Clearing Up the Confusion

Will the real golden chia please stand up?

By Christopher Nyerges

The use of chia seeds in the diet has grown in popularity in the last few decades. It’s a nutritious seed that can be added to coffee, drinks, puddings, desserts and lots of other foods.

Inez Ainge wrote in an article, “Native Chia” (1967), that “chia has been proclaimed a high-energy food not only because it contains a high percentage of protein (30%), but because it also contains a natural enzyme which acts as a catalyst for the protein.”

A nutritional analysis done in 1964 shows 20.2% protein, 34.4% oil and 5.6% ash, as well as significant amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and traces of other minerals common to most seeds.

This golden chia is a native to Southern California and the Southwest generally, and it is not the chia commonly sold in all health food stores, so let’s try to clear up that confusion.

Golden chia — salvia columbariae — received significant public attention in the 1950s and ’60s, due to the writing of Harrison Doyle, mostly in Desert magazine.

He authored the self-published book “Golden Chia: Ancient Indian Energy Food.” He also cultivated the seed for sale, and encouraged others to do so. Doyle writes, “As a boy in Needles, California, I played with the Mohave Indians my own age. I ate their foods, ran long-distance races with them, rode their colorful Indian ponies bareback, whacked a tin can around the yellow silt flats in the ancient game of shinny. I remember some of the Indian boys telling me (I was interested in long-distance running at the time) that Indian runners sometimes ran all the way to the coast on trading expeditions with the Coast Tribes, carrying gourd shells containing water and a handful of chia seeds to sustain them.”

Harrison also frequently mentioned the writing of Dr. J.T. Roth-rock, botanist and surgeon of the Wheeler United States Geographical Survey of 1875. Rothrock wrote that the chia was cultivated as regularly as corn by the Nahua races of ancient Mexico.

Of the seed, Rothrock writes, “An atole, or gruel, of this was one of the peace offerings to the first visiting sailors. One tablespoon of these seeds was sufficient to sustain for 24 hours an Indian on a forced march.” Harrison pointed out that this was most likely referring to Indian runners and traders in the desert Southwest.

As a result of the writings of Doyle, health food stores wanted to provide the seeds to their customers.

Though there had been some attempts to cultivate the native chia, a related plant, salvia hispánica, had already been in production in Mexico, and so this was the readily available seed that met the demand from health food stores. To this day, salvia hispánica is the majority of the “chia” that is sold in markets. Salvia hispánica seed resembles a tiny mottled pinto bean, usually dark gray or black but occasionally gray or nearly white. The native golden chia — S. columbariae — has a brownish or goldish-tan seed that is almost pyramidal in shape. Both seeds will form a gelatinous outer layer when soaked in water, nearly white.

Most objective studies indicate that whether you’re using the commercial chia (salvia hispánica) or whether you’re one of the rare ones who either grows or collects their own native chia (S. columbariae), you’ll be getting a top-quality nutritional seed either way.

Doyle reported in his book that he conducted several tests on himself of the native vs. the non-native commercial chia seeds. In general, he says, the golden chia seed produced a pronounced feeling of excess physical energy that he didn’t experience from the nonnative seeds.

Using the chia seeds

Indigenous people of the Southwest collected the seeds by bending the stems of the mature plants and shaking them into a finely woven basket. In a solid stand of the plant, a surprisingly large amount can be gathered in a short time. When I locate such a place, I usually just shake the heads into a small plastic collecting bag. You can then shake the seeds through a fine mesh screen to remove all foreign particles.

The seeds can be made into drinks by simply soaking for a few minutes in either hot or cold water or fruit juice and drinking as is. I add about a teaspoon to my daily coffee.

Almost tasteless, the seeds, when so used, are inexplicably refreshing. The Pomo Indians ground the seeds into meal and used as flour for small cakes or loaves. Today, many people mix the chia flour half and half with wheat flour to make bread. The seeds, like any other edible seeds, can also be sprouted and eaten as a fresh vegetable.

For dishes such as cereals, mush and soups, add two tablespoons of seeds per cup of water. As the mixture warms (chia doesn’t need to be cooked as do most cereal grains), the water will become mucilaginous. This tapioca-like food can be eaten as it is (or sweetened to taste with honey) or can be added as a smoothening agent or extender to pancake batter, biscuits, bread, ice cream, pudding, coffee, cold drinks and more.


The seeds, when eaten, are useful in gastrointestinal disorders and as an emollient. When drunk in tea or eaten, the seeds also aid bronchial and throat troubles. The seeds can be crushed between the fingers to produce an oil (generally called chia oil) for the skin.

Daniel Moerman, in his monumental “Native American Ethnobotany,” describes many of the edible and medicinal uses of the native chia. Among the Native Americans of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, a decoction made from the fresh or dried leaves has been used to relieve stomach troubles. The fresh leaves of all members of the mint family, including chia, abound in volatile oils contained in resinous dots in the leaves and stems.

Recognizing the golden chia plant

Mostly oblong-ovate in overall outline, each leaf varies from one to several inches long. Each leaf is bipinnately divided; that is, the margin is indented into segments along a common axis, and each segment is further pinnately divided. The leaf surface is finely wrinkled and covered on both sides with tiny fine hairs. The leaves, mostly basal, grow in opposite pairs — generally two or three pairs of leaves per stalk.

