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february 2013

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Volume 8. numb er 2

What Matters Most This month, when so many people are focused on romantic notions, why not take a moment and use some of that positive energy to find new reasons to feel good about where you’ve chosen to live, raise a family, own a business and be an active participant. It’s easy if you are willing to take a minute and really look with a heart open to seeing the best in your neighbors. Page 6

Love Is In The 4S Air Valentine’s Day is coming, and never fear, The Critic Chick is here! Why limit the day to just lovers when the simple expression of love and appreciation should be shared by all? This is one of my favorite days of the year (and not just because it’s the only day of the year you can “buy one, get one free” at Coffee Bean) awesome, right? Page 10

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the 4S Ranch Library 2013 marks the Year of the Snake and the 4S Ranch Library will be celebrating the 4th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Wednesday, February 6, from 4 to 6pm. The two-hour event is free and will feature a host of entertainment, activities and light refreshments for all ages. Page 7




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Volume 8 . numb e r 2

february 2013 editor’s corner

mike Mi njares

What Really Matters – Relationships community news & lifestyle for 4S Ranch

O f f ic e

Fountain Media Group, Inc. 1501 San Elijo Rd. S, Ste. 104-202 San Elijo Hills, CA 92078 (800) 497-1309 P u b lis h e r

Tim Minjares Publisher (800) 497-1309 x707 e d itorial

Mike Minjares Managing Editor (800) 497-1309 x712 S al e s

Melissa Granados Sales Director (800) 497-1309 x701

FountainMediaGroup inc. publications that build community

Our mission for Back At The Ranch is to connect 4S residents to each other and to key resources with the goal of building community in 4S Ranch and the greater Rancho Bernardo area. Back at The Ranch is a great example of what can happen when neighbors build strong relationships and get busy putting their ideas and skills together for the good of the community. We hope you find this community publication reflective of our excitement to be in 4S Ranch and our desire to build something that brings us all closer together. We invite you to join in the fun and get involved. Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, in whole or part, without written permission is prohibited. Back at the Ranch (BATR) is a monthly publication highlighting house, home and community building. BATR accepts freelance contributions, though there is no guarantee that unsolicited material will be returned. BATR is not responsible for the views of contributing writers and assumes no responsibility for errors appearing within. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Publisher or advertisers. We reserve the right to restrict all advertisements to their proper classification and to edit or reject any copy.

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Over the years, I’ve had many an occasion to be asked to share some advice on relationships. I guess that’s what happens when people see you still happily with the partner you met as an 11th grader and reconnected with as a college freshman. My wife Marietta and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last summer, though we’ve been together for more than 28 years now. As a student leadership organization advisor at San Diego State University, I had students regularly wanting words of wisdom on how to make their relationships work. When Marietta and I led Engaged Encounter (marriage preparation) weekends, we enjoyed a formal role in offering our example of a marriage that works – in large part because we work at it. As best man at two dear friends’ weddings, I was expected to dispense with encouraging words that were also enlightening and yet humorous. Despite the practice and opportunity, I still feel challenged to pretend to have some sort of expertise on relationships – romantic or otherwise. Just because I happen to have found someone to make a way in this crazy world with doesn’t mean I know how we’ve been able to do this together for more than half our lives now. We’ve grown closer together while growing as individuals. We’ve welcomed two wonderful kids into our home and devote more and more of our energies into seeing that they feel loved, supported and empowered to set out to accomplish whatever they fix their minds

on doing. I know it hasn’t been easy or without tough times, but I smile knowing that everything we have gone through we have gone through together. There’s a quiet confidence – perhaps a calmness – in having the unwavering support of a companion that knows all your faults and failings and accepts you anyway. When I think about what matters most in my relationship with Marietta – and, in fact, with those I hold closest to my heart – it’s that mutual appreciation that we are not perfect, but we like hanging out together regardless. In some aspects I also think a similar sentiment makes the community of 4S Ranch the right place for so many people. Yes, there are aspects of every community that can be improved but focusing more on what is going right in the neighborhood leads to a greater sense of satisfaction and community. Paying attention to the positive is at the center of this publication and defines what we believe really matters in our efforts to bring you a community newspaper that you look forward to receiving and reading. So, this month, when so many people are focused on romantic notions, why not take a moment and use some of that positive energy to find new reasons to feel good about where you’ve chosen to live, raise a family, own a business and be an active participant. It’s easy if you are willing to take a minute and really look with a heart open to seeing the best in your neighbors.

feature - what really matters Lov e is i n t h e 4S A i r


Bui lding f r i e ndsh ips - O ne N ot e a day


stic ki ng wit h new y e a r’s r e s olu tions


community news O n Yo ur Do o r step News & events happening IN & around 4S Ranch


meet your neighbor the Ro fami ly


school news stone r a nc h e le me ntary sch ool


volunt e e r spi r it a l iv e a nd w e ll at De l N o rt e High


back at the ranch: page 3

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on your doorstep Celebrate the Chinese New Year at the 4S Ranch Library 2013 marks the Year of the Snake and the 4S Ranch Library will be celebrating the 4th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Wednesday, February 6, from 4 to 6pm. The two-hour event is free and will feature a host of entertainment, activities and light refreshments for all ages. The library celebration will feature the International Culture Learning Chinese School student dancers, followed by gifts of red envelopes with candy for all children, traditional lion dancers and a drum performance by the San Diego Lucky Lion Dancers, Violin Performances by the Stanley Want Violin Studio, hands-on Lucky Treat-Holder and Little Dragons Drum crafts, and light refreshments. The Chinese New Year is one of the most important of all the traditional Chinese holidays, and is a time to celebrate with family and wish peace and happiness to everyone. “The Chinese New Year Celebration is an opportunity for the community to come together in celebration of family, life and happiness,” said Laura Zuckerman, Youth Services Librarian. “On behalf of the library staff and the Friends of the 4S Ranch Library, we would like to wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous 2013!” For more information on the 4th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration at the 4S Ranch Library, contact branch staff at (858) 673-4697.

