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Not letting fear win.

Shima 0 comments 12.06.2016

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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

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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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Providing Comfort & Making a Difference.

Shima 0 comments 30.03.2016

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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 Lynn Aglipay who believes in sharing blessings and giving back to the community as much as possible.

Lynn was born and raised in the South Bay. She has come to believe that when you’re right where you should be, there’s a certainty to what you do. It’s no surprise she feels compelled to give back and works immensely hard to be able to do so.

​Today, Lynn is involved in many charities, especially causes that help children. She is the founding and current Board of Director for the Asian Real Estate Association of America, South Bay Chapter (AREAA SB). She says the latter focuses on providing sustainable living for Asians in the South Bay. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of Realtors (PVPAR) and Chairman of the Fundraising and Scholarship Committee​ supporting the Peninsula Education Foundation.

She also is the former Board of Director for Las Amigas de Las Loma and supporting Ortheapedic Institute for Children which provides orthopedic medical assistance to families who cannot afford care. She says, “Sitting on the board of directors for the Las Amigas de Las Lomas, an annual horse show with proceeds going to the hospital, has been one of the most fulfilling areas of my life.”

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You’d imagine that she’d exhaust herself with all the committees and boards she manages, yet she also provides monthly dinners and the annual Christmas breakfast to the Toberman House, a community center in San Pedro that provides an after school program for kids.

Lynn believes she has always "given back." She says from the time she was in elementary school; she remembers being taught to give back. “I never thought what I was doing was anything out of the ordinary,” she says. When asked what inspires her to give back to the community, she simply says, “I really don't know...I just do it because it's fulfilling for me personally

For those seeking opportunity to also give back, Lynn says ​there are many ways to make a difference, whether it is working with philanthropic organizations to playing piano for an elderly neighbor. “It can be a financial contribution or it can be physical contribution, most importantly is that you are making a difference,” she says.

One of the most impactful moments for Lynn when giving back was when she was serving salad at the Toberman House. “When I began serving dinners at Toberman House, most kids didn't like or wouldn't want to eat salad. There was a little boy, who refused to even have it on his plate. I told him to just try it, he refused saying the teachers will make me eat everything on my plate and I don't like salad,” she says.

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In hopes of convincing the young boy to eat something nutritious, Lynn told him that if he tried it, she would let the teachers know and he wouldn't have to finish it. She says he agreed to try it and he came back for seconds with a big grin. “That's right, the little boy who initially didn't want to eat salad,” she says.

She also remembers hosting a Christmas breakfast for needy families when Santa came and gave gifts to about 60 children. She says that unlike the rest of the families whose children were so excited to be unwrapping their gifts, she noticed a family of six who sat back and the kids just held onto their gifts. She asked one of the teachers why they weren't opening the gifts we had provided, and the teacher responded saying these were the only gifts the children will have so they’re saving it until Christmas. The moment impacted her greatly and she has never forgotten it.

When Lynn isn’t working or giving back to the community, she enjoys spending time her family and friends. She says that when and if she can get away, they are usually having tons of fun in Mammoth, fishing or skiing or relaxing in Palm Springs.​

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​She loves to South Bay mostly for the lifestyle it allows. She appreciates being surrounded by beaches, views and tranquility. ​She feels it is important to give back to others because there are so many people in need and we need more compassion for one another.

Thank you, Lynn, for providing efforts to making our community a greater place.

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“Giving back to community has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever done, and I look forward to further expand my contributions in the near future. As long as I can contribute and provide comfort for people, I know I am making a difference.”

– Lynn Aglipay

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Inspiring the children of our future by making math fun again

Shima 0 comments 09.03.2016

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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 Sara Aloteibi who gives back to the community by touching the lives of her student’s and helping them find their strengths in math like she once did.

Sara, 28, grew up in Torrance, CA and never left! When she was an 8th grader, she failed Algebra 1 and had to retake it over the Summer. “My summer school teacher saw my potential in math and recommended I take the honors route,” she says.

