised in the South Bay. He attended South Torrance High school, before continuing his education at El Camino College. While in college, he began working part-time in the OR (operating room) at Little Company of Mary Hospital as a transporter, taking patients to and from surgery.

This position led to a full time job opportunity where he was tasked with ordering all supplies for their surgery department. When a position opened up in surgical Pathology, where he currently works, he took that as challenge to learn and prefect new things every day.

“I start each day picking up placentas from labor and delivery. I set them up to then be cut into, and examined by the pathologist,” he says. He then assists in at least 1 bone marrow procedure each day. He prepares the slides of the bone marrow for the doctor and prepares the blood and bone to be processed later in the day.


He spends the rest of his time in the "gross room" where the PA cuts in each specimen that is removed in surgery. He is responsible for staining the frozen sections where the surgeon can get a diagnosis while the patient is still on the operating table. He ends his day taking all the cut specimens to be loaded into a processing machine that turns the tissue into paraffin blocks.

His schedule is M-F, 7:00-4 and sometimes later depending on if cases run late. Nathan says, “My job is challenging and it is never the same thing each day. No two patients are the same so each bone marrow, so I need to be 100% focused on taking care of that person.”

Due to this, he says, “We all need to treat each person and each specimen with the same respect or mistakes will be made. It helps that my coworker is my friend, James, who I've known since day 1 of high school so dealing with coworkers is never an issue,” he says.


When Nathan is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his “wonderful wife,” Sasi, who he says is his #1 priority. He says, “My family and sports are my life. I'm lucky to have a great family and a close group of friends. The Dodgers, Kings and Dolphins take up each season of the year for me.”

Nathan’s passion for sports has led him to give back in the past. “Coaching little league was a truly rewarding experience where I was able to not only share my knowledge, but love for baseball. I shared my knowledge of baseball with the kids in hopes that they will continue to follow their passion,” he says.

After living in the South Bay all his life, he says he and his wife couldn't imagine living anywhere else. “Sasi and I can go to a Dodgers or King games Friday night, Disneyland sat and enjoy breakfast on the pier morning. There’s nothing better than that.” He also values having his parents, brother with his wife, and having Sasi’s parents and her sister all being local. “There's nothing that can get me to leave here,” he says.

Five years from now, he says he will happily be celebrating six years of marriage to Sasi. “I see myself at Little Company for many years to come. Sasi and I are excited to start our own family here in the South Bay,” he says.

Thank you, Nathan, for taking great care of patients in the South Bay and making it a priority to be a wonderful husband, son, brother and friend to your loved ones, despite your busy schedule.


“Any advice I would give is, always go for it, don't doubt yourself, and don't be afraid to start at the bottom. The medical field will always be around and there are always jobs to be had. It may not be the exact job you want, but I went from pushing patients to ordering supplies to my perfect fit in Pathology. I never said no to a job and it moved me up the ladder in the company where I've now been there for 6 1/2 years.”

- Nathan Van Waardenburg



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Paving the way for the leaders of our next generation

Shima 0 comments 21.06.2016


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 Christi Ginger Carrillo, who is the chairman of YPN which seeks to create leaders for the next generation of real estate and to bring positive awareness of what realtors do, and help agents excel in their business.

Christi grew up living between Texas and California before she moved to Lomita, CA. Today, Christi is the chairman of YPN, which is a group of young minded Realtors (not all young in age) which have a purpose of being the support system for new agents just starting in this business. She says, “We are also here to pave the path for the new generation of leadership in our local, state and national Association of Realtors.” They are also in charge of engaging with the community, organizing and funding community outreach projects to help impact local areas in a positive way.


Her duties are to be a positive example of leadership and help her committee achieve their goals. She has to organize and conduct all committee meetings and have agents see the value of supporting the YPN with the local association. In addition, she is in charge of putting the annual calendar together, allowing the committee to vote on what projects they will be involved with and support the association in growth and be active in participation with all events. Lastly, she must always be friendly and approachable to all Realtors.

YPN’s main goals are to seek out Realtors who wish to be involved in Leadership. She says they have three educational classes a year, a networking event every other month, and have at least two community outreach projects a year. The purpose of the networking events is to allow agents to form relationships, discuss business, have fun, provide a support system, and raise money to fund the community projects.


Christi loves being involved mostly for the relationships she has created while doing this. “The gratification I get from contributing and making a difference in other agents’ lives and in our community. I love the opportunity that it has given me to grow in my business and as a person,” she says.

Other can contribute in many ways. They can become a committee member and volunteer their time to the events and meetings and by also having a voice in what educational classes are needed to help new agents. Others can also contribute by attending the events and networking. Most of the networking events cost $5 or $10 to attend, which helps YPN reach their financial goals for the community projects.


