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The Women’s Issue


Calabasas | Encino | Sherman Oaks | Studio City | Tarzana | Toluca Lake | Woodland Hills

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C R E AT I N G V I D E O F O R YO U R L I S T I N G S I S O N LY E X P E N S I V E I F N O O N E I S WAT C H I N G . H o m e F i l m s i s t h e o n l y f u l l y i n t e g r a t e d , r e a l e s t a t e v i d e o p ro d u c t i o n a n d d i g i t a l distribution package. Our talented filmmaking artistically tells the story of what m a k e s yo u r l i s t i n g u n i q u e . A n d o u r t a r g e t e d d i g i t a l d i s t r i b u t i o n e n s u r e s t h a t t h e r i g h t p o t e n t i a l b u y e r s a r e s e e i n g yo u r p ro p e r t y i n t h e m o s t b e a u t i f u l l i g h t .




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22 TRAIL BLAZER Q & A with Nury Martinez


24 WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME Heather McDonald & Susan Hirasuna Offer Up Faves

86 SEEN Faces Spotted Around Town

44 GET YOUR GIRL ON Feminine Pitstops 48 HAT TRICK J’Adore Les Fleurs in Studio City

COVER & WOMEN WE LOVE Photographed by Michael Becker

the sauce

64 SUCCESS RINGS TRUE Blinkie’s Donuts

78 QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE 68 FISH FUSION Actress Molly Burnett in Fall’s The Joint Most Animalistic Fashions 70 WINE GOES GREEN 80 DATEBOOK Sustainable Wines Fun Stuff to Do


and then some...

54 TILE BY FIRE Discover the artist behind the stunning tilework in Calabasas’ city center.

108 REAL ESTATE Spectacular Local Listings

28 WOMEN WE LOVE Meet 7 feminine forces of nature.

58 WINGS ON HER BACK Come along for the ride as a doctor closes her practice and hops aboard a Harley. 72 BUILT FOR ONE Get a peek inside a southof-the-Blvd home that goes from glum to glam.

90 WOMEN IN BUSINESS PROFILES Stand-out Professionals Who You Need to Know

130 LAST WORD Brand Builder Jess Weiner on Real Female Empowerment

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Linda Grasso

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ART DIRECTOR Michelle Villas

ADVERTISING Senior Media Solutions Manager | Sue Williams


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Editorial Director | Darren Elms Media Solutions Manager | Erika Carrion Copy Editors | Peggy Jo Abraham,

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Christine Georgiades, Kelsey Elliott Media Solutions Manager | Amy Tetherow VB’s The Sauce eNewsletter Editor

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Joshua Lurie GROUP PUBLISHER Jared Sayers

CONTRIBUTORS Diane E. Barber, Heather David, Mary Jo Ford, Bonnie Graves, Allison Rae Marsh, Cat Sherwin, Anne M. Russell, Susan Spillman, Jess Weiner, Karen Young PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael Becker, Tameka Jacobs, Shane O’Donnell, Monica Orozco


Todd Klawin

MARKETING & OPERATIONS Partner/Brand Publisher | Emily Stewart Partner/Managing Director, Media & Analytics | Warren Schaffer Director of Account Services | Bev Wurth Brand Publisher | Hannah Lee Director of Marketing & Business Development | Cherice Tatum Director of Digital | Charles Simmons Director of Film & Video | Bryce Lowe-White Digital Marketing Manager | Mike Sayers Operations Director | Allison Jeackjuntra Marketing Manager | Chloe Curtis Director of Events | Danielle Price Accounting | Janet De La Cruz

No part of this periodical may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written consent from The Golden State Company, LLC. Any and all submissions to this or any of The Golden State Company, LLC publications become the property of The Golden State Company, LLC and may be used in any media. We reserve the right to edit. SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: or phone: 310-376-7800. Subscriptions are $29 per year. TO OUR READERS Ventura Blvd welcomes your feedback. Please send letters to: Reader Response Department, Ventura Blvd Please include your name, address and email. Edited letters may be published. 200 N. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite. 110, El Segundo, CA 90245 Tel 310-376-7800 | Fax 310-376-0200 | 



editor’s letter | LINDA GRASSO

With Rachel Pally at her Studio City home

Chick Magnet One of my favorite qualities in a woman is passion. Whether running a Fortune 500 company or growing a family, women who are committed to and excited about what they are doing attract and inspire me. That’s why the WOMEN’s issue and our cornerstone feature, Women We Love (page 28), is one of my favorite endeavors of the year. This year’s group of seven showcases some serious range—from a junior high school teacher who aspires to be an astronaut to a WMBA executive committed to getting sports fans to accept female basketball players as equals (in terms of athletic talent) to their male counterparts, to a trio of sisters killing it with their retail line. The common denominator? All are doing bold, innovative things—living a life of conviction and enthusiasm. The same could be said for Teresa Ngo, owner of Blinkie’s Donuts. The Woodland Hills shop has become something of an Instagram darling with a cult-like following. VB food writer Josh Lurie shares the story of how Teresa transformed Blinkie’s from a run-down donut shop to a bona fide tourist destination (page 64). Also in this issue’s food section, The Sauce: the debut of The Joint in Sherman Oaks, a unique concept that pairs a coffee shop/restaurant experience with a sustainable fresh fish market (page 69). It is the brainchild of Liwei Liao, founder of The Boba Truck, once one of the most popular food trucks in LA. Finally I want to give a special shout-out to … well … a man. Michael Becker photographed the pictorials in the Women We Love feature, and his images are stunning. So grateful to have this talented guy as part of the VB team. Happy Fall everyone!

Linda Grasso Editor-in-Chief



Follow me on Instagram @linda.grasso and my podcast @she_sez

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From leopard spots to snakeskins, fashion goes animalistic this fall. For more of our fashion shoot at the Skirball Center with actress Molly Burnett head to page 78.





Trailblazer As one of two women on the Los Angeles City Council, Nury Martinez fights to improve the quality of life in the northeast San Fernando Valley, a place she’s always called home. PHOTOGRAPHED BY MONICA OROZCO

What were your early years like in the Valley? I was born in North Hollywood, but when I was 6, my parents bought their first home in Pacoima. My father would take a 5 a.m. bus, six days a week, to his job as a dishwasher at a coffee shop on Riverside and Woodman. My mom started off working as a seamstress at a little shop off Van Nuys and Erwin that made curtains for really big clients. Sometimes on Saturdays my sister and I would go to her work. She’d give us 25 cents and we’d walk over to See’s and buy two pieces of candy. In her career of public service, Nury Martinez holds some important distinctions. She was the first Latina in 25 years elected to the LA City Council, representing District 6. And from 2013 to 2017, she was the only woman on the 15-person council. The CSUN graduate has also served on the San Fernando City Council, the LAUSD School Board and as mayor of San Fernando. Here the passionate 45-year-old Sun Valley resident chats with writer Karen Young about her deep desire to make an impact, how she deals with all the red tape and why she appeared on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

What influenced your personal drive and social consciousness? My passion for social justice comes from my father. He was very political in his own way, with limited English and no formal education; we’d watch the news in Spanish and talk about politics. My mom is my role model; she’s a force! She always said the only thing no one can take from you is an education. When I was in high school, she worked the graveyard shift at Price Pfister just to get health benefits for our family. She’s absolutely the reason I entered politics. She taught me that if you want to make things right, you need to get involved to make change. How do you avoid frustration amidst all the bureaucracy? The way I tackle issues is through relationships and getting decision-makers to walk the neighborhoods with me, to get out of their offices and see what people deal with. Take environmental justice issues. You try living across the street from a mountain of trash. You try to get to school when your

neighborhoods don’t have gutters or sidewalks, and it’s rained so much that you can’t get across the street because it looks like a lagoon. I try to expose our engineers and environmental scientists to these issues. Homelessness is a red-hot issue—what’s your take? On any given day, 30,000 people are living on sidewalks in neighborhoods like mine. I feel like it’s communities of color and the poor that are often asked to bear the burden of dealing with these social issues. In my district we have a number of homeless service providers and homeless shelters. There’s absolutely a crisis on our hands that we need to figure out, but we need to level the playing field. Everyone needs to address this issue equitably. I will do my fair share to build permanent supportive housing but so should everyone else. How did you end up walking through homeless camps with Kim Kardashian? The producers called and said Kim wanted to meet with me for Keeping Up with the Kardashians to learn about homelessness. I said I’d do it only if she’d walk the encampments in my district and meet people face to face to learn how complicated this issue is. The fact that she said yes, I thought was big. We walked along the railroad tracks on San Fernando Road, which are among the worst camps in Sun Valley. She asked to meet with a women’s homeless shelter. We came up with a list, and she chose Alexandria House, which she later visited. I really felt she was sincere. ■



ON THE SCENE The Local Peasant

Where You’ll Find Me

Comedian Heather McDonald from the Juicy Scoop podcast and Fox 11 anchor Susan Hirasuna weigh in on their faves in the Valley.



Heather McDonald

Susan Hirasuna

SUZANNA MELENDEZ FACIALS I love to get my facials from Suzanna Melendez in Calabasas. Whenever I have an audition or I’m filming, she’s the first person I call. Suzanna rejuvenates my skin and gets me camera-ready.

VINH LOI TOFU Owner Kevin Tran knows if I come in, it must mean that I’ve got a cold or flu. This vegan, Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall serves up a spicy soup that is as restorative as it is tasty.

THE LOCAL PEASANT WOODLAND HILLS It’s a great and easygoing atmosphere, and their El Diablo cocktail is amazing! It is the perfect sweet and spicy margarita.

PEDALER’S FORK Sit alongside the creek, sip the stellar coffee, get your bike fixed and enjoy a Johnny Cake. Food is good, but it’s the whole experience that brings me back.

JOEY’S Joey’s at the Village in Westfield Topanga’s ahi tuna tacos are so delicious, and they pair perfectly with any of their fantastic cocktails. The patio is a great spot for lunch.

LEO AND LILLY’S You can get avocado toast just about anywhere these days, but here I get it gluten-free, with two poached eggs and a Mediterranean salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

HQ My husband is really into sports, so when there’s a big event on, we love going there. It’s a really cool sports bar with a rock and roll feel. It’s also just a fun, relaxed place to grab a drink with friends.

NIPPON RAMEN I love the Japanese ladies who serve up the steamy bowls of ramen. On a hot day, I get the cold soba or the tofu salad. The fried rice reminds me of the way my mom makes it (not greasy and lightly seasoned). ■


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Meet 7 local women who are knocking it out of the ballpark. From forward-thinking entrepreneurs to women paying it forward, all are committed to carving their own paths and living a life of passion and purpose. PHOTOGRAPHED AND COLLAGED BY MICHAEL BECKER

Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio

Gretchen McCourt

High School Teacher | Dream Chaser

Entertainment Executive | Community Builder

(see previous page) Meet Aidyl Gonzalez-Serricchio and it’s easy to understand why students consider the science lab one of the coolest places to hang out at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. The petite, 5-foot-1 Caltech Ph.D. (molecular genetics) is one of those rare teachers, whose passion, even for such dry topics as the spinal cords of zebrafish, is infectious. Students call her “Dr. G”; she refers to them as “future leaders.” Married to a JPL rocket scientist, Fred, with whom she has sons, Joey, 19, and Owen, 17, Aidyl (pronounced Ideal) looks a decade younger than her 45 years. She talks fast with a Bronx accent and has that undeniable “cool” factor. Maybe it’s because she attends the annual Comedy-Con convention in full costume every year, performs magic at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and drives a Kia Soul in the shade “alien green”, outfitted with giant black eyelashes above the headlights. “It definitely eases anxiety when my students know it’s my car,” chuckles Aidyl. Aidyl is Buckley’s Upper School Science Department Co-Chair as well as their STEAM and Robotics director. She says it is pure devotion that drove the school’s team to a ninth-place finish in a global robotics competition last year and a third-place win at the California State Science and Engineering Fair. She was also named Teacher of the Year at the competition. In addition to helping students reach their dreams, Aidyl has her own. She’s applied to NASA to become an astronaut. “I’d love to go into space,” says Aidyl, who adds she isn’t scared because her husband is working on the spacecrafts, so she knows it will be safe. With over 18,000 applications she realizes her chances are slim. “Still, you never know,” she says. The daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, she grew up in a rough section of the South Bronx, discovering her love of science by experimenting with cockroaches in the family’s tiny apartment. Her commitment to teaching came later—and by accident, literally. After getting her undergraduate degree, Aidyl and her husband moved from NY to California to attend Caltech. Aidyl was fast tracking as a Caltech researcher, uncommon for Latina women, when in 2003 a freak accident at the Orange County Fair derailed her professional ascent. Aidyl was on the “Adrenaline Drop” ride when things went awry. Instead of being bounced back up bungeestyle, she hit a 4-inch-thick pad 15 feet above the ground. It took her two years to walk again, during which time she lost her research funding, battled pain and eventually found a new career teaching high school students with learning disabilities at Bridges Academy. Following an 8-year-stint at Bridges, in 2013 Aidyl moved to Buckley where she’s known to field light-night phone calls from students and parents. The geneticist spends three days a week during the summer, unpaid, in a lab helping kids who want to do research. Sometimes they meet at Buckley; other times they converge at CalTech. “All I ask is that they pay it forward,” she says, “and sometimes maybe a sugar-free Red Bull.” —Written by Susan Spillman



Ask Gretchen McCourt where she’d like to meet for a morning interview, and you won’t hear Starbucks. “Let’s meet at Republic of Pie in North Hollywood. It’s this great community hub right between Sherman Oaks [where she lives] and the studios. Everyone there is super friendly.” That pretty much describes the ethos of Gretchen McCourt. The executive VP and chief content officer of Arclight Cinemas and mother of four is—at her core—about connecting. “I grew up in Kansas City and it always strikes me when someone says, ‘There’s no community in LA. I don’t even know my neighbors.’ I believe it’s about building a community. If you want it, build it.” Gretchen’s first job out of college was working for AMC Theatres. As an economics and urban planning major, she was originally hired to do real estate development but switched to the film department. In 2007 Pacific Theatres reached out to her for help in building out their more experiential, higher-end Arclight concept. At the time, there was only one Arclight located in Hollywood. Next year the 11th Arclight will open in Boston. Of the countless hours she has put in over the years, Gretchen says matter-of-factly, “If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like hard work. And I love what I do.” Despite the hefty title and raising kids (ages 11 to 22), Gretchen found the time to kick off the nonprofit Women in Entertainment in 2015. She is the CEO of the organization, which puts on events attended by many of Hollywood’s heavy hitters. “It is not about accolades or awards. We want to have a forum for women to have meaningful conversations about the business.” One important goal is to help young women get into showbiz. “We work with several LA schools with our mentorship program. Girls who are excelling in STEM programs need to know that they can have careers in entertainment.” Gretchen is also behind another philanthropic effort. She recently spearheaded the founding of the Mid Valley chapter of the National League of Young Men (NLYM). The nonprofit is aimed at teaching young men about protocol, philanthropy and leadership. “I have three sons. I want them to learn to build their own communities.” This fall Gretchen will take a step back from Arclight, transitioning into the role of consultant and shifting her laser focus on what has become her true passion, Women in Entertainment. When she talks about the upcoming change, her excitement is palpable. “There is just so much good that we can do there.” —Written by Linda Grasso Hair & Makeup by Cat Sherwin



