Author: The Argonaut

Wheels in Motion

Walk ‘n Rollers continues mission of encouraging kids to be more active By Katie Lulla Walk ‘n Rollers is devoted to encouraging kids to walk and bike to school. During the pandemic, the organization continued to keep kids active and is gearing up for a mobile Repair Hub program for underserved communities. Eleven years ago, Jim Shanman, founder of Walk ‘n Rollers, joined the Culver City Bikers Coalition when he realized that many parents didn’t walk their kids to school. While discussing plans for bike lanes, he became frustrated with the length of the expected timelines. “I did more research and thought about what we as parents could do right now,” Shanman said. “What doesn’t cost money and will have some kind of an impact? I learned a lot about Safe Routes to School Programming, walk to school days and things of that nature.” Shanman started a walk to school day at his daughter’s elementary school. It became a monthly event, which eventually grew to 40% of students walking to school once a month. That got Shanman thinking about expanding the program countrywide. Walk ‘n Rollers has since expanded from Culver City to Orange County, Riverside and the Inland Empire. The organization works with specific elementary and middle schools and has citywide efforts. “Our big lesson is, these programs should be three to four years at the minimum so...

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Organic Beauty

Champïone by Mileva brings tree resins and their benefits to the U.S. By Srianthi Perera Champïone by Mileva’s Salve It All Beauty Balm assails the senses with its compound of organic tree resins enhanced with violet and rose extracts. Fragrance is one of the biggest selling points of the line with walk-in customers to the store. “Because the botanical cosmetic business is heavily reliant on the sensory experience, the online sales process seemed challenging,” said Champïone founder Violet Mileva. Mileva, creator of the now California-based beauty products derived mainly from tree resins, learned about online marketing in a hurry to keep her business afloat. She moved from Florida to California in 2019 and set up shop at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Mileva had barely unpacked her inventory when COVID-19 upended her California dream. “The pandemic hit strong in April 2020 and the city closed the entire strip,” Mileva said. “I was never prepared to be full-time online. How could I? I was used to traditional brick-and-mortar-type retail shopping. With in-person shopping, I knew I would see 10 to 20 people per minute walking past my shop.” Mileva didn’t panic; she gathered experienced people and strategized on expanding in the online marketplace. Terms such as Social Engine Optimization, Facebook advertising and user experience research A/B testing became part of her daily vocabulary. “Now things are starting to pivot,” Mileva said. The first-generation immigrant...

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Celebrating Mom

From brunches to curated gift boxes, check out these Mother’s Day offerings. By Kamala Kirk • Mother’s Day Premier Brunch Cruise. Sweep Mom off her feet with a brunch or dinner cruise in Marina del Rey complete with flowers, onboard entertainment and more. Enjoy a delicious meal together while taking in unmatched waterfront and skyline views. Experiences have been adapted to ensure heightened cleanliness and to maintain social distance onboard. cityexperiences.com • Curated Gift Boxes from Destroyer. Chef Jordan Kahn of Destroyer in Culver City is offering an assortment of gift box ideas for Mother’s Day. Choose from a selection of premade baskets ranging from breakfast in bed to kitchen essentials or build a customized version. Offerings include a Beignet Box, Mother’s Day Breakfast Kit, Kitchen Kit with cooking essentials and more. destroyerla.store • Brunch by the Beach. Treat Mom to a delectable beachside brunch or dinner at Terrazza Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica with specialty menus and oceanfront views. An enticing three-course prix-fixe menu will be offered for brunch and dinner. Highlights include fresh oysters, crab cake eggs benedict, coconut panna cotta and more. A children’s menu is also available. hotelcasadelmar.com • Champagne Brunch & Dinner. Wine and dine Mom while enjoying ocean breezes, refreshing mimosas, decadent desserts and friendly service during a champagne brunch or dinner at Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant in Playa...

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Stella’s Story

Young author raising funds to publish book about foster dog in Venice By Haley Beyer In June 2016, a friend of Anastasia Khromova’s brought a puppy to her sister’s nonprofit dog rescue, “Be a Voice. Adopt a Dog” in Los Angeles. The puppy had been rescued from an animal shelter that had plans to euthanize her after she was diagnosed with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome. This rendered her limbs useless so she could only lay on her tummy with her legs straight out like a starfish. Khromova and her family took it upon themselves to do anything and everything possible to help Stella overcome the disability. They decided to foster her and put her through physical therapy. Most dogs with this rare deformity do not get the chance to fight it. It is especially hard for bigger dogs to learn to walk with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome, but that didn’t stop Stella. Because she is a husky, Stella’s motivation and energy levels were up from the day Khromova brought her home. After coming up with a brace/splint for Stella to wear, she took her first steps in just five days. As Stella learned how to walk and strengthened the necessary muscles, she needed the brace less and less. At two months, Stella couldn’t move on her own, but at four to five months, she could walk and play just like any...

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Judgment-Free Ballet

Professional ballerinas offer virtual and outdoor ballet for all levels By Bridgette M. Redman For all the people that have been too intimidated to take a beginning ballet class as adults, Eliza Tollett has options — both online and outdoors at Dorothy Green Park in Santa Monica. Tollett moved to Santa Monica just before the pandemic, bringing with her a ballet class model that fixed everything she found troublesome about the classes she taught in New York. She creates a judgment-free zone with classes that welcome people of all experience levels, abilities and ages. “I was dancing professionally in New York and teaching to supplement my dancing career,” Tollett said. “I discovered I loved teaching adults, but in general there were a couple of things I felt were not exactly how they should be with adult ballet. There was a lot of judgment — people judging themselves or other people, judging themselves for not being perfect or not being up to the level of the class.” Tollett, who is certified as a personal trainer and a ballet teacher, created a cardio ballet workout taught by professional dancers that emphasized the grace of ballet while truly making it a comfortable zone for all dancers. When the pandemic hit, she quickly pivoted to online classes called “The Ballet Spot” that were taught by ballerinas in New York and Los Angeles. “I’m...

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