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Meeting the needs of every child.

Shima 0 comments 06.04.2016


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 Cassondra (Cassie) Harris who teaches English two honors and English three at South High School on top of instructing the girls' drill team.

Cassie grew up in Redondo Beach and graduated from Mira Costa High school. Several years later, she completed the scholars program at Santa Monica college, and later transferred to UCLA. Cassie graduated with a major in English and says that she absolutely loved college!

Growing up, she wasn't always sure that she wanted to become a teacher. She says that she many family members  are teachers and knew that teaching was harder work than most people think it is. “I knew that I loved working with kids and that I loved the literature and writing. However, I was also interested in the field of psychology,” she says.

Cassie grew up watching her mother prepare lesson plans, grade assignments, and witnessed her going to help in her classroom on weekends. Despite growing up around a teacher, she says it was not until she began tutoring for the AVID program at Mira Costa that she realized she was really interested in the field of education. She says, “I really enjoyed helping teenagers with their writing and discussing literature.”


Since becoming a teacher, Cassie learned very early on that students will respect you if you are respectful to them. “It's important to never judge a student because often we don't know what is going on in their personal life,” she says.

She enjoys seeing when her students have a light-bulb moment and they understand a concept that they were having a difficult time with. Also, she likes being able to stay in touch with past students and see them grow into successful adults.

When Cassie is not improving her students’ English skills, she enjoys coaching the Drill Team. She has been the Drill Team adviser at South High for the past 10 years. She says, “Many people get Drill confused with cheer. Although Drill still supports the school by attending and performing at basketball and football games, their performances are dance-like in nature.”

Her responsibility as a Coach is to monitor and manage the team. She organizes practices, performance, and events. She also attends all of the practices, performances, and events. By doing so, she gets to know the kids on the team very well because they spend so much time together. She says, “I think of them as part of my family. We are currently in our competition season. Our final, USA National competition is this coming weekend!”


Cassie would like others to know that most teachers become educators because they love kids and love their subject of choice. She says, “We often care for the children of others as if they are our own.”

When Cassie is not teaching her students or coaching, she enjoys paying it forward by doing the simple things. She says, “Paying it forward doesn't always mean a grand gesture. I like doing simple things, like taking time to say hi to strangers passing by, or helping an elderly person who needs assistance in the grocery store. You never know what someone is going through, or how a simple favor might make their day.”

 She loves living in the South Bay mostly because a lot of people stay here. She says, “It's really nice to have so many close friends that live in the area.”

Thank you, Cassie, for empowering the children of our future to learn, grow, and become all-around wonderful members of society.


 “Teaching is not easy. Teachers take lots of time to plan their lessons well to ensure that each student's needs will be met.”

– Cassie Harris

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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 Sears.com, “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.


Source: http://www.sears.com/articles/appliances/washers-dryers/gas-vs-electric-dryers.html

Photo Credit: Ashley Winn Design

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Diagnostic Hurdles

Shima 0 comments 03.04.2016


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 Edward Wilson who specializes in BMW and Mini Automotive repair and is working on becoming a CrossFit coach in hopes of helping others like it has helped him.

Eddie, 29, was born in Long Beach and lived there for five years until his family had an opportunity to move to a small town west of Boise Called Nampa in Idaho.  While in Nampa, he completed all grades 1st through 12th in local public schools.  Immediately following high School, he attended and graduated from Boise State University with a three-year Degree in Automotive Technology.

Less than a year later, Eddie made an ambitious decision to pack up only the bare minimum in the back of his Ford Escort and take a leap to try and move back to California. Nine years later, Eddie is still living in Southern California and using his degree in Automotive Technology to his advantage.


Eddie says that California has definitely created more dynamic job opportunities in his field of work than what he might have found had he stayed in Idaho. He currently working at BMW MINI WORX in Lawndale, specializing in BMW and MINI Automotive Repair and Maintenance. Eddie’s past employment jobs and tons of experience has pointed him to finding his passion for European Car Repair.

About four years ago, Eddie was introduced to CrossFit. He says at the time, he’d only played in a Rec hockey league at the local Ice staking rink to stay in shape. He remembers the first time he saw anyone do CrossFit was on ESPN. He says it was the REEBOK CROSSFIT GAMES 2012 and at first all he could see were guys doing crazy workouts that just left him exhausted just from watching.


Despite feeling intimidated, he really wanted to try. A couple months went by and as his hockey season was coming to an end , he figured heI would give CrossFit a try. He went into the Lomita Crossfit box (gym) and says it took him about 8 min to finish a small baseline workout that was provided for him with some very basic body weight movements. He thought to himself, “Why was this so hard??” It was from that point on that he was completely hooked!