Shideh, Shirin and Shida Kaviani Owners of Naked Wardrobe | Industry Trailblazers The Kaviani sisters, who grew up in Woodland Hills, seemed destined to go into business together. “We always had a lemonade stand when we were growing up. We’d charge 15 cents a cup,” recalls Shida, the 35-yearold middle sister. “One time we made $42!” adds 31-yearold Shideh, the youngest one. “We had garage sales too. One time we sold a Guess jean jacket for only 50 cents, and we told our parents about it and we got yelled at,” chimes in 37-yearold Shirin, prompting all three women to burst out laughing. However no one is disputing their business acumen today. The Kaviani sisters own Naked Wardrobe. Operating out of a large commercial office space in Northridge, the company manufactures a line of form-fitting, viscose clothing, worn by celebrities including the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez. The all-white contemporary offices, accented with neon wall art, are adjacent to their fulfillment center. Rows of shelves are lined with cardboard boxes, filled with hundreds of different styles. There are mini, midi and maxi dresses and skirts, crop tops, bodysuits, jumpsuits and a maternity line. Most are priced in the $40 to $45 range. And this past summer, a



shoe line was added to the mix. High heels, of course. The genesis for Naked came from Shideh, who graduated from FIDM. She honed her craft by working for a few retailers but aspired to work for a company that sold clothes she could afford. “I started looking at companies like Forever 21 and H&M and noticed that they weren’t selling online,” Shideh explains. Joining forces with Shirin, a selfdescribed “techie nerd” and a wizard at graphic design, and Shida, a PR executive, the trifecta was born in 2012. Naked originally was a resale business. The sisters would buy items in downtown LA and sell them on the site. Shirin caught wind of Instagram (relatively new at the time) and started using it as a promotional tool, pushing out photos of beautiful models in their sexy, affordable clothing. “From the first month, we were golden,” recalls Shideh. Creating their own line seemed the

next logical step. As their custom designs were being shipped all over the world, ironically their big break came from a gal who lived just a couple of miles away. Khloe Kardashian was photographed at a restaurant wearing a Naked dress. “She could wear all the couture she wanted and she chose a $40 dress. I was shocked. I literally dropped to the floor and said, ‘We’ve made it!’” giggles Shideh. They credit their work ethic and success to their parents, who are both entrepreneurs. The sisters see them frequently. “We all live within a few miles of each other—all of us in the Valley,” says Shida. —Written by Linda Grasso Makeup by Karolin Davtyan Hair by Sylvia Heranchian For more on the Kaviani sisters, check out the SheSez with Linda Grasso podcast, available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.





Christine Simmons LA Sparks Leader | Powerful Proponent Christine Simmons may work behind the scenes, but as one of a very small group of female professional sports leaders, the LA Sparks president and COO lives in the spotlight. Her job for the professional women’s basketball team entails handling everything on the business side—from sponsorships to ticket sales to PR. But the most rewarding part of it all is outside that realm. “I find most joy when I’m out in the community. And a lot of it has nothing to do with basketball.” Christine prides herself on community outreach, whether she is speaking at a women’s event, putting on a program for underprivileged kids or helping graduates, in her role as head of UCLA alumni relations. It’s her fifth season leading the Sparks. She worked in business development for Magic Johnson (who co-owns the team) earlier in her career and went on to a job at NBC Universal. Then Magic approached her about the Sparks. “On paper, I was not qualified for the job. I think he saw in me a competitive nature that he has himself. And he knew I’d put in the work.” The Sparks franchise—part of the Women’s National Basketball Association—is the only professional women’s sports team in LA. In 2016 the team won the championship and one year later made it to the finals. “It’s crazy, but our 2016 championship was the last one this city won.” And yet filling the seats (even though you can get a ticket for just 10 bucks) is a challenge. Many basketball fans don’t think women have the same skill level as men. Christine aims to change that. “Every guy I know who is a hard-core NBA fan, they come and say, ‘Dang these girls can ball!’ These women are global athletes!” A divorcee, she is mom to a 7-year-old son, Christian. With such a demanding job, at times it’s a juggle. “I love being a working mom. Hats off to moms and dads that choose to stay home. I’ve always enjoyed my career. I feel like I’m the best mother I can be when I’m learning new things and pushing myself. It’s just who I am.” —Written by Linda Grasso For more on Christine, check out SheSez with Linda Grasso on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.



Rachel Pally Clothes Designer | Creative Force Growing up in suburban Van Nuys, Rachel Pally had little hint of the glamour and excitement that was to come. The elegant, soft-spoken designer has been creating luxe dresses, wide-leg pants and feminine tops for the last 15 years. Her eponymous line can be found at high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus and chic boutiques—from Madison to Planet Blue. Rachel’s entree to the world of fashion was somewhat unconventional. She didn’t attend FIDM or Pratt and never held a haute couture apprenticeship. Her fashion sense is derived from her own innate sense of style as well as unbridled tenacity. While studying geography and modern dance at the University of California, Berkeley, Rachel began sewing her own creations, using remnants from the local fabric store.



“The clothes had this handmade, deconstructed kind of look. They’re really funny when I look at them now, but people were really liking them,” Rachel recalls. One of her dresses caught the eye of a trendy LA shop owner, during a trip home from college. “I ended up showing her some of the other clothes I had made and she said, ‘Make some stuff and I’ll see if I can sell it.’ It ended up working, and people were actually buying it. It was totally insane to me!” Rachel admits. The positive feedback incented Rachel to pursue a new career path. After graduating from Berkeley and moving back in with her parents, Rachel got to work on her sewing machine. “I had a black and white roll of fabric that I cut and sewed together in whatever way made sense to me.

I made a bunch of samples and started calling people: ‘Hi, I’m Rachel. Can I come and show you my line?’ Most people said ‘no,’ but I just called again and again. I was 22, totally fearless and had nothing to lose. Finally people started to say yes.” She landed accounts at some of the hottest luxury boutiques in Los Angeles and moved her headquarters to an apparel manufacturer in downtown LA. In 2003 Rachel got a lucky break: Singer Jessica Simpson, a fashion trendsetter at the time, arrived at an event in one of her designs. “Jessica wore my jersey, wide-leg, cropped pants and afterwards my doors were literally being banged down. I joke that Jessica Simpson

wore my pants, and I bought a house—but literally I was 22 and bought a house in Los Feliz from the sales of those pants,” remarks Rachel. Now 38, Rachel lives in the hills above Studio City with Kevin Circosta, a fashion designer and musician, along with their two boys, Tao (5) and Luca (2). “I feel like our company has always been about making women feel good. We support our local economy. We do “Made in the USA.” All of these things are just who I am in terms of my humanity. It’s given me an amazing life, and I’m so grateful.” —Written by Heather David





Stephanie Klasky-Gamer LA Family Housing CEO | Barrier Breaker You may recall seeing Measure H on the ballot last March. Giving a thumb’s up to that 10-year, 25-cent LA County sales tax might not have meant much to you, but it has turned Stephanie Klasky-Gamer’s world upside down—in a good way. “There’s never been a time like this before,” she says. Stephanie, 50, is solidly grounded in activism—from a childhood growing up in Northridge with parents committed to social justice and advocacy, to volunteering in junior high at a north Valley shelter to her current position as president and CEO at LA Family Housing (LAFH). When she joined the 35-year-old nonprofit in 2007, its operating budget was $6.25 million. Today with the revenues from Measure H, LAFH’s budget is $41 million. Under Stephanie’s direction, LAFH’s staff has grown from 75 people to 230. “I sign $400,000 a week in motel vouchers for families,” says Stephanie, to give an idea of the volume of need among LA County’s 53,000-person homeless population. Stephanie, who lives in North Hollywood with her husband and three children, describes her job at LAFH as “a marriage of personal passions. It’s who I am at my core combined with the skill set I had.” Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in art history at the University of Michigan and went on to get a master’s degree in urban planning from UCLA. Early on she thought she might pursue public-art advocacy or other public-sector work, but then, “I got very intrigued with the notion of the ‘built environment’—who gets to decide what gets built for who and where? I made a shift during grad school to become a ‘houser.’” As property-development work goes, Stephanie chose the field that is probably the toughest row to hoe: the construction of what they call “bridge,” (aka shelter) and affordable housing. But she is close to seeing a decade of struggle pay off, with the opening of the Campus at LAFH on Lankershim Boulevard in NoHo. Ironically the $10 million project occupies the site of the old Valley Shelter, where Stephanie volunteered with her youth group from Temple Judea in junior high, bringing her efforts full circle. Nearly complete, the attractive, LEED-certified, block-square complex features housing for about 300 people, plus a medical clinic and centralized counseling services. The Campus will serve about 10,000 people a year. The Campus is just one of 23 properties LAFH owns and operates. Most are in the north Valley. “We work on a philosophy of removing barriers to housing,” Stephanie says. “You need to give people a stable environment first; you need routines and stability.” —Written by Anne M. Russell



Rachel Sumekh Nonprofit Founder | Activist for Life At 5 feet 6 inches tall, wearing one of her signature flower print dresses and sneakers, it’s immediately clear when you meet Rachel Sumekh: She is a force of nature. Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of their 2017 “30 under 30: Social Entrepreneurs,” Rachel is the founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The program allows college students with extra money on their dining hall meal plans to donate it to students in need. “Initially it started off with my friends and I going to the dining hall and buying food and giving it out to homeless people around Westwood,” explains Rachel, who at the time was in her second year at UCLA. Soon after, Rachel heard about a food pantry that was opening on campus, to serve undergraduates who couldn’t



afford to eat. For Rachel, it was a mindblowing revelation. “We had no idea that there were hungry students on campus, and we wanted to help our own peers first,” she says. She shares that recent studies show one-third of university students in the United States are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t have consistent access to enough healthy food. Rachel, who grew up in Tarzana as a “quiet bookworm,” became an outspoken advocate, ultimately helping persuade the UCLA administration to adopt the Swipe Out Hunger system in 2010. “I got on this big kick, realizing my voice is the most valuable thing, and it was such a self-actualizing experience. I was doing what I love, which is leadership and getting my friends involved too.”

In 2012 President Obama invited Rachel, along with other young innovators from across the country, to celebrate their accomplishments at the White House. Two years later, Rachel opened Swipe Out Hunger’s office in downtown LA. Currently the nonprofit has 48 colleges and universities on board and has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from meal plans to aide others. Rachel is buoyed by what she has been able to accomplish and is fully committed to remaining an altruistic leader. “I never want to use my voice or any power that I have unless it’s advancing society and making a difference in people’s lives.” —Written by Heather David


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FULL IMMERSION Clockwise: Namaste Nail Sanctuary; Paper Source; Dance Diva; Toto’s Floatation Tub

Get Your Girl On

Tap into your feminine side with this list of stops and shops.

TOTO TUB Check out the new Floatation Tub by the Japanese manufacturer Toto. Shaped to simulate a “gravity-less” floating position ideal for meditation. $18,799; DIVA DANCE Get out of your comfort zone and take a class at Diva Dance. The specialty studio offers group classes and private ballroom dance instruction for every level. 19901-1/2 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills BLUE MERCURY Tired of the madhouse at Sephora? Slip into the calm of this chic, immaculate shop and let a pro refresh your visage. High-end brands are available including Chantecaille (we’re bonkers for their lip gloss shade “Pretty”). 12178 Ventura Blvd., Studio City



NAMASTE NAIL SANCTUARY A mani/pedi experience that supercedes even those at high-end spas. Recline in a plush chair, put on headphones and LED glasses, and escape with the Deepak Chopra Dream Weaver guided meditation system. Superior laquers and massage; great attention to detail—plus aromatherapy. 12184 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 6320 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills BLUE MEDI SPA Botox is just the beginning here. Revitalize your skin with one of several cutting-edge treatments, including the PicoSkin laser. It helps improve tone and texture, reduces the appearance of scars, wrinkles and fine lines— with little or no downtime. 14622 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks

PAPER SOURCE Get your creative ya-ya’s out with oversized sheets of paper—sourced from all over the world. With modern, abstract designs as well as floral patterns, it’s perfect for covering a lampshade, lining closet drawers or giftwrapping. From $4.95 12174 Ventura Blvd, Studio City SHAPE HOUSE Forget about all the cryo salons. If you like to sweat, this is your spot. For 55 minutes, relax in a cocoon of infrared blankets, in your own private space. Sweat out toxins and burn calories—all while watching your favorite TV shows on a flat screen. 12319 Ventura Blvd., Studio City


INTERACTIVE OPEN HOUSE EVENTS CALENDAR Ventura Blvd Magazine will host a comprehensive calendar of the finest Open House events for schools in our area. Plan your fall using this easy to navigate guide. Find it live mid-September at

Want to include your events? Find out how by contacting Robin Sanders at 818-427-2050 or

L ouisville High School A Legacy of Excellence in Catholic Education for Young Women 8th GradeVisit Day OPEN HOUSE Shadow Tour Days High School Placement Test Boot Camp

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Learning forward at Sierra Canyon is both a mindset and an action. On our energizing campuses, students gain unstoppable momentum to learn and explore, propelling them toward lifelong success. We invite your family to experience our entrepreneurial program.

Campus Preview Events Lower Campus Pre-K – Grade 6 Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 am Upper Campus Grades 7 – 12 Saturday, Nov. 3 at 9 am


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J’Adore Les Fleurs takes bouquets to the next level, creating striking arrangements in Victorian-style hatboxes. WRITTEN BY LINDA GRASSO PHOTOGRAPHED BY TAMEKA JACOBS

Founding J’Adore Les Fleurs wasn’t something that Alisa Tovmanyan and Eliza Glants could have seen coming. They were both on other career paths when they married into a family that ran a florist shop in Glendale. Their mother-inlaw kept pushing them to get into the family business. “At first we didn’t agree with her. I was studying fashion design and Eliza was in law school. We both had different plans,” explains Alisa, who calls Valley Village home. But that changed when the women stumbled upon a fresh concept. “We wanted to find a way to help our mother-in-law expand her business in Glendale, but we wanted to do something innovative. We noticed that in other parts of the world, like in Russia and Dubai, florists were creating arrangements in containers that resembled hatboxes from the Victorian era. But no one was doing it here in the United States,” says Eliza, who lives in Sherman Oaks.




