In 1984, a group of Orange County community members founded Families Forward after realizing they shared the same vision. Their goal: to help support local families in financial crisis with housing, food assistance, and other services that could help them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Along with 28 transitional homes to help families dealing with the loss of their homes or eviction from their apartments, Families Forward runs a food pantry that supports more than 7,000 people each year, career workshops, counseling services, and seasonal programs for children. The transitional housing program has helped more than four out of five families served successfully transition from crisis to stability. Once a family's financial status and living situation stabilize, they can return to being independent, productive community residents, which helps kids from such households experience a safe, happy, and secure childhood—accomplishing Families Forward's number-one priority of protecting children.
The instructors at Rado's Fitness, including the titular Rado himself, lead students through challenging Pilates and spin classes within their fully stocked studio. They use the core-tightening exercises of Pilates and the high-cardio, low-impact nature of spinning to help students of all levels build strength, flexibility, and confidence.
Executive chef Thomas Crijns of Brussels Bistro teams up with fellow Belgian Philippe De Smedt and French restaurateur Thierry Perreau to give his seasonally inspired menu of Belgian-style cuisine a French twist, earning the restaurant recognition as one of the 2012 Top 10 Orange County Bistro Restaurants in Gayot and named Best French Fries in 2008 in OC Weekly for their signature side with dipping sauces. With live jazz music each Tuesday through Thursday and DJs spinning music under pulsing colored lights Fridays and Saturdays, it is not surprising that OpenTable also took notice of the spot and awarded Brussels Bistro the Diners Choice for Late Night Find.
While known for its late night offerings, Brussels Bistro features a menu of lunch fare including quiche Lorraine packed with gruyere cheese, tomatoes, and bacon and savory ham-and-cheese crepes. Diners may opt to share their bountiful pots of mussels and Belgian-style fries on the sunny outdoor terrace while sipping one of nine Belgian beers on tap or 15 bottled varieties each served with a signature glass etched with its family tree.
Few professionals can credit Flashdance with rerouting the course of their career. In fact, Richard Giorla could be the only one. The unconventional dance moves he saw in the film motivated the former Pennsylvania Ballet Company member to hit the streets of his new home, Manhattan, and learn breakdancing from dancers at the heart of the movement, trading his own dance expertise as payment. Richard’s career was in full swing when, struck with an injury, he started teaching a ballet-barre class. Though he appreciated its stretching and toning components, Richard craved a more aerobic workout. So he created his own solution—Cardio Barre. The unique workout consists of high-energy, zero-impact movements that sculpt the long, slender body of a dancer without a student ever having to step foot in a traditional dance studio. As they balance on the ballet barre, or whichever classmate is closest, pupils direct all their focus to one muscle group at a time, while the entire body stays in motion for maximum fat burning. His approach’s pudge-busting abilities have made the fitness method a favorite of many health magazines and celebrities Allyson and Rob Carrier have always dreamed of owning their own business— so when Allyson started taking Cardio Barre classes, Rob took note as he saw her body change and heard her talk about how great she felt because of the class. When they moved to Costa Mesa in 2010, they decided to bring Cardio Barre to Orange County with their own studio.
Led by veteran fine-art photographer and instructor Mary Gulino, My Artist Loft's photography, painting, and Photoshop workshops guide aspiring artists through the intricacies of camera operation and the art of composition. Photography classes cover concepts ranging from basic camera function to advanced operational settings as Mary draws on her expansive technical knowledge. In addition to photographic pursuits, My Artist Loft also encourages expression through its painting classes, where novice and experienced artists alike pursue projects from landscapes to abstracts aided by one-on-one instructor attention. My Artist Loft’s art shop keeps home studios stocked with canvases, paints, cameras, and tripods and designs websites for businesses.