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When she began her freshman year at North High School, she began taking both Geometry Honors and Algebra 2 Honors with an inspirational math teacher who made math meaningful, enjoyable, and understandable. “She completely shifted my view of mathematics and her love for the subject was demonstrated in her teaching and eventually transferred onto her students,” she says.

However, when Sara reached Calculus as a senior, she had a horrible teacher who gave a test on the first day of school and said, “If you fail this test then you will fail the class.” He proceeded to administer the test and when she received her results the following day, she had failed along with many others.

Sara says, “I let him succeed in scaring me out of the class as I ended up dropping out of Calculus immediately after. From that moment, I realized the difference an educator can make in the success of a student.” She found that if you set a student up for failure, they will fail. However, if you provide them with inspiration and the tools for success then the sky is the limit.

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Today, Sara is using the lessons she’s learned growing up to teach Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus at South High School to 9th – 12th graders. “Math is just one of those incredible subjects where ends actually do meet. Where you are given a situation with many different approaches that always lead to one clear answer,” she says.

Sara loves math because it’s all around us and has shaped society. “It is actually connected to our real world and present in many different fields than most truly know,” she says. One way she likes to make class fun for her students is to see these connections in our real world and different career fields.

Sara shares some of the ways her class learns: “For example, I show short video clips and pictures from time to time to open up a lesson. We do a cooling cookie lab when we get into exponential and logarithmic functions and relate the cookies cooling to how our world is cooling exponential. We throw tennis balls and determine the height the ball was thrown through mathematics. We design polynomial roller coasters and sine and cosine Tsunami waves. I try to create as many student-centered lessons as possible so that they are able to discover the concepts rather than being told the concepts.”

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She is most intrigued when she sees the light bulbs turn on for her kids, especially with students who have always struggled with math all their lives. She wants others to know that life is definitely not about being perfect, rather about doing your very best and putting in as much effort as possible. “And if you fail then learn from your mistakes…you can only do better from that point on,” she says.

In the next five years, she hopes to treat herself and her family as much as possible. She says that her husband and her have worked extremely hard to get to where they are at and definitely have a long way to go, but finds that it’s okay to take a break every now and then to treat themselves as a family.

They hope to take at least two trips a year to travel and enjoy the beautiful world. She also hopes to pursue a doctorate in Education sometime in the near future if God is willing. When she is not teaching and being a mom, she enjoys it on the couch with a bag of chips in her hand watching a movie or a TV show with her husband.

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She finds that there isn’t a single thing not to love about living in the South Bay. “The weather is great, the beach is right there when you need it, there is now an in N out in practically every corner, hundreds of great places to eat at, the malls, freeways, diversity, and convenience of really never having to travel far since you can practically find almost every store you can think of in just one city,” she says.

Thank you, Sara for positively influencing the children of our future to accomplish their mathematical struggles!

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“Having had both kinds of teachers and both experiences of failing and succeeding made me realize the importance of an educator and their effect on a learner which is why I decided to pursue a career in teaching. I want to spread knowledge, education, and the beauty of math so that I can hopefully inspire young minds to be great.” -Sara Aloteibi

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Luck doesn’t have anything to do with leasing a home

Shima 0 comments 05.03.2016

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Last week during my open house, I met a family who was frustrated after submitting numerous applications to lease potential homes and were denied.  In a market as competitive as it has been and with the housing shortage in California, more people are afraid they’ve been cursed with bad luck.

Truthfully, there is no golden coin or luck that helps- it has everything to do with credibility.

When a landlord is contemplating on accepting an applicant for their property, several factors come into play. In order to be portrayed as a desirable candidate, there are some things that may increase your chances of being accepted.

Understandably, life happens and causes some shifts in our credit, loss of job, increase in our credit charges, etc. which can greatly affect our good-standing. However, when submitting an application to lease, consider what you would think as a landlord looking at your application, credit, or bank statements.

