Fit4Mom offers moms workouts and community

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so we’re featuring some companies owned by local residents or located in Westchester/Playa to help promote shopping locally and supporting community members.

Here’s the scoop on FIT4MOM Westside, owned by Westchester resident Kellie Fell.

Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A. My name is Kellie Fell, and I’m a born-and-raised SoCal gal. I grew up mostly in the mountains in Wrightwood, went to college at UCSD and moved to Westchester about 12 years ago. I currently live with my husband, two kids (my son, five and my daughter two), and our loveable Labrador. I worked in television for about seven years and then decided to stay home when I had my son. I began taking Stroller Strides classes with FIT4MOM Westside when he was 6-months-old and never really stopped! At that time I was dabbling in some freelance writing, but when the opportunity to purchase the fitness franchise arose, I seized it and have been the owner, operator and an instructor for FIT4MOM Westside for about two years. When I’m not teaching or running the biz, I enjoy baking, eating delicious food and watching TV.  

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Westchester teen creates nonprofit to help students succeed

The world may be crazy right now, but teens like Westchester resident Sophia Scott have stepped up to the challenge and are seamlessly adapting to create solutions.

Sophia, a 16-year old senior at Marymount High School, created Quaranteens, a pending nonprofit organization established to reduce socioeconomic disparities in education.

“The transition to online learning was pretty smooth for me. My teachers made themselves readily available and it was such an easy switch. But I started hearing from a lot of other students that they were falling behind and weren’t necessarily retaining things as well through distance learning. I realized that it must be a lot more difficult for those students who lack access to a lot of the same resources I had,” said Sophia.

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4th of July Spirit Week Bingo

Using the honor system, get five in a row (up, down or diagonal) and email us at westchesterhometown@yahoo.com with the subject “4th of July Bingo” by July 17. One person at random will be selected to receive a $25 gift card to Benny’s Tacos!

In your hometown with…the Westerfield Family

It’s hard not to notice the Westerfield family in Westchester. First off, they have four children, which is a bit unusual these days. Then there’s the fact that all four of the children are within 37 months of each other in age. Oh, and they have twin girls adopted from Ethiopia.

“We’re obviously a family that stands out,” Carey Westerfield laughed.

The family has lived in Westchester since 2015, but in some ways, Carey said it’s like they’ve lived here forever.

“It feels like a cohesive community. Yes, there are different neighborhoods within the community, but we’re all so connected. It’s true what they say that we’re a small town in a big city,” she said.

The family relocated to Westchester after living in the Rancho Park area for 13 years.

“We knew we didn’t want to live there forever. It definitely felt like we lived in a big city, and we didn’t know our neighbors. Since we moved here, we’ve been very lucky to have met some wonderful people,” Carey said.

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Flowers by Felicia readies to bloom in new Playa del Rey location

After running a business for more than 31 years in the same location, Felicia St. Denis is ready for a new beginning.

As owner of Flowers by Felicia, St. Denis has played an important role in many people’s lives in Playa del Rey and beyond by creating beautiful floral arrangements for life’s most important moments.

“There’s a lot of emotions behind what I do,” said St. Denis. “I’ve done people’s weddings, anniversaries, funerals, proms, baby showers, and I’ve seen kids go from coming in with their parents, to now being adults and buying their own coffee and flowers from me.”

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Good pizza is always on the menu at this local eatery

He’s traveled all over the world as a chef on a cruise ship and worked at some of the best Italian restaurants on the Westside, but the moment Nando De Stefano drove through Westchester he knew he had found the place he wanted to be.

De Stefano, the owner of The Good Pizza, was born and raised in Naples, Italy, where his family still lives today. Being from an area known for its pizza and having a mom that liked to cook, meant good food was everywhere while De Stefano was growing up. He didn’t always know he wanted to be a chef, but when he missed the deadline to attend a flight academy, he ended up enrolled in a school focusing on the culinary arts. There he would study for five years and find his calling.

With a dream to eventually open a restaurant in the USA, he traveled to New York where he landed a job as a janitor in an Indian restaurant. Eventually, he was hired at an Italian eatery as a bus boy, and he became determined to work his way up into the kitchen and to learn English fluently. After about nine months of studying the language, he was confident in his conversation skills and promoted to server and then the kitchen.