Eliza Glants and Alisa Tovmanyan



The duo found a box manufacturing company and a location on the Boulevard and divvied up responsibilities. Alisa and Eliza, both of whom have children, handle the creative aspects of the company and supervise the shops. Their husbands run the business side of the operation. The first J’Adore Les Fleurs opened in 2015. “We started selling a round hatbox, and that did well, and so then we started offering different shapes like a hexagon, a long rectangle and a square. Clients can choose their box shape and color. Many people do custom arrangements—requesting specific types of flowers—but sometimes people leave it up to us,” Eliza explains. Alisa and Eliza pride themselves on the high quality of flowers they use and the fact that they eschew inexpensive “fillers” like baby’s breath. On the day we visited in July, the shop was filled with tight, baby rose buds in every hue, plate-size dahlias and bright pink peonies. “Peony season is over, but we know where to get them,” shares Eliza. Arrangement prices start at $125 and delivery to Studio City is free. The Valley shop was such a hit that their mother-in-law soon changed her florist shop into a J’Adore Les Fleurs outpost. Then a third location was opened in Pacific Palisades. A warehouse in Glendale handles the online orders. (Preserved instead of fresh flowers are used when shipping outside of SoCal.) Cut to three years and 170,000 Instagram followers later, and J’Adore Les Fleurs is officially on the map. Ask Alisa to comment on their success and she replies without missing a beat, “The power of flowers is indescribable.” ■

The World’s Most Fascinating Women. They tell all on the SheSez podcast with Linda Grasso. Learn how their bold, innovative—and sometimes badass—moves put them on the path to personal fulfillment. Tune in to SheSez on Apple Podcasts with new episodes debuting each Tuesday. For more, go to

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TILE BY FIRE The story—and the artist—behind the striking handcrafted tile that adorns structures throughout Calabasas’ city center.


Visitors to Calabasas can’t help but notice the gorgeous tile work that adorns many of the public structures—from the fountains and amphitheater at the city library to the façade of the Senior Center. The colorful tile work was done by Diana Mausser and her company, Native Tile & Ceramics. Her first project for the city dates back to 2008, when the new Calabasas City Hall and Civic Center complex was built. She was hired to create two fountains—one in front of the complex and another at the entrance to the public library. “The new complex was designed in the Mediterranean style, and the architect referenced a peacock fountain that is on the grounds of the historic Adamson House in Malibu. I’ve had a very extensive and intimate relationship with the Adamson House and

Malibu Lagoon Museum for over 30 years, so the architect’s inspiration hit a nice chord with me,” Diana says. Still she wanted to figure out a way to include some local flavor. “I really felt the need to create something that was not so literally connected to the iconic Malibu Potteries peacock fountain. I wanted to create something that would be completely unique for the Calabasas property and at the same time incorporate some historical reference.” After doing some research, she discovered that locals really supported the notion of conservation and preserving nature. “So I proposed that the tile fountains have a ‘tree of life’ motif, incorporating flora and fauna that thrive in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. I also included the names of most

of the wildlife and plants as a design element of the murals, to serve as identification for educational purposes. I included design elements from the historic peacock fountains as well.” After the fountains at City Hall and the library were complete, city officials asked Diana to tile the outdoor amphitheater and an additional fountain at the library. Her next project, in 2015, focused on the new Senior Center. Native Tile was hired to create the tile on the front of the building as well as a fountain in the back courtyard.

THE CALLING Diana realized her artistic calling while growing up in the South Bay. At a very young age, she sewed her own clothes, while creatively



ARTISTIC VISION A fountain at the Calabasas Senior Center

changing the store-bought patterns that she worked from. “I liked to hang out in the Cotton Shop fabric store in Hermosa Beach when I was a child,” she shares. “I was so excited about all of the fabrics that I wanted to wear them!” Her love for creating didn’t stop with clothes. In the 1970s, she made and sold macramé plant hangers and watchbands and beaded necklaces. “I loved art and designing things,” she says. Diana later pursued a B.A. degree at UCLA, majoring in ceramics and textile design and also studying printmaking and photography. “After my first class in ceramics, I was completely hooked,” she recalls. “The more I was exposed to it, the more I realized how detailed and technical it is. With the chemical process, it is science and art in one. I had a lot of happy accidents when first learning, which made me very excited about the possibilities.”

THE AWAKENING Diana graduated from UCLA, attended California College of the Arts in Oakland for one year and then worked at a few LA tile companies. Then she had an awakening. “A client for the company I worked for as a glaze technician opened my eyes to California tile history and made me aware of the great potential for tile,” Diana explains. “He wanted a tile depicting a carved image of a medieval knight on a horse slaying a dragon restored and reproduced, which was out of the scope of the company’s usual services. I convinced my supervisor that I could do it, and I did!” Driven by a passion for formulating her own glazes and colors and deriving creative inspiration from the historic arts and crafts tile of the late Ernest Batchelder, Diana set out to forge her own path in the tile industry. With barely enough money for a kiln and rent, she started Native Tile & Ceramics in 1990, inside a 500-square-foot shed. Her creative wings took flight, and

she began crafting her own versions of California-style tile designs. The business flourished, and eight years later she moved to the company’s current quaint studio: a 1940s bungalow in Old Torrance.

THE CRAFT With a commitment to exceptional quality and time-honored tile crafting, Diana and her team of 10 artistic employees hand press, glaze and fire each tile, as the resident cats and chickens look on. With an array of custom-mixed colors (from muted to vibrant) and unique timeless designs, Native Tile & Ceramics produces five distinct tile styles: vintage Californian with an antique and watercolor look; Malibu-style with crisp lines and a graphic design appearance; Cuencastyle with raised lines that originated in Spain; relief with carved patterns; and Tunisian with a distinct gloss and varied line quality. Today Diana is credited with designing more than 1,100 historically inspired Craftsman, Spanish and Moorish-style tiles, which have beautified numerous noteworthy buildings, including the Avenue of the Peninsula shopping center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, the Rose Bowl Stadium and the Biltmore hotel in Santa Barbara … to name a few. Native Tile has also done work for private homes, including those owned by Steven Spielberg, Kevin Costner, Robert Downey Jr., Diane Keaton, George Lucas and Madonna. When asked what is on the creative horizon now, Diana says with smiling eyes, “I am always ready for another dragon to light up my imagination.” ■





WINGS ON HER BACK After winding down her medical practice, Mary Jo Ford was looking for a new challenge. Little did she know she’d find it speeding down open roads atop a BMW motorcycle. WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARY JO FORD

Most of my travels have involved adventure and volunteerism; I’ve always felt these are the best ways to connect to a new culture. But I decided to up the ante when I wound down my medical practice in 2016. I thought about summertime as a Nebraska native. It always meant Rand McNally road trips— which, with speed and an open road, had a certain allure. When my youngest daughter turned 18, I signed up for the California motorcycle safety course and bought my first motorcycle. It was easy to join the vibrant community of SoCal motorcyclists, which is powered by year-round warm weather and beautiful, twisty coastal and mountainous roads. As a woman, I was in the minority—only 14% of American motorcycles are registered

to women—but I immediately felt comfortable with the community’s laid-back and welcoming mindset. My first bike didn’t have the most reliable gauges. One time I ran out of gas on the 101 South, and a burly man on a Harley stopped to help before I even had a chance to call AAA. He shook my bike to get the reserve gas flowing and led me to the nearest gas station. I loved the feeling of the ride: the pressure and sound of the wind, the sense of connection to the details of my surroundings, the intensity of my thoughts, the immersion in something beyond myself. These things created a feeling of utter freedom. I was immediately hooked. I practiced with canyon rides around Malibu and Ojai before branching out into



international travel. Japan was on my radar, and it dawned on me that seeing a country of such volcanic majesty and island coastal wonder might best be achieved on two wheels. So in November 2016, I rented a BMW adventure motorcycle in Tokyo and set out on a three-week journey. As I was leaning my bike into the endless curves and inhabiting each moment, I realized that exploring by motorcycle was a cure for any worries. There’s a unique sort of joy that piggybacks onto the dirt and bugs that accumulate on your visor and gear. My bike and I became a touchstone for interaction with people, as they were surprised to see a petite blonde woman emerge from a full-face helmet into the sea of gorgeous jet-black hair. My appearance became an unexpected asset; people showered me with kindness, and I made friends easily. The one and only time I had difficulty starting the motorcycle, four motorcyclists out on a weekend ride stopped and helped me resolve the issue. Earlier this year I hosted these new Japanese friends at my home. I followed up with a three-week motorcycle trip to Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. This proved to be a journey of dramatic landscapes and extremes. I rode over the highest motorable pass in the Andes; through the vast, dry Atacama Desert; and over the Bolivian salt flats, which form part of the famous Dakar Rally. My initial fear of riding on gravel was soon conquered out of necessity—only about 20% of the roads I traveled were paved. I became familiar with dirt, gravel, sand and remote border crossings on a rented motorcycle into and out of a communist country. Border guards dutifully completed hours of document inspection and paperwork to ensure my trusty bike was not stolen. So when an email arrived this May asking if I would transport a BMW 700 GS to Anchorage, Alaska, the deal was sealed in minutes. How hard could that be? It’s the United States and Canada! I soon discovered it wasn’t quite as easy as it sounded. I encountered powerful dust devils and 50 mph winds riding though the Mojave Desert. Three days into the journey there was a morning blizzard as I rode through Zion National Park; I promptly found out why motorcycle gloves have a built-in wiper on the left thumb. Visibility is key. I pressed on, becoming more familiar with apps that update road conditions—only to discover that some of the roads I was hoping to take were closed because of heavy



snow. Adjusting and improvising the route infused every day with joyful spontaneity and surprise encounters that, for me, felt like a treasure hunt. Seeing a female motorcyclist continually seemed to surprise people, all the while making me more approachable. Every rider I ran


into was male, and they were eager to find out what I was up to on the road. A Native Indian at a roadside diner in Iskut, British Columbia called me a city slicker because I was so “neat and tidy.” Given that I’d been without makeup and a blow-dryer for weeks, this was an unexpected compliment! You must travel light with motorcycling— packing only essential gear and emergency tools, only what fits in the saddlebags. I learned early on to embrace simplicity and relinquish all the feelings of control I have at home. Connecting with people is always one of the most rewarding aspects of travel, and I Iearned a new way to connect during

the trip to Alaska. For the first time, I used Instagram (@badass_blonde_md) to share the adventure, and I found it to be not only fun but helpful. As the trip unfolded, I used social media to get tips from fellow motorcycle adventurists who’d been down these roads before. I also came across a small but growing community of female motorcyclists, who encouraged and helped me on my journey from civilian to adventure rider. I hope to inspire other women the way they have inspired me. These human interactions, even small ones, continue to show me that travel is about me being with others in the world, not me going around the world. Motorcycling has broadened my perspective on what’s possible to achieve and has given me a much deeper bond with nature. Riding lends itself to taking roads less traveled, and the inevitable solitude has allowed me to absorb the sounds and scents of the world in a new, unfettered way. My newfound perspective has also inspired me to collaborate with other professional women from around the world through a program called Homeward Bound ( Starting in November, I will spend a year with experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM). The program is designed to create a global network of 1,000 women in STEMM who will go on to influence policy and decisionmaking as it shapes our planet. The journey culminates in a three-week adventure to Antarctica, where we’ll see firsthand how fragile our ecology is … and where I’m hoping I’ll be the first person to ride an electric, nonpolluting motorcycle! As the mother of two young women—one training as a software engineer and one as an Air Force pilot—I am honored to drive forward together with all women who dream big. Like my career in medicine, motorcycling has been a major means of empowerment for me; I’ve got two-wheeled wings on my back and am excited for every bump and bend of the miles I’ve yet to ride. ■ Mary Jo Ford can be found on twisty roads all over SoCal. Follow her adventures on Instagram @badass_blonde_md.

THE WINDING ROAD Clockwise from top: the writer riding across an old railroad trestle bridge in Alaska; in the midst of the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia; a sculpture made of salt bricks in the Uyuni Salt Flats



the sauce


Discover how Teresa Ngo put Blinkie’s Donuts on the map—beginning on the next page...

the sauce

Success Rings True

Why people from all over LA—and the world—are flocking to Blinkie’s Donuts in Woodland Hills WRITTEN BY JOSHUA LURIE PHOTOGRAPHED BY MONICA OROZCO

For over 50 years, Blinkie’s Donuts was an old-school stronghold in Woodland Hills. Regulars knew exactly what to expect: supple, chewy rings with simple toppings—think chocolate and vanilla glazes—and crusty, cake donuts studded with blueberries. Then Teresa Ngo and her father, Hugh, bought the business in 2003 and in recent years decided to mix things up. She started glazing with novel flavors like Thai tea topped with toasted coconut, horchata rice milk with dusted cinnamon and avocado drizzled with condensed milk. “Classic donuts are fun, but I feel like we can experience/try new flavors,” Teresa says. “I’m a foodie, so I get the idea from my favorite dishes, drinks and ice cream.” Customers have responded wholeheartedly, buying every creation she has come up with. Now Blinkie’s is one of LA’s most cutting-edge donut shops and is becoming a donut darling on Instagram. Teresa was born in Paris, then her family moved to Anaheim, where relatives were in the donut business. Her uncle, Ted “Doughnut King” Ngoy, ran dozens of donut

shops in the ’80s. Her dad apprenticed at a family outpost before he and Teresa found the opportunity to buy Blinkie’s in 2003. At that point, it was a neighborhood favorite that had fallen into disrepair. Teresa and Hugh knew they had to reinvent. They divvied up responsibilities. He handled cooking and production; she got customer service, sales and innovation. The duo started developing new recipes, in an effort to rebuild clientele. They began with classics—basic glazed still sells best—and added a black-and-white donut with vanilla and chocolate glazes, “for the person who can’t decide what they want.” Customers rewarded Blinkie’s with steady growth and strong bonds. “We love our customers,” Teresa says. “They’re like family to us. We grow up with them. We cry with them. We laugh with them. I’ve been to weddings, births, funerals and graduations.” A following by local celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and Chris Hemsworth has helped the business. So has all the media attention. Blinkie’s is now a destination for people traveling from places like Thailand, Dubai and Japan. Despite increased demand, Teresa still closes daily at noon. “We believe that a donut should be eaten when it’s fresh,” she says. “We don’t believe in letting our donuts sit until they get stale.” They make donuts just once per morning unless they see an epic rush. And they sell out almost every day. Teresa and her father have woken up before dawn for 15 years, but she insists it’s worth the trouble, saying, “The kids’ faces when they walk in and look at the showcase. How they light up. That’s the Kodak moment. That’s what I live for. Just making people’s day.” ■ Blinkie’s Donuts 4884 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills 818-884-4456


100+ Different types of donuts


Largest donut order (jelly donuts ordered by Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas)

1,500 Donuts made on an average Friday

1,400 Pounds of flour used per week


Record number of donuts sold (on National Donut Day, June 1, 2018)



TIP: With the fall season, comes winter squash. Look for heirloom varietals from your local farmers market, like acorn or butternut. Let your farmer guide you to what they grow best. Squash is always a great side dish for a comforting fall supper. Cut any of these varietals in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh thyme, some butter and roast until tender. You don’t even need to peel them!