4S Ranch Little League Opening Day Little League baseball is just about set for its first pitch. The 4S Ranch Little League will host Opening Day on Saturday, March 2 at 8am at 4S Ranch Community Park. The local youth sports league is expecting over 50 teams to take part in this the ninth Opening Day Ceremony. The snack bar will be open and games will kick off immediately following the ceremony and run throughout the day.  The local community is invited to join in the festivities and enjoy some exciting baseball. Volunteers are always welcome and needed. For more information, go online to

San Diego Museum Month: Half Off Admission, Feb 1-28 Explore over 30 museums in San Diego County this February, with Musrum Month Passes that are often free while supplies last. The list of museums include Birch Aquarium, The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and Downtown, Air and Space Museum, Automotive Museum and more. Visit for more information.

Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp – February 12 This is the biggest, fattest Fat Tuesday celebration on the West Coast. Parades, music, beads, interesting characters and delicious food and drink options await you Downtown San Diego, in the Gaslamp Quarter. For more information, visit mardi-gras-info. w w cka tth e ra n ch - o nli ne .co m

Business Events from San Diego North Chamber of Commerce If you own a business, then you know the importance and value networking can have. In a struggling economy those connections count even more. The folks at the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce understand that and regularly offer outstanding events to help local business people to gain the resources they need to advance their business. Two events in January might be just the kickstart you need to enjoy a very successful year ahead. The local Chamber of Commerce offers its Breakfast and Networking event and guest presentation on Tuesday, February 12. David Zahalan is this month’s featured speaker and will be addressing the importance of customer service. The event will be held at the Broken Yolk, 11630 Carmel Mountain Road, from 7:30 to 9am. Pre-registration for members is $20 or $25 at the door, subject to availability. Non-members cost is $35. In addition, The Regional Connect Mixer, to be held Wednesday, February 13 from 5 to 7pm, provides local business professionals with a chance to exchange business ideas, meet qualified business connections and generate new business leads. In addition to networking in an innovative environment, opportunities exist to sponsor a table and display products and services for valuable added exposure. The event takes place at the County of San Diego, 5500 Overland Avenue, San Diego 92123, and is free for Chamber members (until Feb. 12). Non-Chamber members will be charged $35 to attend. For more information or to register, visit the website at or contact the Chamber’s Danielle Brown at (858) 487-1767 or via email at

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library events

Library will also be closed on Monday, February 18 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

4S R A N CH L IBR A RY ( 8 58 ) 67 3 -4697 |

ADULT PROGRAMS Adult Fitness Class with Miss Aimee - 4th Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. Learn about Beachbody programs and experience the Fit Club phenomenon! Sign-ups required.

Basic Computer Training in Farsi - Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m.Open for Farsi speakers interested in learning basic computer skills.

Citizenship Class - Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Open for all interested in taking citizenship tests.

Family Yoga - Saturdays at 10 a.m. Yoga for the whole family.

Gentle Yoga with Patty - 1st and 2nd Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m.Gentle yoga for adults and seniors.

Knitting Circle - Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Join your fellow knitters by the fireplace every Wednesday evening and knit for fun.

Retirement and Tax Planning

Baby Story Time - Tuesdays at

Kids Fitness with Miss Andrea-

- Wednesday, Feb 20 at 5:30 p.m. Family pajama story time and crafts.

10:30 a.m. Pre-walking babies only. Enjoy this one-on-one lapsit activity that introduces babies to stories and songs.

3rd Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Kids fitness class with Miss Andrea for kids ages 18 months to 5 years old. Sign-up required.

Yoga Meditation for Every Day Stress Reduction with Dr. Afshin Nahavandi - 1st and 2nd Tuesdays of the month at 6:45 p.m. For 15 years old and above.

Friends of the Library Meeting - 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Become a member of Friends of the 4S Ranch Library and support your local library.

Fine Free Friday @ all SDCL Branches - Return your County owned books, CDs, DVDs, or other overdue materials on the last Friday of each month and we’ll get rid of the fines for those items!

CHILDREN PROGRAMS Spanish Bilingual Story Time - 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 10 a.m. Spanish bilingual story and craft for children.

Preschool Story Time & Craft with Mrs. Z - Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. For children 3 to 5 Mrs. Z’s story time engages children and focus on the skills and concepts children need to be ready for Kindergarten! Parents and caregivers get to see proven, modeled techniques to help their children succeed!

Play to LearnTime with Teacher Lee - Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Music, Stories, Art and Fun! For children 5 years old and under.

Chess Club - Saturdays at 3 p.m.Open to all chess enthusiasts. All ages welcome.

Dental Health Pajama Story Time - Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. Pajama story time with special guest Dr. Ambrosia.

Homework Center -Fridays at 4 p.m.One on one tutoring for students from Kindergarten through 9th grade. Sponsored by Del Norte High School Education in Action Club. Registration required.

Chinese New Year Celebration - Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m. Chinese New Year Celebration featuring performance from San Diego Lucky Lion Dance, crafts and youth dance performance.

Crafts for a Cause - Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. Arts and crafts for K-3rd grade students.

New GC2 Church Opens in 4S Ranch The community is invited to join GC2 Church for regular worship service from 10:30-11:45am at Stone Ranch Elementary School, 16150 4S Ranch Parkway in 4S Ranch. GC2 is a family-oriented church with nursery, children and youth Sunday schools. The name GC2 Church is from the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission. The Greatest Commandment says to love God and to love others as we love ourselves, and the Great Commission directs followers to help people of all backgrounds and races become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. These represent the fundamental core tenants of the new GC2 church. GC2 Church is led by two co-pastors – Luke GC2 Church Lead Pastors Luke Chen and Chen and Jeff Langley. Jeff Langley. Both of them will see that the new church is focused on serving the community. “We want to be the multicultural church in our community,” said Pastor Jeff Langley. “No matter who you are, no matter what your education is, no matter what your background is, no matter who you feel you

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The New GC2 Church congregation at Stone Ranch Elementary School.