I spoke with several landlords and property manager, Tim Marshall to better understand how one could improve their chances of leasing. Upon our talk, I found that a considerable candidate is someone who can prove income.

Sometimes, based on one’s low credit score, they have to increase their chances by providing more proof of income. Such as, bank statements, tax returns, etc. This sometimes results in digging deeper than intended to.

A landlord’s greatest nightmare is offering residency to a client who cannot pay their rent. This results in unnecessary conflict for him/her. So, by providing all sources of income- you’re assuring the landlord that you’ll have no issue paying your rent.

A landlord may also value a cover letter. In a cover letter, you are telling the landlord who you are and why they should choose you. Whether you’re writing a cover letter to buy or rent, you’re allowing the person on the other end to have a better understanding of who you are, what you do and why you’re the right candidate for them.

Lastly, references are another staple that can allow a seller or landlord clarify that you’re efficient, reliable, clean, and trustworthy. These characteristics are important for a landlord or owner of a home as they want to rest assured that whoever is in their property is taking care of it and using it solely as a home.

You can gather references from prior landlords, old/current bosses, family and friends.

Finally, Tim Marshall says, “There is no other time that the laws of supply and demand have been more affected to rent. A lot of people want the same things you want and due to scarcity, it’s limiting. But don’t get discouraged and just understand that it has affected real estate as a whole.”

Although leasing can feel disheartening if denied, remember it is a competitive market and in order to better your chances- consider gathering these documents in advance.

Thank you for your trust and remember, your referrals are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me!

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South Bay’s Favorite SOOSK

Shima 0 comments 29.02.2016

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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 Alireza Nejad, who uses his passion for music and Djing as a way to help the youth stay out of trouble by offering tutorials and classes for free.

Nejad, better known as “Dj Soosk,” 28, was born and raised in Torrance. He graduated from South Torrance High in 2005 and in 2001 decided to pursue his passion for music producing and Djing into a career.

Growing up, Nejad had a strong love for music from a young age. Nejad says that having grown up around three older sisters that had very different preferences in music choice gave him the ability to learn many genres at once. However, it was his youth Pastor, Jim, from a local Christian youth group that inspired him.

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Nejad says, “He taught me everything I needed to know and helped me with the business aspects of DJing.” He realized that there is much more to it than standing behind a set of turntables.

He learned the value and hard work of DJ’s early on and explains that he’s not always by the most famous musicians, instead “for the guy that I see djing on a regular basis at the local bar, nightclub or event.” He explains that he/she is the one that inspires him to work harder.

In addition, he finds inspiration from his parents who moved to the country with nothing. He says that almost 40 years ago, his father with broken English started to work immediately and has not stopped since. “Never once did I hear himself or my mother want to give up and settle for less for our family. That’s true inspiration to me,” he says.

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His greatest supporters have been his wife, Pricila and family. “They have always supported every decision I have made in life, even if it wasn’t the best for me. Sometimes you have to make the mistake yourself to learn,” he says.

Nejad decided to brand his business after a childhood memory. Growing up, Nejad’s grandmother called him soosk which translates to cockroach in Farsi.

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He says, “I was so dark compared to the rest of my family. It stuck when my friends would start calling me that as a joke. If you can’t fight em, Join em.”

Indeed, he joined them! His business grew exceptionally through word of mouth and radio spots on loacal stations and hottest nightclubs in the South Bay area.

Despite the popularity of DJ’s, Nejad wishes people knew that a DJ does not have a 401k or health benefits. “The hours are long, and equipment is very expensive and being able to DJ is a talent. Know the worth of who is being hired,” he says.

