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Inspiring Stories from Del Mar, Encinitas & Carlsbad

The heart of our mission at the SD Voyager is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the San Diego’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out the rising stars from Del Mar, Enallicinitas & Carlsbad below.

Kai Archer-Cahill

After having kids anxiety and depression was really circulating around my daily life, and I needed a way to express how I felt. I started my blog and immediately started receiving emails and messages regarding my posts about life after pregnancy, life before and life in between. Shortly after that, my husband and I began screen printing t-shirts in our garage with different messages. Messages to remind everyone that they are more than ENOUGH to get through their day or whatever challenge they were facing. Read more>>

Valerie Duprat

I started shaping surfboards, like a hobby. I was a biotech scientist who needed to do something creative with her hands. I picked surfboards shaping because I surf (and so does my whole family) and I thought it would be cool to be riding my own boards. At that time, I had no idea it was a very male-dominated activity. I was just naively sculpting foam in my backyard, first for my family, then for friends and then for friends of friends. It rapidly became a side-business, and now I have my very own shaping room in which I carve surfboards in my free time (I am still a full-time scientist, and mom of 2). Read more>>

Natasha Ragland

I was always surrounded by creativity at home growing up — our family is a bunch of artistic dreamers. I always wanted to major in music and art. I never considered the fact that both of these fields are very precarious for a livelihood, I was too busy trying to fulfill the requirements for the auditions and coursework. I never thought about how I would make money when I was finished. My burning desire to be a songwriter and make recordings was part of me since I was three years old. I started playing piano for the church in high school and continued to come home on weekends to play in church all through college. Read more>>

Shamelle Reveter

I was inspired to work with artists while working as a background artist in Los Angeles, California. I absolutely love acting. I always have. The desire to pursue my heart’s desire and hone my craft has always been very strong in me. But, how to proceed was the initial dilemma. I concluded that I first needed to put some experience under my belt in order to bring my desire into reality. I wanted to learn—or, simply, just do it! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds to enroll in a great acting school. Luckily for me, however, there was another way! In order to grow as an actress, I decided that entering the arena of background television was the best way to go. Read more>>

Camille Cunningham

I rode my first wave in the warm gentle waters of Waikiki Beach during a vacation to Hawaii when I was 16. I was on a 9-foot foam board and stood up right away. It was so buoyant, it very well could have been a small boat. I thought, “wow this is so easy! I can totally do this!” Upon returning home, I grabbed my brother’s 6’2″ Kaysen and bee-lined to the Oceanside Pier, where I spent all of my summers. Oceanside was a lot different 17 years ago. There were no hip restaurants. No swanky hotels and condos. There were dive bars and biker gangs. Read more>>

Sae Kim

When I was younger, I can distinctly recall my grandma’s obsession with her garden. She’d tend to it almost every day; making subtle changes such as uprooting a plant, cutting foliage or watering the soil. She’d ask me what I thought about her plants and brag about how beautiful they were. I could instantly tell how important they were to her; almost like a child to a mother. I think in a lot of ways that planted a small seed in me. Read more>>

Ron Bocian, Jay Reilly, and Felipe Benavides

The Red Fox Tails first assembled at bassist/photographer Jay Reilly’s studio in ‘Artist’s Alley’ in Oceanside, CA. Local guitarist Felipe Benavides and longtime New Orleans drummer had been working together on original music embracing the unique rhythms of the musical melting pot of NOLA mixed with Felipe’s melodic sense of capturing an East LA Latin-flavor with an experimental surf rock revival. We intended to create music to accompany the many artistic and celebratory events around Southern California. Bassist Jay Reilly completed the original core trio with the double bass bottom end, actually learning the instrument for this sonic project. Read more>>

Logan Schwarz

I’ve always felt strongly about going off the beaten path, literally and metaphorically. Horizon Nine was founded to inspire customers to expand their horizons and create a life story to share, whether through travel or career. I sell watches so that everytime people check their watch they are reminded of that sentiment. I founded Horizon Nine at 15 years old, and I want the idea that you can create anything or “expand your horizons” no matter the obstacles in your way. Read more>>

Josh Taylor

Owners Rebecca & Josh Taylor began the Cryo warehouse simply out of the need for Whole Body Cryotherapy in their life. Josh suffered from severe back pain and tried EVERYTHING under the San Diegan Sun to alleviate the pain and discomfort. As a triple-entrepreneur, manufacturing a solution for their lifestyle was a must. From medicine to therapy, to natural supplements and CBD, it wasn’t until he tried Cryotherapy as one last attempt to alleviate the pain. That was IT!- The Taylors were committed to living a pain-free life and thought if this works for us, how many other people’s lives could we transform!? Read more>>