Q: What’s your favorite fall dessert? A: I like to cut stone fruit, apples or pears into bitesized cubes and toss in a skillet with brown butter, vanilla, cardamom, orange zest and salt. Place the filling into ramekins and crumble your favorite shortbread cookie dough on top. Bake at around 325 degrees until the shortbread crumble is golden brown!

Finish with fresh pomegranate seeds, torn parsley and a salty cheese like Feta or Ricotta Salata!

Executive Pastry Chef & Owner: Margarita Kallas-Lee

Executive Chef & Owner: Phillip Frankland Lee

Scratch | Restaurants


Scratch | Bar & Kitchen

Since opening in 2015, Scratch|Bar & Kitchen’s chef-driven service has evolved from à la carte offerings to heed growing local demand for more intricate chef’s tastings. Here Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee marry a love of their hometown locale with the grand tradition of degustation to reimagine their particular, LA-centric brand of strip mall fine dining. Scratch|Bar & Kitchen’s 20+ course tasting menu draws inspiration from the restaurants original 12-foot wood burning open hearth and the ‘from scratch’ philosophy. A progression of bites in the dedicated private bar begins with savory snacks and complimentary cocktail pairings. The main dinner continues as guests are guided into the hearth kitchen-facing dining room, where cooks serve up delicacies. | 818.646.6085


Woodley Proper

Woodley Proper builds on the idea of ‘dining at the bar,’ a favorite pastime perfected for an easy night out with pals or solo diners alike. Woodley Proper is a bustling neighborhood gastropub that entertains guests nightly with a proper pour, easy conversation, and something delicious to eat. At this Encino gem, cocktail standards and creative concoctions pair with delectable snacks and meaty plates of comfort food—with a cheffy twist—amidst a cozy desert inspired atmosphere of vintage wood and cacti. | 818.906.9775 ADVERTISEMENT

Sushi|Bar Behind unmarked doors glimmers an intimate counter top housing eight prized seats. Sushi Bar is the Lee’s omakase speakeasy that serves up a whimsy of it’s namesake fare in 16 courses. Hidden behind Woodley Proper, a welcome cocktail eases the way into a playful reverie on new wave nigiri and other delicates from land and sea. A free-form, interpretive take on traditional sushi counter experience, guests are served by dedicated chefs and bartenders who prepare unexpected riffs on beloved standards. | 818.789.3992





the sauce

Fish Fusion

Discover The Joint, where fresh catch meets medium roast. WRITTEN BY JOSHUA LURIE

Coffee & Seafood will never be the next PB & J, but those two items share the spotlight at The Joint, an airy Sherman Oaks café and market where owner Liwei Liao celebrates his twin passions. Six mornings a week, at dawn, Liwei jockeys with sushi chefs for prized catches at downtown seafood markets. He fills The Joint’s display case with a “high-mix, lowvolume” selection that might include wild Canadian black cod, farmed Baja striped bass and live Santa Barbara box crab. Fish are butchered whole in-house, other than larger tuna, Alaskan halibut and swordfish. “When a fish gets cut, it starts breaking down and losing a bit of its moisture,” Liwei explains. That’s why they wait to cut each



second half until needed. Liwei says he plans to share his oceanic knowledge at upcoming butchery and cooking classes. Each day Liwei prints a menu based on seasonal market finds. During my visit, Uni is My Jam! featured a buttered French roll slathered with uni jam—a rich sea urchin, sugar and butter reduction—plus soft scrambled egg folded with more urchin. Sweet skewered shrimp came seasoned with wasabi salt and plated on chunky mango salsa. Market choice allows diners to get any item in the case pan seared with salt, pepper and garlic butter or oven baked with Parmesan herb crust. Meantime behind a white counter, baristas brew local Copa Vida beans and pull shots of Heart Coffee Roasters espresso. Seasonal drinks might include a honey latte or rose tea latte. Liwei occasionally incorporates coffee into his cooking. He uses grounds for rubs and serves coffee with lemon as a palate cleanser between courses. Growing up in Bayside, Queens, Liwei’s family frequently went fishing, cleaning and cooking what they reeled in. He honed his cooking skills while working as a private chef and running the Boba Truck for six years. During that period, he discovered

an opportunity to do something new and different with The Joint. “As a private chef and someone intrigued by good ingredients, it’s so limited,” he says. “Sherman Oaks is the next stepping stone expanding out from Studio City, North Hollywood and Silver Lake.” A tile-lined wall separates the small fish market from the dining area and café. With wood tables, the casual, attractive dining room also houses a coffee bar. White walls are lined with framed fish paintings and blackboard diagrams hinting at Liwei’s commitment to coffee and seafood. If you love seafood, Sunday is a good night to visit. “Seafood Smash Sundays” represent Liwei’s ultimate seafood vision. Each family-style meal can accommodate up to 20 people, at a cost of $45 to $65 apiece, depending on the menu. Recent courses included deviled eggs with kombu mustard and salmon roe; Parmesan baked Bluepoint oysters; and seafood paella. Liwei asks, “Who says coffee and seafood can’t mix?” The Joint certainly answers doubters. ■ The Joint 13718 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 818-510-0626

Encino’s Home Away From Home


(818) 855-1203 I 16120 Ventura Blvd. Encino, CA I



Wine Goes Green

In a state known for progressive environmentalism, it was only a matter of time before our precious California grape juice got a heavy pour of sustainable action. WRITTEN BY BONNIE GRAVES

Wine labels remain confusing to American consumers. Regulations involving mandatory warnings on back labels, for example, have wrongly convinced many that they are allergic to sulfites. Similarly, American women are often misled in their belief that even the most modest amount of wine consumption during pregnancy will lead to unavoidable birth defects.



Perhaps most mystifying to American wine consumers are terms like “organic or organically grown,” “biodynamic or biodynamically armed,” and “sustainable or certified sustainable.” Fortunately California is again taking the lead on environmental initiatives with a bold new certification program and logo designed to help consumers find wines that are made in an eco-friendly fashion. Part of an extensive, multi-year partnership between the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and the Wine Institute, the state’s largest trade organization, the new California Certified Sustainable logo launched with this past fall’s 2017 vintage. To understand the potential impact of this new logo and the authenticity behind it, we can consider just how misunderstood and inauthentic the term “organic” can be—at least with regard to wine. Currently a wine labeled “USDA organic” necessitates forgoing sulfites, which for most winemakers are an essential preservative that ensures a wine won’t denature and spoil before it hits the market shelves. In this sense, “organic” is applied to the vinification processes—the winemaking itself—and in my opinion, it creates a risk for spoilage that winemakers are wise to avoid. Simply put, wines marked “USDA organic” have a very short lifespan.

An entirely different application of the term “organic” refers to viticulture—the grape-growing process and related farming techniques. Hence many California wineries have long employed organic farming processes, eschewing chemicals and pesticides in favor of natural remedies. The result? Healthy grapes that are organically grown and chemical-free are turned into wines with an inherent marketing problem, because they can’t legally be labeled as organic. It’s tricky. Adding to the confusion are biodynamic wines, a wine designation that encompasses both organic practices in the vineyard in addition to the winemaking process itself. Based on Rudolf Steiner’s complex system of astrological indicators, biodynamic has a certain hippie vibe associated with it—although practitioners swear it results in a healthier vineyard ecosystem and, by extension, healthier wines. Demeter is a leading international certifier of biodynamic wines, and when its logo appears on a back label, a consumer can be assured that strict organic practices were followed both in the vineyard and in the winery. But back to sustainability and what it means for California wines. Up until 2017, certain wine-producing regions like Lodi adopted their own local rules for

the sauce

sustainability. Indeed, the “Lodi Rules” for third-party accreditation set the standard for other larger regions’ later participation. SIP Certified is another logo-based organization that provides an assessment program to verify if a winery is in fact following protocols. It all comes down to “he said/she said,” and it reminds me of the controversy surrounding the Wine Spectator wine list awards, in which the magazine—for a hefty fee—often awarded restaurants top billing without ever verifying if submitted wine lists were authentic or not. There were cases of “fake” wine lists winning awards, because the trophy bottles and comprehensive cellars they claimed were available, in fact, only existed on paper. And if you don’t check vineyard and winery practices, you can’t be certain that wineries are being honest. What is most exciting about the new California Certified Sustainable is its comprehensiveness. In order to qualify for the new logo, certified wines must meet a rigorous checklist of nearly 60 requirements in the vineyard, with another 30+ practices in the winery itself. And these practices go far beyond simply refraining from chemical interventions. California Certified Sustainable requires commitments to water conservation,

renewable energy, wildlife habitat preservation, greenhouse gas reductions and labor practices. Essentially it’s a commitment to stewardship of the vineyard and to improve the systemic environment that produces the wine from grape to glass. It ain’t easy. So why would wineries want to commit to being a part of the program and subject themselves to outside monitors? The answer is twofold. Firstly, it results in better wines, unequivocally. So-called “manufactured wines”—mass-produced plonk, if you will— are laden with unhealthy materials and can only be produced at cheap prices by cutting corners, notably when it comes to labor costs. There is no farmer named Charles Shaw lovingly tending his grapes. And if Chuck does exist, he’s likely a chemist at Monsanto. Secondly, wineries committing to thirdparty verification checks are betting that consumers care about sustainability. And data shows that they do, especially a younger generation of wine drinkers for whom environmental conservation is a key issue. Having a simple, easily identifiable logo that confirms a California wine was made with care for product, place and people is frankly long overdue for the industry.

With the participation of key players like Jackson Family Wines, California’s largest family-owned wine company, the logo will acquire market penetration quickly. Consumers can expect to see it on select 2017 white and rosé wines, with reds coming to market a year or two later, upon vintage release. The Wine Institute and its trade membership are working to educate both the trade and consumers, such that as the logo accrues traction it becomes associated with quality. So if you have the chance to choose between two bottles of similar California wine, seeing this logo should make the decision that much easier. In supporting the California Certified Sustainable program, one can quickly drink better quality wines that don’t harm our environment. That’s a win-win for everyone in the Golden State—and beyond. ■





Built for One From implementing simple upgrades to tapping into the ancient practice of saging, a charming south-of-the-Boulevard home is transformed into one woman’s own private paradise.



eal estate agent Stephanie Nahai and the Sherman Oaks gem she spent the past two years renovating seem to have been destined for each other. Built in 1952, the 1,400-square-foot traditional hadn’t truly felt like anyone’s home in years, bought and sold multiple times before Stephanie visited it in 2016, with clients looking to buy. Recently divorced, she herself was in the market for a place—but just to rent. That all changed when she entered the three-bedroom, three-bath house. “I was immediately drawn to the open kitchen, but it was when I walked into the backyard and saw the mini-pool that I knew I had to make this house my home,” she says. With her two daughters grown and living on their own, the house’s small size wasn’t an issue. Plus there was a private suite with its own entrance for her son, a local college student. “I call it my dollhouse,” says Stephanie. Situated on a 4,500-square-foot lot, the property had loads of character and charm but she explains, “It needed me to take it to the next level.” Initially remodeling plans were modest. Stephanie intended to remove the living room wall paneling and oversized ceiling beams and move the washer/dryer from the kitchen to a hall closet. But soon she was supervising a fullscale renovation. “The more I changed, the more I needed to change,” says Stephanie. “It was a continually evolving house for two years. My kids thought I was losing my mind, because I wouldn’t stop.” In addition to removing the ceiling beams and the wall paneling, she replaced the drywall under the paneling to create a smooth, clean look. The honey-colored wood floors were stained a rich espresso, and the broken brick that encased the fireplace was swapped out with stacked quartz. The interior walls were all painted with Restoration Hardware Pebble (flat finish) and the window trim black, while the inexpensive standard-issue, brass doorknobs were traded for modern, Emtek square crystal



“I call it my dollhouse.”

and nickel rosette knobs. The tired, inexpensive mirroring that covered the living room wall was also upgraded. Exterior renovations were equally elaborate. The wood shingle siding went away, and white brick was installed. Concrete walkways, stairs and the back patio were upgraded with blue flagstone, and the rickety wood front staircase railing became black wrought iron. Coordinating black iron gates were added to the side and backyard, and a couple of half-dead trees were removed. Her son’s suite was totally overhauled as well. Despite all the work, the home felt incomplete. “Something was definitely keeping me from feeling satisfied.” That’s when a friend, who is an empathic, urged Stephanie to sage the house, certain the issue was not her but the house’s old energy. Skeptical but willing to try anything, Stephanie obliged. “I went out and bought a saging stick,



came home by myself, poured a glass of wine, lit the stick and went from room to room waving it counterclockwise in all corners of the house, talking to the house, telling it all my wishes and begging any negative energy to leave.” It worked. Take for example, Stephanie’s struggle to position furniture in the asymmetrical living room, which had already led to buying and giving away two sofas that just didn’t quite work. Post-saging, she suddenly realized the sofa should go under the window, not in the corner of the room. After that epiphany, she easily found the perfect one, a white-brushed Belgian linen piece from Restoration Hardware. Despite Stephanie’s long and winding renovation, the results are impeccable. Even she agrees. “Now it’s done,” she says. “It’s going to be this way for a long time.” ■





Queen of the Jungle Actress Molly Burnett, who co-stars in Queen of the South, shows off one of fall’s most fetching trends. PHOTOGRAPHED BY TAMEKA JACOBS MAKEUP AND HAIR BY CAT SHERWIN STYLED BY ALLISON RAE MARSH SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER

Colorado native Molly Burnett just couldn’t snuff her passion for acting. She dropped out of college and moved to Sherman Oaks in 2008. Just four months later, she landed a principal role on Days of Our Lives—and she’s worked steadily ever since. Last year she was nominated for an Emmy for Relationship Status (aired on the app go90), and now she’s busy at work on the second season of Queen of the South (USA Network). “It’s a show about strong, badass women,” Molly explains. Here, shown in the season’s hottest trend—animal prints—the actress proves she’s got a little sass herself. SNAKE CHARMER Snakeskin print dress by AFRM, $148; available at and Nordstrom; Gianni Milanesi red ostrich skin pumps, $380; available at Barneys; steel/rust hat by Lola Hats, $362; available at Jill Roberts or; mixed metal-studded bracelet, $180; available at Calleen Cordero LEOPARD IN THE HOUSE AFRM black lace-up cotton pants, $88; leopard print denim bustier, $68; and matching denim jacket, $128; available at shopafrm. com and Nordstrom; black bootie with goldstudded heels, $675; available at Calleen Cordero ■




Walk on the Wild Side Going On Now Racer’s Edge

Put your pedal to the metal at an indoor, 16-lap, electric go-kart racetrack.