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Nejad loves living in the South Bay mostly for the people. “It’s the most diverse, influential and relaxing place to live. I have friends and neighbors from every walk of life and you really cannot find that in many places in this world,” he says. In addition, he has found that he can never complain about the weather and enjoys that it is conveniently close major attractions such as, LA, OC, snow, the dessert, Las Vegas, beaches, and mountains. “You can’t go wrong!” he says.

Today, Nejad continues to DJ on a regular basis weddings and cooperate events. An event’s management company organizes his events for him and can be contacted atReza@DjSoosk.com

Nejad gives back to his community by Djing for breast cancer events, schools and other non-profit events at no charge in order to be able to help raise money for a great cause. “I also do classes and tutorials for kids trying to start off and help with the basics. I would much rather have them in the passion of music than getting into trouble. I know it saved me as a youth,” he says.

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When he is not producing music pieces, he spends his time as a Father and Husband. “It’s the best job in the world. I love spending time with family and friends,” he says.

In five years, Nejad would love to see himself iving in a nice big house (“That Shima sells me of course”) in the South Torrance area, with his wife Pricila and daughter Soraya. He also hopes to have more children then. He says that he doesn’t know where his life will take him in five years, but he hopes to be Djing as much as he does now.

Thank you, Alireza for using your passion for music to make our community a greater place and keeping our youth out of trouble.

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Five ways a home is valued

Shima 0 comments 26.02.2016

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The other day my client asked me, “Shima, how much money can I get for my home?”

I told him that when a potential buyer is inspecting the value of a home, several factors come into play. Although the market has a huge impact whether a home will sell quick or slow, there are some indications that are always considered.

First and foremost, LOCATION!

One of the most influential factors a buyer will consider when deciding whether to purchase a home or investment is geographical location. You’ve heard it, seen it and even said it, “Location, Location, Location!” Proximity to attractions, transportation routes, schools, demographics, ocean views, fine dining and freeways are all advantages one may take into consideration when assessing the value of a home or business’ location.

Second, PRICE!

In 1950, Pepsi used the slang, “More bang for the buck” as an advertising method to describe the New Look policy on nuclear weapons. Today, the phrase is used to mean a greater worth for the money used.

We all love a great deal, especially in one of our greatest investments we will ever make. People want to know that they’re getting more than they imagined they could ever have and that happens when they feel like the home was a steal. Well, how does this occur?

When a home is strategically priced, people line up, wanting it before it’s gone. And the way to do that is to make sure it is priced to sell!

Third, knowing who is your COMPETITION.

When pricing your home, it’s vital to look at what is currently active, what is pending, what has a backup offer, and what has closed.  The active listings are who we are competing with. The pending sales are necessary to see how many days something has been on the market until it has gotten an offer. Closed Sales will test us exactly where our comps will come from- which is typically between the lowest and highest sales.

By understanding WHO the competition is, it is easier to focus on what you have to offer that the others don’t- and that is your power.

Fourth, the CONDITION of your home.

Again, a home or business is a huge investment one makes and the condition will either influence or scare some away. What may seem like a potential fixer to some, may seem frightening to others. So, the condition of a home will influence one’s decision in determining if they will get more bang for their buck!

 Last but not least, the CURRENT MARKET.

Current market conditions are gathered from interest rates, stock market, gasoline prices, election-year distractions, global events, and other things going on around us that we basically have no control over.  These factors plus seasonal things such as income tax time, holidays, add an unpredictable element to home sales.  However, over time, the trend is always upward! As my friend and business partner Tim Marshall says, “I have a saying that the best time to buy is now and the best time to sell is now, because in the long run the trend is always upward.”

As previously mentioned, we all love a great deal. To some, a deal may be getting furniture with the home, a free TV or fridge. To others, it’s simply getting more bang for their buck- which is really just getting something better for the same price.

So when deciding what to price your home, remember these determining factors that will ultimately influence a buyer’s decision. Remember, we’re all out to get the most bang for our buck!

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The Purfect Voice for the Incapable

Shima 0 comments 12.01.2016

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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, Brittany Neal, who started her own dog walking and pet sitting business on top of giving animals left at shelters another chance at life.