The small, typical mint-family flowers are blue, two-lipped, about half-inch long, and clustered into round whorls along the stalk(s). There are usually one to four whorls per stalk, with numerous sharply pointed purplish bracts at the base of each whorl. The plant is usually in flower from March through June, though sometimes a few random plants will be found flowering into summer.

The seeds are best collected in July and August when recently matured, but before strong winds or rains have shaken them onto the ground.

Golden chia, salvia columbariae, is native to California and is commonly found in the high-desert regions (1,500 to 4,000 feet elevations). The plant is found in the deserts, chaparral areas, foothills and yellow pine belts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

The commercial chia (S. hispánica) is native to Mexico and South America.

Christopher Nyerges is an educator and author of 22 books, several of which have chapters on the native chia plant. More information can be found at

Following a Vision

Marina Pasadena gathers the community to honor Italian cuisine

By Kateri Wozny

Owners Nader Kaiser and Gustavo Landgrebe had a vision when opening their Italian restaurant, Marina Pasadena, in September: to create a neighborhood gathering place where customers can enjoy good wine and flavorful food.

“It’s not just the simplicity of ingredients but the quality of the ingredients,” Kaiser says. “We are honoring the beauty of Italian food.”

Kaiser, who was once the beverage director at Mi Piace, is also the owner of Republik Coffee Lounge, while Landgrebe once owned 1810 Argentine Restaurant and Tasca Wine Bar in Los Angeles.

“Him and I were foodies for years,” Kaiser says. “We’re good at it and love it. We are picky about what we do.”

Kaiser also holds a diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is certified as a sommelier by the North American Sommelier Association and the Italian Sommelier Association. At Marina, there are 120 wine labels from California, France, Italy and Spain to pair with a meal. There is also a Wednesday special with 30% off any bottle of wine.

“I have traveled to 20 regions throughout Italy and worked in the vineyards,” Kaiser says. “You fall in love with the different regions and their cuisine. That’s why wine plays a role.”

The interior design of the restaurant aimed for a comfortable yet stylish vibe, with a high ceiling, classic chandeliers, murals representing Pasadena, an open kitchen and a wine room.

“We are accommodating and love to make friends with our guests,” Kaiser says.

Menu items have a rustic Italian foundation prepared by chef Dylan Stage. For starters ($17 to $22), customers can order items such as the octopus marinated with market peppers, shallots, sherry vinaigrette, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil; salt cod brandade with semi-dried heirloom cherry tomatoes and black olive grilled country bread; fried calamari and artichoke with parsley aioli and lemon; and the most popular dish, the market salad, currently with delicata squash, persimmon, ginger, orange segments, whipped goat cheese and orange vinaigrette.

“Dylan uses what’s in season from the farmer’s market,” Kaiser says. “It’s like an explosion of flavors.”

Pizzas ($21 to $25) are also a favorite, including the mortadella and pistachios with bechamel sauce, mozzarella and wild arugula; prosciutto San Danielle with heirloom cherry tomato, mozzarella, wild arugula, shaved Parmesan and crushed red pepper; margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella, caciocavallo, burrata, basil and extra virgin olive oil; and the house Italian sausage with tomato sauce, mozzarella, caramelized onions, agrodolce and shishito peppers.

“We make the sausage in-house by grinding and cooking it with flavors that complement the sausage,” Kaiser says. “We also use a soft white Sonoma wheat flour.”

Pasta lovers ($19 to $38) can order the seafood linguini with little neck clams, Mexican blue shrimp, black cod and calamari cooked in saffron seafood broth; ricotta and squash tortelloni with lemon beurre blanc, oyster mushrooms, spigarello and pecorino; tagliatelle rabbit bolognese with tomato sauce, basil and Parmesan; and the bestselling bucatini carbonara with house pancetta, 140 F sous vide egg and Parmesan.

“In the Verona region (of Italy), they eat a lot of rabbit, fowl and duck,” Kaiser says. “(For the carbonara), we make the pancetta in-house, and it cures for 40 days.”

Main courses ($31 to $58) include the cider-glazed black cod with parsnip quinoa, roasted turnips, fermented apples and turnip greens; sautéed veal liver with parsnip purée, caramelized onions, house pancetta, capers and sage; the 12 oz. Wanderer Wagyu New York steak with watercress purée, grilled eggplant, pickled pepper and vermouth sauce; and the 16 oz. Duroc pork chop with cranberry and romano beans, grilled shishito peppers, radicchio and kombucha sauce.

“The quality of the pork chop is out of this world. It’s so tender and flavorful,” Kaiser says.

Kaiser says he appreciates the support of the community and plans on being in the area for years to come.

“Our passion and love for the business in uncompromised,” Kaiser says. “We celebrate good occasions, and we plan on being here for the next 30 years.”

Reconnecting This Winter

Archetype Yoga invites everyone to slow down

By Leah Schwartz

Sara Blumenkranz, the owner of Archetype Yoga, is encouraging everyone to slow down this winter.

Amid a bustling holiday season, this can seem like a near-impossible task. After living in New York City for almost a decade, Blumenkranz sought to create a little piece of that when she opened Archetype Yoga in April.

Nestled on the iconic Colorado Boulevard in the heart of Pasadena’s Playhouse district, the sun-soaked loft has French doors overlooking the San Gabriel mountains and a kitchen where students gather after class to sip tea and commune.