September 8 Designing for Disaster A seminar that explores the ways in which public landscapes and private gardens can help mitigate natural disasters.

13 Flower-Arranging Class This class (one is offered each month) focuses on making arrangements with lisianthuses and garden roses.

October 6 To the Dance Floor Showcase Performances by some of the best ballroom

competitors in the world.

8 Palomino Rides Again

Wildlife Photographer of the Year


Whether you are a nature lover or a photography buff, you won’t want to miss this compelling exhibition showcasing the award-winning photographs from the Natural History Museum’s annual competition. Runs through January 6.


The Palomino Club reopens for a one-night-only benefit concert at its original NoHo location. Proceeds go to the Valley Relics Museum.

13 Autry 30th Anniversary Celebration Cocktails, dinner and a private concert by Willie Nelson highlight this benefit for the Griffith Park museum.

Trim si 3.65 x 4 Private Mortgage Banking

There must be a difference Put the knowledge of a top producing private mortgage banker to work for you

As your one dedicated point of contact, I will manage your transaction from application through closing to ensure exceptional customer service you expect and deserve. Whether it’s a sizable home purchase, or a substantial refinance scenario, we have options to meet a variety of home financing needs. Anjie Terzian, Private Mortgage Banker 818-854-0954 NMLSR ID 312995 Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Š 2018 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. NMLSR ID 399801. AS4526379 Expires 07/2019

4526379_CBCL-HLCN_Q318_AS_Terzian_PRNT_A1.indd 1

7/23/18 8:45 AM

curious compassionate courageous #westridgegirl



Learn how Westridge girls take on academic challenges, are intellectually adventurous, and are prepared to succeed.

For more information or to RSVP for an open house visit

An independent school for girls in grades 4-12 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, CA 91105 626.799.1053 ext. 256





Serenity Down South

Self-professed control freak, VB editor Linda Grasso, gives in to the uber-healthy experience of the idyllic Rancho La Puerta. WRITTEN BY LINDA GRASSO

If you trace the history of the modern fitness retreat, all paths lead to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. Just an hour drive from San Diego, Rancho La Puerta opened 70 years ago. The family owned and operated resort, which began as a quaint wellness camp, has grown into 3,000 acres of breathtaking natural beauty, catering to guests’ physical, mental and spiritual health. Most people check in Saturday and stay for a week. Getting there is easy. The resort offers Saturday morning pickup from the San Diego airport. My sister, who accompanied me on my visit, and I were whisked through border control, hopped on another shuttle bus and arrived at Rancho La Puerta in less than an hour. At check-in, they suggested we immediately take a complete tour of the grounds. I told them I much preferred to chill and go for a swim. It was again strongly suggested I take the tour. So in a rare move, I capitulated—and it’s a darn good thing. The grounds are sprawling, and all the buildings are connected by maze-like pathways. My biggest challenge throughout our stay

was not keeping up with my early rising, super-fit sister (as I feared) but finding my way around. My favorite thing about the resort, hands down, was the bucolic setting. Nestled in the lush foothills of Mount Kuchumaa, the natural beauty, native plants, authentic architecture and gorgeous bright colors of the traditional Mexican palette made me feel like I was far away in an exotic, remote place. We stayed in a spacious casita with a luxurious seating area on the patio. One of the most impressive aspects of the ranch is the incredible array of classes offered each day. An average of five different classes are held every hour, and planning your agenda is a juggle. Yoga, spinning, meditation, TRX, tennis, aqua-aerobics and pilates are just a few of the activities. We particularly enjoyed the yoga classes, which are staffed with two instructors, both sharing ample corrections (had no idea I’d been doing several poses incorrectly). Lectures are held throughout the day. We listened in on one from a charismatic life coach and another from a nutritionist who talked about supplements. Neither said anything I hadn’t heard or read about before, but I enjoyed the reminders and tips. There are a variety of sunrise hikes that take you up the mountains, where you can view the incredible valley below. The ranch also has several pools, gyms and running trails as well as classic spa and new-age treatments. The culinary team at Rancho La Puerta aims to please. Serving three meals a day— plus assorted light snacks—the chefs keep guests fueled with healthy, organic fare. The menu focuses largely on fresh produce, most of which is grown at the ranch’s farm. Portions are modest; you can go back and get seconds, but we never did. Dairy, salt and processed sugar are infrequent, and no alcohol is served at mealtime. You can indulge at an on-campus wine bar, but there are limited hours. And you have to find it first. One of the highlights of the week is the Organic Garden Breakfast Hike, which takes



you to the farm at sunrise to enjoy breakfast, before touring the property. Other not-tomiss experiences: the two weekly cooking classes, featuring well-known chefs and capped off by spectacular feasts. The week of our visit, the crowd at Rancho La Puerta was mostly “post 40,” and rest seemed to be taken seriously. By 9 p.m., we didn’t see many people out on the pathways, and most casita lights were out. Also worth noting: Unless you stay in one of a handfull of plush villas, there are only a couple of internet “hot spots” on campus. I thought I’d find this aggravating, but I actually enjoyed the break. As I was again reminded, when at Rancho La Puerta, the best thing to do is just give in. Rooms from $4200 per week; for more information go to ■





Full-on Fete

The cooking hub, BLVD Kitchen, celebrated its second anniversary with a party at the Sherman Oaks location. Guests were treated to delicious samples from chef/ instructors and some of BLVD’s artisan food maker clients.

Chef Darryl Wash



BLVD owner Sharon Graves with chef Michal Harris, who heads up cooking classes, camps & events

The team from Gracefully Fed, a meal delivery service that cooks at BLVD

Chef Nishi Lal

A few of the items sold in B:VD’s on-site shop




S I P P I N G B U B B L E S * S AV I N G B E E S LINK TO PURCHASE: @honey_bubbles_wine 88


And the Winner Is…

The Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce honored local businesses with the Golden Oaks Awards, held at the Woodland Hills Hilton. More than 40 businesses were nominated (by the public) across four categories.  

Larry Cohen, Tammy Scher, Carson Schreiber THOUSAND OAKS

Distinctive Residential Settings | Chef-Prepared Dining and Bistro Premier Health and Wellness Programs | Award-Winning Memory Care Professionally Supervised Therapy and Rehabilitation Services

The Community Built for Life.® 805-496-9301 • Fran Kerzner, Christina Vega, Ray Vega, Vicki Nussbaum

RCFE 565802433 © 2018 Belmont Village, L.P.

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Vicki Nussbaum, Nino Rodriguez, Gene Barash, Daniel Barash, Mor Cazakov, Fran Kerzner

6/21/18 1:44 PM

For Every Stage of Your Child’s Education

Nino Rodriguez, Mor Cazakov, Al Santillo

Academic Tutoring in all subjects and levels ACT/SAT/ISEE/HSPT preparation K-12 Admissions Consulting (private and public schools) College Admissions Consulting Tammy Scher, Jeff Howard, Fran Kerzner, Vicki Nussbaum



The best part of our job is hearing from our patients that cannabis is providing them with relief. So many people come to us with chronic pain, migraines, arthritis, autoimmune disorders and other ailments. They’ve tried numerous other treatment options and feel defeated when they don’t work. Knowing that you’ve improved someone’s quality of life is an unbelievably amazing feeling, and it’s something we get to hear every day working at The Higher Path.” — MANAGEMENT TEAM, THE HIGHER PATH




women in business When it comes to business, women are making strides like never before. We’re proud to share with you some of the most accomplished female professionals in the Valley. In this special Women in Business profiles section, you’ll meet some of the shining stars of the region. Consider this list a resource to keep at your fingertips all year long.


FACEY MEDICAL GROUP Dafna Trites, DO, Diana Y. Wong, MD, Tina B. Verder, MD




103 THE AGENCY Michelle Schwartz









THE PAYAB GROUP Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, California Properties Stephanie Payab

105 STEAMER CLEANERS Nicole Basseri & Ariana Basseri 106 ASD INTERIORS INC. Shirry Dolgin





women in business

Facey Medical Group Dafna Trites, DO, Diana Y. Wong, MD, Tina B. Verder, MD 18133 Ventura Blvd., Suite 404 Tarzana 818-466-7700


acey Medical Group, which consists of 160 physicians in a wide variety of clinical specialties, opened the doors of its newest office in Tarzana in 2017, offering primary and specialist care in a modern, welcoming space. The eight physicians at the office practice adult medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN and rheumatology. Dr. Dafna Trites is an OB/GYN who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and joined Facey in 2016 after 17 years at a private practice in Northridge. She has worked in health care for more than 20 years. Dr. Tina B. Verder has been an OB/GYN since 1990 and joined Facey in 1994. She earned her doctor of medicine degree at Chicago Medical School. After serving an internship at USC School of Medicine, she completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Danbury Hospital. Dr. Diana Wong joined Facey Medical Group nearly five years ago and has been an OB/GYN in Tarzana since 1994. She earned her medical degree from Wayne State University and performed a residency at USC L.A. County Women’s Hospital. What inspired you to choose the medical profession? Dr. Wong: “I initially wanted to be a pediatrician, but while doing my rotations as a medical student I realized I loved surgery and really enjoyed working with women. The birth of a child is so miraculous, and I was in awe every time I was involved in a delivery. The positive of being an OB/GYN is that you get to see the babies you delivered years down the road when they come in with their moms for appointments.” What is your specific area of expertise? Dr. Trites: “OB/GYN is such a broad, exciting field of medicine. I love seeing the different generations of women, delivering babies and performing such diverse types of surgery— from C-sections to robotic-assisted laparoscopy to urologic and reconstructive surgery. My passion, however, is helping women navigate the enormous changes of menopause with expert advice and treatment, based on the latest research and recommendations. My greatest joy is helping empower women to feel vibrant and healthy and lay the foundation for the most optimal second half of their lives!” What is the secret to your success? Dr. Verder: “I have nearly 25 years experience in obstetrics and gynecology in the San Fernando Valley. I specialize in minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci robot for



use with hysterectomies and other disorders of the female genital tract as well as hysteroscopy. I have one of the lowest cesarean section rates.” How would your clients describe you? Dr. Wong: “Friendly, never wearing a white coat and usually never in scrubs … this puts my patients at ease. I chat with them before the exam to make them feel more comfortable. I love to get to know the families—seeing the kids, bumping into my patients outside the office, seeing multiple generations. My practice grows by word-of-mouth.” How does your practice provide personalized attention to patients? Dr. Trites: “I love having transitioned from private practice to Facey! I am empowered to care for my patients better than I ever have. We provide up-to-date, expert and compassionate care, utilizing our state-of-the-art, beautiful new office, the latest technology and extended office hours. It’s so exciting to use our electronic medical record to instantly order tests, prescriptions, print recommendations and know about other visits patients have had throughout Facey. Our online portal, My Chart, allows patients to communicate with us efficiently and directly, often resulting in immediate care.” Share about a woman who influenced your life. Dr. Verder: “My 90-year-old mother is an immigrant from the Philippines who started working as a cashier at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. She raised her two daughters, worked full-time, studied at Cal State L.A. to earn her teaching credentials so she could become a teacher with L.A Unified School District. She is the hardest working woman I know, and I appreciate and love her very much.” Are you a believer in trusting your instincts? Dr. Wong: “I definitely go with my gut instincts after getting detailed information from my patients and getting the appropriate tests. After 24 years of practice, I feel like I have seen everything!” Advice for women going into your line of work? Dr. Verder: “If it’s your dream, then persevere through hard work and studying.” In what ways do you give back? Dr. Verder: “I’ve enjoyed doing medical missions in the Philippines and being able to do surgeries for women who might otherwise not be able to afford surgery.”



women in business

The Women of

The Agency


he Agency is a full-service, luxury real estate brokerage founded in Beverly Hills in 2011, which has now expanded into offices in Calabasas and Sherman Oaks. With more than $9 billion in real estate transactions, the firm focuses on customer service and marketing for real estate buyers, sellers, developers and investors worldwide. Here some of the female Realtors® of The Agency tell us what they would like potential clients to know about them. Evie Del Castillo, Calabasas  “I care more about the relationship than the deal. As a former mental health therapist, I know how daunting life can be and know that most sales are emotional. I have clients who had to back out of a listing for personal reason, such as losing a baby. I still keep in touch with them because I care about how the family is doing. I am by nature a very dedicated woman. For me, words and actions aren’t as important as how I make someone feel.” Daylynn Helzer, Calabasas  “With 18 years in the real estate industry. I do have high expectations; therefore I always bring a new perspective, pre-deliver, excel in listening to clients’ needs/wants so that I can interact with them and get to know them better on a personal level. At the end of the day you want to build a relationship that counts and ultimately have a client for life. I also have a niche for design and feng shui that adds a special element to fulfilling the buying/selling process.” Abigail Herman, Calabasas “My background in theatre and psychology shapes the meaningful way I serve my clients. I create a personal story for the property I am marketing or the buyers I am representing. From staging and hosting memorable open houses to exchanging the keys, I pride myself in my ability to transform my approach quickly. What works for one sale may not work for another. Whether working with those who prefer a little handholding or seasoned investors attracted to my connections, my clients always know they have my undivided attention.”  April Lopez, Calabasas “As a top producing real estate agent and mortgage banking expert, I’ve cultivated a wealth of valuable knowledge and connections. With 20+ years of experience, I am tenacious about finding the right properties



for my buyers and ambitious about getting top dollar for my sellers. Every question receives prompt attention with patience and detailed answers. I enjoy going out of my way to accommodate clients before, during and after a transaction and am thankful to receive frequent referrals and repeat business.” Jamison Malone, Calabasas “With a keen understanding of the L.A. market and a natural ability to connect with my clients, I bring a decade of experience and a creative, intuitive approach to The Agency. I know that a home isn’t just a financial investment but an emotional one. A long-time resident of Calabasas, I offer first-hand insight into some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Valley. I’m an expert negotiator, and I leverage my communication skills and expansive network to make exceptional deals and exceed clients’ expectations.” Denise Snanoudj, Sherman Oaks/ Beverly Hills “I am reliable, competent and committed to getting the job done. I am astute to the fact that every transaction is unique. As a former executive specializing in contract negotiation, I understand the art of finessing a deal into place. I am passionate, enthusiastic and determined to ensure the buying and selling process is a seamless and enjoyable experience for my clients.” Melissa Strauss, Calabasas “With a background in the entertainment industry, having worked with some of the biggest names and most demanding clients in Hollywood, the skills I learned have translated seamlessly into my career in real estate. I pride myself on serving as a trusted guide throughout every step of a real estate transaction. From first-time homebuyers to high net worth individuals, I am dedicated to serving my clients with honesty and discretion, and I will always look out for their needs.” Tracy Taggart, Calabasas  “Raised in the West Valley, my expansive knowledge of the area is a tremendous asset to my clients and being part of The Agency family—whose global commitment is collaboration. When you hire me, you have everyone at The Agency working for you. After a career in international sales, I found my passion for both people and homes and am dedicated to creating long-lasting relationships with my clients with honesty, professionalism, a high level of service and attention to detail.”