He says that CrossFit has completely changed his life. He loves watching how the professionals moved weight, barbells, their physique, and how confident they looked. Even after falling on hard times shortly after he found CrossFit, he said the workouts allowed him to feel empowered again.

Eddie says if he were to tell someone who didn’t know CrossFit was, he’d say two things: “ I would say CrossFit is about learning how to perform and exercise movements that appeal to real life challenges,  achieving a better Lifestyle through Fitness, performing  daily tasks with better posture, Strength, and stamina, being ready for anything that might come your way.. I would also mention the community CrossFit is surrounded by, everyone is so empowering, we all might be at different levels of fitness but NO ONE is better than anyone else, we will wait till the last person finishes before we do anything else, we’re all in it together.”


Eddie’s main goal this year is to help people the same way his coach helped him by attending a Level one CrossFit certification course and to help coach at their local CrossFit Box.  “Over the years, I’ve provided other people with advise from the time I’ve spent through trial and error. Not only does a coach’s advice help out in the gym, but by adapting the way things work and by providing them with challenges, it will always be a learning process, which will only make us stronger for the real world.”

Eddie pays it forward by being a good and honest person. He says he does so by helping people who are in need, going out of his way to give an elderly lady a ride around the corner to the grocery store, helping friends or strangers with car problems or repairs or supporting our military. “Although I was never part of the military or law enforcement, large parts of my family are.  As weird as it seems being a part of the CrossFit community has really made me appreciate all of their sacrifices by dedicating workouts, recognizing, and embracing them and our country as truly something special,” he says.


He also enjoys seeing his family partake in CrossFit and couldn’t be more proud of their recent step on board.

Thank you Eddie for taking your love for fitness as an opportunity to build a better community and help others.


“The constant challenges and diagnostic hurdles definitely keeps me on my toes, I find great satisfaction for what I do and I take pride in that.”

-Eddie Wilson

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Providing Comfort & Making a Difference.

Shima 0 comments 30.03.2016


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 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.”


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.


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.​


​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.


“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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Changing the Game.

Shima 0 comments 29.03.2016


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 Bobby Hubert who manages a nicotine research lab at the Veterans’ Hospital in Long Beach and spending any free time developing games for cellular devices.

 Bobby, 31, was born and raised in the South Bay. Growing up, he spent a lot of time at the strip down by the beach as his dad owned a black & white photo lab on Ave I and he would spend a lot of time there. “I loved the South Bay as a kid, always felt safe skateboarding around everywhere,” he says.


Several years later, they moved around the South Bay and Palos Verdes until he at Peninsula high, graduating in 2002. Having absolutely no idea what he wanted to do in life, he decided to go to El Camino college in Torrance where he enrolled in many classes. He says, “I wanted to see what was out there.”

 He started off studying music composition, but ended up deciding to go into psychology.


“I still get to dabble in music every so often but my curiosity about people and health got the better of me and so after a few years I transferred to UCLA where I earned my degree in psych,” he says.

 Bobby says that he’d definitely recommend community college for young students who might not know what they want to do yet or just to get some exposure and explore different subjects before taking the plunge.


He says that if you ask his friends, they'd probably all say that he’s never not working. Bobby says it’s true, however, he enjoys it. During his “off” time, he runs a small indie game dev. studio out of his apartment with his brother and some friends. So he spends most of his waking hours, and probably a few sleeping ones, working on developing games and other software.

 His brother and him grew up on video games. Jokingly he says, “I think our parents must of had some sort of joint custody agreement with Nintendo because we definitely spent a lot of time with those games and so naturally we have a fond appreciation for the classics and I think a big part of what drives us in making games now is trying to capture that same feeling we got from those simple games of the 80's and 90's and bring them into a modern medium,” he says.


Outside of his hobby of developing games, Bobby’s full-time position is managing a nicotine research lab at the Veterans’ Hospital. There, his team does research with the veterans geared towards understanding more about smoking, addiction, and how nicotine, caffeine, and marijuana can affect the brain and how different substances may change the way addiction operates. In addition, they run smoking cessation classes alongside a research program geared towards discovering how to better help veterans with schizophrenia quit smoking.


Bobby says that the most gratifying part of his career thus far is running into a veteran who was in one of their studies months or even years later and having them say they are still cigarette free and how much better they feel. “It's amazing to see someone's life really change for the better and having even a small roll in that is a great reminder of why we do what we do,” he says.