Maggie Adams

Merriam-Webster defines passion as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. In 2012, I truly found my passion the very first time I tried Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)! I’m a late bloomer, not sure if I ever knew what I wanted to do in life. I’ve worked a few jobs, or I’ve had a few different careers- doing research in a lab, being a mom, teaching Spanish to elementary kids, &, etc. Stand up Paddleboarding just turned on something inside of me! I bought my first board and took a few SUP lessons. Eventually, I entered my first SUP race! From there my passion for SUP really took off! Read more>>

Molly Cedergreen

After my second child was born, I struggled to find the time or mental acuity (#mombrain) to continue freelance writing, so I quit working completely to focus on my kids. As my son’s first birthday approached, I had a really hard time finding a cute bow tie for his “cake smash” photo shoot. A few months later, I purchased a bow tie and suspenders set off of Etsy for his ring bearer outfit. I was disappointed with the price and quality of the purchase. That’s when I thought, “I could do this soooo much better.” That’s pretty much how Mini Swag was born! Read more>>

Brooke Joanna Benlifer

I moved from NY to CA in 2002 and began working clinically in the Scripps Hospital system and later also at Rady’s Children’s Hospital. Soon after, I moved to CA. I opened my own nutrition counseling & consulting practice, to fulfill a growing need I saw for true, personalized care and coaching. I guide clients through every step of the process of creating a healthy and balanced life, from grocery shopping and cooking to making time for joyful and purposeful movement on a daily basis. Read more>>

Inez Laval

I’m originally from San Francisco, and I moved to LA to practice esthetics. When I moved to LA, I wanted to be known for my facials, but instead, I built a reputation as one of the best waxers in LA. I’m known for painless waxing and having a great bedside manner and making waxing an amazing experience. I have had a few obstacles since I started. Moving from Nothern Cali to Southern Cali and having to start completely over. Which included working long hours, building a clientele and building a reputable reputation. That took time and hard work but totally worth it. Read more>>

Kelsie Hancock

I prepared for my Marine Corps career by attending Norwich University in Vermont where I focused on International Relations, French, and National Security Policy. I was very involved in extracurricular activities to include sports, special units like our Mountain Cold Weather unit that specialized in military mountaineering and cold weather survival, and worked part-time on campus and off campus as a waitress/bartender to earn a little extra income. Read more>>

Tabitha Frost

Before I met my husband, I started a blog for fun while I was a full-time preschool teacher. Soon after meeting my husband, I learned he did web development as a hobby. Fast forward to when my first child was born, I decided to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom. This gave me the opportunity to start blogging while being home with my son. Read more>>

Melissa Press

Much of my story has been born from bumps in the road that life creates as we live it. I chose to live according to society’s standard – college, corporate job, married and then have children. I don’t regret that path today, but I have recognized that much of the path that led me here was one I chose because it was safe. Read more>>

Mikell Kolod

In the beginning, my love for capturing the moment came in 2 parts. In short, the first part was when I came to the realization that if collected I barely had enough photos to fill your typical photo album. Baby photos, toddler photos, tween years, awkward teen years you name it. I guess my family wasn’t big on photographing milestones and whatever photos were available for me to look back at were either located on the walls of my grandparents home. Read more>>

Carolynn Bottino

To explain my story about how the Money Empowerment Project began and why I am so passionate about it, I need to start with my own money story. I grew up in a household where both my mom and dad were entrepreneurs. In addition to my mom’s business, she also worked a full-time job. I grew up believing that you had to work REALLY HARD to make money and be successful. Read more>>

Jenny Stackle

When my son Kip was 2, we found out he had severe food allergies. He’s allergic to peanuts, all tree nuts, and sunflower seeds. So, like all food allergy parents, I started reading labels, and over time became more and more frustrated that there were so few healthy snack options that Kip could eat. I knew I couldn’t be the only food allergy parent feeling this frustration. Read more>>

Jessica Boynton

Ever since I was little I have loved design, I designed and created every Halloween costume, my prom dress and in grad school (my background is in chemistry) I designed, tie-dyed and screen printed many dresses and outfits as an outlet for my creativity. I somewhat gave up after I moved to San Diego and thought that I would try to pursue selling my designs as a career. Read more>>

Ashleigh Yob

I have always enjoyed taking photos since a young age after receiving an old film camera from my grandfather. I moved to California from the UK three years ago when I married my husband. I spent some time here at first waiting for my visas to be approved so I could start working. During this downtime and between surf sessions I would often spend time take surfing photos of my friends. Read more>>