Eventually, he was ready for a new adventure and headed west to Los Angeles to learn more about the restaurant business and hone his chef skills. By 2008, with experience cooking at popular spots in Malibu and Beverly Hills, De Stefano started looking for a place to open his own pizzeria focusing on food from his childhood when he found Westchester.

“We saw an ad to sublease a restaurant here, and we didn’t know where Westchester was,” recalls De Stefano. “I told my business partner I wanted to see the neighborhood before we got to the location, and it was love at first sight. I said ‘OK, we are going to open here and get this deal done.’”

More than a decade later, The Good Pizza has locations in Westchester and Playa del Rey, and is known for dishes like its black ink linguine, meatballs, and of course, its Neapolitan-style pies. He uses his mother’s recipes for the eggplant Parmesan and the meatballs, but everything else on the menu is his own creation.

“Having always worked at fine dining restaurants, making the move to casual dining was difficult because I don’t know how to take any shortcuts,” said De Stefano. “Our meatballs have 16 ingredients and take a couple of hours to make, but I don’t know how to make them any other way. I’m not going to miss any steps.”

During this difficult time for restaurants and most small businesses, The Good Pizza is offering new promotions and items to help draw in customers and their loyal fan base. There is the $20 fixed menu that includes a salad, pasta and garlic knots and an enticing homemade sangria for two you can add to your order. De Stefano also plans on holding pop-up Neapolitan pizza days, where pizza is cooked in a wood-burning oven on the sidewalk in front of the Playa del Rey location.

“Being a neighborhood pizza parlor is great and challenging at the same time. You want to make sure the neighborhood loves you and likes what you’re doing,” said De Stefano.


Visit thegoodpizza.com for more info and to check out their menu.

Adopt-A-Senior gives neighbors chance to celebrate local grads

Looking to make local high school seniors feel important and celebrated, Westchester resident Hallie Hawk, knew she wanted to act. After seeing an Adopt-A-Senior program started for her alma mater in Colorado, she decided to start one for neighborhood grads. With the support of fellow moderators Aisha Harris and Melissa Remer, she launched the “Adopt-A-Graduating Senior Westside Los Angeles” Facebook page and is encouraging those that want to help commemorate the occasion for students to join, pick a senior and find ways to make their day.

“Graduating is such an important time in young people’s lives and it’s special that they are being acknowledged by someone they don’t even know,” said Hawk. “It’s great that the community is welcoming them to the next steps in their lives.”

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Clothing gets a second life thanks to eco-friendly company

Everyone’s business could use a little help these days, so we’re featuring some companies owned by local residents or located in Westchester/Playa to help promote shopping locally and supporting community members. 

Here’s the scoop on Deux Life, owned by Playa Vista resident Melissa Gerber!

Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A. Hi! I’m Melissa Gerber, a Playa Vista resident originally hailing from Chicago. I’ve lived in Playa Vista with my now-fiancé (fingers crossed our August wedding still happens!) for four years and my favorite part of the area is the proximity to the beach and being able to surf before work! 

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Congratulations Class of 2020

With graduating and celebrating students’ accomplisments looking a lot different this year, the HomeTown News wanted to do our part to commemorate our local Class of 2020 and let them know the community is supporting them! We put out a call for families with graduating students to send in their photos and the following feature these grads from more than ten local high schools and middle schools.

We salute all Class of 2020 students and look forward to the positive change you will make in the world!

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In your hometown with…the Mininsky Family

Traditions are very important to the Mininskys, and the family has a way of making them refreshing and infectious; before you know it, everyone is joining in on the fun! Allison and Mike, who got married in 2005, have two boys, Sean, 11, and Colin, 7, and live in the Loyola Village part of Westchester. Allison works as a children and family therapist at Providence Saint John’s Child & Family Development Center in Santa Monica. She also supervises graduate students who are getting their masters in social work. Mike is the General Manager for El Cholo restaurant in Santa Monica. 

While Mike was growing up in a small town in Long Island, his father owned two eateries in New York, so he became quite comfortable around restaurants and decided to continue in the family tradition. 

“I grew up in a very sociable, welcoming family, always hosting parties, so it was a natural move for me to be in charge of an operation like El Cholo and get paid for it,” he said. 

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