One can learn more about Bobby’s games at www.agog.net or go the AppStore for Agog. Bobby says, “We can't be held responsible if you smash your phone in frustration, just like those old Nintendo games, some of our games are difficult.”

Bobby enjoys paying it forward whenever possible. He says, “I feel like with every little interaction we have with others every day a small part of that should be spent trying to make a person’s day better. Whether that's covering someone who's short on cash, giving someone a ride, or simply saying hi and smiling at the store when checking out, it only takes a second and it's an opportunity to make someone's day just a bit better and hopefully it spreads. So look up from your phone once in a while and smile! It's contagious.”


Bobby can’t imagine living anywhere other than the South Bay He says, “I'm sure it's written somewhere but we probably have the best weather in the world and it's a good thing too because the South Bay is full of things to do and we are so close to all of it; the beach, farmers markets and street fairs, great shopping, quiet parks, beautiful hiking trails and nature, and endless great food. But all that wouldn't even matter without all the awesome people; this area is home to some of the nicest people around and even though it's a pretty big place we make it feel cozy, it's not uncommon to run into friends and neighbors on a daily basis when you are out and about.”


 When Bobby isn’t developing games or aiding our veterans, he enjoys working on his truck, a 66 Chevy. He says, “It will probably never be finished but it's a fun way to spend time and not have to think about all the other work I should probably be doing. The last bit of work I did on it was to the bumper, I discovered about 8 layers of paint under the primer and decided to let a little bit of that history show by sanding through the different layers and I'm really happy with the result.”

 Thank you, Bobby, for inspiring the community by following your passions of developing games all while attaining a full-time position serving our veterans. You are an asset to the South Bay community.


“Just a note to anyone out there trying to follow a passion or wanting to create something new - It's worth it, don't stop.”

– Bobby

Photo credit: Bobby Hubert

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Searching for more than just eggs this Easter?

Shima 0 comments 25.03.2016


We’re not even half way done with the first quarter of the new year and it seems as though all the good homes are tricky to find just like the most rewarding eggs!

Experts predicted early on that the housing market in 2016 would be a seller’s market. Fast-forward to March and it is evident that home prices are increasing, inventory is low, and there are many buyers looking for the same things.

What should you know?

In a seller’s market, there are more buyers than sellers. This tends to cause discouragement in buyers as they find themselves competing amongst others for the home of their dreams.

Certainly, buyers must keep an open mind and stay prepared to move quickly. If one should find the home of their dreams- they should act now as statistics show that 85% of buyers who say they plan to buy a home in the next year, say they will wait until late spring or early summer. Luckily for buyers who begin their house hunt early on, face less competitors with just as many homes for sale.

When choosing a mortgage, it is helpful for buyers to shop around and meet with several lenders. By speaking to different parties, you will find you have multiple options to choose from and are not putting all your eggs in one basket.


As for sellers, prime home buying season usually begins in April and reaches a peak in June. When choosing to list your home during the prime months, as a seller, you are benefitting from a larger population of buyers and potential bidding wars. Surely, this brings in higher prices and quicker closings.

Frankly, by pricing a home to sell accurately, based on comparable sales, buyers will naturally be attracted to the home. It is therefore essential to price a home adequately for the market.

Undoubtedly, it is important to get the right help when buying or selling.

Remember, you surely don’t have to house ‘hunt’ alone… I’m only a ‘hop’ away from helping you and those you know during such a monumental time.

I wish you a happy Easter and spring!

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Making women feel beautiful again.

Shima 0 comments 23.03.2016


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 entrepreneur Mari who began designing clothing with stretchy material in hopes of helping women feel more comfortable in their skin.

Mari, 28, grew up in Southern California. In 2012, Mari began creating dresses after feeling frustrated with the limited amount of styles for her comfort. “I grew tired of shopping at the mall, trying to fit my body type in a Forever 21 dress, so I literally told myself, today, I’m going to make a dress with no pattern, all free hand, and I did,” she says.


Early on, her father and mother inspired her to begin creating dresses.  “Every time we had a social gathering, which was almost every Friday and Saturday, my Mother would pick out the fabric and design the outfit, while my Father would make the outfit. It was like having my own personal designer, i am grateful for my parents. they have inspired me to express myself how i wanted to be portrayed which she says is unheard of in the Afghan community.


Initially, Mari only created custom orders, however, is currently transitioning into costume designs for the film industry and stage performance costume.

