Meet the people making West Oceanfront Magazine happen. Our team is dedicated to writing, snapping photos and producing high-quality content, fulfilling our ultimate mission to share the stories of Newport Beach with the world.

Melissa Kandel


Melissa Kandel is the founder and editor-in-chief of West Oceanfront Magazine. In addition to writing content for the mag, she also edits and occasionally can be seen with a camera in hand, taking pictures for soon-to-be-published stories. Melissa lives on Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach and has been writing since childhood, earning a B.A. from Columbia University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Prior to launching West Oceanfront Magazine, she was global director of PR, communications and digital media at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, responsible for producing content for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ chief executive officer, as well as the network of more than 48,000+ agents worldwide. Before Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, she was contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, covering marketing and breaking news. When not penning and editing articles, she serves as founder/CEO of little word studio, a boutique content marketing agency based in Newport Beach, servicing clients from W Hotels to top-producing real estate agents to high-end Napa Valley wineries. Melissa also frequently contributes articles to Forbes as a member of the Forbes Communications Council, an invite-only community of senior-level communications executives. Her writing has appeared on the cover of REAL ESTATE magazine, Inc., Fast Company, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and more. In 2018, she was named by Z Publishing as one of “California’s Emerging Writers.” When not writing, you can find Melissa hanging out on the beach and playing with her crooked-eared little dog, Austin. Find her on Instagram @melissakandel and contact her here:

Lexi Rafael

Senior Staff Writer

Lexi Rafael considers herself to be in a bit of a romantic relationship with writing. It’s her first love: she penned her first short story about a superhero cat afraid of mice in third grade, and hasn’t stopped dreaming up stories since. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, summa cum laude, with a degree in English Writing and Anthropology in 2013 and has since combined those interests by traveling extensively and scrawling notes on the world into pocket-sized journals. When not writing, she’s wearing out the soles of her keds on long walks and late-night dancing sprees. Find her on Instagram @lexiconfetti or contact her here: Find her work online and in West Oceanfront Magazine’s printed publication.

Paul Bivens

Contributing Writer/Photographer

Paul Bivens was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina but moved to California in 2013. His father is an old-school film photographer so he can claim photography is in his blood. The spark of his imagination and his interest in art grew after moving to the West Coast and being exposed to surfing and a whole new landscape. He saved up, bought a digital SLR and has been shooting ever since. He didn’t start writing until January 2018 when his girlfriend gave him a small moleskin journal and they began traveling together. Writing immediately turned into a newfound passion and took his storytelling, previously expressed only through photos, to a whole new level. Find him on Instagram @paulbivens_imagery or send Paul an email here.

Edgar Reyes

Contributing Photographer

Edgar Reyes is a full-time photographer based out of Los Angeles (but he travels to Newport Beach to cover West Oceanfront stories like this one). His compassion for people and their needs is a driving force behind his ever-positive personality and can be readily seen in his photography work. Edgar specializes in lifestyle, portraits, weddings, cars, action sports and event photography. His photographs have been used by both local and global brands and organizations, including Ford, ABC7, Disney, Retired Player Congress, the Los Angeles Dodgers and more. For additional information and to view his work, follow him on Instagram @er1251 or call (323) 474-5807.