Back row, left to right: Jamison Malone, April Lopez, Tracy Taggart Middle row: Melissa Strauss (seated), Daylynn Helzer, Abigail Herman, Evie Del Castillo (seated) Front row: Denise Snanoudj



women in business

Cosmetic Injectables Center Sherly Soleiman, MD, Owner

San Fernando Valley 818-322-0122

“We are grateful to our patients for recognizing our efforts and helping us maintain a 5/5 star Yelp and Google review over the past 10 years.”


r. Sherly Soleiman earned her medical degree at Loma Linda University and opened her practice, Cosmetic Injectables Center, in 2009. She teaches for Allergan (the company that makes Botox, Juvederm, Voluma and Kybella)—helping other doctors and nurses improve their cosmetic injection techniques. What sets you apart from other offices and medical spas? “I am 100% hands-on at the office and have dedicated my entire career to the field. I not only oversee our entire team, but I also regularly see patients myself and am involved in the everyday decision-making of the office. Since we do not offer cosmetic surgery or medical dermatology, we can contribute all of our time and focus on cosmetic injectables.” How do you stay updated in your field? “All of our staff, including our nurses and myself, regularly meet and discuss topics such as safety; facial proportion assessment; injection techniques and their pros and cons; and the best methods to achieve a natural result for each unique face, shape and feature. We each know many different methods for each procedure, so we know the right one to use for the right person. We attend conferences, seminars and meetings to continuously expand our knowledge in the field.” How do you maintain this consistency of care between the different injectors? “Our patients and staff each have a strong voice in the way we function. We value feedback, both negative and positive, and work hard to communicate and implement changes to improve our services on an ongoing basis. We watch each other inject whenever we have downtime and discuss our approaches regularly with each other to develop this consistency. Our record-keeping is also unified so that we can recreate the exact same treatment next time—no matter which injector does the treatment.” Have there been any recent changes in your practice? “Yes! We’ve expanded to accommodate the demand! We now have four injectors and are open after hours. We also have more front desk personnel, so patients can take their time asking questions by phone or in person. We are also active on social media such as



Instagram and Facebook, so patients can get to know us better, see the different procedures we offer and get an idea of what to expect when they come in.” Why do patients choose Cosmetic Injectables Center? “Most of our patients tell us that it’s because we specialize in the field and our results are natural. We’ve also had a lot of positive feedback about our wonderful front desk staff and the genuine care from our incredible master injectors. We are grateful to our patients for recognizing our efforts and helping us maintain a 5/5 star Yelp and Google review over the past 10 years.” What can a first-time client expect? “The typical first-time client is one who’s rightfully nervous. He/she wants to make sure that injectables are safe, the results will be natural, the process is comfortable and that they can afford to continue it as maintenance. It’s important for them that their injector hears and understands them so they get the exact results they want—not more and not less. Patients also feel an extra layer of reassurance when they learn that most of the fillers we use are instantly reversible. We can relate to that because the tables turn when we get treatments ourselves! We understand the vulnerable feeling when someone else is in control of the outcome. But with the culture of trust we’ve created at our office—along with our vast experience and focus on injectables—we make it comfortable and easy for patients to receive the care we would want for ourselves. They want to be heard and understood … to be informed and not told … to be able to participate in the decision-making and get as little as a drop or as much as safety and proportion allows. After all, the patient is the one who will be looking in the mirror every day and should like what she sees.” Do you treat men too? “A common misunderstanding for men is that this field isn’t ‘for them.’ But when they see the results on a friend, they usually realize how helpful it can be to look less tired, less angry and more approachable and happy. Another myth is that they might ‘look feminine.’ In reality, when done correctly fillers can be used to make men look more masculine with a stronger jawline and angular facial features. There has been so much growth in the percentage of men coming into our office the last few years.”



women in business

200 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 110 El Segundo | 310-376-7800 |

Ventura Blvd


ow in its seventh year, Ventura Blvd—the premiere high-end lifestyle brand of the San Fernando Valley—features Ventura Blvd magazine, and weekly subscriber emails, VB’s The Sauce and VB Weekender. Ventura Blvd is owned by The Golden State Company, a media firm that runs a network of multi-channel brands celebrating the ideas, industries and lifestyles of California with high-quality digital video, long-form editorial, shareable social content and lifestyle print including the magazines Southbay, Southbay HOME and Southbay HEALTH. Golden State also owns and operates Moon Tide, a full-service advertising agency and branded content studio servicing regional and national clients. What is most rewarding about your work? Robin Sanders: “Connecting to the community in a deep and meaningful way and just bringing people together.” Linda Grasso: “Sharing things that people really enjoy and that enhance their lives.” Sue Williams: “Partnering with amazing clients throughout the Valley and helping them achieve their goals.” Share something about your personal life. Robin: “I’m a native of the Bronx and never thought I would live anywhere besides NYC—but I’ve lived in Sherman Oaks for more than 20 years. My husband and I raised our kids here (we’re now empty-nesters).” Linda: “I’ve been married for 25 years to a man I met in eighth grade! We were acquaintances growing up. Then my very first night of college he knocked on my door—and the rest is history. We have two sons.” Sue: “I’ve been married to my handsome bass player/audio engineer hubby for 19 years. We love impromptu road trips. We just grab a bag, pick a direction and go!

L to R: Robin Sanders, Publisher; Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief; Sue Williams, Senior Media Solutions Manager



“Ventura Blvd is the premiere high-end lifestyle brand of the San Fernando Valley.”

We’ve been running a feature called “Where You’ll Find Me” recently. Where will we find you? Robin: “My haunts are Davenport’s, Woodley Proper and SOCA for dinner and drinks. SOTO and Habit for shopping.” Linda: “I am a big cook, so I hit the farmers market at Westfield Fashion Square. There’s a guy there who sells heirloom lettuce, and it is addictive.” Sue: “Anywhere with live music—whether it is a show at the Hollywood Bowl, Canyon Club, Soraya or at British pubs in the Valley.”

women in business

L to R: Ali Beaton (vendor coordinator/manager) Amy Lau-Meza (manager) Megan Fisher (social media director) Jessica Martin (general manager) Hanna Mocaby (manager) Adrienne Airhart (manager)

The Higher Path Collective 14080 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 818-385-1224 |


he Higher Path is a legal, licensed cannabis dispensary that serves medical patients and recreational consumers. The business has been licensed since 2006, and owner Jerred Kiloh opened the Sherman Oaks location in 2013. A 20+-year veteran of the cannabis industry, Jerred noticed a lack of dispensaries geared toward the needs of women. He has ensured that The Higher Path not only focuses on female consumers but is also predominately run by women.

“We aim to be examples of how cannabis users can be productive, successful members of society.” What inspired you to choose to work in this industry? “Each member of our management team was drawn to the cannabis industry for different reasons, but what we all have in common is a passion for helping others. Most of us were medical patients prior to being employed in the industry, and we’ve experienced firsthand the benefits of this plant. The positive experiences we’ve each had with cannabis in our personal lives led us to enter the industry so we could help other people have positive experiences as well. We aim to be examples of how cannabis users can be productive, successful members of society.” Advice for women going into your line of work? “For a long time the cannabis industry has been predominately run by men, but in recent years there has definitely been an increase in the representation of women working in cannabis. The best

advice we could give to women looking to enter the industry is to know their worth. You have to be confident in your knowledge of the plant. Working in this field requires a great deal of compassion, especially since there are sick people coming to us looking for relief. The cannabis industry in California is experiencing a great deal of growth thanks to recreational legalization. Now is a fantastic time to get involved!” What would you like readers to know? “Our aim has always been to bring this industry that has operated in the shadows for so long into the light and to promote a positive, healthy relationship with cannabis. We’re here to change the stigma surrounding the use of cannabis by being a source of information that our members can trust. If you’re new to cannabis and have questions or are just generally nervous about visiting a dispensary for the first time, we hope you’ll come see us.”



women in business

“VBS Day School provides academic excellence while being mindful of the soul.”

Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School

Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, Head of School 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino 818-788-2199 |


alley Beth Shalom (VBS) Harold M. Schulweis Day School offers general studies and Jewish studies to students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei began as Head of School on July 1. She earned a joint master’s degree in Jewish nonprofit management



and Jewish education at the Hebrew Union College in both Jerusalem and Los Angeles, and she was ordained in 2006. What is your educational philosophy? “Within each of us is a soul that longs to be nurtured. A soul-centered educational approach acknowledges that a child is a whole person with academic needs, feelings, creative sparks and the ability to think deeply. Honoring young voices is a core principle of education, and the teachers who connect with the heart of the student will have the greatest impact.” Who mentored you, and how did it impact your career? “Mentors have taken many forms in my journey. Some have been my teachers. All of my students have taught me profound lessons about learning and life. My parents and siblings always believed in me, encouraged me and supported my decisions. Now my three sons inspire me and root for me. Last week my son hugged me and said, ‘Mommy, I am so proud of you! You are going to be the head of the whole school. That is a big deal!’”

Advice for women going into your line of work? “Even in 2018, I often meet people who have never met a woman rabbi before. My advice for future educators and rabbis is that there is only one you. You are the only person who writes, teaches, inspires or preaches like you. The earlier you can align your professional self with who you are, the more authentic your work will become.” What sets your school apart from the rest? “Our school partners with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to offer our students daily opportunities to make emotions mentionable and manageable. Social emotional learning is the foundation for deeper understanding and personal growth. VBS Day School provides academic excellence while being mindful of the soul.” What would you like our readers to know? “As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, alumni parents now send their own children to our school and look to us to prepare their kids for tomorrow. With our strong foundation, we are ready to soar into the next 40 years!”

women in business

“If everyone is happy, their work will speak for itself.”

The Women of

The Chernov Team & Yana Chernov

4061 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City 818-432-1524 |


he Chernov Team in Studio City, owned by Dennis Chernov, closed more than $198 million in sales last year and was ranked by The Wall Street Journal as #6 in L.A. County out of 1.25 million agents. Dennis’ wife, Yana Chernov, oversees internal operations including hiring, marketing and acquisitions, which allows him to focus on selling homes and client relationships.

How many women work on your team? “We have a total of nine women, including myself, and I have hired seven of them. I genuinely love every single one of them and consider them my friends. It’s very important that we have that relationship because, at the end of the day it’s all about doing what we love and having fun. It’s important to establish a friendly environment. If everyone is happy, their work will speak for itself.” What makes your team stand out? “When I started in real estate seven years ago, I realized that it’s a very stressful business that often leads to an unhappy environment. I wanted to change that for our team. I have a fun, outgoing personality, so I decided to bring that to the table and be different. I truly think our agents and staff have fun and love their jobs. The amount of positive feedback I get shows that this positive energy has made real estate fun for other people as well.”

What do you like about working with so many women? “I am all for female empowerment! I want all women around me to strive to be their best self. Having so many women on our team is definitely fun because each one brings something different to the table. It’s also challenging in its own way because everyone has her own personality. We are told daily we need our own reality show!” Between your marriage, business and children, how do you balance everything? “The #1 thing I focus on is internal happiness. If we all focus on making ourselves happy, we will bring out positive energy and everything else will fall into place. Dennis and I have been together since I was 17 and he was 18. We are best friends, and we really trust each other and have each other’s back. The same organizational skills I use in business help me manage my work/life balance too. My entire life is one big checklist!”



women in business

Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation & Wellness

Glenna Tolbert, MD, FAAPMR, QME, Owner/Medical Director 17609 Ventura Blvd., Suite 114, Encino 818 784-7197 |


he Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness, founded by Dr. Glenna Tolbert in 2005, is a Los Angeles-area medical facility specializing in non-surgical and minimally invasive techniques and procedures for the management of chronic injuries, illness and pain. The vision of the practice, which recently opened a second office in Beverly Hills, is to restore quality of life and wellness and optimize patients’ function. Dr. Tolbert has been practicing medicine for more than 25 years. What is the secret to your success? “Having fun, a listening ear, a compassionate heart and southern hospitality.” What motivates you? “The human spirit of my patients: The 60-year-old grandma who suffers from chronic burning nerve pain from chemotherapy, who is raising her grandson. The 72-year-old marathon runner. The Encino Little Leaguer protecting his body by using our natural treatments for sports injuries, who was drafted to the Dodgers. The 30-year-old lawyer who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident and awakens every morning at 5 a.m. to work out before putting in a full eighthour day at the law firm. The 50-year-old poet and writer paralyzed from the neck down after a gunshot wound to the head, whose poetry sends chills down my spine.”

