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in SoCal Trends

SoCal’s Mini Therapy Horses

Mini Therapy Horses is a non-profit and all volunteer organization, providing equine assisted interactions with miniature therapy horses to individuals and groups who are in need of comfort, relief and positive connections during and after their struggles and traumatic events. Through various partnerships with law enforcement agencies as well as children’s and veteran’s organizations, they have helped the lives of many people and provided them with hope.   “Mini Therapy Horses is truly a life-changing organization providing a one-of-a-kind service to more than 45,000 people every year,” said Victoria Nodiff-Netanel, founder of Mini Therapy Horses. “After having just one meeting with a miniature therapy horse, individuals have been known to speak for the first time in years, smile and tell their stories of deepest pain and tragedy.”   Netanel and her minis and volunteers have been offering their unique and healing services to the community for 8 years. The organization’s four-core therapy programs include Ronald McDonald Houses, the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team as certified first responders.   The Mini Therapy Horses visit many other people in need and crisis outside of the core programming, such as patients…

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in Sports & Adventures

5 Reasons to Try Scuba Diving

An exhilarating, yet tranquil escape, it’s no wonder that, as summer approaches, scuba diving is gaining popularity. Scuba diving is not just a great activity for almost anyone; it is also an incredible experience that is sure to create some fantastic memories. Scuba diving has been glamorized in Hollywood film for years, and even in real life, celebrities including Jessica Alba, Tom Cruise, James Cameron, Sandra Bullock and Nina Dobrev have taken up the underwater sport to enjoy the world beneath the water’s surface. Here are five reasons everyone needs to try scuba diving this summer: Explore a new world: Scuba diving is an exploratory activity that helps people personally connect with the ocean and various undersea animals, including coral, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals. Experience tranquility and freedom: While underwater, the distractions, noise and stress from daily life float away. Slow, focused and deep breathing, similar to that of meditative breathing, can help induce a calm and relaxed state while divers enjoy freedom from restrictions such as gravity and weight. Safe and easy: With proper training, certification, equipment and planning, scuba diving is a safe and easy water sport to learn. Anyone aged 12 and up can become…

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in Things To Do

Where to Stargaze in SoCal

Southern California is an ideal place to stargaze, but is more compelling in less populated areas, national parks or in cities that take initiative to minimize their use of outside light. Below are the five best places in SoCal to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way, constellations and a meteor shower or two.   Along route 154 and north of the Santa Ynez Mountains lies Cachuma Lake. It is known as a premier fishing destination due to its hidden location, but that also makes it ideal for stargazing. The Milky Way is definitely visible on clear nights, and made even better with the use of a  telescope. You can rent a cabin, bring tents or an RV or just stay for a few hours. For more details on the park: www.countyofsb.org/parks/cachuma.sbc.   For more of an adventure, stargaze in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Located in Borrego Springs, the park is designed for stargazers. Public lights and airports have adapted to give campers the ultimate sky experience, making it the first International Dark Sky Community in California. It will probably be hot, so be prepared. For more information: www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/stargazing-anza-borrego-desert-state-park.   Stargaze at an unsuspecting location 45 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles known as Templin Highway. Being…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

5 Best Southland Beaches to Visit in the Fall

Summer in SoCal is the best time to go to the beach, which is why most are so crowded. But the fall is even better because the beaches are just as spectacular, but much less crowded. If you’re looking for a little piece of peace, be sure to visit these secluded pockets of heaven. Trestles beach, or just Trestles, is a mystery beach for sunbathers but a home to surfers. It’s divided into sections; Church, Middles, Lowers, Uppers and Cottons; depending on surfer skill level. Located in San Clemente, the beach is known for taking a while to get to but being one of the most gorgeous in the area. After parking, take a hike through brush and trees, under Interstate 5, over a small hill and a straight trail walk before reaching the beach. During the hike, you’re likely to run into beautiful views and some wildlife, so have your camera ready. http://funorangecountyparks.com/trestles-beach-walk.html Since Laguna is a hotspot for beachgoers, weekends are often overcrowded. With Wood’s Cove, skip the hordes of people all together. The rocks on the shore make the beach less popular because surfing is too dangerous, but the water is more turquoise and the beach is…

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in Sports & Adventures

Kayaking Tips for Beginners

With summer officially here, Southern Californians are heading out into the ocean, in search of adventure. Kayaking is a great way to stay cool in the summer, get a fantastic workout and, in many cases, catch a glimpse of the local sea life.   Hold your paddle correctly. It’s important to hold the paddle correctly, with hands shoulder-width apart (or wider), with an overhand grip. Keep arms fully extended away from the body and don’t T-Rex! There are two sides to the paddle–scoop and spine. When paddling forward, keep the scoop side of the paddle facing towards you. When paddling backwards, have the spine facing towards you.   Don’t just pull the paddle or you will quickly tire out your shoulders. When pulling the paddle side in the water towards you, focus also on pushing the paddle side out of the water away from your body. This will help ensure you are using multiple muscle groups instead of making your shoulders do all the work. When paddling, remember to twist your torso into the movement. This will help maintain your center of gravity, produce more efficient strokes and utilize more of your body.   Getting in and out of the kayak…

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in SoCal Trends

Fields Market: One of LA’s Hottest Filming Locations

Today it serves as the backdrop for countless television shows and movies. But at one time, the small, local grocery store—a throwback to midcentury America—had almost seen its better days. “When we first took the place over in the early 1990s, the store was in pretty bad shape. It was like the worst house in the neighborhood type of thing; dirty, stinky, and the people who owned it were running it like a liquor store. It was in desperate need of a facelift,” says co-owner of Fields Market, Bill Rinck.

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