Mari feels most relaxed when she is able to create pieces and finds that she is in her element then.  “It’s my meditation time, a time to recollect my thoughts and keep my mind focus. It’s very therapeutic for me,” she says. Mari’s dress designs are inspired by Bollywood. “I love everything about it, especially Hindi films, colors, colors, colors!”

One of Mari’s greatest passions and ways of paying it forward to the community is as a humanist. She says, “I am prolife. If you are hungry, I will offer you food. If you are thirsty, I will offer you water. I believe every living thing/being on this earth deserves privilege and equality, after all we are all visitors. So who are we as human being to ignore the suffering of others?”


Outside of offering a lending hand to those in need, Mari is very vocal on her social media accounts supporting the latest movement,“Black lives matter.” She became very passionate about the cause after her husband, Daylyt was harassed by the police several times. She says, “Remind you, we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, he is not on parole, he is not a criminal. But even if I’m driving, as soon as they see him, we get pulled over and they take him out of the car, out of camera view, call for backup , and an hour later, let us go. After they don’t have any reason in the first place to pull us over.”

She feels it is important that society educates and acknowledges the fact that racism exists and we it’s practiced daily within the police force and justice system.


When Mari is not creating and designing dresses for her clients, she enjoys living a simple life as a vegan, seamstress, and photographer. She also assists her husband, Daylyt and is a full-time mother to her son, Sunlyt whom she also homeschools.

She enjoys hiking outdoors, swimming, belly dancing, going to the beach, making music, singing, battle rapping, and reading.

Mari has found some ways to a successful life. She says that first, a happy home begins with a happy woman in the household, whether it is the mother, wife, or girlfriend. She also believes in adding color in one’s wardrobe affects their mood tremendously. “The average person’s go to color is black. I think we should break out of that corporate America look and incorporate vibrant colors in our wardrobes once in a while,” she says.


She hopes that others will think outside of the box and speak into existence. She simply says, “YES, you can do whatever you put your mind to!”

Thank you, Mari for a being a wonderful member of the South Bay and offering women an alternative way to feel sexy and advocating human-rights for all.

To contact Mari for custom pieces, please visit her website at i2ahadi.com or visit her instagram page at @MARI2AHADI


“After all, fashion expresses a person’s personality without having to speak! Thanks, mom & dad.”


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Helping our Troops out on the field.

Shima 0 comments 21.03.2016


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 Vaneh Hartouni who although commutes from the San Fernando Valley to his job in El Segundo, has provided exceptional expertise in technology to South Bay’s well-known company, Raytheon.

Vaneh has lived in Los Angeles for the majority of his life and is currently a Project Lead at Raytheon in El Segundo, CA. He hopes to move closer to the South Bay in the future so that he is closer to his work.

In 2010, Vaneh received his Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly Pomona and received his Master of Science degree from UCLA in 2013. Both of his degrees are in Electrical Engineering focusing on digital systems.

Vaneh has been in the aerospace industry for several years. His experience includes working for multiple aerospace companies such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. Prior to that, he was an intern for 2.5 years at another aerospace company while attending school full-time.

Some of duties with his technical background include designing various electronics for different platforms such as navigations systems, electronic warfare and radars. In addition, he has led projects by managing people, schedule and budget. Vaneh has an entrepreneurial spirit and through his passion, he has worked on a side project related to portable fingerprint sensors. Currently, he has a provisional pending patent for his portable lock application.

He finds the most inspiring part of his job is the ability to use unique and exciting technology to build electronics for military to help our troops out in the field.

Vaneh says that Raytheon is known as an aerospace company providing products for military platforms. In addition, Raytheon has commercial and internationals customers. “Matter fact, over last a few years, the international customers generate significant amount of revenue for Raytheon,” he says.

Raytheon gives back to the community by providing a STEM program to help high school students to gain interest in the science field by providing college scholarships.

Vaneh hopes in five years to be a functional or program manager at Raytheon.

He enjoys the South Bay for the beaches and has found that the people are nice, friendly and polite. When he is not working, he enjoys being outdoors, sailing, cycling, basketball, snowboarding and going to the gym.

Thank you, Vaneh for being a wonderful member of South Bay’s respected and admired company, Raytheon and providing extensive help to its continuing growth.

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Makeovers for Everyone.

Shima 0 comments 16.03.2016


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 Larisa who followed her passions for makeup as a child and pursued a career as a makeup artist.

Larisa, resident of the South Bay has been a makeup artist for over 10 years. She pursued makeup after realizing that it was something she was always drawn to from an early age and passionate about. Today, Larisa is working as freelance makeup artist and is self-employed.