For anyone who’s hesitant to join, Christi says, “If you’re a person who loves to engage with others, give back, and grow, then this is the committee for you. Full of positive and upbeat energy, and also looking to excel! If you feel that you don’t have the time, to join the committee board, then it’s just as important and appreciated to support the events with attendance when you can.”


She says to those who believe that the time and effort it takes to dedicate to running a committee would hinder their business, she’d totally disagree. “When other agents know who you are, it’s more likely they will want to do business with you and also see you succeed, when your clients see that you are active in the local community, and do things like travel to legislative day our State Capitol to support Home Ownership rights, it’s appreciated and gives you value as a REALTOR, when social media sees that you care and are involved, it gives you extra value that other Agents might not offer, which helps your business,” she says.


Despite her busy schedule, Christi is able to balance her life as an amazing mother and wife. She says that she truly feeds off of the hectic schedule. She has always believed in having a strong work ethic and continually growing and always seeing the “big picture.”

 She says that she has taken on more than she can handle before, and had to recently step down from being the WCR President Elect. “It took me being honest with myself, to know that I didn’t have the passion for the group, and I wasn’t able to commit the kind of effort the group needed and deserved. It’s really a hard pill to swallow when you feel like you let others down. Sometimes I feel the need to please everyone, and it’s just not possible,” she says.

Thus, she has found ways to prioritize her busy schedule. She says her family is always her first priority and her passion comes next. “Passion is key, cause the business and money follows that. My passion has always to grow, and help others.”


She hopes to make it on the Board of Directors for the Palos Verdes Association and in the near future, to become a Team Leader of a real estate office. She is able to balance her workload by remembering not to stress, avoid negativity, and drama! “We are all here to learn, grow and give back... otherwise I’d feel like I had a void,” she says.


Christi enjoys living life to the fullest, but also enjoys the simple things in life such as, laughing with her kids, traveling and meeting people. She loves taking small trips that allow her to recharge. “I’m someone who loves wine and champagne, so fun to me is just laughter with good company. “On the side note, I do like skydiving & horseback riding,” she says. In addition, she enjoys shooting and going to the river each summer!


Christi also gives back to the community by first and foremost teaching her children by example. She brings her children to community events so that they remember the importance of staying humble and to give when they can. In addition, she took her niece in when she was 14 so that she didn’t become a ward of the state, cause she knew she could have a positive impact on her life. She also has given back to her sister’s family as her nephew is fighting cancer, gives to her church financially and is involved in her office’s culture events, where they give back to the community.


Christi loves the South Bay, because of the diversity in the people. She says that the mixture of people here is not like anywhere else she has ever been. “I love being close to the ocean, and also just being 30 min away from Downtown LA... The South Bay has some amazing people here,” she says.

Thank you, Christi, for dedicating your time and energy to pave the way for our future leaders and leading by example to the youth to be positive and influential members of society!


“Take away the ‘opportunities’ that happens through meeting others. The amazing connections that happen when you become involved, there is traveling and growth that is truly priceless. It allows you to grow in your business and as a person.”

Christi Ginger Carrillo

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Not letting fear win.

Shima 0 comments 12.06.2016


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 Steve Robles who jumped back into the ocean just six weeks after being attacked by a shark in hopes of teaching others not to let fear stop them from doing what they love.

Robles grew up in Redondo and Hermosa Beach and is currently residing in Lomita. At just six years old, he began to swim competitively after his older sister signed them up for a swimming team and continued until college.


Today, he likes to swim regularly in the morning with the masters group from 5:00am-6:30am. He goes to the pool about 3 days a week and for the past 3 years, on Saturday mornings, he swims with an open water group and swims from Hermosa pier to Manhattan pier

On July 5th, 2014, Robles was attacked by a shark when he was with 14 of the swimmers from his open water group. 10 of the swimmers were ahead of him by 30 seconds and didn't know what had happened until they were nearing the end of the swim. Three of the other swimmers were behind him by about 5-15 seconds. They were the first ones to rescue him from the encounter.


Robles says, “I did see the shark from underneath me. It was about 12 feet underneath me and then surfaced right in front of me.” However, he quickly realized it was too close to him at that moment and it bit him.

He says the bite held on him for five seconds while he grabbed its nose to pry it off. “I did think that it was one of my last moments so I had no time to be terrified and just had to fight with everything I had in me,” he says.


He had deep lacerations on his right torso area and a deep cut into his right thumb which cut into his artery. The bleeding from the artery didn't stop until about 3 hours later and he lost sensation to his thumb for about a month. He says his torso area still itches like a mosquito bite when he touches the scars, even to this day.