In January, Archetype Yoga will host an in-studio winter retreat that Blumenkranz describes as “a curation of all of our favorite practitioners.”

The day will include a sound bath, restorative yoga, guided meditation, a cooking demonstration and a chance to make personalized tea blends.

“Winter, by nature, is a time of rest, nostalgia and reflection,” she says.

“The goal is not to fight that. Great nature beckons us to reserve our stores of energy in preparation for the burgeoning of spring. So we’ve set up a retreat that is the perfect chance to invest in self-care.”

Archetype Yoga practices Katonah Yoga, a newer yogic lineage created by Nevine Michaan in Katonah, New York, more than 40 years ago.

Since then, it has spread throughout the globe, drawing practitioners with its dynamic mix of hatha yoga, Taoist philosophy and sacred geometry. Katonah Yoga emphasizes alignment and the use of props to aid in the setup of postures. Classes are taught more like workshops with thorough explanations so students can learn “the why” behind the pose. It’s about working the mind and body connection with metaphors, guided imagery and hands-on adjustments to help students visualize the archetype of a pose within the frame of their body.

Archetype Yoga offers a variety of classes, private sessions, Katonah Yoga training and a popular full moon intention-setting workshop.

“This month we will use the momentum of the new year to set our resolutions,” Blumenkranz says. “The full moon workshops include tea, tarot readings, and sound bath or guided meditation. The best part of the experience is getting to know people in a safe and inclusive space.”

This intimate experience is capped at 15 students per workshop, and the reservations go quick.

Other offerings include master classes with exciting thought leaders on the cutting edge of yoga.

“Living in New York, I got to practice with instructors from the Katonah Yoga Center and The Studio NYC,” Blumenkranz says.

“When I opened Archetype Yoga, I couldn’t wait to introduce these integral instructors who supported my progression. I believe that every yoga practice needs to be refueled with insight and master classes drive new thought.”

Archetype Yoga is preparing to unveil its upcoming body lab training sessions with “an amazing instructor,” Cassandra Simons.

“She has spent over a decade honing her craft and communicates the material in a way that makes it easily digestible,” she says.

“Because of this, many are drawn to learn new yoga pedagogy or rehabilitate injuries. These training sessions are geared for students to use the material beyond the mat.”

In less than a year, Archetype Yoga was voted Pasadena Weekly’s Reader Recommended Yoga studio in 2022. (Pasadena Weekly is Arroyo Monthly’s sister publication.)

“For me, it’s more than just a yoga studio,” Blumenkranz says.

“It’s been about connecting people to their bodies. There’s nothing better than helping people realize their power.”

Ultimately, Blumenkranz wants the studio to become a space of learning, engagement and community for all.

Vroman’s Live

Bookstore boasts stellar lineup for September
By Arroyo Staff

The renowned bookstore Vroman’s is hosting more top-notch virtual programs throughout September.

The “Vroman’s Live” events are held virtually and in person. Register through Anyone with questions is asked to email

Vroman’s Virtual events will be presented through Crowdcast. Registration link below.

The Gathering Dark Group Event

6 p.m. Wednesday, September 7

The event features Aden Polydoros, Alex Brown, Olivia Chadha, Shakira Moise and Tori Bovalino.

A cemetery full of the restless dead. A town so wicked it has already burned twice, with the breath of the third fire looming. A rural, isolated bridge with a terrifying monster waiting for the completion of its summoning ritual. A lake that allows the drowned to return, though they have been changed by the claws of death. These are the shadowed, liminal spaces where the curses and monsters lurk, refusing to be forgotten.

Hauntings, and a variety of horrifying secrets, lurk in the places everyone once called home. Written by New York Times bestselling and other critically acclaimed authors, these stories shed a harsh light on the scariest tales.

Crowdcast virtual event link:

In-person events

Vroman’s in-person events generally do not require tickets and are free and open to the public. Masks are strongly encouraged for those attending the events. 

Most in-person events will all be held at Vroman’s, located at 695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit or email@

Margaret Kerrison, in conversation with Nancy Seruto, discusses “Immersive Storytelling: For Real and Imagined Worlds”

7 p.m. Friday, September 9

How do you take an idea from inspiration to manifestation? How do you move from telling a story to creating a world? In this richly illustrated book, the first of its kind written specifically for writers, Margaret Kerrison lays out the craft of immersive storytelling. She uses case studies to show what works and highlights the essential role of the writer on a complex creative team. This book provides the blueprint. 

Rasheed Newson discusses “My Government Means to Kill Me”

4 p.m. Saturday, September 10

A fierce and riveting queer coming-of-age story following the personal and political awakening of a young gay Black man in 1980s New York City, from the television drama writer and producer of “The Chi,” “Narcos” and “Bel-Air.”

Born into a wealthy Black Indianapolis family, Earl “Trey” Singleton III leaves his overbearing parents and their expectations behind by running away to New York City with only a few dollars in his pocket. 

In the city, Singleton meets up with a cast of characters who change his life forever. He volunteers at a renegade home hospice for AIDS patients and, after being put to the test by gay rights activists, becomes a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). Along the way Singleton attempts to navigate past traumas and searches for ways to maintain familial relationships — all while seeking the meaning of life amid so much death.

