by LYDIA COBB | photos by Spark Photography

When Wonderful Happens

Of the cities and neighborhoods they’ve lived in, the Mell family feels closest to Stonebridge Estates. Gina Mell is impressed by the residents’ camaraderie. “Be it a lost dog or a fundraising effort,” she described, “we use a neighborhood Facebook page to communicate what’s going on and offer ways to get involved and come together as a community.”

She and Loren met in Seattle through a mutual friend. They married and their two boys were born in Chicago, where Loren received his M.D. at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. Loren is an associate professor at UCSD’s Department of Radiation Oncology, working to improve clinical trial protocols and develop better treatments for patients. Gina has a B.A. in Arts from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She is an associate director and stylist with Stella & Dot, a jewelry and accessories company, and recently received their Heart of Leadership award.

“Loren makes dinner once a year and the kids go crazy for everything on the table.”

Their first son, Ryan, is in eighth grade at Mesa Verde Middle School and plays percussion and piano in the band ensembles and jazz band. “He looks just like Schroeder from Peanuts while he’s at the piano with his big blond hair,” said Gina. He’s also active in the school’s programming club, and just joined an Epic Volleyball travel team. Elliot is in fourth grade at St. Gregory The Great Catholic School, where the family attends Mass on Sundays together. Elliot plays in the Scripps Ranch Soccer League and Little League, and is working on his Arrow of Light with Cub Scout Pack 629.


They enjoy each other – ski trips to Mammoth and going to movies – and look forward to Europe this summer when Loren takes a sabbatical. Gina is the family chef. “Loren makes dinner once a year and the kids go crazy for everything on the table,” she shared, “which is basically the same as what I put on the table two nights earlier!”

Loren and Gina have pitched in to serve as den leaders, sports team coach, and arts docents. Gina hosted six Do Good Trunk Shows this year, which through Stella & Dot helped to raise funds for people struggling with medical bills and life hardships. They’ve volunteered together in school enhancement projects and food banks.

“My favorite mantra is, ‘Something wonderful is about to happen,’” shared Gina. It’s in their family’s approach to living a grateful life.

Parents: Gina Calabria Mell and Loren Kristan Mell
Children: Alfred “Ryan” Mell (14, 8th grade at Mesa Verde Middle School),
Elliot Angelo Mell, (9, 4th grade at St. Gregory The Great Catholic School)
Community: Stonebridge Estates since 2014
Hometowns: Gina – Houston, TX; Loren – Port Townsend, WA
Occupations: Gina – Stella & Dot Stylist and Homemaker; Loren – Radiation Oncologist at UCSD
Pets: Henry and Oliver – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Favorite 92131 Spots: Grenadine Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine, Takhrai Thai, Goodan Ranch Sycamore Canyon Preserve

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