Fortunately, Robles recovered from the bite and was back in the ocean within six weeks. He says, “I felt it was important to get back in right away to overcome the experience and to let others know not to give up something they love doing because of one freak event.”


Others can see the reckless actions of the fisherman who agitated the shark on video. There are over 2 million hits of the actual event on YouTube, and can be found by simply typing in "Manhattan Beach Shark Attack"

Since the incident, Robles has continued to swim and is going to publicly speak about the shark attack on the Catalina Channel swim as a spiritual testimony. He says, “I want to share with people how God is always present and ready to provide his hand of protection on all of us. We in turn need to give our lives to following him. Once I experienced this miracle, I began to clearly understand I am here for a higher purpose!”


Steve continues to swim because he says it is one of the only things that keeps his body from feeling the process of aging. “I am 52 and I can clearly see that I don't move around like I once did at age 30,” he says.

This week Steve will be on a new TV show called, "To Tell the Truth.”  It is a revised variety show from the 60's with a modern day twist and will air on ABC. There will be 3 celebrity panelist trying to determine who is the "real" shark attack survivor amongst 2 other impersonators. The sneak peek to the series begins Tuesday night at 8:00pm and his segment will air at 10:00 p.m.


You can also listen to his radio interview with the former mayor of Manhattan Beach on Monday June 13th from 1:00pm-2:00pm "Powell to the People" here. They will be discussing the multiple recent shark sightings along the coast and my encounter with the great white shark attack.


Despite the challenges Steve has faced, he is able to remain positive. Here Steve is in a costume he created for Halloween.


Thank you, Steve, for using your “freak event” as a way to bring positivity, change and hope to others.

*Photos have been given by Robles in addition to various downloaded from websites*

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Touching others through the essence of nature.

Shima 0 comments 04.05.2016


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 Ferial Itani who at 54 years old bravely decided that it was time to pursue her heart’s greatest passion and begin a fragrance and soap line after styling hair for over 18 years.

Ferial, 54, moved to the U.S. when she was just 12 years old from Beruit. Her family moved with hopes of building a better life in the “Land of opportunity.” For her early life, she grew up in the South Bay and later graduated from Hawthorne high school.


After marrying her husband, Ferial owned several businesses including owning Aladin Café restaurant. She was the cook and says that she enjoyed creating dishes with passion. Upon closing the restaurant, she cut, dyed and styled hair for 18 years at her brother’s hair salon in Redondo Beach, Zouhair Salon.

No matter what business, hobby or passion she followed, she took her heart fully in it and she says, “It showed.”

For many years, Ferial began mixing her favorite perfumes with natural essences such as orange blossom. She says that wherever she went, whether the grocery store, airplane, or just walking past a stranger, she was stopped and asked, “What perfume is that?” After informing them that she made the perfume herself, she found it comical that many would beg to buy the already used bottles from her.


She says that she would freely give them away just because it brought her so much joy to see others happy with her products. Often times while at her brother’s salon, her clients would complement her as well and ask her where they could purchase the perfume.

She was constantly asked, “Why don’t you sell them?” At the time, she felt she was too busy to pursue a business in creating the perfumes so she dismissed the idea for a long time. That all changed three years ago when she became severely ill from headaches and was rushed to the hospital.


After being released, her brother insisted that maybe she was exhausting herself from the salon and that it may be time for her to follow a new passion or just simply take a break. Ferial says that she loves to embark on new journeys, such as one day hoping to move to Tuscany. Yet, she says that no matter what new phase she enters in her life, she remains herself…honest and true to her most authentic self.

While home recovering, she found that she wanted to reach more people. She says that so many people have helped her throughout her life and she has helped so many as well, yet knew there was more for her. She was entering a phase in her life where she wanted to be able to “touch” others. So over the course of three years, she quit her job as a stylist and began creating soap products.


Growing up, she would store and save hand soaps she’d receive from Lebanon. She says they were very precious to her for they looked rigid and smelt good. She wanted to use the soaps as a way to connect with others and share the same love and passion she had in her heart through them.

She began mixing ingredients such as peppermint oil with other natural essential oils. After making only one batch and distributing them amongst her five children and their friends, she was surprised to find them so pleased with the products.


“My kids and their friends would beg me to make more and so I did,” she says. She says that although physically she created the products, she finds that the emotional support of her loved ones was what made it possible to create the products. “A smile on a loved one’s face alone was my inspiration,” Ferial says.

Soon after, she decided to begin creating the products for others to also purchase and designed Ferial Essence. The perfumes and soaps can be bought directly from her Etsy website here.


