Around Town – Laguna Beach Happenings

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Laguna Beach Happenings

Tidepool Tips

Laguna Beach Happenings

Laguna Beach’s tidepool habitats are in danger despite preservation efforts. Although residents and visitors are permitted to admire these beautiful zones (which are within a State Marine Conservation Area) they are also responsible for lessening the ecological footprint made on the tidepools’ ecosystem. How can the community of Laguna Beach protect the tidepools? “Visitors of the tidepool don’t realize how important the area is and that it is actually alive,” explains Alex Nicey, tidepool educator. Her advice is to walk only on bare rock exposed and out of the water to avoid mobile creatures in pools at low tide. Crescent Bay, Shaw’s Cove, Picnic Beach, Rockpile, Bird Rock, Moss Point and Treasure Island are all beaches that we can take care to protect, she says, by following these guidelines: Never remove or pick up animals shells or rocks, and always walk gently around the plants and animals of the tidepools. Although the tidepools are protected under law, all visitors are welcome to explore and groups can give prior notification to the marine protection officer at 949-246-2459. —A.Z.

Heart Screenings Save Lives

Laguna Beach Happenings

After losing six family members, including her father, to a genetic heart condition, Laguna Beach resident Holly Morrell started Heartfelt Cardiac Projects, a nonprofit devoted to helping to detect and bring public awareness to heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the U.S. Several times a month, Heartfelt sets up a screening center at schools, community centers, churches and sports centers, where they provide a comprehensive cardiac screening for a donation of $85 to people ages 5 and older. Over the past 14 years, Holly has screened more than 25,000 people and found six who had life-threatening heart problems that had shown no symptoms. All have gone through surgeries or treatments, and are now able to live normal, healthy lives.

Holly stresses the importance of everyone getting screened before there is a problem. “Many, many causes of cardiac arrest can be asymptomatic,” Holly explains. “More often than not, the first symptom is death.” To schedule an appointment, visit —J.A.

Jewelry for a Cause 

Laguna Beach Happenings

Two Laguna moms who left their careers in law and marketing turned a passion for collecting jewelry into a business with a cause. Elizabeth Hargreaves and Paddi Sharifian of Rock of Eden ( started their online-only business in December 2012, offering an extensive collection of sophisticated and unique jewelry pieces for men and women, including rings, necklaces, cufflinks and charity pieces, where a percentage of proceeds benefit a specific cause. Rock of Eden’s current Remember Campaign supports the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, to which $50 of every purchase of a Rock of Eden “remember” necklace will be donated. Elizabeth says, “We have a passion for unique, beautiful jewelry but wanted it to go further than e-commerce. Tying it in with charities is a great way to accomplish that.” —A.T.

A Re-Imagined Space at The St. Regis Monarch Beach

The Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort redesigned its lobby lounge earlier this year, creating an inviting space that’s reflective of the brand’s sophistication and luxury. Los Angeles-based Wimberly Interiors, which specializes in hospitality and experiential design, spearheaded the renovations. In keeping with the Tuscan architecture and the regional aesthetic of The St. Regis Monarch Beach, the design firm created a feeling of Italian villa elegance combined with the relaxed comfort of the California beach style in the new lobby lounge. The Lobby Lounge will also feature a brand-new menu from the resort’s award-winning Executive Chef Raj Dixit of Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern as well as a new handcrafted cocktail menu with innovative fresh drinks, including the Monkey Marmalade Sour (orange marmalade, Monkey Shoulder scotch, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice). There will also be entertainment in the lobby lounge every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from 8 to 11 p.m. —A.T.

A Suite Gift

Laguna Beach Happenings

As Montage Laguna Beach celebrates its 10th year, the resort launches a promotion in partnership with South Coast Plaza to bring guests an array of fun—and luxurious—gifts throughout 2013. Guests that book two or more nights in a suite receive a complimentary gift from a South Coast Plaza retailer, including Bally Nigetti lamb slippers, an Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries fragrance and Chloe candles or business card holders. Each month will feature a different design partner, with offerings for April and May from Oscar de la Renta and Bulgari. Those who opt for two nights in the 2,000-square-foot Catalina Suite in April will be treated to an even grander gift—a Mariela handbag from Oscar de la Renta, $1,000 to spend at South Coast Plaza and a St. John jacket, to name a few. —A.H.