Susan Branch discusses 

“Distilled Genius: A Collection of Life-Changing Quotations”

11 a.m. Sunday, September 11

“Distilled Genius: A Collection of Life-Changing Quotations” is from Susan Branch, the New York Times bestselling author of 16 books since 1986. 

This is a 40-year curated collection of quotes from Mark Twain to the Bhagavad Gita, from Anne Frank and George Patton to Marcus Aurelius and Louisa May Alcott, and from Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln and Maya Angelou to the Bible. 

Susan Coll, in conversation with Cynthia D’Sprix Sweeney, discusses “Bookish People”

7 p.m. Thursday, September 15

Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child’s lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.

Meanwhile, renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he’s to blame for his wife’s suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight — with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie — but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie’s.

Fearful of potential repercussions from angry customers, Bernstein wants to cancel Chaucer’s appearance. 

Vroman’s presents Craig Johnson discussing
“Hell & Back: A Longmire Mystery”

7 p.m. Monday, September 19

In “Hell & Back,” the 18th installment of the Longmire series, author Craig Johnson takes the beloved sheriff to the very limits of his sanity to do battle with the most dangerous advisory he’s ever faced — himself. 

This ticketed event will take place at All Saints Church located at 132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena. Masks are required. 

Tickets include a copy of “Hell & Back,” which will be handed out at check-in. Tickets are available at

Patricia Schultz discusses
“Why We Travel: 100 Reasons to See the World”

7 p.m. Tuesday, September 20

For years, Patricia Schultz has been telling readers where to travel. Now, she reveals what makes her such a compelling guide and what makes travel such a richly rewarding experience. 

The comedy of mishaps that she and friends endured on a canal trip through Southern France — and how it brought them together in an unexpected way. She quotes favorite authors and luminaries on the importance of travel and, in a series of memorable aphorisms, gets to the essence of why to travel. And gives us a few travel hacks, too. 

Sandra Cisneros, in 

conversation with Cherrie Moraga, discusses
“Women Without Shame: Poems”

7 p.m. Wednesday, 

September 21

It has been 28 years since Sandra Cisneros published a book of poetry. “Woman Without Shame” is a moving collection of songs, elegies and declarations that chronicle her pilgrimage toward rebirth and the recognition of her prerogative as a woman artist. 

These bluntly honest and often humorous meditations on memory, desire, and the essential nature of love blaze a path toward self-awareness. For Cisneros, “Woman Without Shame” is the culmination of her search for home — in the Mexico of her ancestors and in her own heart. 

Javier Zamora, in conversation with Yesika Salgado, discusses
“Solito: A Memoir”

7 p.m. Thursday, September 22

Javier Zamora’s adventure is a 3,000-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.

At 9 years old, all Zamora can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him, nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

“Solito” provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. 

Luis I. Reyes discusses “Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin
and Hispanic Artists in American Film”

7 p.m. Tuesday, September 27

Through an authoritative narrative and lavish photography, this is an in-depth history of the stars, films, achievements and influence of the Hispanic and Latino community in Hollywood history from the silent era to the present day.

Overcoming obstacles of prejudice, ignorance and stereotyping, this group has given the world some of its most beloved stars and told some of its most indelible stories. “Viva Hollywood” examines the stars in front of the screen as well as the people behind the scenes who have created a rich legacy across more than 100 years.

World War II saw an embrace of Latin culture as the “Good Neighbor Policy” made it fashionable and patriotic to feature stories set south of the border. Social problem films of the 1950s and ’60s brought fresh looks at the community, with performances like Katy Jurado in “High Noon,” the cast of “West Side Story,” and racial inequality depicted in George Stevens’ “Giant.” Civil rights, the Chicano movement, and the work of activist actors such as Ricardo Montalban and Edward James Olmos influenced further change in Hollywood in subsequent decades and paved the way for modern times and stars the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Illustrated by more than 200 full-color and black-and-white images, “Viva Hollywood” is a celebration of the legacy of some of the greatest art and artists captured on screen. 

Char Miller discusses “Natural Consequences:
Intimate Essays for a Planet in Peril”

7 p.m. Thursday, September 29

Living in Southern California, Char Miller walks readers through the environmental touchstones of his backyard, through his neighborhood, into the widely varied ecospheres of California, and then the world beyond.

The essays encourage readers to look for themselves at the meaning behind environmental disasters and injustices. 

Return of The Royce

Langham Huntington, Pasadena’s
premier steakhouse reopens
By Kamala Kirk
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena/Submitted photos

After a two-and-a-half-year closure due to the pandemic, The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena recently reopened its doors to welcome guests back. In addition to an updated menu that highlights new dishes alongside classic favorites, The Royce also has a new chef de cuisine, Jorge Delgado. 

Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Delgado was inspired at an early age by his grandfather, who was a baker, and helped his mother make burritos from scratch to sell. Delgado later graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, and his culinary experience extends from the Caribbean to Los Angeles, including the Roof on Wilshire under the direction of celebrity chef Eric Greenspan.

Prior to The Royce, Delgado worked for Patina Restaurant Group, where he cooked alongside renowned chefs such as Jean Pierre at Kendall’s Brassiere and Sydney Hunter at Café Pinot. He also worked at the acclaimed Barton G with chef Attila Pollok, as well as for events like the Primetime Emmy Awards.  

“I’ve challenged myself and our team to make The Royce the very best restaurant in Pasadena and among the top in LA,” Delgado says. 