What do your patients say about you? “Pam, a patient, wrote: ‘Here I am today, 60 years old and pain-free. I am a large-scale antiques collector, and I am once again able to walk the miles-long weekend venues. I did a movie recently, which required me to walk up a steep hill and fall headfirst into a well—and I was able to do it … a far cry from the me before you. Thank you, Dr. Tolbert, for giving me back my life.’ ”

“We seek to find the root cause of the problem and reverse it whenever possible, and focus on repairing and rebuilding our patients after prolonged illnesses or injury.” 102


What sets your practice apart from the rest? “We specialize in treating patients with minor functional challenges and/or complex disabilities and problems, requiring a total person and individualized approach. We seek to find the root cause of the problem and reverse it whenever possible, and focus on repairing and rebuilding our patients after prolonged illnesses or injury. We diagnose and treat nutritional, genetic and environmental risks that contribute to many chronic and degenerative conditions. We also provide power wheelchair and other durable medical equipment evaluations and prescriptions.”

women in business

The Agency

Michelle Schwartz, Managing Partner/Agent 14140 Ventura Blvd., Suite 101, Sherman Oaks 424-230-3716


ne of the founding team members of The Agency, Michelle Schwartz opened the firm’s Sherman Oaks/Studio City office in August 2017. A specialist in residential real estate for the past eight years, she attended Beverly Hills High School and USC and formerly owned a marketing and public relations company. What is the secret to your success? “Every day we are being bombarded with negativity, chaos and bad behavior—all of which make me reflect and make choices to counter the darkness. In the past year I have found ways of creating positivity and calmness and bringing light into my daily routine. I burn energy candles, say mantras, center myself and focus on making each day a successful one.”   What phrase do you want associated with you and your business? “My favorite phrase is simple: Happiness is a choice.” What has the past year brought you personally and professionally? “Many new challenges! My kids started at Dixie Canyon Elementary where, naturally, I involved myself with fundraising and event sponsorships. I opened the Sherman Oaks office with the incomparable Craig Knizek, and together we made ours the fastest growing office to date! I have taken on a larger team, expanded into new territories, produced fresh marketing approaches and created new standards for how we conduct ourselves. Simultaneously, I have traveled with my family a lot this year, which has been an absolute joy.”

“I choose to fill my life making others happy.” 

What would you like our readers to know about your photo on this profile? “The image I want to portray in this pivotal Woman in Business issue was that of a little irony … that as a powerful, strong and involved woman, we can be all things to all people. I’m a full-time wife and mom, while being a full-time Realtor. I have the ability to balance, juggle and be a true chameleon depending on what it is that is needed from me! The way I see it, I am winning at the game of life. I get to do everything that makes me happy every day. I choose to fill my life making others happy. Whether my clients, husband, fellow agents, kids, whomever—I have the ability to instill happiness, make their life full and give each person some light and positivity into their day.”



women in business

The Payab Group Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, California Properties

Stephanie Payab 16810 Ventura Blvd., Encino 818-269-2796 |


hile attending Santa Monica High School and West LA College, Stephanie Payab worked in manufacturing and retail management. She took time off to focus on being a mother before becoming a Realtor® 15 years ago. She and her team assist clients with purchasing and selling homes and investment properties. How would your clients describe you? “Hardworking, determined and responsive to their needs. Clients rely on my market knowledge, industry contacts and availability. They also say that I’m thoughtful and proactive, skilled at negotiating and pay attention to the details—no matter how small. They appreciate my efficiency, straightforwardness and positive attitude.” What would you like our readers to know about you? “I absolutely love being a Realtor®, and that is evident in every aspect of how I run my business. From interactions with clients to working with other agents to closing a tough transaction, I work incredibly hard to make my clients’ experience a positive one with the best possible results. Customer service is the foundation of my business, and I want to meet the real estate needs of my clients from the moment they think about wanting to buy/ sell/invest through the actual transaction and beyond. Real estate is all about trust and relationships.” What word do you want associated with your work? “Diligent. I work tirelessly for my clients. I have their best interests at heart, and my years of experience combined with my straightforward attitude help me guide them through what can be a stressful process.”   What is your favorite thing about life in the Valley? “Everything! The Valley is a great place to live. It’s family-friendly and also has a great selection of cool restaurants and locations for an adult night out. Downtown, the Westside and the beaches are just a short drive away. And as far as real estate goes, you get more for your money.” What book are you currently reading? “The Journey of the Heroic Parent by Brad Reedy, PhD, whom I was fortunate to meet at a parenting seminar. I have three kids, and staying current about the trials and tribulations of raising children and guiding them to be self-sufficient adults is a complicated journey.”

“Real estate is all about trust and relationships.” 104


©2018 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. CalDRE 01394407

women in business

Steamer Cleaners

Nicole Basseri & Ariana Basseri 13646 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 818-906-2345 |


teamer Cleaners is a family-owned business specializing in dry cleaning, laundry and alterations. The company has won numerous awards and accolades. Owner Nicole Basseri is certified by the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute as both a dry cleaner and an environmental dry cleaner. Nicole’s daughter, Ariana Basseri, is Steamer Cleaners’ marketing manager as well as a stand-up comedian. Describe your typical client. Nicole: “Our customers are part of our family. Ariana and I feel great pride when we see them beautifully dressed in clean, well-pressed outfits— looking spectacular for all their special events and walks on the red carpet.” How did you choose to go into this industry? Ariana: “My parents actually met at a dry cleaners where my dad was working. He lost her skirt, so he had to marry her. It’s no shock I ended up in comedy. I was born into dry cleaning. I’ve been stain-free since ’89.” Who mentored you, and how did it impact your career? Nicole: “The most influential person in my life is my Uncle John Shalam. His fearlessness in business encouraged me to venture out to establish a dry cleaning business totally different than any I have ever seen!” Share about a woman who influenced your life. Ariana: “My mother is the smartest woman I have ever met. She balances being straightforward in business while having a warm and welcoming heart. She is the reason I am able to follow my dreams— knowing I always have a bedroom at home that hasn’t been turned into a sewing room because she could just come in to Steamer for sewing needs.” What sets your business apart from the rest? Nicole: “We use GreenEarth cleaning products, which are petroleum-free, odor-free and are actually better for clothes. All of our bags are biodegradable, and we recycle hangers. We strive to provide great quality while taking every opportunity to leave a smaller footprint.”

No clothes were harmed in the making of this picture.

“We strive to provide great quality while taking every opportunity to leave a smaller footprint.”

In what ways do you give back? Ariana: “If you’re unemployed and need an outfit cleaned for an interview, we will clean it free of charge. We collect prom outfits for underprivileged youth through The Princess Project, and as a family we are proud members of Rotary and Paul Harris fellows.”



women in business

Shirry Dolgin

ASD Interiors Inc.

2110 Kenmere Avenue, Burbank 818-588-3535 |


Los Angeles native, Shirry Dolgin graduated cum laude from The Fashion Institute for Design & Merchandising and worked with several design firms before opening ASD Interiors in 2004. Her team works on a wide range of commercial and residential projects and offers design services in remodeling, new construction, turnkey interior planning and real estate development. Shirry’s award-winning work has been featured in numerous publications. She has appeared on several episodes of House Hunters Renovation and was a two-time winner on HGTV’s Design Wars.

Who inspired you to choose your profession? “When I think back to the start of my career path, the first person that comes to mind is my dad. He owned a construction company here in L.A., and I grew up seeing him work on construction sites and visiting them from time to time. I never had an interest in what he was doing when I was little, but when I was in college and needed to make a career change, I think it was his unwavering confidence in me that inspired me to get into this field and stay in it.”

Which personality traits do you posses that you credit with your success? “I have three traits that I credit for my success. The first one is my sense of calm even if something is going wrong, because I trust there is always a solution. The second is my ability to listen patiently to what my clients need and include their voice and thoughts in the design plan. Lastly is my ability to be nimble in an industry that requires a lot of team work and understanding. These three have really made me strong in this profession.”

“I believe great interior design can impact the overall well-being of someone’s life.” 106


What excites you about what you do? “I love it when I see how our work affects people’s lives. I’ve had clients tell me that the work we’ve produced is life-changing. I believe great interior design can impact the overall wellbeing of someone’s life.”


Are you a believer in trusting your instincts? “I am a huge believer that instincts are always right. I think this is true when I meet new clients, new vendors and when I am working though my design process. Instincts inform me on how to make decisions when there aren’t solid answers in black and white.”



Top Valley Smile Makers Next up Ventura Blvd will introduce the top local dentists devoted to creating beautiful healthy smiles in our Top Dentist Profile section.


Just Sold | 4162 Fulton Avenue, Sherman Oaks $2,750,000 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath, home office, pool and spa

Just Listed | 4121 Colbath Avenue, Sherman Oaks $1,675,000 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, family and formal dining room

Just Listed | 3439 Vista Haven Road, Sherman Oaks $1,349,000 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bath with large yard + gardens. Prime neighborhood near Mulholland Drive

In Escrow | 3545 Cody Road, Sherman Oaks $1,349,000 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, family room. Beautiful city light, canyon and Mulholland Corridor views

BARRY DANTAGNAN 818.426.8677


Š 2018 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell BankerŽ is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned By a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. Broker does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size or other information concerning the condition or features of property provided by seller or obtained from public records or other sources, and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals. If your property is currently listed for sale, this is not intended as a solicitation. Cal RE #01020477

real estate


Montecito-Style Compound in Prestigious Royal Oaks Community 15715 Woodvale Road, Encino 6 BD | 8 BA | 6,700 SQFT | 14,000 LOT Price Upon Request Represented by Dennis Chernov/Chernov Team Keller Williams CaIBRE #01850113 (818) 432-1524




12807 Milbank St Studio City


16108 Dickins St Alcove St 4946 Encino Valley Village


16144 HIGH VALLEY PLACE | ENCINO | $12,999,000


CRAIG KNIZEK 424.230.3718 | LIC. # 01377932 ANDRÉ WARREN 818.379.7783 | LIC. # 02053004

EMIL HARTOONIAN 818.924.2806 | LIC. # 01796925

10 BEDS | 11 BATHS | 12,500 SQ. FT. | 29,620 SQ. FT. LOT

6 BEDS | 7 BATHS | 12,235 SQ. FT. | 49,658 SQ. FT. LOT


11949 ASHDALE LANE | STUDIO CITY | $4,995,000

EMIL HARTOONIAN 818.924.2806 | LIC. # 01796925 JOHN HERKENRATH 310.221.2910 | LIC. # 01466775

CRAIG KNIZEK 424.230.3718 | LIC. # 01377932 MARY HELLMUND 424.230.7806 | LIC. # 01920353

6 BEDS | 7 BATHS | 7,036 SQ. FT. | 1.5 ACRE LOT

5 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 4,307 SQ. FT. | 16,360 SQ. FT. LOT



EMIL HARTOONIAN 818.924.2806 | LIC. # 01796925 JOHN HERKENRATH 310.221.2910 | LIC. # 01466775

JOHN TASHTCHIAN 818.968.2822 | LIC. # 01453364

6 BEDS | 7 BATHS | 6,446 SQ. FT. | 2.2 ACRE LOT

An international associate of Savills


6 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 7,400 SQ. FT. | 1.16 ACRE LOT


14987 VALLEY VISTA BLVD. | SHERMAN OAKS | $2,899,000

INGRID SACERIO 323.333.7018 | LIC. # 01905431

DAN WEISER 310.721.5899 | LIC. # 01757150

5 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 8,348 SQ. FT. | 17,542 SQ. FT. LOT

5 BEDS | 5.5 BATHS | 5,460 SQ. FT. | 10,578 SQ. FT. LOT

3868 VANALDEN AVENUE | TARZANA | $2,099,000

4960 PALOMAR DRIVE | TARZANA | $1,885,000

INGRID SACERIO 323.333.7018 | LIC. # 01905431

JOHN TASHTCHIAN 818.968.2822 | LIC. # 01453364

5 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 6,000 SQ. FT. | 17,899 SQ. FT. LOT

5 BEDS | 4 BATHS | 3,223 SQ. FT. | 15,117 SQ. FT. LOT

3923 DAVIDS ROAD | AGOURA HILLS | $1,868,000


ANDI YATES 310.924.2412 | LIC. # 01241727

DANIEL OHANA 818.633.5521 | LIC. # 01941646

5 BEDS | 5 BATHS | 4,192 SQ. FT. | 39,455 SQ. FT. LOT

4 BEDS | 3 BATHS | 2,040 SQ. FT. | 6,113 SQ. FT. LOT

give your neighbors something to talk about.

your move.

ALEX VICHINSKY 818.379.7122 | LIC # 02044570

1414 0 Ventur a Boulevard #101 Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

MICHELLE SCHWARTZ 424.230.3716 | LIC # 01889141

COREY KESSLER 818.571.3352 | LIC # 01882925


ENCINO $8,750,000





ENCINO $7, 250,000



2. 5. 3.



ENCINO $6,996,000

Sold 6.



New Listing

16144 HIGH VALLEY PLACE ENCINO $12,999,000














LIC. # 01311917

LIC. # 01377932

An international associate of Savills

Coming Soon


Build a legendary home on one of six beautiful, large lots in an exclusive area of Chatsworth. Enjoy the vast, expansive panoramic views and acres of flat land within the coveted guard gated community of Monteria Estates. Close to esteemed schools Chaminade, Sierra Canyon and Viewpoint. Utilities are located directly at street entrance.

10700 OAKDALE DRIVE CHAT SWOR TH | 12 ACRE LOT | $ 3,700,000


An international associate of Savills



Build a Private Compound on a Promontory Lot

Oren David Mordkowitz ESTATES DIRECTOR | REALTOR ® CalDRE License #01246402 818-933-5866

3325 Alginet Drive | $1,899,000

4354 Coronet Drive | $1,689,000

4957 Bilmoor Avenue | Tarzana | $1,335,000

16641 Adlon Road | $2,349,000

16240 Dickens Street | $1,545,000

5401 Zelzah Avenue #132 | $585,000



17718 Royce Drive West | $1,589,000 16540 Oldham Place | $1,675,000


16743 Ashley Oaks | $2,495,000

4456 Gloria Avenue | $1,305,000


4327 Grimes Place | $1,450,000


4615 Rubio Avenue | $1,450,000

Curious what your home is worth? Contact Oren for a complimentary home analysis!

ng Co




Matt Epstein #1 #2 #5

Agent San Fernando Valley Agent Los Angeles Agent Nationwide for

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Follow me on Facebook: MattEpsteinRealty Top one-half of 1 percent of more than 1,250,000 REALTORS® nationwide

Follow me on Twitter: @SoMattEpstein CalBRE# 01121162

With proven results from the market leader, why call anybody else?

3633 Crownridge Dr. – SO-$2,700,000– 4Br+5.5Ba in 3,774 SqFt on a 13,657 SqFt Lot—Quintessential Mid-Century Modern house designed by the celebrated SoCal Charles DuBois, A.I.A. This Sherman Oaks home is S. of the Blvd. with views of the valley. The home features ceiling to glass doors, fireplace, high ceilings, open floor plan, chef gourmet kitchen, The backyard has a pool with spectacular views of the valley. 3620 Longridge Ave. – SO - $3,999,9996Br+9Ba in 7,483 SqFt on a 42,650 SqFt lot- This gorgeous Longridge Estates property is located in an amazing neighborhood in Sherman Oaks. The home features hardwood floors, media room, and huge master suite. Lush backyard with mature fruit trees, waterfall pool/spa, and BBQ area.