are, when you walk in, you will see a group of people that love one another, and you will feel welcomed.” Pastor Luke Chen echoes those sentiments. “We are making every effort to build friendships, to learn about each other’s culture, and to love one another as Christ commands us when meeting together for worship. Together we are one family under God.” GC2 Church held a Grand Opening Worship Service on January 13. Regular services for GC2 Church occur at Stone Ranch Elementary School. For more information on GC2 Church, contact Co-Lead Pastors Luke Chen or Jeff Langley, by email at or Jeff@ The new local church can also be found online at www. or at

www. backattheranch-online.c om

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on your doorstep Lifetime Montessori Expanding “Excellence in Education” Program to Elementary Students After five years of providing enriching and rewarding preschool and kindergarten programs for local youth, Lifetime Montessori School is ready to expand their program. “We’re very excited about our new Elementary Program!” says Kristin Edwards, Director and Co-Founder. “We always dreamed that Elementary would be the next step and are pleasantly surprised to have the moment arrive so quickly!” Last fall, Lifetime Montessori, located in the nearby community of Santaluz, completed its fifth year of offering a cooperative and enriching environment where each child develops knowledge through self- and teacher-initiated experiences. Since its beginnings in September 2007, the goal of the school has been to prepare children to become life-long learners and independent problem solvers. Children learn about being part of a community and how everyone has their role in the success of the community. After years of receiving requests for continued opportunities for older children, Lifetime decided to add an elementary school component to their program. The expansion of the school is currently under construction with a scheduled completion date of mid-March. Local residents should look

for an invitation to the Grand Opening for the end of March. The new classrooms will open their doors this fall in September. With the expansion, Lifetime Montessori will now offer “Excellence in Education” for children ages 18 months through 6th Grade. When asked about the Montessori curriculum for the elementary child, Kristin replied that the 6-12-year-old child is developing in a different way, so the methodology shifts to accommodate the older child’s needs. “But the main tenets of Montessori’s findings are the same: provide an enriching, handson experience for the child, allow for independence and confidence to build and the child’s natural love of learning will flourish!” For more information about Lifetime Montessori and the Open House in March, go online to

Photo 1 Caption: Photo 2 Caption:

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back at the ranch: page 7


Engaged in the world

Within a community of supportive teachers and eager classmates, Pacific Ridge students develop into confident and engaged young people who are prepared for college and beyond.



Rancho Bernardo “CHOCOLATE LOVERS”Inn 80-minutes FILE LAST MODIFIED: 10 JANUARY 2013 1:28 PM

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meet your neighbor The Ro Family – Susie, Thomas and Sebastian On the surface, a dental office might seem like an unusual place to hold an interview for a family spotlight article. But for Susie Ro, who designed the office to look more like a comfortable living space, the reception area of her practice fit perfectly as a backdrop for introducing her family to the 4S Ranch community. Susie and her husband Thomas, who both spent time growing up in New York, are health professionals – she recently opened smile., a general and cosmetic dental practice and he is a cardiologist for Kaiser Permanente – striving to find the right work and home balance with their young family and burgeoning practices. Throw in energetic 20-monthold son Sebastian (and plans for more children in the future) and you have a local couple with big hopes and dreams both personally and professionally. So where do two people with an interest in the medical arena meet and begin to chart out a life together? Would you believe Well, that is exactly how these two bright, hard working and family-centered people initially connected. “I had been on for about six months and was ready to close my account since I had not met anyone yet,� Susie shared. “When I logged in to close it out, it just so happen that Thomas also logged in at the same time. This allowed him to finally view my profile and he sent me a reply from my earlier email. I was about to log-off when I saw a message from him pop up. It was all very good timing! The challenges to finally meet one another didn’t end there. I had to cancel our first two dates, but we finally met up on the third try.� Susie and Thomas had their first date at Dave and Busters in the summer of 2009, where the former high school basketball player schooled her future husband in a game of Pop-A-Shot basketball. They dated for only seven months before Thomas proposed. They joke now that their relationship moved quickly as they both knew what they wanted. And nothing has changed. Since 2009, the Ros have met, gotten engaged, married, had a son and opened a new dental practice together. The Ros moved into 4S Ranch two years ago this February. The two married in October 2010, 10/10/10 to be precise, and after a short stay in Mission Valley wanted to settle down in a family-focused community like 4S. “We were thinking of having children and wanted a community that would support that,� Thomas said. “There are a lot of kids in 4S Ranch. Now that we have Sebastian, we are just starting to use the resources in the community. This is a great community for him to be a part of. There should be plenty of stuff for us to get involved with. We are really happy to be here.� With smile., General and Cosmetic Dentistry, Susie is eager to help many of her local community members with their dental needs. The practice opened only a couple months ago in the new 4S Health Center next to the 4S Commons shopping center. Susie says she is dedicated to providing the

best possible dental care for her patients using the highest quality products and state-of-the-art technology. “I built this practice so I can give my patients the best,� Susie said, who put herself through college earning her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree from New York University, College of Dentistry. “When you come here you are going to receive quality and honest dentistry. I treat everyone that comes in like they are family.� With her new local practice, Susie welcomes the chance to become more active in the community. She’s already involved in mentoring students at UCSD who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry and has even allowed students to “shadow� her at her new office. She collected toys for Rady’s Children Hospital toy drive at Christmas and plans to continue to give back as her practice and her family grows. “Seeing all the families and children in the neighborhood makes me happy that we are here, and so excited for the future,� Susie said.