Brittany, 24, realized that she always had a deeper passion for animals than most. She grew up surrounded by many different types of animals including fish, turtles, a rabbit, a frog, lizards, snakes, cats, and dogs. “Whatever animal someone didn’t want or we found we kept,” she says.

For some time, she watched her uncle’s animals while he was out of town and also worked for a dog walking company in the South Bay for a summer.  She worked for the dog walking company for about six months until deciding to focus on graduating from CSULB. Upon leaving her job, many of her previous clients asked if Brittany would continue working for them as a dog walker when time permitted and suggested she’d set her own rate with them.

After graduating from CSULB in 2014, Brittany’s previous clients continued referring others in need of animal sitting or dog walking to her. Knowing that she loved it so much, she decided start her own business, Purfect Companion with the referral clients she started to obtain in 2014.

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Purfect Companion services include dog walking and exercise, in-home visits, pet taxi and overnight stays. Details of her services can be found on the website here. Currently, Brittany runs the business alone with occasional help from her sister, Keilani. She is searching for the perfect employee to assist her at the moment, but is taking her time in finding the right match.

When asked what makes Purfect Companion differ from other dog walking businesses, Brittany says, “I make sure to meet with the owner and animal prior to welcoming them as clients. I take the time to get to learn and take notes of each animals quirks and I always have constant communication with the owners. This, I feel, makes the owners at ease and creates a closer relationship with my clients so they always feel comfortable coming to me with questions or concerns.”

Brittany hopes to one day be able to patent her own technology for her business, which will help her to be able to expand into the Orange County region, as well as Hollywood/Santa Monica Area. “At the moment, there isn’t the exact software/app program, etc. that correctly fits the needs of my employees, my clients, and myself,” she explains. She hopes enhanced technology will allow her clients to stay connected with her which results in better organization and all-around happier clients.

She is always seeking ways to spread the word or do anything she can to help a dog/cat find his/her forever home. Growing up, her family has always taken in strays and had many types of unwanted animals so she believes this is where she has gotten the drive from. “I don’t know any different,” she says.

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Currently, she has five animals living in her home. One cat who she adopted from the Carson Shelter, one cat came from an accidental litter, one cat was found drinking gutter water outside of the restaurant she works at nights, her own dog who was adopted from an unwanted litter of puppies, and finally her foster dog Achilles whom was adopted from the Carson Shelter in October 2015.

She’d come across a video of an injured and completely adorable dog online that no one seemed very interested in. She went to the shelter and saw that Achilles was located in a quarantined area and his front left paw was injured and he wasn’t able to use it.

After a lot of back and forth with the shelter, Achilles was finally (after a month) available to be adopted out on a health waiver. She had to sign papers stating she was aware he needed further medical attention and that she would return with proof of this.

“I felt so bad for this poor guy sitting at the shelter for a whole month unable to even be considered for adoption, that I had to take him in. It was difficult and taking a long time getting a rescue group on board to try to get him out as a foster, and I just wanted him to be safe and not stand a chance of euthanization, so I went ahead and adopted him in hopes of re-homing him in the future,” she explains.

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Once adopted, she took him to her veterinarian Dr. Kumar at the Animal Medical Center in Hawthorne and he did the works on him. Achilles had kennel cough, tape worm, flea infestation and after x-rays and tests, they found that his paw had nerve damage to it.

She also took Achilles to a neurologist and they agreed as well. There was nothing to do but wait and see if the nerves would repair themselves over time. Both veterinarians told her that with some cases, dogs can get serious injuries due to not being able to feel their limbs and sometimes even bite off their own limbs.

After three months of being with Achilles, the worst case scenario happened. The dog managed to somehow bite off or rip off one of his toes (the dew-claw that is located higher up on their arm). She took him to the vet and they and I agreed it was best to amputate his arm since this would only get worse.