Green is Beautiful

Laguna Beach Happenings

We know that what we put into our bodies directly affects our health (more leafy greens, please!), but many proponents of the eco beauty movement insist that what we put on our bodies is just as important. And it makes sense, since topical creams penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Laura Linsenmayer, owner of the “non-toxic cosmetics shop,” ROOTS the Beauty Underground, tells us what benefits you’ll get from using only organic beauty products: 1. Organic products do not use parabens or harsh chemical ingredients, which affect both your skin and health;        2. Using only products that are not tested on animals is another opportunity in your life to contribute to cruelty-free living; 3. Organic cosmetics deliver results and improve the integrity and look of your skin, hair and nails.  We’d like to add: Many of these products come in pretty (eco-kind!) packaging, infusing a little happiness every time you use them. Stop by her store April 20 for a natural organic makeup event featuring the founder of Vapour Organic Beauty. —A.B.

Get Inspired

Laguna Beach Happenings

Did you know that giant kelp forests are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world? “They’re home to more than 800 [marine] species,” explains biologist Nancy Caruso. “They’re also commercially important because we hunt for fish that live in kelp.” But years of overfishing, runoff that created polluted, murky water and the El Nino storms of 1983 all led to near-extinction of Orange County’s kelp forests. Nancy was inspired to start the Giant Kelp Restoration Project in 2002, whereby she and some 5,000 volunteers began restoring local kelp forests. “By 2010, it had reached historic densities and the animals were returning,” she says.

To honor the achievement, KelpFest, a celebratory festival of kelp, sprouted. On April 20, the annual festival celebrates its fourth year (9 a.m to 5 p.m., Main Beach) with a life-size interactive kelp forest model, guided tidepool tours, a community kelp mural, free stand-up paddleboard tours and a swim to the kelp forest, arts and crafts for kids, and more. For more information and a schedule of events, visit —A.B.

Broadway Gets a Makeover

Laguna Beach Happenings

Broadway Street is getting beautified—in February, construction began along the main road between Forest Avenue and Cliff Drive to improve landscaping and safety. The makeover includes a new decorative sidewalk, water-conserving irrigation, drought-intolerant native landscaping and public art pieces, including sculptor Cheryl Ekstrom’s eight-foot tall entry, “Warriors United,” and Marsh Scott’s 72.5-foot-long and, 48-inch-tall freestanding stainless-steel and fused glass sculpture titled “Colors of the Canyon,” which will replace the handrail on the creek side of Broadway. Also improving safety along the busy intersection, the junction at Cliff Drive will be reconfigured to reduce vehicle speed as well as shorten the pedestrian crosswalk distance. The improvements, funded by the city and a federal transportation grant, are estimated to be complete by late May. —A.T.

New Shops on the Block

Custom Style: At Taim, a women’s boutique that opened on Coast Highway at the end of last year in Laguna’s Hip District, owner Kendra Pearce believes that feeling confident means embracing personal style. Irish for “I am,” Taim aims to help women discover their tastes and then tailor to them with timeless pieces. With the assistance of a team of style gurus, find figure-flattering denim, classic tops and dresses, and beautiful accessories by brands like Farron Elizabeth, Mimi & Lu Parker and Dolce Vita. (949-715-4200;

It’s About Time: Bareti Jewelers, a sophisticated watch and jewelry dealer since 2010, moved into a new location in Coast Highway’s Panno Plaza at the end of January. Inspired by rare, quality pieces, the store offers limited-edition timepieces with innovative designs, as well as pieces crafted by celebrated jewelers who exhibit in galleries and independent boutiques around the world. Find precious and semi-precious stones and precious metals created by names such as Roni Tochner and Anat Gelbard. (949-715-7084;

