A (Sugary) Blast From the Past
The former location of Blu Laguna Salon and Spa is receiving a sweet new tenant—Rocket Fizz, a purveyor of retro candies, sodas and chocolates, as well as nostalgic posters and gag gifts. Opened Dec. 20, 2013, the confectionery retail shop offers a host of sugary goods, from thousands of historic candies over the past 100 years and more than 500 old-fashioned sodas (in flavors such as sweet corn, peanut butter and jelly, and bacon) to hundreds of novelty toys, old signs and concert posters. With a variety of memorabilia and sweets to choose from, no doubt all patrons, from a 5-year-old to a 55-year-old, will feel like a kid in a candy store again. (rocketfizz.com) —A.T.
How Do I Love Thee, Laguna? Let Me Count the Ways …
It’s difficult to quantify all of the attributes that make Laguna Beach, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, so wonderful. However, writer Sally Eastwood and artist Helen Polins-Jones have combined their talents to do just that. Their new book, “101 Things to Love About Laguna Beach,” published by Brooks Street Books, explores the many remarkably unique aspects of this most special beach town. Arranged into categories, each themed section is prefaced by one of Helen’s lovely watercolors (there are more than 50 throughout the book) and features Sally’s musings on what makes Laguna so great. For instance, one of her favorite items on the list is Laguna’s army of firefighting goats, while Helen loves the seabirds that can be observed during walks along the beach. Written for anyone who’s experienced the charm of our coastal community, whether a longtime resident or a weekend visitor, “101 Things to Love About Laguna Beach” is a must-read for any Laguna admirer. (brooksstreetbooks.com) —B.B.
Laguna’s Class Act
St. Catherine of Siena Parish School was recently awarded the prestigious honor of being named the next Frieda Belinfante Class Act School. A flagship program of the Pacific Symphony, Class Act places symphony musicians at 30 elementary schools throughout Orange County to provide music education for students. Celebrating its 20th year in operation, the main goal of Class Act is to increase the awareness of symphonic music in elementary school children and encourage their participation in music programs. In addition to participating in the program this year, St. Catherine of Siena will also be hosting “family night,” a free concert in which the students will perform the music of George Gershwin for the community. (stcathschool.org) —B.B.
’Tis the Season to Give at Montage Laguna Beach
Kicking off the holiday season Dec. 2 with its annual tree lighting ceremony, Montage Laguna Beach welcomed more than 5,000 guests and locals onto the resort grounds to celebrate and make merry. While the cherished rituals of photos with Santa and nibbling on holiday-inspired dishes from Montage chefs entertained guests, another heartfelt tradition took place at the event—the act of giving. During the ceremony, General Manager Todd Orlich presented generous donations of $5,000 each to the Fallen Heroes Memorial and the Friendship Shelter of Laguna Beach. (montagelagunabeach.com) —A.T.
A special pet lover’s license plate is now for sale in California, thanks in no small part to Laguna Beach resident Judie Mancuso. Judie has worked tirelessly since 2008 on the project, which helps fund free and low-cost spay and neuter services to reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters. Nationwide, an estimated 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, including 1 million in California. About half of those animals are euthanized. To curtail this staggering number, Judie established the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund and led the successful effort to collect the 7,500 preorders required to produce the plates, which now may be ordered online. “I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Judie says. “… It’s a long time coming.” Celebrities from Cesar Millan to Katherine Heigl supported the project, and the plates feature actor Pierce Brosnan’s original artwork depicting his family’s adopted dog, Shilo, and cat, Angel Baby. Judie is a longtime friend of Pierce’s wife, Keely Shaye, whose early 1990s TV segments on animal welfare issues ignited Judie’s passion to save animals. Each pet lover’s plate costs $50, or $98 for a personalized number. (petloversplate.com) —S.S.
Bowls of Hope
Laguna Beach High School students got into the giving spirit by handcrafting at least 35 bowls for World Hunger Bowl, which raised more than $10,000 for local homeless services this fall. “I think it’s great for us to be able to showcase the students’ work and do something nice for the community with the students’ talents,” says ceramics instructor Somer Selway. World Hunger Bowl, part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, featured a silent auction of bowls created by Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, marine life artist Wyland, local artist Michael Bryan, Nick Hernandez of the band Common Sense and many others. Live music and a taste of cuisine from Laguna restaurants rounded out the fifth annual charity event held Nov. 6 at Mozambique restaurant. Proceeds go to the Collaborative Courts Foundation’s Homeless Outreach program as well as medicine and other necessities for Laguna’s homeless. “[The event] raises awareness for the people who most people choose not to see,” says event founder and volunteer chair Faye Chapman. “I want them to see homeless people as people.” (worldhungerbowl.org) —S.S.
Working Toward Wellness
A group of trailblazing teens from the teen center at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach hosted its first town hall meeting Nov. 21 to discuss an important topic: healthy and clean eating. Through the center’s Triple Play leadership club, a group of adolescents that offer health and wellness tips to other club members, the teens spread awareness on the benefits of noshing on nutritious food and engaging in regular exercise. Representatives from Mission Hospital were also at the meeting and offered tips and advice for eating and living well. The teen leadership club has garnered attention for its Teen Cuisine program, a weekly culinary arts initiative that sees members get together to create and prepare nutritious meals. It’s a testament for teens to show that eating healthy can be just as fun as it is good for you. (bgclagunabeach.org) —A.T.