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Over the span of just 4-5 days, any time Achilles was left alone for only a few minutes, he would manage to rip off the bandaging and make his wound even worse to the point you could see bone. Brittany says, “at this point, amputation was urgent”

 On January 5, 2016, Achilles became a 3-legged dog. She says he is adapting extremely well and it’s almost as if he wanted that leg removed. She finds that he is just fine and is in very high spirits. Brittany is extremely grateful for her mother, Riki Rodriguez, who helps Achilles when Brittany is unable to. She explains that Riki is her dog sitter and helps watch him while he is healing.

With the help of non-profit dog rescue, The Lovejoy Foundation and Erin Lovejoy herself, Brittany believes she will be able to find Achilles’ forever home in hopefully the next month or two. Donations to help Achilles can be made directly on his Go-Fund me page here.

Outside of opening her own business, Brittany has always wanted to help a rescue group or start one of her own and she hopes to spread awareness to the South Bay about adopting animals and not purchasing them. “There is such an epidemic going on with overcrowded animal shelters and animal abuse cases that it is imperative to help spread the word to anyone willing to listen. I hope to be able to connect with the people of South Bay and make a difference for these poor animals who did nothing other than be born,” she says.

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She believes this can be done by providing information on low cost or free spay/neuter clinics, low cost behavioral specialists so animals have a chance to correct unwanted or bad behavior, so they ultimately do not have to be given away for these reasons, and information on the importance of continual care for your pet for its entire life.

Brittany would like others to know that animals should be treated like children. “They require time, money (lots of it sometimes), patience, training, and love. So if you aren’t willing to make a 10-16 year commitment to NOT just leave your animal in the yard, or give them away when you move, then don’t get one in the first place,” she says.

Although busy, Brittany still manages to have her own pets with the exception of help too. “I have help, just like my clients have me to help them. Sometimes I have to plan ahead of time with my schedule and ask a friend or family member to swing by to check on my animals or feed them. I have lots of spare keys just for the animal’s needs,” she explains.

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Brittany’s animals sleep with her inside, and if possible, she takes her dog on vacation with her as well. In addition, she makes sure they all have a routine of when they eat and she knows when they need to go potty. She believes that having taken the time to know each of her animals as well as each of their personalities, has made life easier.

When she isn’t being a wonderful mom to her own pets, rescuing dogs, or walking and sitting dogs, she enjoys grabbing food/coffee with friends and just catching up with their lives. She also loves music and enjoys going to concerts whenever possible. Brittany currently resides in Lawndale and grew up in the South Bay.

To learn more about Achilles and how you can help, please refer to the following link:

Achilles gofundme link for donations: www.gofundme.com/achillesleg

Purfect Companion Business Inquires:

www.purfectcompanion.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/purfectcompanion

Thank you, Brittany Neal for being a wonderful member of the South Bay community and providing not only exceptional services but by offering a voice for our fur friends who are unable to speak.

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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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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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Second Chance at Life

Shima 0 comments 26.10.2015

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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 South Bay resident and my dog’s trainer, Leroy Singh, with Mission Underdog Group who is the South Bay’s dog whisperer!

Leroy was born and raised in Jamaica, while surrounded by animals from the very beginning. His family always had Rottweilers on site, and he herded goats and cows, collected chicken eggs, chased lizards and frogs, and raised birds. Growing up, Leroy felt a desire to better the lives of animals of all kinds and at the age of 10, traveled to Los Angeles, CA.

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Although he was no longer in his hometown with a backyard filled with sheep, birds, cows and dogs, he did everything within his power to continue to study animal behavior.  He began collecting magazines dedicated to pigeons, flock, feline and canine, to volunteering at local animal shelters. Leroy was constantly in pursuit of attaining knowledge of animals, so following high school, he began to work at Petco.