The menu features a variety of fine-quality steaks, including wagyu and grass-fed selections from the island of Tasmania that are prepared over a wood-fired grill with white oak and seasonal wood to ensure maximum flavor and juiciness. 

New entrée and appetizer highlights range from Moroccan bone-in short rib for two with spiced onion rings to grilled Spanish octopus with charred baby corn, pea tendrils and chard scallion sauce, in addition to Hamachi crudo with jalapeño relish and avocado mousse, and crab cakes with leche de tigre and Meyer lemon aioli.

Diners will also enjoy an expanded offering of comforting side dishes such as street corn polenta with pickled red onion and Royce’s loaded potato with five-cheese fondue. Selections can be paired with house-made sauces like Tabasco béarnaise, chimichurri infused with bone marrow, and Royce’s secret R-1 sauce.

“Guests have been loving our new appetizers, particularly the grilled Spanish octopus, beet salad and dry-aged steak tartare,” Delgado says. “And for entrees, the grilled Branzino and Moroccan bone-in short rib for two have been extremely popular.”

A signature cocktail program will soon be available to accompany the new Royce selections, as well as the restaurant’s current extensive wine list that boasts classic Old World wines and New World choices that best complement each dish.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce the long-awaited return of The Royce Steakhouse,” says Paul Leclerc, managing director of The Langham Huntington, Pasadena. “Under the leadership and creativity of chef Delgado, our signature restaurant will bring a truly elevated experience that is sure to please both loyal patrons and new diners, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to enjoy once again.”

The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue, Pasadena


5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

The Art of Feng Shui

Create harmony in your space with this ancient Chinese practice
By Kamala Kirk
Katherine Carter Design/Submitted photos

Environment plays an important role in contributing to mental and physical health, and a home can be designed to have a positive impact on your life. Being happy is essential to well-being, and with many of us working remotely and spending more time at home these days, it’s crucial that one’s surroundings reflect the things that bring them joy.  

A person’s environment can have a major impact on how they feel and perform, which is why living or working in a cluttered space can negatively affect one’s mental health. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art dating back thousands of years that is centered around the positioning and placement of various elements in order to create balance and harmony of “chi,” the energy or life force that surrounds us. 

Feng shui has become popular in the interior design world, and practitioners of feng shui believe that creating the ideal environment can go so far as to improve various aspects of one’s life including health, love and finances.

“The term ‘feng shui’ literally means ‘wind-water,’” says Katherine Carter, a celebrity interior designer based in Los Angeles. “It’s an ancient Chinese traditional practice that claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment.” 

For those that are new to feng shui, Carter says the easiest way to get started is to become educated on the principles of feng shui.

“A bagua map helps you map out your home according to this ancient practice,” she says. “Feng shui is all about balancing different elements such as wood and water, and yin with yang. The bagua map, which translates to ‘eight trigrams’ in Chinese, is an important tool for creating this kind of harmony and balance throughout a space.”

According to Carter, feng shui divides the world into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element represents certain traits, and aiming to balance them can help one thrive more in different areas of their life. 

“The most important aspect of creating a feng shui home is incorporating the five elements themselves,” Carter says. “These come from the Taoist tradition. The elements are five interrelated phases in life that work together to create a complete system. Typically when you feng shui your home, you balance these five elements. A good start is focusing on the three most vital rooms in your house, which are the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen.”

Carter says bathrooms are crucial because they can become energy drains. To prevent this, she advises keeping the toilet lid shut and the bathroom door closed as often as possible. With bedrooms the focus should be around the bed, so she suggests using a sturdy headboard for a greater sense of security and making sure the bed is against a wall for more grounding sleep. The kitchen represents wealth, abundance and health, so it’s important to keep it clean, free of clutter, and grease free.

Colors are another important aspect of feng shui and are representative of the five elements, which can be incorporated into one’s home by painting a room, creating an accent wall or adding decorative items.

“Red is the color that supersedes all others,” Carter says. “It’s the most powerful color in feng shui and is considered very auspicious. Red is often used to protect and clear a home or a person’s energy. It represents the element of fire and, because of its intensity, is considered a lucky color in feng shui. Use it in doses to redirect around the home.”

Carter says yellow is a cheerful and uplifting color while orange is considered a social color — happy, vibrant and eye catching. Both colors can induce hunger, so she warns not to put them in the kitchen area.

“Think of most fast-food chains and their color combinations are typically yellow,” Carter says. “It’s fascinating how color is used in marketing and advertising. It just goes to show how powerful what we may perceive a simple color to be affects our moods and cravings. It can also trigger the intellect, as it’s mentally stimulating.”

Green represents balance, growth, abundance and youthfulness, while blue establishes a sense of calm.

“It’s the color of the sky and ocean, and therefore gives a sense of vastness,” Carter says. “Purple has a feeling of royalty, wealth and high spirituality. White is all about new beginnings, purity and innocence. Black is introspective and represents a void; pink is the color of unconditional love, softness and receptivity; and brown is an earth tone and therefore nurturing and grounding.”

According to Carter, mirrors are also very important in feng shui and should only be hung in certain rooms of the house due to their powerful abilities.