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858-798-9595 back at the ranch: page 9

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feature Love Is In The 4S Air By “The Critic Chick� Valentine’s Day is coming, and never fear, The Critic Chick is here! Why limit the day to just lovers when the simple expression of love and appreciation should be shared by all? This is one of my favorite days of the year (and not just because it’s the only day of the year you can “buy one, get one free� at Coffee Bean) awesome, right? On my never-ending quest to shop local, and keep this lovely little town of ours thriving, I have some suggestions for the big day on any budget. For my big spenders, who wine and dine and spare no expense, the Critic Chick stamp of approval goes to Addison, at The Grand Del Mar. (Stay with me budget buddies...I’m getting to you next.) Dinner at Addison is a wow experience. It is southern California’s only 5-star, 5-diamond restaurant, and this chick can report, first hand, that the service is nothing short of the royal treatment. Here’s a tip...give him or her heads up on attire. She may want to rock the perfect dress for this night out. I highly suggest going a few nights before or after the 14th, as that night is notoriously busy in the restaurant industry. Now, let’s turn the volume down several hundred dollars and talk about messy, heart-shaped pizza! I get so excited about the little things that require thought, planning and a sense of humor. Who can pass up a slice of heartshaped pizza? Not this girl! Once a year and rarely advertised, Round Table Pizza cooks up a greasy, cheesy (in more ways than one) symbol of love, and will even deliver it. How cute is that? This is a great centerpiece to a sweet picnic or a fun way to celebrate with the kids (on what falls on a school night this year).

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Now that we have covered a drastic range of food suggestions, let’s talk flowers! I can go to extremes here, too. Here is my cheapie idea guys – a prepackaged bouquet from Ralph’s will set you back $23. Go to Michael’s on Carmel Mtn. Rd. (it won’t kill you and it’s in the name of love) and get a generic vase and a paint pen. Then, write some of the beautiful words that describe her on it, and you will have given her something sweet, thoughtful and reusable. Plus, you get tons of bonus points just for going into a craft store. For my non-crafty folks, my peeps, let’s all join in a chorus of thanks that we have a full service florist in town. Celebrating their first Valentine’s Day here in 4S, Rosy florist is ready to roll. Wait until you see the Passion roses from Columbia. They’re amazing. A big, beautiful dozen will cost you about $99, but here’s a secret, if you order by the 11th, and have them delivered by the 13th, there is no delivery charge! There, I just saved you $10.95. If you’re feeling really adventurous, ask them about jade colored roses. That should score you some love points for originality. Have a fantastic day appreciating the people you love, The Critic Chick The Critic Chick is a local 4S Ranch resident and contributor to Back At The Ranch.


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feature Building Friendships – One Note a Day By Mike Minjares “As part of my Lenten observance this year, I’m reaching out to 40 friends, one a day until Easter, to tell them how special they are to me. You’re my choice for today.”

Every note started out the same – a quick introduction to the purpose of the email titled “Great Friends” followed by a couple of paragraphs of specific reasons why I am thankful for the friendship we have shared. Unlike years past where I’ve tried to give up something to help get me in the right mindset for Easter, two years ago I tried to do something extra, something special that would not only impact my preparation, but also positively impact others. The idea came from a junior high school friend who shared with me her idea of doing good deeds for others during this time of year. She talked about how she felt paying for a cup of coffee for the unknown driver in the car behind her at Starbucks and how she had also enjoyed taking the time to connect with old friends. I was ready to move beyond giving up soda or chocolate for Lent (a Christian tradition that marks the period beginning on Ash Wednesday when one takes steps to prepare for Easter) and to take on a project that clearly illustrated my interest in building and maintaining friendships. I adapted her idea to utilize a skill I enjoy using. I made out a list of 40 friends – individuals and couples – and put them in order. I added in dates to help me stay on track. At the end, close to Easter, I listed the most important people in my life – my parents, my siblings and my wife Marietta. The goal was to write one note a day and send it through email or via a message on Facebook until all 40 people had been contacted. No one on the list, other than my wife, knew in advance that I had taken on this activity, so each note came as a bit of a surprise. Since I did not share my list with Marietta, even she was surprised when she opened her email on Easter evening and found my note in her inbox. While every note started off with the same opening, each one was heartfelt and personalized. I relished the chance to put down in writing why someone was important to me, what he or she (or even they when it went to a couple) had done to make a positive difference in my life and how I hoped our friendship would continue for years to come. Not all the notes were easy to write. A few people on the list I had grown distant from and I knew there was some risk in sending them a note like this after not talking for some time. So, there were a couple of occasions when someone was skipped over for a day to allow me time to collect my thoughts and write something that remained true to the spirit of the activity. But every person on the list received a note. The responses I received were incredible. My friends were indeed surprised by my note and my comments about our relationship. Some remarked on how much they liked this activity and how lucky they felt to receive a note. For others, the timing of the arrival of this “Great Friends” note, combined with the sentiments expressed, sincerely touched them and they wrote back with equal emotion and feeling. One friend said my note arrived on what would have been her wedding anniversary if she hadn’t divorced. She had been feeling down and depressed about this failed relationship, thinking about her missteps and needed a pick-me-up. When my note arrived, it reminded her of the good things about herself and how she has succeeded in many areas of her life. w w cka tth e ra n ch - o nli ne .co m

She thanked me for taking the time to write and to include her. For another friend, a former boss, the message arrived to help lift her spirits during a rough spot in her professional life. Once again, the note arrived at the perfect time with kind words and thoughts and reminded her of her skills as a manager and how much value she had brought to me and my family working for her years ago. In some cases, the friend’s reply gave more to me than anything my message could have contributed to them. Some told me how much they valued our friendship and others went into specifics about what they admired about me, my work, my family or my approach to our relationship. Their messages gave me inspiration to continue with the activity, wishing that there were more than 40 days until Easter. Not everyone on the list shares my faith, or even claims any spiritual belief. But that wasn’t important to the activity. What mattered was I wanted to do something that would touch the people I care about and let them know how much I value their involvement in my life. Doing so would increase our connection and build a stronger friendship. And, in some cases, my action motivated someone to do something similar. In fact, one friend wrote, “These kinds of reflective moments are so important and your message to me reminds me of the people I need to thank in my life . . . so thank YOU for the inspiration.” For me having faith isn’t about trying to make others believe what I believe, it is showing what I believe with how I treat others. No matter your state-of-belief or non-belief, I hope you’ll take some time in the weeks and months ahead to think about those whose friendship you value and find a way to let them know that. And no, it doesn’t have to be something to do with writing. It can be anything that you like to do that someone else would appreciate, as well. Like my neighbor, Mrs. Anderson, it might be a plate of sweet-tasting baked goods that you drop off unexpectedly at a friend’s house. For someone else, it might be the freshly-cut flowers pulled from a personal garden that gets wrapped up and personally delivered as a way to thank someone for helping watch the kids for a little bit while you ran errands or enjoyed a dinner out. What we decide to do to invest in friends and build community need not be grand or carried out in a spotlight. The smallest, quietest actions can add to our social capital if they are meaningful and sincere. Just the other day I watched a good friend engage my daughter in a conversation about my daughter’s school and athletic pursuits and I couldn’t help but smile at the friendly gesture happening right in front of me. Lent begins on February 13, but you don’t have to wait until then to start, or perhaps continue, investing in your most valued relationships.

