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Orange County’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Orange County’s gems below.

Michael Fuller

I started shooting photos in high school. Just skating and BMX stuff. It wasn’t until I started getting into cars as a hobby, that I really fell in love with shooting photos of them. I come from Kansas City, where I would shoot photos of my friend’s cars, and pretend like we were the dudes that were creating the scene from Japan and LA. Read more>>

Jocelyn Argueta

I’ve been interested in science since high school biology when I had the BEST teacher. Mr. Orlinsky made science come to life with creative projects, theatrical teaching methods, and even stylish ties that matched what we were learning! It was hard not to love biology. Read more>>

Shandra Crymes

I was a makeup artist for over 20 years in the Orange County and Los Ángeles area, when I became aware that the most rewarding part of my job was watching my clients become happier and more confident people. During many of my makeup sessions, my clients would open up and ask for advice that I’d happily give. Read more>>

Daniel Bustamante

Back in the spring of 2013, at a community college in Fullerton, Ca. I was deep into my social anxiety, obesity and suffering from an undiagnosed bipolar depressive disorder. Worse of all, I was lazy and didn’t want to move out of my parent’s home. I registered for a video editing class. Read more>>

Monica Fernandes

My modeling journey has been an extensive process, to say the least. It’s been seven years in the making and I am still not even close to where I want to be yet. I started acting and modeling classes when I was 13 and naturally leaned more towards modeling. I decided I wanted to take it seriously when I was about 17. Read more>>

Samira Soroory

I started a blog while I was studying Sociology at UCLA with an emphasis on how people are influenced by others. I remember wondering, “Why do people value themselves based on what others think about them?”. Based on studies, intrinsic value is longer lasting than the short burst external value. Read more>>

George Karalexis

My entrepreneurial journey began in 1994 when, at the age of nine, I wrote a letter to Michael Eisner (the then CEO of Disney) pitching him on an idea to start a children’s’ radio station that would play songs from Disney movies during the day and have cast members read bedtime stories at night. Read more>>

Kara Connell and Kelly Bockrath

We are best friends, entrepreneurs, and Long Beach, locals. In 2010, we were both running individual businesses based in Long Beach. We knew we wanted to start a business together, we just didn’t know what that business would be. At the time, we were both obsessed with airbrush tanning, but finding a place in long beach that did decent spray tans proved to be more difficult than expected. Read more>>

Dominique Montgomery

My vision for developing the Fit Finally® Weight Loss Program began after a nearly life-long battle with obesity. At the age of five, I attempted my first diet and quickly failed. For about 13 years I kept trying diets and didn’t understand why they weren’t working. By the time I graduated high school. Read more>>

Nicole Walter

Where I am today – yoga and breathwork teacher and Reiki Master teacher – comes from years of feeling uncomfortable and continually anxious in my body and mind. Each of these powerful modalities has helped me so much, I love sharing and teaching them and witnessing others access their own capacity for growth and self-love. Read more>>

Kiiyonna Jones

I ALWAYS knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, however, that dream was stifled when I became pregnant at 17. I pushed my dreams to the side for a short while in order to attend college (USC undergrad, UCLA graduate, and USD Ph.D.) to provide for my daughter. Needless to say, the perseverance, drive. Read more>>

Jessica Oslo

I’m the Clinical Director at Vantis Institute in Newport Beach and a founding partner. I come from a surgical background working alongside the most elite plastic surgeons in Orange County for the last 11 years. During that time, I started my path with paramedical micro-pigmentation. Read more>>

Adrian Boyer

Internally, I’ve always felt a call to create. I want to introduce a different type of black creative with a pop-impressionistic approach. I feel that “Black Art” has fallen into a pattern of predictability. We are more than our suffering. Our dreams aren’t always deferred. My art reflects my dreams, my imagination. Read more>>

Carly Stone

I’ve always had an interest in filming. As a kid, I would shoot cooking shows or extreme home makeovers in my treehouse in the backyard with friends. Then in my teenage years, I started pursuing the passion more seriously by taking film classes, attending camps and seeking out mentors. Read more>>

M.Sachiko Perry

As a bicultural person, I was drawn to Japanese Tea Ceremonies and through that, Kimono. I wanted to learn how to dress properly and achieve an Omenjyo certification from an accredited school, that would be recognized in Japan. I started with the basic yukata and kimono. That went well and I decided to do more advanced classes. Read more>>

Kim Tabay

I am an Artist out of OC and as a child, I always wanted Art in my life whether it was drawing, writing, or photography. I started to paint in HS but didn’t begin to really fall in love with it until after I dropped out of fashion school and went back to school for my BFA. I grew up in an amazing time of Hip Hop and underground music and so my first business. Read more>>

Makita Totty

About three yrs ago I started my own boutique. I always loved fashion since I was a kid. One day I started doing research n put my ideas into action. I love helping others so why not help my queens feel beautiful n what they wear! That’s my ultimate goal is when u wear shlure u feel beautiful like the queen u are. Read more>>

Jezuz Delarosa

I started my business in Fullerton, Orange County. When I was 14 I use to edit videos for pro gamers and organizations, cause editing is what I really loved when I was young then I was introduced to filming. I was Inspired by Cole Bennett and Louie knows to go out and film for so many artists, I started my videos with my friends BabySymph and Toyozami. Read more>>

Donovan Querubin

My name is Donovan Querubin, and I’m the founder of the Social Hour Run Club. Running has done a lot for me in terms of opportunities, personal growth, building relationships. One specific thing in particular that impacted my life was joining a run club. Read more>>

Steven Lee

When I was one, my mom bought me a magnet doodle, and from then till seven years old, I drew on it every day. This progressed to filling up sketchbooks, taking painting classes, experimenting with computer graphics in high school, and eventually majoring in Digital Arts at Chapman University. Read more>>

Susan McBeth

Adventures by the Book® founder Susan McBeth has specialized in event planning for over 30 years. Before launching Adventures by the Book® and NovelNetwork®, she was the Director of Marketing and Events for one of the oldest independent bookstores in the United States. Read more>>

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