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Sunnylands, Another Local Treasure

By Drs. Juris Bunkis & Deborah Ekstrom

Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Los Angeles Consular Corps at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage. We were hosted by the Annenberg Foundation and addressed by a former US Ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty, now a part of the Annenberg team.

Sunnylands is a historic, 200-acre estate that has played a significant role in American history and diplomacy. The impeccably manicured grounds contain 11 lakes, and the house is magnificent. The estate was built in the early 1960’s by Walter and Leonore Annenberg, a prominent couple who left an indelible mark on diplomacy, philanthropy and the arts. Walther was appointed Ambassador to the Court of King James (the United Kingdom) in 1969 and Leonore was the US Chief of Protocol. The Annenbergs established the Annenberg Foundation, which continues their legacy of philanthropy and diplomacy to this day.

The Annenbergs envisioned Sunnylands as a retreat where they could entertain political leaders, celebrities, and intellectuals in a serene and luxurious setting. Sunnylands quickly became a sought-after destination for presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, H.W Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. It also hosted foreign dignitaries, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and numerous heads of state including Xi Jinping. The Annenbergs used Sunnylands as a venue for fostering dialogue and advancing diplomatic efforts.

In addition to its philanthropic work, the Annenberg Foundation has played a pivotal role in shaping public discourse. It established the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which conducts research on public opinion, media, and political communication. The center’s flagship initiative,, scrutinizes political claims and promotes accuracy in public discourse.

Sunnylands itself has evolved into a center for retreats, policy discussions, and cultural events. The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, established in 2001, hosts leaders from various fields to engage in dialogue on pressing issues. The estate’s stunning gardens, art collections, and architecture are also open to the public for tours and exhibitions.

Sunnylands and the Annenberg Foundation represent the enduring commitment of Walter and Leonore Annenberg to public service, diplomacy, and the arts. Their vision continues to inspire generations, leaving an indelible impact on American society, philanthropy, and international relations. When not being used for formal events, like our Los Angeles Consular Corps meeting last week, the Estate is open to the public for guided tours – it is less than two hours from Orange County, definitely worth a weekend trip!

Spotlight on Plastic Surgery – Who is a good candidate for a body lift?

by Drs. Deborah Ekstrom and Juris Bunkis

A body lift is a surgical procedure that aims to reshape and contour the body by removing excess skin and fat. It is an elective procedure, which individuals who have experienced significant weight loss or have loose, sagging skin may request. Here are some characteristics that make a person a good candidate for a body lift:

1. Significant weight loss: Individuals who have lost a substantial amount of weight, typically through bariatric surgery or lifestyle changes, may have excess skin that lacks elasticity. A body lift can help remove this excess skin and improve the overall body shape.

2. Stable weight: It is essential for candidates to have achieved a stable weight before undergoing a body lift. This is not a weight loss method!

3. Good overall health: Candidates should be in good general health, free from any serious medical conditions that could increase the risks associated with surgery. A thorough medical evaluation will be conducted to ensure the individual is fit for the procedure.

4. Non-smoker: Smoking can impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. Therefore, candidates for a body lift are required to be non-smokers or willing to quit smoking for at least three months before and after the procedure (and if you can hold off that long, why start again?).

5. Realistic expectations: It is crucial for candidates to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. Some skin laxity always remains. While a body lift can provide significant improvements, it is not a solution for weight loss. Patients should understand that the procedure aims to address excess skin and contour the body rather than reduce weight.

6. Psychological readiness: Undergoing a body lift can have a profound impact on a person’s body image and self-esteem. Candidates should have a positive mindset and be emotionally prepared for the changes that will occur following the surgery. It is also beneficial to have a strong support system in place to provide emotional support throughout the recovery process.

7. Commitment to post-operative care: A successful body lift requires diligent adherence to the post-operative care instructions provided by the surgeon. Candidates should be willing to follow a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and practicing proper wound care.

It is important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon who can assess individual circumstances and determine whether a body lift is the right option. The surgeon will evaluate factors such as medical history, current health status, and aesthetic goals to determine the suitability of a candidate for the procedure. We will be happy to see you for a consultation should you have any body contouring or facial rejuvenation questions.

Female in her early 50s and mother of 4 lost over 60 pounds through consistent exercise and healthy dieting. She desired to remove excess skin following the massive weight loss. She underwent a traditional a body lift and liposuction of the abdomen and flanks. Procedures performed by Dr. Juris Bunkis, FACS.

This 45 year old male saw us after a one hundred pound weight loss through a diet and exercise program. He had a “Daddy Make Over”, a combination of gynecomastia surgery and a lower body lift. (Actual patient of Dr. Bunkis)

If you want to see if you can have any part of your body improved, contact us for a consultation:

For CA, please call 949-888-9700 or visit
Or for MA location, call 508-755-4825 or visit

You can write to
Dr. John Compoginis at
Dr. Staci Compoginis at
Dr. Deborah Ekstrom at
or Dr. Juris Bunkis at