“If you want to attract wealth into your life, place a mirror in the dining room because mirrors hold wealth,” Carter says. “Try not to have mirrors directly facing windows, because they can bring outside energies inside. Avoid having mirrors behind your sofa because they can hurt your sense of security. Mirrors in the kitchen can amplify negative energies, and if it’s facing the stove it can create a yin-yang imbalance. You should also avoid mirrors in the bedroom because they can stir up energy.”

Plants also contribute to feng shui, and to manifest more wealth, Carter recommends placing a fresh green house plant (a water feature or crystal will also work) in the wealth corner of the bedroom. When standing in your bedroom, the far left corner is the wealth corner.

“Any healthy indoor plant growing well is excellent for feng shui, encouraging positive energy,” Carter says. “Foliage plants with lush leaves are traditionally the best feng shui plants, promoting clean air and positive energy in living spaces. You can also put cacti in parts of the home that have existing bad energy. Cacti and succulents are known to ward off bad energy with their harsh spokes, but they also absorb bad energy more efficiently than traditional house plants.”

 If one is looking to enhance their love life, Carter says feng shui can also help with that.

“Your love corner is located in the southwest corner of your home,” she says. “Here you can pair items up whether it be two chairs, two candles or two plants. Two of anything will help create ‘couple harmony.’ And throw away any objects from a previous love if you haven’t already.”

Carter also shares some feng shui dos and don’ts to follow when building a home.

“If you’re fortunate enough to build a new home or purchase land, the house should not be built on a ridge, on a cliffside, at a river outlet, next to a bridge or highway, or at an intersection,” she says. “Avoid sloping behind the house. The most auspicious house direction in feng shui is south facing, which is good for light, chi absorption and family harmony. A mountain behind your home is a feng shui ideal for building, as it provides abundance to the front door. Street intersections, church steeples and tall buildings can direct negative chi energy toward you home and should be avoided. Don’t build near negative chi accumulations such as cemeteries, garbage dumps, hospitals, landfills or prisons. Cul-de-sac lots can create a pooling of chi energy that becomes stagnant and can’t enter your home easily. And homes positioned at the end of a street are in a difficult location since all the chi energy will rush towards your home.”

The 5 Elements

Wood (green) represents energy, passion, expansion and transformation.

Fire (red) represents personal growth and renewal.

Earth (orange, yellow, earth tones) represents safety and comfort.

Metal (gray, white, pastel shades) represents mental strength and intellectual abilities.

Water (blue, black) represents the flow of money and career.

Katherine’s Top 5 Feng Shui Tips

1. Declutter your home.

2. Learn about the five feng shui elements.

3. Let in air and light.

4. Choose the correct bed location. You want your bed situated so that when you’re lying in bed, you can see the door to the bedroom. However, you don’t want to be directly in line with the door either. Place diagonal from the door if possible.

5. Use plants for adding good energy.

Katherine Carter Design

Instagram: @katherinecarterdesign


Nonprofit supports victims of sex trafficking, in-crisis youth, young adults
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
GIVE – MENTOR – LOVE Foundation/Submitted photo


IVE – MENTOR – LOVE Foundation (GML) is on a mission to improve the lives of LA County’s most vulnerable. 

The dedicated professionals of this foundation serve LA County youth and young adults in crisis, at risk, homeless or in foster care, and victims of sex trafficking. 

It is a layer of the healing process, partnering with LA County Specialized Bureau for Commercial Sexual Exploited Children (CSEC), LA County Division of ZOE International, Learning Works Charter School and CSEC foster group homes.

In 2010, Donna Pierson, founder and chair of GML, along with a group of volunteers began working with foster girls in the Pasadena area who were exploited, in crisis and traumatized. Nine years later, she founded GML to expand the footprint and services to support these victims across all of Los Angeles County. 

“As in our name, we give, mentor and love,” says Natalie Friberg, vice chair of GML.

“We give immediate and continued support of basic needs as well as financially. We’re contacted daily to provide urgently needed essentials including emergency housing, transportation, educational supplies, tuition assistance, clothing, baby items and so much more.”

Mentoring is also at the core of the nonprofit’s mission, helping victims rediscover their self-worth. Over the past year, their mentor programs involved hundreds of hours with foster care youths, victims rescued from the sex trade, teen moms, homeless teens, and others in crisis and at risk. “We mentor one on one, in CSEC group homes and on Learning Works campuses though special events and programs hosted regularly,” Friberg says. 

Loving is also at the forefront for GML. Friberg describes many of the youth and young adults they serve as “angry, rebellious and distrusting because of the trauma, abuse and neglect they have suffered.” GML loves the victims and youth they serve unconditionally to help them move beyond the trauma and thrive.

On October 1, GML will host its annual fundraiser to support LA County children rescued from the sex trade and exploitation, and in-crisis youth and young adults with a theme of “IMAGINE… A World of Fear Turned into a World of Wonder”. 

In addition to giving, mentoring and loving, GML is focusing on the desperate and immediate need to develop CSEC Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) housing in LA County. 

TAY housing is for CSEC victims between the ages of 18 to 21 who have aged out of the system and need specialized extended foster care, as the trauma experienced at the hands of their exploiters and buyers causes tremendous detrimental impact to their physical, emotional, developmental and psychological well-being.

“It takes a village, and GML is on a mission to build a village,” Pierson says. 

Adela Estrada, CSEC program administrator for LA County, explains the importance of securing these facilities: “We are in need of homes in LA County that can house these youth so that they have a safe place to live with the consistent guidance and support they need to heal, recover, and learn the skills needed to live independently and as contributing members of society.”