Logan Avant

I grew up in Texas and was raised by a shared network of just about every one of my family members, which gave me some pretty solid exposure to different perspectives on the ways of the world. My grandparents raised me the majority of the time, and they were the kind of folks that had the utmost respect for spending time together and time in nature. Many life lessons about responsibility, the power of community, and growing to be a capable human were in the roots of my daily routines. Read more>>

Carly Trippe

As long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about design. My dad, in particular, incited this enthusiasm from a really young age. As kids, he designed and built my sisters, and I elaborately themed bedrooms. First, we had a castle bedroom with bunk beds hidden behind pink castle walls. Read more>>


Rich Kearns and Sarah Eisele

One fall night Sarah and I shared a bottle of wine and an idea clicked. For hours, we rattled off ideas and jotted them down on a piece of paper. When we woke in the morning, semi groggy from the night before, we both asked each other if what we talked about was still a good idea. The two of us still excited about it, agreed it was and from that moment on we started the creation process of Van’N Boozy! Read more>>

Bryan Carroll

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a need for a creative outlet. In my childhood years, my sister and I would write songs and come up with band names thinking we’d be the next pop star. Fast forward to my preteen years, I had dreams to become an actor and star in the next big blockbuster film. I’ll never forget walking up to my first, and last, acting class; they wanted me to sing in front of the students. Read more>>

Sam Kumar Tandon

I started out my career at 15 years old in 2014. I was an assistant manager at a local record label and rehearsal studio called Legend Records in Pacific Beach. That job allowed me to observe San Diego’s music scene through the perfect lens. I learned about artist relations, business management, and even venue operations, as we turned the building into a live music venue after a major remodel. Read more>>

Vincent Darmohusodo

My photography journey was influenced by my father. He was a photographer himself and was very passionate about all things photography as well as cameras. I remember growing up as a kid in Indonesia and following him around, either hunting for a shot or for a used camera. Read more>>

Amy Glancy

When I was in the second grade, I had a teacher who was mean and awful. I knew I could do a better job than her. So, when I grew up, that’s what I did. I became a teacher! I worked at Central Elementary in inner-city San Diego in the mid-nineties. Later I worked as a literacy staff developer and a consultant. When I became a parent I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my three kids. Read more>>

Lisa Choi

My name is Lisa, and I grew up in Nashville, TN. I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and was working as an Interior Designer for a couple of years before I got married. After getting married, I moved to sunny San Diego with my husband and had a difficult time finding a job in my field. I got a job at LG Electronics as an Executive Assistant to a Corporate Vice President, and was in that position for 3 years before moving onto creating content for their mobile website. Read more>>

Annemarie Alf

After more than 10 years as a strength and conditioning coach and one year as a physical therapist, I was offered the ultimate gig: to work with Chinese Olympic athletes. I, went on to train and treat the Chinese gymnasts who competed in the 2012 Olympics in London. It was during that experience that I discovered a new approach to performance physical therapy and an approach that included and integrated team of holistic practitioners. Read more>>

Laurie Libman Wilson

Studio Penny Lane was created in honor and memory of my dear friend Conrad Morales. Conrad died in August of 2007, a result of an overdose and an accidental fall a year and a half after the horrific deaths of his two sons. He was self medicating as a result of what happened to his children. Conrad had a dark and painful history, despite this he was a person of a pure heart and as a boy he believed he was worthy and meant do do something meaningful… but at age 13, he went down a path that changed his entire life. Read more>>

Doun Lambert

I’ve had a career in Mortgage Finance for over 15 years but about 4 years ago I began searching for natural holistic healing modalities. I got Certified in Reiki, Crystal Healing, Yoga, and Reflexology. This all lead me to finding my passion creating chakra body jewelry using natural crystals which incourages self care and self love. I love helping others to connect with their inner Goddess and feel beautiful from within. Read more>>

Jenna Gessay

The eldest of three children, I grew up in a little suburb outside of Sacramento with a storytelling, dogma-averse spiritual creative mother who happens to be a medium, and a hard-working, hilarious landscape architect father who raised their children to be independent thinkers. My parents were raised strict Southern Baptist and Irish Catholic and so while church was important to my family, there was certainly an emphasis on freedom to find what lit our hearts up and helped us feel connected. Read more>>

Scrojo x

I’ve always been attracted to commercial graphic design, even as a kid. I sold my first illustration at the age of 10 and did sporadic freelance work thru my teens. At 18 I started working for the pannikin and began doing illustrations on the chalkboard menu. This got the attention of other cafes, multiple companies in the surf/skate industry, local publications and, most notably, the belly up who commissioned me to do my first concert poster at the age of 19. Read more>>