On her website she says, "I began making perfumes and soaps wanting a product that doesn’t exist these days, because of the impurities and toxins added into them. Ferial Essence products are kept in their original state, starting from the ingredients used to the way they are crafted. Each product is unique, different than the rest, blossoming into its own character. Like a jewel in the rough, they are not buffed and do not contain any chemicals or fillers. When you close your eyes, you will be transported to a different time, where the fields were free and pure. You can smell the essence of nature that soothes your body, mind and soul. An honest, good product – that’s what I wanted to make."


. She says her personal favorite product is the orange blossom scents as it takes her back to a place in time where things felt innocent. “I like how it reminds me orange fields where what you see is what you get. Not many things are organic anymore, but orange fields are real,” she says.


When Ferial is not spending time with her family or creating perfumes, she enjoys gardening and spending as much time with nature as possible. She enjoys calligraphy and often draws beautiful symbolic letters, images and creations with them. She pays it forward by knitting beanies for premature babies and children in Lebanon. In her room, she has a wide range of beanies in different sizes and colors in a storage container waiting to ship.

Ferial is enjoying creating perfume and soaps for her clients and says that she can’t wait to see where the next phase of her life takes her. Thank you, Ferial, for reminding us that it is never too late to follow our dreams and reach our destiny and as you say, “Tomorrow is not promised, so do it today.”


“I don’t believe I have talent, I have passion…everything I do is from the heart and it shows.”

-Ferial Itani

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Gas or Electric?

Shima 0 comments 05.04.2016

I am often asked when showing homes whether it allows for GAS or ELECTRIC washer & dryers and I wanted to share the difference between the two.


  • Gas dryer operates on both 110 electricity and natural gas.
  • Has a flexible gas line connected behind or around their dryer and also plugged into the wall with a 110 outlet.



  • Works off of 240-volt outlet that can either be a 3-prong or 4-prong.


According to, “Both types deliver comparable performance: both do a great job of drying your clothes, and both come in a variety of capacities with a range of special functions. The main differences are related to installation, cost, drying speed and energy efficiency.”


Sears has also shared advantages and disadvantages of both below:

Advantages of gas dryers

  • Less Expensive Upkeep- Gas Dryers are usually a bit less expensive to operate than electric dryers, although this depends on the cost of gas and electricity in your area.
  • Faster- Gas dryers heat up and dry your clothes faster than electric dryers do, making them a little more energy efficient and gentle on fabrics.


Limitations of gas dryers

Vent Required - All gas dryers require a vent to the outside.

  • More Expensive Initially- Gas dryers tend to be a little more expensive than comparable electric dryers.
  • Gas Line Required- Gas dryers require a dedicated gas line that must be professionally installed.


Advantages of electric dryers

  • No Gas Line Required- Electric dryers do not require a gas line.
  • Vent-less Models- Some electric dryers do not need to be vented to the outside, making electric your only choice if you can't vent your dryer.
  • Less Expensive Initially - Electric dryers tend to be a little cheaper than comparable gas dryers.

Limitations of electric dryers

  • More Expensive Upkeep - Though it depends on the energy costs in your area, electric dryers are typically a little more expensive to operate than gas dryers.
  • 240 V Outlet Required- Most electric dryers require a 240 V outlet, which most laundry rooms will have. If yours doesn't, however, you'll need to use a converter or hire an electrician. A typical wall outlet in the United States is 120 V.
  • Slower- Electric dryers tend to heat up more slowly and take longer to dry your clothes than gas dryers do, which means that electric dryers use more energy.



Photo Credit: Ashley Winn Design

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Honey, don’t forget the dog!

Shima 0 comments 27.05.2015


One of the most forgotten steps when preparing to sell a home is to remove any signs of pets. While some believe that pets should be completely removed from the home during the listing, I beg to differ.

Pets are common to have in households, however, having yours in a home during a showing may lessen your chances of finding a buyer.

Pet owners who are looking for a home that will complement their needs will seek amenities such as a large backyard vs. a home that has a dog mat lying on the floor.

My suggestion when showing your home to buyers who also have pets is to show them the large backyard, grassy areas, and extra rooms. While we adore our pets, not all are accepting of our fur babies and we want buyers to feel as comfortable as possible in what may potentially be, their new home.

There are many ways to have your pet feel comfortable with doggy day camp, such as Dinah’s Doggie Daycare or having the pet stay with a family member during the showing. Also, there are many reliable dog walking services that could keep your dog happy while you’re busy selling your home such as, Walk the Dog and Purfect Companion.

It is best to stage your home so that viewers do not predict there are any pets in the home. This can be simply done by removing pet beds, kennels, and water and food bowels. However, it is also important to remove any scents that may scare away potential buyers.

A deep cleaning will remove loose hairs and wipe away any sign of pets. Another easy step is hiring a carpet cleaner to come in and remove any stains and remove deep rooted scents in the ground.

Although our fur babies are adorable, it is best to keep them away so that we can get our home sold the fastest!