4150 Davana Rd. SO- $2,595,000 -4Br+3.5Ba in 3,431 SqFt on a 12,629 SqFt Lot Stunning one story architectural home located S. of the Blvd. and situated on a 12,629 sq ft lot. It Features wood floors, formal living room & dining room. There are 4 spacious bedrooms including the master suite and 3.5 bathrooms. The backyard features an outdoor fireplace, grassy yard and sparkling pool.


3657 Woodhill Canyon Rd – SC$2,250,000- 4Br+3.5Ba in 3,108 SqFt on a 8,314 SqFt Lot – Beautiful two-story home south of the blvd. Features one downstairs bedroom, media room and large master suite. Backyard has a phenomenal pool area.

14728 Tustin St. SO- $1,650,000– 4Br+2 3/4Ba in 2,574 SqFt on a 5,500 SqFt Lot— Located on a cul-de-sac street, south of the blvd. with quick access to the Westside sits this beautiful 2-story traditional. This home features an open floor plan, spacious living room, three bedrooms downstairs, and the master suite upstairs. The backyard has lush landscaping and a pool that creates a private outdoor oasis.

Call for your FREE market analysis! ©2016 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting this information. Based on information obtained from the MLS as of (11/1/2016). Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. CalBRE 1317331




Extraordinary Seller Representation!










14633 Round Valley Drive $2,999,000


SHERMAN OAKS 3606 Camino De La Cumbre $1,695,000






4942 Petit Avenue $1,499,000

SHERMAN OAKS 13141 Morrison Street $1,749,000

KEVIN DRISCOLL Top 1% Nationwide Estates Director

818.398.0797 Pacific Union International does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. This is not intended as a solicitation if your property is currently listed with another broker. CalBRE 01270052

Nobody does it better...


17437 Palora St., Encino $4,495,000


5317 Amestoy Ave., Encino $2,510,000

coming soon

16036 Valley Meadow Pl., Encino TBD Royal Oaks Colony


5421 Amestoy Ave., Encino $2,350,000


3833 Hayvenhurst Dr., Encino $3,799,000

in escrow

17428 Oak Creek Ct., Encino $2,199,000


3550 Ballina Canyon Rd., Encino $1,699,000


just listed

3856 Vista Linda Dr., Encino $1,599,000

in escrow


17038 Adlon Rd., Encino $1,729,000


16908 Bosque Dr., Encino $1,720,000 Encino Hills

16655 La Maida St., Encino $1,499,000

in escrow

4980 Noeline Ave., Encino $3,099,000

16688 Oldham St., Encino $1,599,000 Encino Hills

818.285.3688 #1 Agent Rodeo Realty San Fernando Valley


19660 Greenbriar Dr., Tarzana $1,299,000


231 S Valley Street $6,495,000 Modern Cape Cod waterfront estate with dock. Luxurious new smart home with unmatched lake and mtn views. Craig Strong 310 439 3225


4169 Hazeltine Ave Eric Lieberman


$3,499,000 310 849 4900



$2,999,000 818 398 0797

14633 Round Valley Dr Kevin Driscoll

STUDIO CITY 4315 Arcola Ave $3,695,000

Romantic French Country estate on exclusive street. Magnificent OldWorld craftsmanship. Private entertainer’s paradise. Craig Strong 310 439 3225 Tara Rose 818 917 3929 4355 Clybourn Ave Craig Strong

$2,695,000 310 439 3225


4658 Mary Ellen Ave Scott Hillenbrand

$2,549,000 310 600 0715

4443 Babcock Ave Michael Bergin


$2,165,000 818 621 1805

14737 Tustin St Kristin Neithercut


$1,675,000 323 397 0800


23242 Burbank Blvd Kenneth Bucalo

$1,825,000 818 402 8661

Pacific Union International does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information.


OFFERED AT $3,345,000 5 Bd | 5.5 Ba | 5,512 ± sf | 13,499 ± sf lot



OFFERED AT $2,930,000 4 Bd | 3.5 Ba | 3,000 ± sf | 11,932 ± sf lot



OFFERED AT $3,695,000 4 Bd | 5 Ba | 4,685 ± sf | 12,188 ± sf lot


OFFERED AT $3,149,000

OFFERED AT $2,695,000

OFFERED AT $2,495,000

4 Bd | 5 Ba | 3,000 ± sf | 17,809 ± sf lot

5 Bd | 4.5 Ba | 3,854 ± sf | 7,904± sf

4 Bd | 3.5 Ba | 2,880 ± sf | 7,604 ± sf lot


OFFERED AT $6,495,000

6 Bd | 8.5 Ba | 6,588 ± sf | 15,964 ± sf


Executive Director, Estates Division Top 1% Nationwide Sold Over $100 Million in 2017 STRONGREALTOR.COM #1 INDIVIDUAL AGENT COMPANYWIDE

Pacific Union International does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. CalBRE 01450987 | 818.930.4050


Enchanting Plan 5 Mediterranean Villa 5BR + 7BA in Mulholland Park


BRIAN VU Realtor

Estates Director Trust and Probate Top 1% Nationwide



Pacific Union International does not guarantee the accuracy of the informatin provided and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. CalBRE 01369255 | 02001172




4443 Babcock Avenue, Studio City Offered at $2,549,000



3524 Camino de la Cumbre, Sherman Oaks 3 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,485± Sqft | 9,314± Sqft Lot Offered at $1,435,000

4457 Camellia Avenue, Studio City Offered at $3,500,000


4149 Farmdale Avenue, Studio City

4046 Strawberry Place, Encino

1130 Keniston Avenue, Los Angeles

4424 Ethel Avenue, Studio City

4530 Libbit Avenue, Encino

746 N Mansfield Avenue, Los Angeles

Sold for $1,678,500

Sold for $2,220,000 | Represented Buyer Sold for $5,000,000 | Represented Buyer

Sold for $1,610,000

Sold for $1,188,000

IN ESCROW 4146 Beck Avenue, Studio City

Offered at $2,600,000 | Representing Buyer

4449 Camellia Avenue, Studio City Offered at $2,025,000

Sold for $1,400,000

“ YO U R # 1 N E I G H B O R H O O D E X P E RT ”

MICHAEL BERGIN | 310.600.0715 | | | CalBRE 01845572 FRIEND




Pacific Union International does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. CalBRE 01845572

Your New Home Designed by You Here’s your rare opportunity to select cabinets, countertops, flooring surfaces and more in a spacious home with up to 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2,203 sqft, a private 2-car garage and stunning rooftop deck. This new, customizable home starts in the $700,000’s. Come see The Glen LA, brand new homes by Warmington, designed by you.

Visit Our Sales Office & Model Homes Tue-Sun 10am-6pm / Mon 2-6pm 13103 Victory Blvd, LA 91401 | | 818-572-6589 Square footages are approximate only. Details may vary considerably and are subject to change without notice. Price effective as of date of publication and subject to change without notice. All images and renderings are artist’s conceptions and are not necessarily to scale.

Make your next big move.

With jumbo mortgage options available, Citi can help you get in the space you need with the support of a dedicated Mortgage Representative every step of the way. THE BENEFITS OF A CITI JUMBO MORTGAGE: • Jumbo loan sizes up to $3 million — loan sizes up to $8 million available to well-qualified buyers who meet Citi’s High Net Worth1 requirement

• Mortgage discounts with Relationship Pricing2 • SureStart® Pre-approval,3 so you can confidently find the right home

Contact your local Citi Mortgage Representative today. John Musso Home Lending Officer 818-518-1008 NMLS# 448606 4464 Van Nuys Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 Terms, conditions and fees of accounts, programs, products and services are subject to change. This is not a commitment to lend. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Certain restrictions may apply on all programs. Offer cannot be combined with any other mortgage offer. This offer contains information about U.S. domestic financial services provided by Citibank, N.A. and is intended for use domestically in the U.S. 1 Available for clients with a minimum of $500,000 or more in investable post-close assets, and at least $50,000 in traditional assets must be on deposit with Citi at least 10 days prior to closing. This amount may be part of the $500,000 eligibility requirement. Real estate, loan proceeds, stock options, restricted stock and personal property will not be counted as part of the $500,000 or more investable post-close assets or the $50,000 in traditional assets. Net cash value of life insurance can be counted as part of the $500,000 but not part of the traditional assets. Investable assets are defined as deposit accounts (checking, savings, money market, Certificates of Deposit), unrestricted stocks, non-vested stock and restricted stock, bonds and retirement accounts held by the individual who is personally liable on the loan. These asset types held in revocable trust may be used provided the trust document meets the Trust Policy. 100% of the face value of all assets, except non-vested stock and restricted stock, may be used to calculate the amount of funds available to meet the eligibility criteria. For non-vested stock and restricted stock, the borrower must be 100% vested within 1 year of closing and a maximum of 70% of value may be used to calculate qualifying equity. Additional conditions apply. 2 A Citibank deposit account and automated monthly transfers of the mortgage payment from a Citibank personal deposit account using automated drafting will be required to receive Citibank mortgage Relationship Pricing. Ask a Mortgage Representative for details on eligible balances and the qualifying closing cost credit or rate discount. Availability of the Citibank mortgage Relationship Pricing for Citibank account holders is subject to change without notice. 3 Final commitment is subject to verification of information, receipt of a satisfactory sales contract on the home you wish to purchase, appraisal and title report, and meeting our customary closing conditions. There is no charge to receive a SureStart Pre-approval. However, standard application and commitment fees will apply for the mortgage loan application. © 2018 Citibank, N.A. NMLS# 412915. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Citi, Citi and Arc Design and other marks used herein are service marks of Citigroup Inc. or its affiliates, used and registered throughout the world.

Sounds Fabulous, Signifies Nothing

Moving beyond the “rah-rah” slogans, an honest examination of what constitutes real female empowerment WRITTEN BY JESS WEINER | ILLUSTRATED BY CHRISTINE GEORGIADES

For the last 20 years, I’ve worked hard to build a career that focuses on empowering women and girls. As a strategist and cultural expert, I help brands and businesses not just look at, but really see women and girls—in all our shapes, sizes, nationalities and abilities—especially in their marketing and advertising. If you’ve seen Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and Barbie’s recent makeover (four new bodies, seven new skin tones), then you’re familiar with my work. This passion to help people be acknowledged is a deeply personal one. I remember growing up an ethnically, ambiguous-looking girl with a curvy body and unruly curly hair, at a time when I saw exactly zero girls that looked like me in the media. When you are vanished from mainstream media, you are given the message that you don’t exist and therefore, aren’t important. This can wreak havoc on a young girl’s self-confidence. It did for me. Fast forward a few decades, and we seem to have reached incredible progress in the diversity of women and girls we see and read about (special shout-out to social media



for helping us democratize this process). And yet, I can’t help but wonder if the “empowering” messages we hear are really moving us closer to true empowerment. I mean, I love a good pep talk, but this is my local scroll through advertising aimed at women: Them: “Go Girl!”, “Love Your Body” or “Be a GIRLBoss”. Me: I am going, I do, thanks, and yes, I already am the CEO of my own media empire—as are many other women. It’s a little confusing. Those words sound great, but they still leave me feeling unseen (and if I’m being super dramatic— kind of emotionally dead inside). I call this tactic SFSN—Sounds Fabulous, Signifies Nothing. And now that people have caught on to the fact that women are a huge buying demographic, with global incomes totaling more than $18 trillion and controlling 80% of the purchasing, it’s not a surprise we are frequently seeing this kind of knee-jerk, rah-rah messaging. While it may masquerade as a kinder (less sexist), more positive way to

speak to women, does it really help? Telling women and girls they are important is one thing but how about paying women an equal wage, allowing them to work in a safe environment and to see themselves as the (diverse) heroes of their own personal narratives? What’s needed goes beyond a catchy tagline or pink package. It’s time to up our game. Yes, let’s celebrate the strides we have made for women, and let’s also continue to elect more women to public office, get them on corporate boards and make sure our daughters know they are valued beyond their beauty. We have more work to do to make this world a better place for the next generation. I remember this every time I take out my wallet for a purchase and when I slip into a voting booth. ■ Jess Weiner is a CEO of Talk To Jess, a consulting firm that advises brands and organizations on how to create effective messages of empowerment. She lives in Studio City with her husband, Felipe.

Andrew & Harriet

Results That Will Move You! G















14021 Roblar Road, Sherman Oaks $1,299,000



15741 Royal Ridge Road, Sherman Oaks $1,915,000











4267 Mooncrest Place, Encino $1,679,000

19202 Santa Rita Street, Tarzana $1,989,000

Andrew & Harriet Did It Again! Recent Sales

4004 Hayvenhurst Dr, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . $6,937,000 3932 Vantage Ave, Studio City . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,500,000 4529 Gloria Ave, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,225,000 5450 Topeka Dr, Tarzana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,753,750 16998 Encino Hills Dr, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,710,000 5128 Libbit Ave, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,700,000 4101 Witzel Dr. Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . . . $2,435,000 16341 Meadowridge Rd, Encino. . . . . . . . . $2,392,500 17149 McCormick St, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,273,880 4441 Densmore Ave, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,225,000 4356 Empress Ave. Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,220,000 16634 Oak View Dr, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,137,200 17145 Addison St, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,050,000 4483 Estrondo Dr. Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,985,000 14540 Valley Vista Bl, Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . . $1,970,000

3531 Alana Dr, Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . . . . . . $1,860,000 16055 Meadowcrest Rd, Sherman Oaks. . . . $1,720,000 4156 Hazeltine Ave. Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . $1,700,000 13019 Bloomfield St, Studio City. . . . . . . . . . . . $1,665,000 3619 Cananea Dr, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,650,000 15459 Dickens St, Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . . . . $1,630,000 3668 Willowcrest Ave, Studio City. . . . . . $1,599,000 14825 Sutton St, Sherman Oaks. . . . . . . . . . . $1,500,000 Represented Both Buyer & Seller 16067 Valley Wood Rd, Sherman Oaks. . . . $3,500,000 4701 Hayvenhurst Ave, Encino. . . . . . . . . . $3,425,000 3932 Vantage Ave, Studio City. . . . . . . . . . . $2,300,000 16618 Oak View Court, Encino. . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1,560,000 12942 Bloomfield St, Studio City. . . . . . . . . . . . In Escrow

DRE#924610 Realtor®

DRE#675971 Realtor®



©2018 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. DRE #01317331




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Ventura Blvd September/October 2018