She says, “When I was a little girl, there were no doll houses, cookie and tea parties in my room. If you came to play, you were getting a makeover.” Years later, she enrolled in makeup school and took it very seriously. “It was very important for me to have the proper education,” she says.


Upon graduating from makeup school, her career took off. She worked for several makeup companies as a traveling artist and trainer. “I would say for anyone who starts, that’s always a good way to get your hands in the field. It definitely opens many doors for you aside from the fun and experience, but never give up on your dreams and your main goal,” she says.

She has had the opportunity to work on very exciting sets throughout her career. “I was so excited when I was working on a set for KTLA news on live TV for their Valentine’s Day lingerie show,” she says. She enjoys meeting other artist and enjoys the fun she gets to have on set.

Larisa enjoys doing makeup mostly for the reactions she gets from her clients. She loves seeing people happy and in a good mood while getting their makeup done. “I like listening to them. I always hear the most interesting stories,” she says.


When she is not working, Larissa enjoys spending time at the beach or traveling. Those two things always help her recharge. She also loves to cook and going into what she calls, “Chef mode.” She says that if she weren’t a makeup artist, she would be a chef and a really good one.

She loves the South Bay mostly because it is the only place in the world that has always felt like home and it is home for her. “I love everything about the South Bay, the beaches, the views, the weather, the people, the feel,” she says. She feels as though she is walking in a postcard or painting whenever near the water and calls it “heaven on earth.”

To schedule an appointment with Larisa, please contact her directly at info@larisamakeup.com

Instagram: @larisalovesmakeup

Thank you, Larisa for offering your passions and love for makeup to the residents of the South Bay community.


“Get out there and challenge yourself and never reject any gigs.”

– Larisa

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Cooking up a storm

Shima 0 comments 14.03.2016


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 Parhom Niaki who is the head chef for a sorority at USC and is in charge of creating nutritious meals five days a week for the 142 sorority sisters.

Parhom,32, is California born and raised. Growing up, Parhom didn’t know he wanted to be a chef. He did however know he had a love for food and creating dishes since he was a child. “As a kid, I used to make pasta and pizza but I loved making the sauces. I always did it by myself,” he says. Therefore, he decided to pursue culinary arts as a career.

Although his parents are his role models, he says his grandfather was behind his inspiration to cook. “My grandpa was my inspiration because he loved to cook in order to bring the family together. He did it for love of family,” he says.

Parhom a two-year program where he was trained in all basic skills from cutting, making sauces, cooking meats, breakfast cookery, basic baking, charcuterie and meat fabrication cooking. His classes consisted of four hours a day, four times a week.

Similar to other courses, there were many tests involved. In order to graduate from the school, you’re required to prepare a dish with a protein starch, veggie, and sauce in under an hour. “If you are going into this field, all I can tell you is don’t be stagnant, go to different chefs and restaurants to up your game,” Parhom says.


Today, Parhom is the head chef for the prestigious California based university, USC. Parhom says that the USC job just fell into his lap, after an old classmate contacted him about the position and he felt he was the best fit. His schedule consists of working 53 hours a week, Monday through Friday. He begins daily at 8 and ends at 7 p.m. “I serve them lunch and dinner, made fresh every day. My sous chef makes them breakfast in the morning and I have one prep/ dishwasher that has no cooking experience till now,” he says.

As an executive chef, Parhom creates the menu, orders the products, makes an inventory of products, maintains the budget, cooks the sauces and proteins, and also is responsible for making the foods for girls with dietary restrictions. Such as, being aware of any allergies the girls may have. “We have girls with gluten, soy, salt, pepper, nut, etc. allergies. I usually just find ways to make them meals based on those allergies so there is no real way of making it, I just having to adjust it,” he says.

Parhom says, “The best part of the job is getting the gratitude from the girls, it’s not something that happens often in the restaurant industry.”


When Parhom is not cooking up dishes for the girls at USC, he lives a simple life. “I go to the gym, I play with my dogs, see my friends and watch movies,” he says. Parhom’s goal is to start his own food truck business, creating a new genre of food and eventually turning it into a standing restaurant. “With a food truck, it’s a good way to get your name out there without needing a lot of capital,” he says.

Thank you, Parhom, for providing the young girls at USC  and our future leaders, nutritious meals to keep them focused during their busy academic days.


 “Being a chef isn’t the glamorous career people see on TV. It’s hard work, long hours, and lots of dedication but you have to love the art, not just do it.” – Pahom Niaki

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