“Please help us support these children by attending or sponsoring our annual fundraiser. Your support could mean the difference between life and death to one of these victims,” Pierson states. 

GIVE – MENTOR – LOVE Foundation

Authenticity is Key

Pacific Clinics unlocks the potential of all
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pacific Clinics/Submitted photo

“Authentic” and “acceptance” are two words that are often used in tandem with Pacific Clinics.

California’s largest community-based nonprofit provider of behavioral and mental health services, Pacific Clinics unlocks the full potential of individuals and families through culturally responsive, trauma-informed, research-based services.

Its programs were strengthened when the agency merged with Uplift Family Services earlier this spring. 

“Our local roots are in Pasadena, when we first opened our doors as Pasadena Child Guidance over 95 years ago” says Myeisha Gamino, Pacific Clinics’ chief communications officer. 

“Through the merger, we can innovate and utilize amazing technology that allows us to really understand behavioral patterns. That’s the nice thing about coming together. We’re able to bring our systems together and map out what the community needs and to best help the people we serve.” 

Pacific Clinics offers a full range of mental and behavioral health services, foster care and social services, housing, continuing adult education and early childhood education programs to primarily Medi-Cal eligible individuals and families.

The staff is entrenched in the community, providing culturally and linguistically relevant services in over 22 languages across California. 

“A really nice part of the merger gave us the opportunity to serve more people of all ages,” she says. 

Serving newborns through the elderly, Pacific Clinics’ staff shares its successes through YouTube and other media to show others that healing does happen. 

“Through our consumer quality assurance boards, some of our clients have given back,” she says. “Some have found recovery and now helping others by sharing their stories and helping us to create welcoming and engaging sites for people of all ages.”

Along with delivering a comprehensive range of services, Pacific Clinics has long been a strong voice for behavioral health care providers and clients statewide. Since 2020, Pacific Clinics and Uplift Family Services have partnered to jointly operate one of the state’s first certified community behavioral health clinics, a national model for integrated behavioral and physical health care.

“I love working with Pacific Clinics,” she says. “To be able to get up and make a positive difference every day is just amazing. We have such a great team who’s dedicated to the community, and we continue to serve our local community in Pasadena – just as we have for nearly a century.”

Pacific Clinics

Fun with a Purpose

Boys & Girls Club provides a safe place for youth
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Chris Mortenson/Staff photographer

Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena is about fun — but with a purpose. 

To maintain that goal, the nonprofit is hosting its 14th annual fundraiser, the Black Tie & Burgers gala, at Centennial Square in front of Pasadena City Hall. 

Themed Back to the ’80s, the event will transport guests to the 1980s, with big hair and shoulder pads along with burgers from The Habit. The event will include auctions; live music from an ’80s cover band; and fundraising opportunities to benefit the club’s programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development.

“We are excited to host our event at a special Pasadena location this year,” says Melina Montoya, Black Tie & Burgers event chair. 

“We can’t wait to bring the Back to the ’80s theme to Pasadena. We all know that the 1980s remind people of bold fashion, great music on cassette tapes, neon colors, iconic celebrities and so much more. This year’s event is also an exciting celebration of the club’s 85th anniversary and all the amazing work that the BGCP has done since 1937.” 

Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena Chief Executive Officer Lisa Cavelier says the night is designed to be fun and meaningful. She is hoping to raise $250,000.

“For years, it’s been in a backyard in Pasadena,” she says. “We moved it out to an iconic place, Centennial Square in front of Pasadena City Hall.

“When it’s lit up at night, there’s no place more Pasadena, more iconic than Pasadena City Hall. Our thinking is we want to showcase ourselves as another icon of Pasadena. For 85 years, we’ve given amazing service to the kids and families of this community.”

Although the event is black tie, it’s playful as well. Men don their tuxedo jackets and may pair them with Bermuda shorts, “fun, striped pants” and blue jeans. It’s all in good fun to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena’s programs. 

“Last year, we blew it out bigger than we ever had,” Cavelier says. “This one is promising to be the same. 

“We had a Cuban theme in 2018. I had just started this job. I saw women in amazing Cuban dresses and men with big cigars and interesting jackets. People do like to dress the theme. With the ’80s, you might see some of that. Last year it was an Italian theme, and it felt so good to be outdoors and gather again. Plus, we had no reports of COVID.”

Since 1937, the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena has enriched the lives of young people in the community, enabling them to reach their full potential as productive, caring, healthy and responsible citizens. 

Annually, the club serves more than 2,000 youth, filling the gap between school and home. It operates four locations in the Pasadena area: Slavik Branch on East Del Mar Boulevard, Mackenzie-Scott Branch on North Fair Oaks Avenue, and two Pasadena/Altadena locations at Odyssey Charter Schools’ North and South campuses.

Cavelier has witnessed challenges and victories throughout her four years with the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena.

Mackenzie-Scott Branch was recently renovated with new paint, flooring, lighting, HVAC and enhanced security. 

“The building looks phenomenal,” Cavelier says. “We increased security in the lobby with a second set of double doors, so visitors have to be clicked through twice to increase that barrier to the kids.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena celebrated the renovations and its 85th anniversary on August 5 with a community birthday party. It gave the public the chance to see the building and enjoy some fun. 

