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Pacific, Mission & Ocean Beach’s Rising Stars

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 inspiring stories from Pacific, Mission & Ocean Beach below.

Ashleigh Dinan

My obsession with flowers and plants started when I was a little kid. I have a few very early memories of my love for flowers. My earliest memory is of my mom pulling me around in a wagon and every time I saw a Dandelion, I would make her pull over so I could pick it for her. She would say, “Thank you Ashleigh, but this is a weed.” I was crushed! I thought they were so pretty. There was no way they could be weeds! Another early memory is of when the flower delivery truck would pull into our driveway to deliver arrangements to our family funeral home. (Yes, my family owns a funeral home.) I would run out to the truck, so excited to help the guys unload all of the fresh flowers. I can remember sticking my nose in the truck and just taking long, deep breaths. I couldn’t get enough of the smell! My mom and my Nana also owned a flower shop for a short period of time. I have been told that I was the screaming toddler in the playpen in the back, driving everyone nuts. Read more>>

Sydney Smith

My parents met at the Beach Comber, Mission Beach, San Diego, in 1989. My mother followed her older sister out to San Diego in the mid-1980s. My Aunt married a surfer and never left. My mother married a Navy man, very typical. I am a Native Californian but spent the majority of my childhood outside of Chicago. As a small child, I used to sit in my bedroom and look through old photos my parents had stored away from their life in San Diego. I remember thinking that I wanted to experience their love for San Diego. After graduating from college in Wisconsin, I moved to California with no job. I applied to a nanny agency out of LA to be placed with a celebrity family. After trialing to become a live-in nanny for several celebrity families, I realized it wasn’t for. I moved to San Diego and started nannying for local families as a regular nanny (live-out nanny). My goal was to pay off my student loans and travel the world.  Read more>>

Lyndsey Hansen

I’ve been passionate about protecting our environment and wildlife since I was young. I’ve struggled greatly with applications on how to make this world a better place and how to inspire the change that is really needed now more than ever. Initially, Love, This Mother was offering tips via email to businesses on ways to service customers sustainably. The email included where to find wholesale eco-friendly items, whether the business wanted assistance with funding, and if there was anything “m.e. (mother earth)” could do to convince them to make changes. After often being left with silence, I realized to change the businesses. You had to first start with the consumer. So, I’ve stopped sending my “can I help you stop using plastic” emails and have now launched an eco-friendly, sustainable, zero-waste shop for consumers online called, you guessed it, Love This Mother. Read more>>

Sarah Mondet

For me, this start-up business adventure with Picnic by Nature has the feel of something that is both well-practiced and completely new. It’s a construct that’s been building within me for a long time through love for fine aesthetics, close connection, and delicious foods. I was born and raised in Europe, and in Germany, we have this word Gemütlichkeit – it’s tough to give a direct translation. Still, essentially it expresses a feeling of extreme coziness, content, and the warmth of friendship. It is this feeling which I hope to impart to customers who experience a Picnic by Nature. While pursuing my master’s degree, I backpacked around the world for a few years and was lucky enough to end up in beautiful San Diego about a year and a half ago. I basically started at zero when I moved to California, and it felt – without much to lose – like the perfect moment to start my own business. Read more>>

Olivia Mandel

One of my earliest memories of designing was gathering loose turkey feathers in the Southern California mountains and fashioning them into earrings. I was probably 15 years old, just learning about what it meant to have a DIY lifestyle. The idea of taking ordinary things and transforming them deeply excited me and inadvertently set a trajectory for my future. In the following few years, I would travel abroad and witness historical works of art and architecture that set the stage for my growing interest in design. However, it truly solidified right here at home amongst the adobes and cactus gardens I have come to love so dearly. With my family’s encouragement, I attended the New School of Architecture and Design in Downtown San Diego and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Read more>>

Loretta Turner

My journey to becoming a Mindful Community Leadership Coach started as early as my childhood. I grew up in the church and was often “voluntold” in my community (e.g., spend my Sundays helping at soup kitchens or shoveling snow for the elderly). That naturally piqued my interest in the nonprofit sector, and, inevitability, I landed in the sector when I pursued my first college internship. Around the same time, on a whim, I decided to pursue my 200-HR yoga teacher certification. My dance background drew me to the flexible postures, but it was the concepts of mindfulness and self-realization that really hooked me. Within five years, I taught yoga and meditation all over Northern New Jersey and helping a small nonprofit that brings yoga to detention centers, hospitals, and rehabs scale to a national level. Read more>>

Julie Roland

My mom was a poet who seemed to attract artistic friends her whole life, so I grew up in an environment that fostered creativity. I loved to make movies growing up and have been a practicing magician since I was around five years old. When I first commissioned as an officer in the Navy and moved to Pensacola, Florida for flight school, I found myself missing the creative spaces that I used to take for granted when I was younger. I grew up in San Francisco, then Baltimore, went to college in Philadelphia and studied abroad in Paris. Read more>>

Lyndsey Hansen

I’ve been passionate about protecting our environment and wildlife since I was young. I’ve struggled greatly with applications on how to make this world a better place and how to inspire the change that is really needed now more than ever. Initially, Love, This Mother was offering tips via email to businesses on ways to service customers sustainably. The email included where to find wholesale eco-friendly items, whether the business wanted assistance with funding, and if there was anything “m.e. (mother earth)” could do to convince them to make changes. After often being left with silence, I realized to change the businesses. You had to first start with the consumer. Read more>>

Mo Maciejewski

Absolutely! Here’s the story… I once read a quote by EB White, the author of the classic children’s story, Charlotte’s Web. White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Having read those words, I felt, for possibly the first time in my life, defined. For as long as I can remember, I have been conscious of moral responsibility to put more positive energy into the world than I consume. Almost like, if there is not enough to go around, someone else should get “it,” because I will somehow be okay. Read more>>

Walter Arenas

As a child growing up in Oak Harbor, Washington, my friends and family would always do goofy things recording each other reenacting films with my father’s over-the-shoulder camcorder. Incredibly embarrassing, but we always had fun doing that. Growing up, I kept recording for fun with my cousins and friends, doing music videos or choreographed action scenes. However, as time moved on, I had to think about going to college and getting a career. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, got a job and worked like any other person. Around 2015, I was just unhappy. It was fine that I had a stable job, but I just didn’t feel right. But something changed early on. My friend and his girlfriend hung out with me in Temecula. Read more>>

Stacia Brundage

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I got that rebellion itch right around 15 years old. I partied, drank, hung out with the rival high schools but in the same breath was known as the “church girl.” A lot of my friends started having sex and as curious as I was, I knew that I just wanted to wait until marriage for that. With my curiosity growing, I began watching pornography and soon it began taking over my mind, consuming so much of it’s space. It was all I could think about. I would be at volleyball practice just thinking how I wanted to get home to watch porn, I’d be at musical practice – just ready to get back to the computer. I was sneaky and really. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Ramona

    January 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you so much for including me and The Hair Cooperative with this amazing group of people! Very cool! 💗

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