back at the ranch: page 11

Bac k at t h e r a nc h

feature Sticking With News Year’s Resolutions By Tom Cox, Velocity Sports Performance 2012 is in the past and it is time to look toward the future. We all have areas in our lives we want to change or fix or, more importantly, we all have something we want to be better at. With this New Year comes an opportunity to do exactly that, get better. Here at Velocity we always see a huge increase in attendance and traffic to our facility; it happens every January to every gym all around the nation. People use the New Year as motivation to get in shape and achieve their fitness goals. However, come mid-February most of those motivated individuals stop showing up.

Health, fitness, losing weight, and eating healthy are, unfortunately, not a short-term plan. There are so many health gimmicks that promise quick results and don’t deliver and it’s because short-term drastic plans yield no long-term success or lifestyle changes. Losing weight, eating healthy and getting back into shape are all lifestyle and habitual changes that require commitment and hard work. Nothing worth having comes easy! For those that aren’t scared off or have stopped reading because of the daunting words “commitment” and “work”, there is good news – achieving those goals isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Drastic times call for drastic measures:

Tip 1: Intensity is EVERYTHING! Unless you enjoy distance and endurance events, don’t waste too much time on the elliptical. We have all heard that low intensity, high duration exercise burns fat. Well, what does that exactly mean? On a cellular level your body will use more of a fat percentage as its main energy source during low intensity exercise compared to high intensity exercise. However people are misguided by this fact and choose long distance cardio as “fat burning” because high intensity training will result in higher overall fat loss, a healthier cardiovascular system, increased muscle tone, increased metabolism and, most of all, reduced time spent exercising. Here’s how: Pick your favorite exercise type, run, elliptical, bike, etc. Get warmed up, then go 30 seconds all out as fast as you can, followed by a 2 minute slow moving rest. Repeat this 4 times at first, then add at your own discretion. Add this to your “new lifestyle” twice a week and you will notice a difference.

Tip 2: Most of the time, when beginning a new exercise routine, you will not see changes on the scale for 4 to 6 weeks. If you gain weight or don’t lose any, it is usually attributed to the increase of water weight and muscle mass that is attributed to working out and eating healthy. When you begin to exercise, your body begins to store more fuel in your muscles. As your body is building up energy storage in your muscles, it has to retain extra water, which is what causes most of the initial weight gain or loss.  For the most part, you are losing fat at this initial stage of change. The extra water retention should stop once your body adjusts to its new activity level. Once that occurs, the scale should begin to change. However, you should not just look at the scale.  Use your clothes to determine weight loss. For example, if your pants are fitting differently, that is usually a sign of change in weight distribution. In addition, muscle tends to weigh more than fat and sometimes the scale can read weight inaccurately. Body fat testing (hydrostatic weighting, skinfold assessments, etc) is a great way

pag e 12 : ba ck a t th e ra n ch

to determine fat mass versus fat-free mass (muscle, skin, bone) and see specific changes in body composition. Try not to rely on the numbers on your scale, especially during your first month of a new workout program. Look to your clothing and how you feel. Eventually, you will end up with less fat and muscles that can handle a greater amount of work.

Tip 3: Make sure you are eating enough. Although this sounds strange, if you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode and will lower the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis. The best way to figure out how much to eat is to meet with a registered dietician. They are qualified to analyze your current food intake and make some recommendations.

Tip 4: Don’t neglect the stairs. Sometimes we tend to overlook the many ways to burn calories that are all around us on a daily basis. Think about taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator, or park your car at the far end of the parking lot the next time you are at the store.  These little bits of extra exercise add up over time, so don’t write them off just because you’re not on a treadmill at the gym.  Try to attain 10,000 steps per day and you can track that simply by purchasing a pedometer.

Tip 5: Make sure you get your rest. You are working hard to lose the weight, so don’t neglect your body when it needs to recover. Your body needs time to recover from the workouts you’re doing, so make sure you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Making changes and becoming healthier should never be a short-term goal. Use attainable daily or weekly goals, motivational quotes or anything that helps you work out. Use these tips to help keep your New Year’s resolution alive. You are the only one that can better your lifestyle. Make the changes that are necessary and stick with it. However you choose to do it, make sure you don’t become another short-term “health fad”. Tom Cox is the Performance Director at Velocity Sports Performance in San Diego, CA. Cox received his Masters Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Strength and Conditioning. He has spent time as a strength coach with the Oakland Athletics and the University of San Diego where he worked training football, baseball, soccer and track athletes. He specializes in developing training programs for amateur, collegiate and professional athletes.

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school news Stone Ranch Elementary School By Uday S u r e s h

Guess what’s new at Stone Ranch Elementary School? A Debate Club! A group of nearly 50 third, fourth and fifth graders had a kick-off meeting in January to discuss their goals, the club format and the team assignments. The objective of this Debate Club is to help the students develop research and analytical skills, foster team work, learn to listen and respect other’s opinions and to understand and communicate arguments effectively. The Club will hold an informal debate on February 27 and a formal competition for family and friends on the evening of May 22 from 5:30-7:30 in the Multipurpose Room at Stone Ranch.