“We had a bounce house and a dunk tank,” she says. “The kids were dunking each other — one teen after the next, one tween after the next. That new event kicked off our whole year of celebrations we’re going to do.” 

Last summer, Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena doubled its footprint, adding two clubhouses to Odyssey Charter Schools, providing care, activities and homework help for more than 270 children. 

“It was an important, new move for us as we seek to serve more children,” she says. 

With the two new spaces, the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena upped its staff and “completed a wild summer with 475 kids for the summer program.” The pools were open, and 50 kids traveled to the mountains for sleepaway camp. 

“On all fronts we’re thriving,” she says. “We’re doing what we’ve set out to do with our mission to reach kids.”

Also, a year ago, the club revamped its transportation program as well, raising money to invest in vans branded with its colors and name. Previously, the organization was paying more than $100,000 annually for bus service. 

“We have fun with a purpose,” Cavelier says. “Every single day that kids come to our programs at all four sites there’s a purpose, whether it’s Power Hour, homework help. They don’t just fiddle around with their homework. They get homework done. We have tutors. We take academic success very, very seriously. That’s a staple of what we do every single day with children and youth. Kids need a safe place to be in the afternoons and during the summers where they can have a sense of belonging. Safety is always our No. 1.” 

Back to the ’80s: Black Tie and Burgers

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, October 15

WHERE: Pasadena City Hall, 100 Garfield Avenue, Pasadena

COST: Tickets start at $200


Advocates for the Less Fortunate

Union Station fights to end homelessness
By Summer Aguirre
Union Station Homeless Services/Submitted photo

Union Station Homeless Services has tirelessly worked to put an end to homelessness and rebuild lives since the 1970s.

According to Chief Executive Officer Anne Miskey, the nonprofit’s services are still required. 

“The need is still out there,” she says. “It’s still huge. I think we’re doing a great job, but we can always do more. The city of Pasadena, the citizens of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley have been instrumental in our success, and going forward, we want to just continue to work with the community and bring our neighbors home.”

Union Station Homeless Services offers housing solutions, supportive services and building relationships with communities in Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley and Northeast Los Angeles. 

Headquartered in Pasadena, Union Station Homeless Services is nearing its 50th anniversary. It was established by a local faith group as a drop-in center, growing into a multiservice agency providing assistance and support for people experiencing homelessness.

Its “full wraparound services” are shaped to address the needs of each individual or family. Team members work to get them into a safe, stable situation by developing a housing plan, which may lead directly to a permanent residence or interim “bridge” housing. They also determine and provide any required supportive services, whether that is assistance with basic needs, health care, education or workforce development.

Miskey emphasizes the nonprofit’s value of relationship building, as outreach teams are sent to directly meet those experiencing homelessness.

“It really is about that human connection,” she says. “That is what makes the difference in helping people get off the streets. Our team builds relationships with people and then really works to get those that we work with into permanent housing.”

According to Miskey, the nonprofit has helped more than 8,000 people with housing, shelter and services and supplied approximately 380,000 meals since 2020.

This year, Pasadena was one of the few California communities that experienced a decrease in the number of people reporting homelessness. A statement said that 2022 is down 9% from 19% in 2020.

Miskey says that while the reduction is small, it is a significant feat considering the number of individuals who fall into homelessness on a daily basis.

“In Pasadena, the reason for that is because we have incredible partnerships with this city, with the police department, with the public health department and with other agencies,” she says. 

“Because we have this incredible, supportive partnership, it has made all the difference in the world in getting people off the street and into housing.”

She also attributed the decrease to the implementation of state- and city-funded interventions launched during the pandemic to keep people experiencing homelessness safe.

Union Station contributed to Project RoomKey, a COVID-19 response that provides wraparound services and secures temporary shelters at hotels and motels.

It also participated in the Project HomeKey program, which assists local agencies obtain the necessary funding to purchase and develop hotels, motels, apartments and other properties into permanent housing. 

The nonprofit manages three hotels that successfully supported two full encampments, and opened a tiny village several months ago.

As the pandemic winds down, however, Miskey acknowledges fears of homelessness numbers climbing again.

“While we were able to do a lot during COVID, I think a lot of people are very afraid that was the end of some of these initiatives,” she said.

Within the next few years, Union Station’s team has projects in mind to construct high-quality, permanent housing for individuals and families. They will expand their jobs program and look into creating a health program focusing on mental health support, addiction and other health concerns.

“There are a lot of myths going on right now about why people are homeless and that it’s the fault of the individual,” Miskey says. 

“With 15 years of experience, not only in Pasadena but all across the country we’ve worked, it really is about the high cost of housing and the lack of appropriate services for people. So, we can’t blame the individual, who’s the victim.”

Miskey urges the public to advocate for elected officials to implement true solutions for homelessness, creating more affordable housing and offering the appropriate services to assist the most vulnerable in our communities.

She encourages others to donate to organizations like Union Station, too, or look into nearby volunteer opportunities, as the knowledge of someone caring about them can be transformative for those experiencing homelessness.

“It is truly the volunteer support, financial support of the community, of our elected officials, the various departments,” Miskey says. 

“They have helped us really be able to support people who are living on our streets and move them from homelessness into being reintegrated back into the community, being stable and really regaining their sense of hope and purpose in life.”

Union Station Homeless Services