While at Petco, he became a licensed specialist in any academia possible – including reptiles and birds. Soon after, he began working with local shelters and dog rehab facilities, where he built a philosophy that would go on to fuel his future.

Leroy worked as a dog walker and trainer for more than five years. His first training client was a referral who he met while dog-walking and one of his main clients had 15 dogs living on her sprawling mansion property.

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Her assistant knew Leroy loved and worked with dogs and asked him to help a friend of hers with their out-of-control dog. From there, he received referral after referral until he had a strong enough client base to open an official boarding and training site. In July of 2011, Leroy officially began MUG training and rehabilitation in hopes of providing dogs a second chance at life by rehabilitating and training them, so they would not end up in a shelter.

Leroy worked for almost five years as a dog trainer with Brandon Fouche before branching out to open his own facility. Leroy explains that the greatest joy is working with the dogs and seeing them every day. He never leaves, never has a whole day off, and hates the thought of being off site for more than a few hours. Despite how much he loves the dogs, he explains that, “The greatest difficulty are the people.”

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Despite all efforts to inform his clients, Leroy finds that many owners fail to adopt the methods he tries so hard to teach, and many dogs lapse back into poor behaviors and have to return to rehabilitation. It can be incredibly frustrating to work with a dog every day, to watch it change for the better and become an excellent, well-balanced companion, and then watch it revert back into aggression or disobedience beaches the owner failed to continue the work. Regardless, he never gives up on the dogs or his clients.

Leroy suggests that dog owners do full research on a breed before adopting. He finds that too many owners take home a dog because they find it cute and friendly as a puppy and are shocked to see it grow large, or to find it’s energetic or destructive. Before taking home a dog a family should research breed characteristics, temperament, energy levels and grooming needs to make sure the dog really is a good fit for the family. This alone would prevent thousands of good dogs for ending up in shelters for doing no more than growing into what they were bred to be.

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The drive to fix dogs seems to vary by culture and area. Some areas seem to shrink from the idea of neutering dogs, preferring to breed them and make money off the puppies. Some areas all but insist that dogs be neutered and prefer rescuing mutts to buying purebreds. While volume is a huge problem and contributes to an unheard of number of shelter deaths, one of the main reason for dogs being surrendered or abandoned remains behavior issues.

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When he isn’t busy training, Leroy likes to go for long drives along the coast. He loves food, of all kinds, and is always looking for new hole-in-the-wall gems with great food. He raises birds and owns a flock of almost 50 pigeons of different species, some very rare.

Leroy recently turned 30. In five years, he hopes to have at least two more branches of MUG in the area so his training and rehabilitation methods will be fully operational all the way out to Orange County and Hollywood, with a fully functional rescue as well so dogs are no longer abandoned or euthanized for aggression.

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MUG deals with dogs of all types, breeds, ages, sizes, and temperaments, from Chihuahuas to Mastiffs, puppies to seniors, and the excessively fearful to the overly friendly. MUG offers everything from dog walking, boarding, basic training, intense training, and even full rehabilitation.

In addition, the team takes friendly dogs to the dog park or hiking adventures, train dogs how to walk nicely on a leash or deal politely with strange dogs, and rehabilitate dogs with severe aggression or bite histories. All kinds of dogs are welcome to join Leroy’s pack for walks, hikes, and to visit the dog park so they get a lifetime of refresher training and good socialization. MUG will also board so owners can leave town without worrying.

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Rescues came to Leroy as referrals, just like all other clients. His willingness to offer discounted services and his unqualified success with last-chance cases earned him great reputation and made him the go-to guy for many local rescues with problem cases

 With the Mission Underdog Group, Leroy hopes to share this knowledge, specifically surrounding dogs, with people that need help providing the best possible life for their animals.  What makes Leroy so loved and admired by his clients his not only his affordable cost and love for what he does, but his willingness to bend over backwards for dogs as he often does.

To learn more about Leroy, his rescues, and MUG, please refer to his website here.

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