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Pasadena’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 Pasadena’s gems below.

TeeShondra Stinson

Well, I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I don’t recall having any other dreams besides becoming a singer. I was introduced to music at an early age being born into a “musical family”, which developed my passion very early on. I often competed in talent shows that consisted of other people performing with me. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I finally performed alone. I sang Adele’s “Someone Like You” in front of over 200 people and received a standing ovation. I received a tremendous amount of love and support from the audience and my family that night. That support later led to my decision to perform during my senior recognition night. Read more>>

Jonathan LaCour

I got started working in corporate and employment law for my family’s business. We always try to do the right thing for employees, to engage with them collaboratively, and help them when medical issues or injuries arise. I had a friend who first came to me after she was being sexually harassed – to an outrageous degree. I couldn’t understand how a company, let alone senior management would be so conniving, manipulative, and terrible to their employees. So I set out to make it right. Read more>>

Gina Ross

I came to herbalism in 2007 while working at a health food store. I became immersed in alternative healing through food, supplements, and herbal medicine and felt an immediate affinity for the plants, eager to learn their names and how to identify them and the power they held. At that time, I was struggling with adrenal stress that had become a real obstacle for me. I went on a high-dose regimen of adaptogenic and nervine herbs and within a few months felt like I had returned to myself–it felt miraculous. The power of plant medicine opened me to the dynamic potential of healing through the magic of chemistry and the wisdom of plants and fungi. Read more>>

Marlon Womack

Growing up, around the age of 9 or 10. I was fortunate to have a close family friend that gave me my very first camera. I would often use it to take pictures of things in nature and became my first creative medium. As I got older, I ended up putting the camera down and pick up other creative mediums and had almost forgot about my first love. Facing some financial hardships about seven years ago, I decided to start my first business as a personal stylist and interior decorator and soon realized that something was missing. I needed a camera so I could start taking pictures of my work for my portfolio to show perspective clients. Upon the advice of photographer friend of mine I went out and purchased my first DSLR. Read more>>

Katia Perez

It must’ve been in December — just like any other day, I had been scrolling through my TikTok’s “For You Page” when I saw a tutorial for a rose bouquet by Ralph the Baker. I thought it looked pretty easy, but obviously any tutorial is going to look easier than it actually is, so I saved the video and never went back to it. That is until February rolled around and I needed an idea on what to give my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. I thought to myself, “why don’t I make those chocolate-covered strawberries?” So I went to Walmart and bought the supplies needed, but being the time it was, there were hardly any candies, chocolates, nor strawberries left. Read more>>

Warren Russell

I am a guitarist/producer who grew up in a small town outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I have been playing guitar since I was about 12 yrs old but didn’t take it very seriously until I got into high-school. Throughout my time in high school, I played in a band named Five Seconds to Freedom – based in Annapolis, MD. We went onto win the county battle of the bands and got our song played on the Baltimore radio station 98 rock (a big accomplishment for us :). We went onto record a full-length LP with Mat Leffler-Schulman at Mobtown Studios in Baltimore which can still be listened to today. Read more>>

Tiffany Hwang, Tiffany Chavez-Tay, Tiffany Chukiat and Isa Imamura

We – Tiffany, Isa, Tiffany, and Tiffany (TITT) – met during our time at UCLA as young undergrads full of irresponsible youth and excitement. We still have the excitement but are a lot more accountable now as mothers, partners, and full-time professionals. While the foundation of our friendship began almost two decades ago in the hallowed halls of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, we have spent thousands of hours together inside and outside of the continental US to really cement our sisterhood. It may sound corny, but it really is a sisterhood rooted in love, conversation, the occasional challenge that we work through together, and the decision to always put each other at the top of the never-ending priority list because that’s how much we value each other. Read more>>

Carolina Cortella

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since I was a little kid, I was interested in expressing myself through art. I feel very lucky that I was able to explore different kinds of expressions like dance, theater, photography, ceramics and painting. After graduating from Universidad del Cine as a Film Director, I directed several narrative and documentary films as well as music videos. Read more>>

Emily Sinclair

In 2003 and only 26 years old, I decided to buy my first home after the suggestion by my entrepreneur cousin. I was a single professional woman and I wanted to break up with my apartment living (and the revolving door of roommates) and take a step towards homeownership. At the time, I was producing reality television (Survivor) for many of the major networks and I had no clue that my home shopping experience was going to change me, but also change my career many years later. Read more>>

Max Philips

I (Max Champion) am a singer, songwriter, rapper, and music producer from Santa Monica, California. I grew up near LA in the beach town of San Clemente listening to classics like The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Little Richard, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, Fleetwood Mac and many others. Music was never not playing at near maximum volume when I was hanging out with my dad. He loves his “Oldies but Goodies.” Read more>>

Nick Kucelin, Jack Mills, Pedro Vazquez and Harrison Wagner

Growing up and going to school with each other, we always shared a deep passion for playing music. From learning how to play our instruments to snagging residencies in Hermosa beach, we went through it all with each other. Throughout high school and college, we played in various different bands with different combinations of the four of us. We started out like every other young musician jamming in our garages but quickly discovered we wanted to take things a little farther than smoking weed and playing guitars. We decided to take the plunge and try to make a career out of playing music, and we dedicated almost every day to getting stronger as a band. Read more>>

Marina Maiztegui

Born and raised in Brazil, I began singing before I can even remember, with made up microphone in one hand and any Disney movie on the TV. My parents quickly suggested I should begin music lessons (piano, voice, and guitar) since none of them had any musical background or ever had the opportunity to have music lessons. From there, I was the designated singer of all of our family gatherings, which involved casual or planned performances to family and friends. I began writing music before I can even remember but my first full song which I actually recorded was at the age of 16. At that point, I discovered Berklee College of Music in Boston and it became my goal and dream college. Read more>>

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