A Legend Lands at the Laguna Art Museum
This past fall, the Laguna Art Museum was the recipient of a substantial gift from iconic California-based painter Wayne Thiebaud. The artist presented the museum with one original painting, “Jolly Cones” (2002), and six prints ranging in date from 1964 to 2012—“Yo-yos” (1964), “Chocolate Pie” (1964/2008), “Palm Road” (1965), “Toy Counter” (1970), “Candy Counter” (1970) and “River Turns” (2012)—during a celebration held Oct. 12 where he also received the museum’s California Art Award. The colorful pieces, many of which depict sugary sweets like ice cream and cake, are the first of the artist’s works to be acquired by the museum. “We’re a museum of California art, and yet we had nothing in our permanent collection to represent Wayne Thiebaud, one of the greatest artists ever to live and work in the state,” says Malcom Warner, executive director of the Laguna Art Museum. “I can hardly imagine a better way to fill that gap than to receive a major painting and a stellar group of prints from the artist himself.” In honor of the recent acquisition, the museum plans to host an expansive retrospective of Wayne’s work from Feb. 23 through June 1. (lagunaartmuseum.org) —T.E.
Healthy Girl Festival
Following the success of last year’s event, Soroptimist International of Laguna Beach will take over the Festival of Arts grounds to host its second annual Healthy Girl Festival on April 27. With the goal of helping younger girls in the community make healthy choices for their minds and bodies, the festival will offer food trucks, a juice bar, live performances and a variety of vendors and exhibitors. The main event of the day will be a screening of the 2011 documentary film “Miss Representation,” which chronicles the continued under-representation of women of power in mainstream media. Following the film (there will be two showings), there will be a panel discussion with local women of influence, who will share advice on how to make healthier life choices. (silagunabeach.org) —B.B.
Ebell Turns 80
Laguna’s oldest philanthropic group, the Ebell Club, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and will mark the milestone at its Kentucky Derby-themed fundraiser at the Surf & Sand Resort on May 3. From scholarships to programs benefiting seniors, schools and the homeless, the club donates all money raised back to the community. This can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year, says Ebell Club President Carla White. Carla says that she’s inspired by the club’s founders, who started amid the Great Depression and forged ahead during World War II. “There’s more need and less resources to fill it … [but] we feel like we have a legacy to uphold,” she says. Originally called the Junior Women’s Club, the organization was established by Thomas Embree Bird and 17 other young women in 1933. Members helped with Laguna Beach Clean-Up Week, sponsored a Girl Scout troop, raised money for Laguna Canyon flood relief, wrapped gifts for U.S. troops and assisted with American Red Cross drives. Ebell was the first to present a scholarship at Laguna Beach High School and now awards four scholarships there, as well as one at the Laguna College of Art & Design. The club also hosts an “old Laguna” booth at the Festival of Arts, a monthly art gallery tea, and a holiday gala luncheon and fashion show. New members are welcome to join. (ebelllagunabeach.org) —S.S.
Young At Heart
Laguna has long been considered a fountain of youth, and the city’s anti-aging effects were in full force as the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach toasted its 90th anniversary in October at a celebratory tea party. The event, attended by an impressive number of the club’s 125 existing affiliates, also feted four members who have successfully passed their own 90-year marks: Jean Raun, Louise Buckley, Gigi Blount and Beverly Hine.
Originally founded in 1922 as a supportive environment for local women, the club has remained one of the community’s most powerful philanthropic groups since its inception, when members were active in many of the city planning meetings that contributed to Laguna’s current design. Other notable projects include purchasing a clubhouse and central meeting place on St. Ann’s Drive; fundraising for youth facilities, a new hospital and the Bluebird Park playground; and providing referrals, counseling, legal services and training to women who have experienced domestic violence.
“I am so proud to be the president of this wonderful organization,” says Ellie Ortiz, the club’s acting president, who describes the group’s members as “some of the most influential women in Laguna Beach.” (wclb.org) —T.E.
Local students at Top of the World Elementary School and El Morro Elementary School have expanded their palates in recent months through the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD) participation in the Harvest of the Month program. The initiative, launched by the California Department of Public Health in 2005, introduces elementary students across the state to under-the-radar fruits and vegetables sourced from predominately local growers and farmers markets. In Laguna, students have sampled pieces of jicama, a root vegetable similar to a turnip; Comice pears; and, most recently, kiwi at monthly demonstrations offered during recess by LBUSD nutrition consultant Megan Hartshorne. The treats are then incorporated into the schools’ on-site salad bars for the duration of the week, in an effort to expose young children to healthier snack alternatives. Students are also given one-page guides featuring nutritional information, serving ideas and a suggested recipe to continue the experience at home. In addition, the LBUSD has also revised many of its menus to include more meals cooked from scratch. —T.E. LBM