by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

This Family of Five Loves the “Aloha Vibe” of Their North County Community

Giuseppe Aliotta and Laurie Gaan first met while on a trip to China to train in martial arts. Flash forward a decade or so and the couple has not only taken their martial arts training to the next level, but their relationship, as well; the couple is happily settled in Leucadia with their three children. “Taj is our 7-year-old son,” shared Laurie. “The ‘dolls’, as we call them, are our identical twin girls who are 5… Kiana and Made.” Together with their children, Giuseppe and Laurie keep martial arts a big part of their life. “[The kids] have all started formal martial arts training although it’s like an old kung fu movie at our house even from before they were born,” Laurie joked. When they’re not training in martial arts, the family likes to unwind by jetting off to Hawaii as often as they can. “Taj has been picking up the ukulele!” noted Laurie. It’s the love they have for the Hawaiian lifestyle that initially drew them to Leucadia. “We like the Aloha-vibe of the community,” shared Laurie, “good vibe, local down to earth people, beach, surf, weather.” And it’s that same lifestyle that has enticed them to stay.

For some time now, both Giuseppe and Laurie have had a large presence in the community. “Giuseppe teaches at and owns West Coast Martial Arts Academy located in Encinitas… and we have one in 4S Ranch,” said Laurie. “As of March, I just sold my dental practice of ten years which was located in Moonlight Plaza.” After practicing dentistry for twenty-three years, Laurie is looking forward to a career change. “Giuseppe keeps reminding me to start painting again!” she exclaimed.

But it’s not just their professions that have kept them involved in 92024; they also volunteer. “I have so much fun volunteering to teach ‘Parent Art’ in Taj’s class!” exclaimed Laurie. “I’m hoping with my practice sold I’ll have more time to volunteer – I’ve always wanted to help out with beach clean ups.” Giuseppe has volunteered his time to teaching self-defense and awareness classes, and has been involved with bully proofing and stranger danger programs at local schools. “Giuseppe has taught martial arts at senior centers in Encinitas,” added Laurie, “and has been featured on Fox 5 for Cane Fu fighting with them.”

A few fun facts about the family are that they take part in Chinese New Year Lion Dancing, are big believers in finding alternative medicine and natural remedies, and like to go to the beach to surf or fish. “We love to laugh together,” added Laurie, “and inspire each other to do our best.”


Parents: Giuseppe Aliotta and Laurie Gaan
Children: Taj Palermo (7, Paul Ecke Elementary); Kiana June (5, Paul Ecke in fall); Made Marie (5, Paul Ecke in fall)
Community: Leucadia
Year Moved to Community: Laurie – 1995; Giuseppe – 2013
Parents’ Hometowns: Giuseppe – Holbrook Long Island, NY; Laurie – Fremont, CA
Parents’ Occupations: Giuseppe – Professional Martial Arts Educator; Laurie – open to suggestions!
Pets: Bullmastiff Babydoll, Bearded Dragon Lizard – Mr. Feathers, Ball Python, Two Oscar fish
Favorite Places to Visit in 92024: Grandview Beach, Beacon’s Beach, Downtown Encinitas, Swami’s Cafe, Pipes Cafe