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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.

Chasity Nwagbara

My story has many layers. Almost too many layers if you ask me! I started out as a songwriter over ten years ago. I got my first and only publishing deal with Hitco at the age of eighteen and life kinda came at me fast. My very first release came four months later when I landed two songs on Jennifer Lopez’s “Brave album. Read more>>

Gavin Sedano

I’ve been recording music for a little over five years now but ever since a kid I would always write and record verses on my phone. I would always freestyle in backyard parties during high school, so a couple of years after high school one of my best friends who’s also another up and coming artist. Read more>>

Belinda Lau

I began searching for work that could provide a little more stability. Planning weddings and events was a natural addition to my life, having worked on opera productions not only as a performer but also behind-the-scenes as a producer, director, stage manager, wig & makeup artist, and costume assistant. I was just transitioning to a different kind of production. Read more>>

Nancy Montuori

Nancy Montuori has been in the health and wellness industry since 2011. It all began when Nancy decided to create Ordinary Vegan, a website dedicated to encouraging people to take back their health with a plant-based diet. What Nancy discovered is that she loved encouraging and teaching people how to stay well, so in 2013 she became certified in plant-based nutrition.  Read more>>

Jane Park Wells

Born and raised in Korea, I came to the United States to study fashion design. But it wasn’t meant to be. I got married instead and became a stay-at-home mom raising two boys. When they were in elementary school, I went back to school to study art at Scripps College in Claremont. Read more>>>

Valerie Stern

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles by my single mother, Patricia who was raising my two older brothers and myself. Life as a child was amazing, thanks to my mom and her parents. They really made our childhood wonderful despite the fact that our father was only around here and there throughout our lives. Read more>>

Nataly Tavidian

Once a TV news anchor/reporter covering assignments. Today she is a storyteller, telling inspiring stories with soul and designing jewelry with a purpose. Self-love. Hey Heart 143 the podcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn, iHeartRadio, Youtube and more. “143 means I love you. Tell your own heart I love you. Read more>>


I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I started playing the piano and singing around ten years old and composed my first song around twelve. Since I was young, I’ve been surrounded by my family’s musical talent and I’ve grown tremendously from it. Read more>>

Kairvina Sharma

I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. My mom used to be an Indian classical singer and my dad makes Indian movies (which we all know is filled with dance and music!) I figured singing was pretty much the norm in every family so I never thought twice about making it my career. I still remember the first time I discovered English music. Read more>>

Julie Canales

After many (sometimes frustrating) doctors visits, it was finally confirmed that I had an autoimmune condition. As bizarre as it sounds, I actually felt relief and grateful to finally get a diagnosis. To me, this meant that I was not silently going crazy. Read more>>

Frankie De La Torre

The Volcanics started in 2001. My old surf band The Futuremen opened up for The Mighty Kegsmen at the old club “The Garage” in Silver Lake (which is now closed down). The Kegsmen was comprised of Norman and Kevin from The Ghastly Ones, and Benny and Arunas from The Markdowns. Read more>>

Vanessa Melendez

I started shooting after I was gifted my first camera for Highschool graduation in 2010. My grandpa started a studio in Mexico near a wedding chapel and its been running in the family blood generations from him. Read more>>

Veronica Leslie

I am a former Organic Agriculture Scientist turned Naturopath who has evolved from my days of simply educating others on how to navigate our broken food system to empowering them on how to severe ties with the end destination of such a slippery slope…. Big Pharma. Read more>>

Lauren Beier

My love for photography started when I was a Junior in college. As soon as I graduated, I bought myself my first manual film camera, a Nikon FG. Fast forward a couple of years and I’m now fully obsessed with capturing that special connection between two people. Most of my business is focused on capturing, wedding, portraits and family photos. Read more>>

Linda Fernandez

I go by the alias Lin Marty (nickname) as a photographer. I describe myself as a wild creative with strong business sensibilities. I love photography, storytelling and brand marketing. I knew from a young age that storytelling is the foundation of any great brand and as a career I wanted to be in the center of it all. Read more>>

Bonnie Wallace

Next year, 2020, marks the centennial of the signing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the legal right to vote. This 100 year anniversary will be celebrated around the country and we are kicking it off with a float in the Pasadena Rose Parade. Read more>>

Raja Michael

I was a domestic violence counselor when I first started doing stand-up. Stand-up was something I always wanted to do but didn’t know that you can just do it. I think being in a very intense line of work made me feel the need for release and expressing myself more and more. Read more>>

Adrienne Trio

I just really loved robots, people and mascots as a kid, and that has pretty much been the main themes for my work throughout my life. As a kid, I always loved to draw, it was a way of escapism while also a tool to understand the world around me. As I grew older and went to college, I briefly dabbled in biology and computer science. Read more>>

Anne Muller

The Card Tricks Designs story began when we were getting married… we were stunned to realize “custom” wedding invitations meant choosing white or BE BOLD go with ivory paper, roman or BE CRAZY script font. That was it! That wasn’t us and we assumed countless others also had much more exciting stories to tell too, in way-more interesting ways! So, as a graphic designer and copywriter, we decided to create our own. Read more>>

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