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Inspiring Stories from North Park, South Park, Kensington & Normal Heights

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 North Park, South Park, Kensington & Normal Heights below.

Niesha Calhoun

Since I was young I always knew I loved photography, encouraging other people, and traveling. In 2017, I started my blog “Nomadic Niche” which started out as encouraging other people after having brain surgery. The surgery gave me another chance at life and I wanted to use it to empower other people to get out of their comfort zones and try new things despite their circumstances. Fast forward to 2019, I moved to San Diego right before the pandemic hit. As things started opening up again I started using my photography skills again and set out to promote local businesses and restaurants. Now I get the opportunity to share the best of San Diego and Beyond with my community and I enjoy using my passion to share all about the local life here. It’s a great way to get out, explore, and encourage people along the way. Read more>>

Aaron Scott Lacy

I have been a hairstylist since 2005, specializing in geometric haircutting. 5 years ago I shifted my focus towards curly hair. I loved the idea of having the knowledge and confidence to serve any texture that walked through my doors. Accommodating every texture on the planet opened up the opportunity to serve an eclectic and diverse clientele. My brand of education ‘A Simple Lesson’ gives me the voice to demystify working with texture while building a foundational understanding of meeting every texture’s needs. I opened my salon ‘Aaron Scott Lacy Hair’ during the pandemic that offers a unique ‘1 person suite’ experience for my guests. When I’m not in my salon, you can find me traveling as an ‘Artist’ for Innersense Organic Beauty. Read more>>

Nick Isabella

I’ve been taking photos of things since I was in grade school and my parents bought me a small point-and-shoot film camera to take pictures of my friends and my pet parakeets. Once in high school, I started taking photography classes and learned my way around an SLR camera and a darkroom. Then in college, photography was my minor, where I spent countless hours taking photos, developing the film by hand and printing photos. At the time, I never really thought that photography would be my career, but it was certainly the artistic pursuit that I was the most passionate about. A number of years after moving out to San Diego and being a hobbyist photographer, I met a couple of very talented professionals and stated assisting for them both on paid and unpaid shoots. I learned a ton from them about everything from how to use off-camera lighting and editing techniques, to working with clients and models, to coordinating and producing larger shoots. Read more>>

Angel Alvarez

Back in 2015 I was 8 years into my career in corporate America. A full benefits package and a 5-year-old about to start kindergarten. My life consisted of being stuck in traffic, cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner and doing it all over everyday. My paychecks were spent at business casual clothing stores which literally killed me on the inside and left no room for self-expression. As time went on my existence began to feel unbearably mundane and I couldn’t have been more unhappy with where I was in life. My husband who of course could see my struggle and well into his fifth year of owning his business had told me that I just needed to find where there was a need and fulfill it and I could be in business for myself too. He had told me that there were barbershops popping up everywhere and that he didn’t think there were many supply stores so we started doing research. Read more>>

Mozar Rovere

I remember it almost felt like a tradition, from a young age as a child, to go with my dad to our local Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and once we were done with the produce we would stop at the flower stand to get carnations for my mom. We chose the colors together which was always a fun and exciting moment for me. My family always had flowers and many plants in our home, even though we lived in an apartment, there was a lot of green and life around us. I was a kid very connected to nature in general, loved everything animals, plants, crystals and minerals, climbing trees, trapping bugs in terrariums and getting my hands in the dirt. Our vacations were never too far but always surrounded by ocean views and waterfalls. I’m originally from Brazil but first got captivated by floral design when i lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, back in 2011. At the time I was working at a restaurant that had beautiful arrangements by the bar. Read more>>

Kelsey Blankenship

Coming from the Bay Area, I was surrounded by a lot of art and music. Although extracurricular was never my thing, art seemed to find its way to me in different ways. I had a lot of freedom growing up, my friends and I would make our way to catch a 6:00am train to San Francisco and explore the city until the last train ride back to San Jose. It was the alley ways full of murals, the violin street players, or the makeshift bands on the corner using trash can lids as drum bases. The city was alive, especially to a bunch of preteens coming from a San Jose suburbia in early 2009. My friends and I always had point and shoot cameras, always taking silly photos of each other. It wasn’t until I turned my camera around to my environment that I started to see a different world. Street photography became my thing. I got really into documenting my surroundings. I definitely went through the whole, “I’m gonna become a National Geographic photographer!!!”, phase, to be honest, I’m not sure it ever left. Read more>>

Brittney Poyuzina

From as early as I can remember, I’ve had a desire to create. And while that was clear, the method in which to do so has been a journey of discovery. It was difficult to find my path as a young adult, so I avoided it and tried to cope with methods that were unhelpful and stifling. I’ve since grown into myself having been free from alcohol for almost 5 years. During this time I’ve been able to truly explore how to express myself with more clarity. Helping a good friend with her creative business inspired me to pursue my own. I have since been working to perfect my craft in resin jewelry and embroidery inspired by nature. I also sell vintage and upcycled clothing for the everyday priestess. Read more>>

Victoria Rojas

My story is a familiar one. During the Pandemic, I was laid off and still had bills to pay and a daughter to support. I started to understand the definition of essential. I mourned the loss of my job by sitting on the couch, binge-watching Law & Order SVU, ordering uber eats, all while keeping an eye on my savings account. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the best mental space. To get myself out of that funk, I planned a trip to Washington in July 2020. Not the smartest thing to do during a pandemic but San Diego was reopening, and some restrictions were lifted at the time. I was also celebrating my 28th birthday. So what do you do when visiting Washington, you hike. My boyfriend and I started hiking Colchuck Lake at 4 am, 30 minutes in and I already was not a fan. This hike put my ego into check. People were constantly passing us, at one point I pulled a muscle in my leg but I was so determined to get a picture of the lake for Instagram. Pathetic, I know. I was a mess, but my boyfriend kept me together and would not let me quit. Read more>>

Nancy Flint

Sugar Mamma Caramels all began as a gift of love. Since 2009, the founder and confectioner, Nancy Gulizia-Flint, had been gifting family and friends with her signature Sea Salt Caramels every Christmas. Encouraged by their “oohing and ahhing” every year, Nancy entered a local candy-making contest and won! The award led to a local TV spot and a CFO (Cottage Food Operation) was born! Sugar Mamma Caramels can be found in shops all over San Diego, as well as in our frequent partnerships with our friends in ice cream parlors, local wineries, and coffee shops! As the consistent winner of San Diego’s Favorite Dessert, Sugar Mamma Caramels remain a local favorite. Now Nancy has expanded her line of caramels to 22 seasonal flavors and added baked goods like cookies and brownies as well as truffles and caramel sauces. Follow along with her Instagram @sugar_mamma62 for exciting news and weekly specials!. Read more>>

Tori Charlson

I have always loved to write, and during my years at my corporate job, I dreamed of somehow writing for a living. However, I never thought this would be possible. I was a psychology major after all. After landing in a job in Instructional Design after many years in an administrative role, I got to do a little bit of writing at work. But the job involved too little writing and too much design for my liking. It just wasn’t my thing (that whole square peg in a round hole thing). I decided it was time to take the leap. I had been taking courses in the evenings and learning about the world of copywriting, but I had never taken a risk quite like this. I quit my corporate job, and started hunting around on the internet for clients. As I started to gain some momentum, I fell in love with helping people write for their business. I still love it, and I can’t believe I get to do it every single day. I often ask myself, why didn’t I do this earlier? It’s not always easy running my own business, but it’s always rewarding. Read more>>

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