Started by Stone Ranch Parent Rupali Vora, this club provides another venue for students to expand their skills and knowledge of the world around them. Assisting Ms. Vora is Cass Kaminetz and several other parent volunteers. Their hope is that other elementary schools in the district will also organize their own debate club teams and hold inter-school competitions throughout the year.
 In the month of February, Stone Ranch Elementary is also getting ready for its 3rd Annual Science Fair! Scheduled to take place during the week of February 25, this fair encourages all students to explore the amazing world of science. It gives these young scientists a chance to compete in either the Earth Science, Life Science, or Physical Science category for the Stone Ranch Super Scientist Award! All the projects will be set up in the multipurpose room on Monday, and judging will take place on Tuesday. On Wednesday, February 27, friends and families of the students are invited to view the projects after school (12:30 to 7:30pm). With over 300 students participating in the Science Fair last year, SRES is hoping for another successful year of sparking scientific interest! 

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back at the ranch: page 13

community li f e style : H e alt h By: T in a van Ha me r sv e ld

10 Simple Steps to Instantly Improve Your Health and Happiness

Life can be complicated, filled with commitments, responsibilities, and demands, leaving little time or energy to focus on ourselves.

We constantly turn to drastic “quick fixes” in attempt to control our health amidst the chaos. Our tendency to turn to elimination diets and unnecessarily intense exercise regimes leaves us feeling overworked and unsatisfied. When these efforts produce negative results, such as sickness, injury, and weight gain, we become frustrated and depressed. Although we cannot easily reduce our obligations in every day life, there IS a way to feel healthy and happy in our ever-demanding world. Let “keep it simple” be your motto, especially in the area of fitness. Try approaching fitness with a gentler attitude toward yourself and a simpler plan. Do away with the lofty goals and begin slowly, making small changes in your everyday. This month, apply these 10 surprisingly simple practices to your life, guaranteeing improved health and overall happiness.

Eat breakfast daily, including a lean protein such as egg, yogurt, or nuts. Breakfast gets your metabolism pumping while the protein will reduce your hunger for hours and may even cause you to eat less the entire day. Add dark green vegetables, such as lettuce, kale, or broccoli to one meal a day. Greens pack a serious nutritional punch and contain lots of fiber, which stabilizes blood sugar and improves digestion. Take a 20-minute walk in nature 3 days a week. Walking in nature promotes the health of the body, mind, and spirit, not to mention increases your metabolism and burns calories. Snack on a small handful of raw almonds between meals. Almonds contain protein, “good” fat, and fiber: the perfect combination to give you energy and suppress your appetite until your next meal. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Water is vital for all bodily functions including digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients,

flushing out toxins, and maintenance of body temperature.

Add 2 days a week of strength training. Strength training builds lean muscle, strong bones, and increases your body’s ability to burn calories. Planks, pushups, and squats are easy and efficient exercises that can be done anywhere. Join the national health campaign called “Meatless Monday,” making one dinner a week vegetarian. By limiting your meat consumption you will lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, reduce belly fat, and lessen your impact on the environment. Stretch daily. Lengthen out tight muscles and prevent injury by increasing the range of motion in your limbs and joints each day. Take 10 minutes a day to sit in silence or meditate. The state of relaxation generates high levels of serotonin, the feel-good chemical, and the growth hormone that repairs cells and tissues. Find a physical activity you love and do it often. A quick game of tennis or a relaxing paddle around the bay will actually help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other physical ailments. Pure enjoyment as well as a lengthened life? Sounds like a win-win. Add these practices into your life, taking it one day at a time, one change at a time, and remember to “keep it simple.” You will be rewarded with a healthier body, a smaller waistline, and a swing in your step. Now that you’ve got the key to unlock the door to improved health, gently turn it and walk in!

community li f e style : P ET S By T in a M. Marti n e z, Mo r r is An imal Foun dation

Canine Cancer – Learn More Before It’s Too Late This February, we focus on what matters most. Three years ago this month, Magali Wright’s family lost their

dog to cancer. This year, to celebrate her beloved pet, and to help others worldwide, Magali walks in support of Morris Animal Foundation’s K9 Cancer Walk. Dogs are part of our families, but our “best friends” can get sick, just like us. In February 2010, Magali Wright lost her dog, Teeka, to lymphoma, just two days after Teeka’s eleventh birthday. Cancer took its toll on Teeka pretty quickly. It was only months between the moment she was diagnosed and the time she made her journey to the rainbow bridge. Before Teeka’s death, the thought of cancer affecting her dog had never crossed Wright’s mind. “I knew I was probably not the only one who found out too late,” said Wright. It became her mission to educate herself and other dog lovers about this deadly disease. That’s when she found Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in science that advances veterinary medicine for animals. Wright learned that cancer is a very serious issue for dogs. It is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of two. Half of all dogs will get cancer, and one in four will die of it. It amazed her that Morris Animal Foundation is leading the effort in finding a cure by funding canine cancer studies nationwide. Some of the cancers being studied are bladder cancer, lymphoma, bone cancer, mast cell tumors and soft-tissue sarcomas. Wright’s mission didn’t end there. That same February, she took her passion to fight cancer a step further by rallying her community together to raise more than $27,000 for Morris Animal Foundation and their fight to keep animals happy and health. The very next year, she and her passionate volunteer community rallied more than 600 dog lovers together to raise nearly $60,000.

pate in the annual K9 Cancer Walk benefiting Morris Animal Foundation at Walnut Grove Park in San Marcos on Saturday, February 23. Proceeds from the walk will help create a healthier tomorrow for your dog. To learn more or to sign up, simply visit If you are unable to attend, all dog lovers are encouraged to participate virtually through the Foundation’s Sit and Stay Program. If you would like to take a stand, learn more by visiting www.