Krista Spence

I was lucky enough to start my career right out of high school. I went to the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, MN. There I was trained with exceptional techniques & rituals. It was a school focused on Ayurveda rituals and holistic lifestyle that incorporated crystals & essential oils to create an experience. Then I moved back to my hometown Carlsbad, NM. were I was able to build a resume and sharpen my skills before pursuing my dream of moving to San Diego, CA. Read more>>

Adam Markel

Adam Markel is a world renowned resilience and change management expert, transformational speaker, and business mentor. After building a multi-million dollar law firm, Adam Markel became CEO of one of the largest business and personal development
training companies, overseeing more than $100 million in sales. Adam is now the CEO of More Love Media. His unique expertise is in combining practical business tactics with accelerated learning strategies to guide people and organizations worldwide to embrace change, encourage innovation and increase sales. Read more>>

Jon Steingard

I come from a family of “creators” – stretching back way before that term got thrown around as loosely as it is today. My grandfather was a carpenter and photographer up in Ontario, Canada. He pioneered aerial photography in his area with a 40 foot blimp and a 35mm film camera he could trigger with a long cable. He would be stunned with what drone photography can accomplish today. Two of my uncles and my brother followed in my grandfather’s footsteps and became photographers. I opted to become a musician instead, and from the age of 15, being in a band and making music was my passion. Read more>>

Scott Huffman

I started working in the surf industry many years ago and have always had a desire to start my own business. I love the creation process. Coming up with an idea, deciding to go for it and then making it happen is very rewarding. When you dive in to start your own brand, there is a certain mix of weird excitement of the unknown paired with the same feeling you get right before you commit to dropping into a wave that’s a little too big for your liking. Read more>>

Ana Levin

After 13 years in a marriage that was reaching the end, I found myself completely lost and out of touch with myself. I had lost my passion and what was worse was I had no idea how to gain it back. As time went on, I became a master at surviving, and I thought this was the best I could do with my life. The void of love I felt made me devote all my love to my children. Being a mom became my identity, my certainty and connection. It was the only place in my life where I could express all the love of my heart without fear. Read more>>

Katie Gebhardt

I was lucky enough to know Interior Design was my passion early on and went to FIDM in Los Angeles to study Interior Design, and also Business Management. I started my own interior design company – previously Within Design Co., and now Solstice Interiors – after working on the business side of design for four years. I remember my first big project on my own I worked on these crazy tiled stairs. Read more>>

Lisa Giannuzzi

While recovering from the corporate world back in 2015, I was working at a trendy wine bar and noticed a lot of cool-labeled bottles going to waste (but at least being recycled) in this environmentally conscious town. I decided to collaborate with my dear friend, a mosaic artist, and explore the idea of marrying a passion for wine and love of art in the form of candles made from repurposed wine and beer bottles. Reads more>>

Mieko Sie

I was in my early twenties around 2001 and at the time in my life where I was about to graduate with my Bachleors of Science in Communicative Disorders (Speech Pathology/Audiology). There was a lot of training for and doing Triathlon which I absolutely loved then. I was very active in sports and was very much into yoga and even surfing at the time. I ended up getting a stress fracture in my lower left leg bone which prevented me from doing any of my running and other sports as well. Read more>>


Kristina Renee Kuzmich Bengala

There is nothing “brief” about my story and how I am where I am today. But then, no one’s story is brief, and that is what I specialize in, this is my craft, my offering, to the world — I am a space holder. A more commonly known term for this would be a mindfulness counselor. I am also a teacher, an integrative healer, massage therapist, writer, and speaker and I work with individuals in psycho-spirituality and mindfulness practices for daily life. Read more>>

Dr. Chil Khakham and Dr. Stephanie Hendershot

Dr. Chil Khakham and Dr. Stephanie Hendershot went to medical school together in Phoenix, Arizona. They were “study buddies” and studied for all their exams, including their medical board exams, together. After medical school, they each started their practice for a few years. During this time they started falling in love with natural medical aesthetics because it helped them with their own skin issues. Read more>>

Mira Simon

I spent over 25 years in the radio broadcasting industry in sales and management and what I loved most throughout my career was coaching and training salespeople to inspire and motivate them to maximize their potential. That is what motivated me to get my coaching certification in 2010 from iPEC – an ICF accredited coach training program. Upon graduation, my first clients were adults who were looking to make a change in their career. Read more>



Maryellyn B.

Maryellyn Burke, owner and founder of Brow Envy is passionate about helping her clients feel not only comfortable but confident. Enhancing their natural beauty individually. She feels that the eyebrows are one of the most important features. Read more>>

Reis Paluso

After moving back to San Diego from three years in Kauai, I met professional surfer, Cyrus Sutton, while I was working at the Patagonia surf shop in Cardiff. He invited me to help him with this surf blog he was started called Korduroy TV that was all about DIY surfing. Read more>>


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