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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.

Alisa Menshikov

Originally I was born in Russia. Watching movies as a little kid, I always wanted to visit the USA. One day I have decided to visit my relative in California from first visit, I felt like I am really belong here and I wanted to stay longer. Coming to us, I spoke very little, if to say truth I spoke none. I stayed here alone a long time and it was a hard time! Sometime later I met a man who made me very happy. We were dating and after a little while, we got happily married. Working very hard jobs and trying to figure out who I wanted to be in life. Read more>>

Paul Bond

From an early age, I knew I had an artistic gift, and I studied fine art and painted off and on, but I ended up getting a degree in graphic design and did commercial art and illustration for most of my life. It wasn’t until I met my current wife about 13 years ago and she saw some of my paintings stored in a closet that I got the kick in the butt I needed to give my painting career the attention it deserved. Soon thereafter, I was juried into the prestigious Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts which where I have been exhibiting for 12 years now and that venue and the collectors that have come through it have launched my career to a level where I know have more demand for my paintings then I can keep up with. Read more>>

Kymberlin Martin

My passion for flowers begins as a little girl. I would walk around my neighborhood and pick flowers make bouquets just for fun. But pursuing my career didn’t start until The pandemic. I was pursuing acting in Hollywood and also serving in a restaurant to pay my bills before the pandemic happened. Due to the pandemic, I was laid off from my job and acting industry was put on pause. Due to that, I was bored and wanted to express myself in a creative way so I started playing with flowers. I quickly became passionate about floral design and I haven’t looked back since I started. Read more>>

Marie Fernandez

I pursued my Doctorate during a pandemic, and ironically through all the chaos, it cultivated my identity as a clinician fusing yoga with physical therapy. I built a business by just being myself and getting partnerships with companies like Tiktok and lululemon to advocate for health & wellness! It’s not about being “the best” but working towards being better every day. Truthfully, physical therapists are underrepresented because our profession has evolved so much within the past couple of decades transitioning from a post-bachelor’s program to a Doctorate. Read more>>

David Lee

I am a 16 years old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. At age four, I learned how to play guitar. I remember coming home each day after school, practicing long hours and playing until my fingers bled. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson were just a couple of the legendary artists that inspired me. I knew music was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. Throughout the years, I have become a multi-instrumentalist, on a constant mission to perfect the piano, guitar, bass, drums, and ukulele. Read more>>

Sarah Castro

I was born in San Jose, California to line of artists and hippies. My grandmother was a self-made professional artist who traveled from South Dakota to San Francisco to fulfill her dreams. She ended up being hired at Milan Studios when she was in her early 20s. I have vivid impressions of watching her share photographs of her in heels and a pin-skirt, painting giant Macy’s billboards at the top of 10 foot ladders. The images of her in leopard-print blazers with red lipstick and a cigarette, surrounded by people and enjoying the fruits of the big city made an impact, to say the least. Read more>>

Lisa LeBlanc

CoLabs Int’l. Corp was founded by me and my mom Dr. Laura Cohen a Board Certified Dermatologist in 2008 and KLENSKIN was born. We made it a mission to create a user-friendly and cosmetically-elegant line of skin care products that everyone could conveniently use and love. Together we developed the first and only Wash On sunscreens utilizing our patented QuantaSphere Encapsulated Technology. We believed that if people could apply sunscreen without having to change their daily habits, we could decrease the dangerous effects of the sun in these individuals. As mothers, the safety and efficacy is our number one concern and have developed a whole line of innovative products to fit your daily routine!. Read more>>

Arjay Ancheta

In 2016, I took a leap and decided that I would try film school in Hollywood. I knew it didn’t make sense. I knew that most people who went, didn’t stay. I lived almost 100 miles away and was making minimum wage. But with the help of my family, I was able to make it work. So many times, I found myself teetering on the edge of an empty bank account trying to make this work. Nonetheless, I knew that I had always fared better in a classroom setting so I figured that might be a step in the right direction. So I set out to become a Director of Photography as I felt that I had an eye for a good frame. It wasn’t until the end of my time in school that I really realized that’s where my talent stopped in cinematography. Lighting became my crutch and ultimately, I felt I wasn’t happy with the work I was producing. I was also coming close to graduating and felt that I hadn’t left the mark I had hoped to leave upon becoming an alumni. Read more>>

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