Canine Cancer Warning Signs If you suspect your dog is ill, contact your veterinarian. Issues to be aware of include: • Abnormal swelling/lumps

• Bleeding or discharge

• Sudden collapse

• Persistent cough

• Weight loss

• Foul odor

• Appetite loss/difficulty eating

• Persistent lameness, stiffness or limping

• Sores that don’t heal

• Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

• Loss of energy/stamina

Join Wright this year and take a stand against canine cancer and participag e 14 : ba ck a t th e ra nch

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AHP 4S Ranch is led by board-certified family medicine physicians Nasrin Arbabi, M.D. and Camille Santos, M.D. Stuart Graham, M.D., a board-certified AHP pediatrician since 1994, has moved his practice from the Poway office. He provides care for children from birth to 18 years of age. All three physicians are accepting new patients. When it comes to your health, finding the right physician is essential. Choose Arch Health Partners – named a Top Performing Medical Group for its achievement in quality measures and use of technology by the Integrated Healthcare Association for three consecutive years. Centrally located on the corner of Camino del Norte and Dove Canyon Road — the finest care available is now even closer to home.


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4S Ra nc h

school news Volunteer Spirit Alive and Well at Del Norte High With the modern college application now highly recommending that students volunteer, even providing spaces for quantitative hours, it seems society is giving more than a gentle wink and a nudge to the sides of students across America to contribute to their communities. Fortunately, the call issued by higher academic institutions has been answered by Nighthawks for more than such standards. This might be in accordance with the third portion of the Del Norte mission statement: being globally aware. The selflessness and charitable attitude on campus can be directly attributed to the student body itself, which contains many leaders and exemplary students who do more than their moral share of helping. A recent but now annual development on campus is the “Teens for Jeans” campaign that is hosted by the magnanimous KIN Club that aims to promote volunteering spirit in students. President of KIN club, senior Katarina Stapleford, states: “The Do Something Del Norte KIN Club’s mission is to engage DNHS students in social action and to get them interested in giving back to our community.” Stapleford has managed to captivate such a large audience within the school to spread her message, and she explains her success by asserting that at KIN “We try to make volunteering fun and convenient by offering creative hands-on projects that teens can relate to. Our hope is that once a young person volunteers, they will find the experience rewarding and that they will feel empowered through serving others. Perhaps they will see their role in the world differently or maybe they will be more grateful for what they have, but ultimately we hope they will continue to serve again someday, and in some way!” The spirit behind Stapleford’s work is invaluable and obviously inspirational to the community; and moreover, the selflessness on campus is multifaceted and can be observed in multiple students who are often leaders. A specific example of relentless community service is junior Kate Jeon, who participates in many clubs, and gives each of them her very best effort. On the topic of community service she says, “Often times, we forget the importance of giving back to our community; we only think of what the community could provide for us. Although community service can be measured merely by the number of hours we commit, I personally measure the worth of community service by the amount of blessings I feel from giving back.”

By Uday Suresh

Jeon has a lot of worthwhile insight, especially because she, like Stapleford, is the founder and president of her own club on campus in addition to playing major roles in other programs as well. As a co-president of Crafts for a Cause, vice president of UNICEF, public relations chair of Education in Action, director of forums of Peer Leaders Uniting Students, and member of Liberty in North Korea, Jeon makes her name practically synonymous with dutiful service and charitable acts towards all members of the community, on campus or off. Leaders like Stapleford and Jeon are merely a sampler of the plethora of leaders and selfless people who walk the halls of Del Norte. With perhaps some of the most sedulous mindsets found in students at the high school level, these Nighthawks are exemplary and underscore what it means to give back. They bring meaning to the concept of reciprocating kindness, which can most lucidly be observed in the words of John F. Kennedy who once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Uday Suresh is a junior at Del Norte High School and a contributor to Back At The


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community li f e style : G ar de n By Kar is h ma S in n ott

The Wonderful World of Vegetables – Easy Ways to Make Them Yum! We all wake up in January with this feeling that we are going to start the year healthy, and stay that way all year long. Well, some people have tremendous will power and do the right thing every day, every month, all year long. I can’t say that I’m one of those people. I can tell you that my dad passed away from cancer before he turned 65, and my mother-in-law passed away from cancer before she turned 65, as well. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 53. So, obviously, I take health very seriously, and know each day that I am grateful for the life and body that we are blessed to have. However, I am not one of those people who can pick up a raw cauliflower and eat it on the go. I might eat raw spinach, but I definitely prefer it well seasoned. I believe really strongly in moderation, and not deprivation. In our family, we eat a copious amount of fruit and vegetables daily, but I try to make it fun. Not time-consuming, not strenuous, but fun. Is it always completely fat-free? No. But neither is it slathered in butter, cheese or oil, just varied, well-seasoned and tasty. If you have trouble getting your children (or adults) to eat vegetables, try these different ways of serving them: Carrots are delicious, but carrot sticks every day can get awfully boring, can’t they? Try this – first of all, start with “real carrots”. If you can get them at the farmers’ market, even better. If not, just buy whole carrots that haven’t already been peeled and cut into funky shapes. I know that I sound like a food snob at her worst, but I promise you, it just tastes better. Along with those fresh carrots, buy a bag of parsnips. Parsnips are the not-so-well-known cousin of the carrot. Believe it or not, the parsnip is richer in vitamins and minerals than carrots. It is also a good source of potassium, fiber and energy. My favorite thing to do with parsnips and carrots is to cut them into large wedges or sticks, lightly toss with olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and roast in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, turning once at the ten-minute mark. The natural sugar in the veggies caramelizes, leaving you with incredible flavor that is just unbeatable. Throw these vegetables in at the bottom of a pan with a roast for a meal in one pot. Parsnip puree is delicious! Have you ever tried it? You may want to give up the mashed potatoes forever once you do. Boil the parsnips in a pot of seasoned water till tender, then puree as you would mashed potatoes, using 2% milk, a wee bit of butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. If you’re not ready for this, try replacing half your potatoes with parsnips, and then maybe three-