Simple classics: Simple, a lifestyle store for men and women that opened March 1 on Coast Highway, carries European clothing and textiles that are “timelessly classic with a twist,” explains owner Jenni Elmished. “We edit the market to seek collections from small American and European designers who use exquisitely soft fabrics to create clothing that looks great and feels amazing to wear.” Find Italian brands like J. Brand and Vince for him, Transit and Marika Charles for her, and Bella Notte and Leitner for the home. (949-494-8100;

Surf Co.: The one-stop-shop for boards, rentals, repairs and lessons, Costa Azul is getting a makeover with a new “CA Surf Co.” moniker and expanding its space into the old KFC location. The new opening is planned for June 1. (949-497-1423; —A.B.

Celebrating Mother Earth

As a preliminary celebration to Earth Day on April 22, Irvine’s Great Park will host Runway Dash & e-Recycle Day on April 14, chock-full of family activities that include a scenic (and non-competitive) 5K and educational activities.

Lower Park Avenue will close and become an “eco village” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as an event sponsored by Transition Laguna Beach, SEEDS Arts, and Education Inc. All ages can visit three “eco pods”—village, lounge and expo––to sample eco-friendly and solar baking demonstrations, learn to compost food scraps into humus, garden, go on bicycle tours and watch environmental films. Sunday’s seventh annual Earth Day Blue Water Music Festival at Laguna Village will go until 10 p.m. with local musicians. Tickets are available at the Mail Stop or by contacting Rick Conkey at 949-573-8624. —A.Z

Laguna Beach Happenings

Paving a Safer Path

Laguna Beach Happenings

In early February, the Laguna Beach City Council awarded $155,500 for two design contracts to Irvine-based engineering firm Stantec to design a path that will connect Alta Laguna Boulevard to the fire road between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights. The area, which has sprawling views of the canyons and the Pacific, will allow residents, schoolchildren, hikers and bikers a safer trail and route to school as well as aid evacuation in event of a disaster. Residents have long stated that the current path is dangerous with uneven terrain and rocky outcroppings. “The trail is just not passable for older and younger generations as it currently stands,” says resident Tamara Hlava, who is passionate about the new pathway. “It [will be] a much safer route to school because you’re not traveling by the road … [and] it’s a great way to start your day with your child with exercise.” —A.T.

 Spring Greening

A few home greening tips, like installing a filtration system, not only save the planet, but the money in your pocket. Plumbing and HVAC experts at Green Star Home Services ( share tips for making your home more eco-friendly and saving money.

1. Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioning system and change the filters. “Regular air conditioning maintenance is like brushing your teeth,” says Sales Manager Jack Yarbrough. “As long as you do it consistently, your system will last and perform longer.”

2. Inspect your ductwork. Sealing damaged or leaking ducts can save you money and increase the efficiency of your system. A professional service company can perform a complete inspection and provide any necessary repairs.

3.  Install a home water filtration system, which provides clean, quality water for all uses, and is equal to the cost of about one bottle of water today—but much friendlier to the environment.

4. Replace your water heater every five to seven years. A tank-less water heater saves space, uses less natural gas and eliminates waste associated with replacing traditional tank-style water heaters. —A.B.

Easy Composting

Waste Management (WM) hopes to finalize a contract with the city in April that, if approved, will provide subsidized composting bins to residents as soon as July 31. The contract will also provide commercial businesses with a permanent compost program—there are currently two pilot programs that have WM collecting a hybrid of bins and carts.

This is a culmination of three years getting to know the customer and making things “easy and convenient for them,” explains Michelle Clark, manager of WM community relations. “Laguna Beach is such a hospitality town; food waste is one of the waste streams we had to address specifically … with a sustainable solution. We’ve noticed residents do an awesome job participating in recycle and green waste programs, but we still see food waste in trash, and we don’t want that to go to landfills.”

For now, the bins are for at-home use only, but if residents respond positively and have space to host another cart, there is a possibility that WM will begin picking up compost from at-home bins. ( —K.P. LBM

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