Since the age of 7, Dr. Robert Stonebreaker shared a special affinity with all birds. Wanting to bring people closer to his feathered friends, he lent his passion to Free Flight in 1989, helping evolve the avian boarding-and-breeding center into a sanctuary where visitors could interact with the exotic creatures. Amid open air and emerald palm fronds, guests can let a yellow, orange, and green sun conure perch on their arm or pet a timneh grey while trading info on which local bird store carries the best sunflower seed. The tropical oasis also teems with koi lagoons, where schools of shimmering carp swim under the flaps of eclectus parrots and fluffy white cockatoos soaring through the aviary.
Dr. Stonebraker tragically passed away in 2010, but the team at Free Flight has upheld his tireless work by fostering human-avian relations and furthering visitors' understanding of parrots. Free Flights also encourages involvement through donation, membership, volunteer opportunities, and most notably, education programs.
Lauren Taylor lives in an orbit around the camera. As a teenager, she modeled in front of the lens. She later attended the Institute of Studio and Makeup Design, after which she would collaborate with photographers behind the camera. Lauren eventually gravitated to the camera itself, which she now wields with aplomb in her own photography studio. Here, her life-long experience and education converge in the work of shooting sumptuous and striking images.
Thanks to her time in the sights of the camera eye, Lauren has a particular way of making subjects feel comfortable. She especially enjoys sessions with other women, documenting expectant mothers or capturing sensual boudoir portraits. Otherwise, Lauren's newborn shoots capture babies in their most innocent state, before they learn to talk or knit a ski-mask. Lauren still exercises her eye for fashion, snapping stills for advertisements and industry headshots. She also documents weddings, taking a photojournalistic approach to event photography by capturing candid moments and emotional milestones.
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Optylux owner Helmut Igel wants his customers to wear eyewear that they feel is just as fashionable as the latest designer clothes. That's why his eyewear boutique imports handcrafted frames from the Italian eyewear company Ete and the German eyewear company Flair. Ete is the only eyewear line in the world that puts real pheasant feathers inlaid in its frames, and Flair glasses, which take days to complete by hand and come in more than 20 designs, can be customized with inset stones, cutouts, faceting, and tattooing. Optylux is also the exclusive U.S. distributor of these brands, ensuring a full look of the entire eyewear collection.
San Diego Self Storage oversees an ample and affordable arsenal of storage units and a network of neighborhood facilities. Storage rates and available unit sizes and types vary by location; however, you may be able to stow faulty bedknobs and broomsticks in a 10'x10' climate-controlled unit ($119–$189/month) or a 5'x5' lower-interior unit ($44-$79/month). Stuff storers can also hide away truffles from Lagotto Romagnolos in a 10'x20' exterior unit ($199–$319/month).
Children tucked inside giant plastic hamster balls giggle as they roll across the water. Meanwhile, a quartet bounds and flips in near-unison on their own personal trampolines. Though these acts would fit right into an avant garde circus, you'll also find them at the sprawling San Diego Kids Expo & Fair on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. In keeping with the event's mission to highlight local kid-friendly businesses, many of these activities are organized by area merchants. Military-grade laser tag games and a rock-climbing wall, among other attractions, beckon visitors of all ages to lose themselves in child-like wonder and the hope that maybe the lawn will eventually just mow itself.
Besides activities, the expo hall houses more than 150 exhibitors. In rows of booths, dance teachers, soccer coaches, and local chefs from Cooking 4 Life each discuss their craft. The focus on childhood health and education also extends to four performance stages, which become stomping grounds for martial-arts demonstrations and kid-friendly musical acts. Through this yearly celebration, the Expo aims to raise awareness (and funds) for local music and arts programs.