quarters of your potatoes with parsnips; ease yourself into the new flavor profile – I think you’ll love it! Green beans, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower are all fine steamed, but if you roast them, their flavor is completely enhanced. I even stick my asparagus on the grill every chance I get. Some lemon zest, a wee bit of butter or olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar), some sliced almonds, and your veggies have had a make-over. Left over roasted vegetables make the best soup! Just blend the roasted vegetables with stock (chicken or veggie), add fresh herbs, some lemon zest and juice, garnish with croutons (easy way to recycle left over bread), a dollop of Greek yogurt or light sour cream, and serve with a sandwich or panini. My mother never expected me to eat boiled/steamed veggies, and I think this is why I love them so much now. I puree spinach and add it to my lasagna sauce all the time. My kids love it that way! I puree cooked spinach and asparagus into a Bechamel Sauce (recipe available easily online), and use it for “Green Mac and Cheese”, or “Asparagus Lasagna”. I make a dip with Greek Yogurt, fresh herbs, the zest of a lemon, some lemon juice and a sprinkling of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning for the kids to dip carrots, celery, jicama and sugar snap peas in while they watch a movie. They eat the whole container of Greek Yogurt that way, and devour the veggies as well. Here’s another fun way to eat a not-so-well-known vegetable – spaghetti squash. Take a whole spaghetti squash, cut it in half, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let it rest for ten minutes, and then scrape away into long, noodle-like strands. It looks a lot like angel hair pasta, and tastes delicious with pasta sauce, Parmesan cheese, meatballs or veggies. It is a wonderful, gluten-free way to enjoy “pasta”. Use it as a bed for grilled chicken or salmon or shrimp or tofu. The children get a kick out of scraping the squash (mine did) into noodles, and tend to slurp and eat it along the way. I know that sometimes it’s just easier to grab carrot or celery sticks from a bag, or to steam or microwave vegetables. The thing is that even though it may be faster, the veggies have completely lost their flavor already. I can’t say that I blame any child or adult for not wanting to eat those veggies with gusto. None of these ways I’ve suggested are strenuous at all. Try these new ways to eat vegetables and happy eating!

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back at the ranch: page 17

community li f e style : G ar de n By Kar is h ma S in n ott

Dr. Kelly Austin’s 30-Day Real Food Challenge 30-Day Challenge Outline of events It’s never too late to start feeling, looking, and performing PAGE your best! Come join Dr. Austin and Stephanie Greunke in March to discover your optimal health.

Local Favo


• Food samples catered by Pete’s Premade Paleo

• Prizes from Metagenics • Discounts on services with the dietitian

• 1-hour lecture about an anti-inflammation whole foods diet + Q&A

• Invitation to join us at the 30-day conclusion party!

• Body composition analysis

A World Renowned Practice for Total Comfort and Family Dentistry

Solana Beach: Rancho Bernardo: 30-day challenge is on 30-day challenge is on March 2 at 12pm. • Specializing March 1 at 1pm In Comprehensive Dental Care With An Emphasis Location: 100 S. Cedros Location: 11828 Bernardo On Cosmetic Dentistry Ave., Solana Beach, CA Plaza Court, San Diego, CA • Providing Dental Implants 92075 92128




To Permanently Replace Missing Teeth Price: Only $15 for the lecture, food, entry to the compe• Dedicated To Excellence And tition and prizes!

CPC RB 1-13

Are you still going strong on your New Year’s Resolution to improve your health? Some experts say that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. If you’ve stuck to your resolution thus far, you’re in good shape! If not, you’re still in luck. Your ability to start making changes that will dramatically improve your life can happen at any moment. Whether your goal is to lose weight, reduce risk factors for disease, improve your current symptoms of poor health, or improve your performance, it all starts with proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is a controversial phrase. Every doctor, dietitian, and personal trainer has their own opinion about what constitutes a healthy diet. It seems like every other week we are bombarded with new information about “superfoods” and the latest diet fad. What is healthy one day is a death sentence the next. Sometimes this information overload can lead to paralysis by analysis and we end up doing nothing. Dr. Kelly Austin currently owns two medical centers, California Natural Health in Rancho Bernardo and Solana Beach Wellness Center in Solana Beach. She has helped hundreds of patients rediscover their optimal health and potential through well-developed nutrition and lifestyle plans. With the help of her Registered Dietitian, Stephanie Greunke, she is able to prescribe a diet based on real food that helps individuals reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, emphasize proper digestion and reach a healthy psychological relationship with food. Dr. Austin and Stephanie Greunke would like to share some of their successful strategies and invite you to a 30-Day Real Food Challenge. Stephanie will outline a plan regarding the “dos” and “don’ts” of a real food diet. The 30-Day Real Food Challenge will include a 1-hour lecture,

The Finest Quality Of Care

Y. Howard, D.D.S. catered food samples and prizes. There will alsoNelson be discounts for services with the Registered Dietitian. Participants will be given support throughout the challenge in order to keep them on track. The 30-dDy Real Food Challenge invites the public to a friendly competition to see who can follow 858 the guidelines. Body composition measurements will be taken before the challenge and then at the 30-day conclusion party. Whoever loses the most Rancho Bernardo inches wins an initial visit with a naturopathic doctor or complementary 12540 Oaks North Dr., Suite A3 IV treatment.

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l ia ! c e rs Sp ffe For a O healthy lifestyle, naturally

• Sev Al • En • Su • Pro da • Lif • Fin

JANUARY SPECIALS: • Purchase 3 RD nutrition consults get the initial free (value $150) • Immune Booster IV treatment $125

Tho RB, Kelly Austin, ND Hormone & Weight Management

Dr. Jon Kalman, ND Pain Management Doctor

Sandra Dougherty, L.Ac. Stephanie Gruenke, RD Licensed Acupuncturist Insurance accepted

Registered Dietician

Walk-in B12 shots Monday - Friday 9am-5pm no appointment needed

(In Rancho Bernardo, Behind the Citibank Building)

pag e 18 : ba ck a t th e ra nch

• Digestive Concerns • Thyroid • Stress • Anxiety


www. backattheranch-online.c om


CA Lic #930451

11828 Bernardo Plaza Ct.

• Nutrition • Anti-Aging • IV Therapy • Breast Thermography

CPC RB 1-13

• Natural Hormone Therapy • Detoxification • Vitamin B12 Shots • Weight Loss Programs

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Back At The Ranch - February 2013  

Community News and events for 4S Ranch

Back At The Ranch - February 2013  

Community News and events for 4S Ranch