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People. Perspectives. Happenings in Laguna Beach

Get Smart for a Good Cause

To keep the motors running at one of the West Coast’s oldest and longest-standing theaters, as well as to promote the 2012-2013 season, The Laguna Playhouse will hold a smart car raffle between now and Nov. 16, the date set for the playhouse’s annual gala, California Dreamin’. Up for grabs is the 2012 smart Pure Coupe by Daimler AG, parent company to Mercedes-Benz. The car was donated by Mercedes Laguna Niguel, the playhouse’s season sponsor. Aligning with the city’s identity as a “green” community, the Pure Coupe is 85 percent recyclable and goes 38 (Pacific Coast) highway miles to the gallon. Tickets can be purchased online at lagunaplayhouse.com for $100 each, a contribution that’s tax deductible, and the winner will be announced the night of the gala. The casual surfing-themed gala will be held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, at 5:30 p.m. (949-497-2787) —F.N.

Oh Christmas Tree

Montage Laguna Beach and The St. Regis Monarch Beach’s holiday open houses and Christmas tree lightings become more popular each year, part of many families’ local traditions. This year, St. Regis’ Annual Tree Lighting and Sand Sculpture Dedication takes place Nov. 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and includes a raffle benefitting Make-A-Wish Foundation, pictures with Santa, hot chocolate and cider, cookies and more. Tori Spelling and family serve as this year’s celebrity host (stregismb.com). Montage Laguna Beach’s Tree Lighting and Community Open House will be held Nov. 26 starting at 5 p.m., featuring holiday carolers, hot cocoa, children’s activities and live music followed by the tree lighting. The Montage’s restaurants will also feature holiday menus and cocktails, and complimentary personal shopping assistance provided in all shops and boutiques (montagelagunabeach.com). —M.M.

Head of the Class

One Laguna Beach doctor is teaching unruly sports fans a lesson. Dr. Ari Novick, a certified anger management professional, has developed an online anger management course called Fan Conduct Class (fanconductclass.com). When disorderly fans at NFL games are ejected, they are required to take the four-hour course on stadium policies, how alcohol impacts behavior and other issues. “It was really designed to be an educational program but also try to reduce the number of ejections,” Ari says. The class will now be a part of the NFL’s best practice policies and every NFL stadium will incorporate it this season. When asked about anger among Lagunans, Ari says, “I think if we looked at Laguna in comparison to other parts of the country, I would suspect that anger management issues are relatively low. And there are reasons for that. We have great weather. … I think people are generally pretty happy.” —L.D.

Scent and Sensibility

Ever loved a candle scent so much you wished you could wear it? With Arovela—developed by local designer, hobby candle maker and new mom, Celia Fletcher Lerum—you can rub the eco-friendly, essential oil- and soy-based candles on your skin just as safely as you can burn them in your home. “I started AroVela because I was pregnant and unhappy about candles creating poor air quality in our homes,” says Celia, who has sought comfort in essential oils—especially a French lavender blend that helped her through labor and delivery. “I have an extensive catalog of oils that I blend for everything from a single bath to an everyday scent,” she adds. “I love the mix of science and creativity.” The line currently carries five scents—blossom blend, lemon ylang, vanilla, lavender and cedar rose. Committed to staying environmentally “mindful,” Celia’s candles are locally sourced and come in decorative jars that double as reusable food containers. Sold at ROOTS the Beauty Underground and Green Tree Boutique. (949-415-8352; arovela.com) —A.B. 

14 West Experiences a Renaissance

The medley of 14 luxurious studios, formerly known as InVogue, has recently undergone a metamorphosis. Each studio is equipped with a walk-in closet, seating area, fireplace and kitchenette, and now they’ve had a healthy injection of new trendy touches based around equally fresh design concepts. Landscaping renovations and a chic social terrace have also added to 14 West’s new look. As a home away from home, the 14 West motto is “live like a local,” allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the community and culture of its environs. (14westlagunabeach.com) —F.N.

World Saver Award

Did you know that one of Laguna’s most posh resorts is also one of the greenest? One of 15 recent recipients of Condé Nast Traveler’s World Savers Awards, Montage Laguna Beach has a lot of green happening behind the scenes—from carbon monoxide sensors that automatically shut off exhaust fans, saving more than $80,000 a year in energy costs, and a hands-on recycling program that diverts 80 percent of waste from landfills, to a compost garden and the organic, decomposable straws in your poolside piña coladas. Montage also invests in environmental education and marine preservation through a variety of local programs and organizations. “We strive to establish sustainable luxury without compromising the guest experience,” says Managing Director James Bermingham. The World Savers Awards reflect one of Condé Nast Traveler’s core beliefs: the power of travel to do good. —A.B.

Pocket-Sized Guide

Launched in July by the Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau, the Laguna Beach Travel Info app allows locals and tourists alike to check tide tables and explore nearby restaurant and hotel options, among many other things, on an easily accessible iPhone, Android or iPad. For the more novice crowd, the app provides a “Come to Life” feature that streams informative videos about Laguna landmarks. Starting this October, users will also have access to getaway offers and app-only specials, with the added bonus of push notifications to ensure that you don’t miss any last-minute deals. With the help of the app and modern technology, you’ll receive discounts at Laguna hot spots with the push of a button, while also making coupon cutting a thing of the past. It even took home a silver Magellan Award for Best Mobile App for a destination. —C.H.

Santa Returns to Sawdust

The Sawdust Art Festival grounds will undergo another dramatic transformation to welcome the winter season with the return of Winter Fantasy, held the last two weekends of November and first two weekends of December. The Town Square at the center of the grounds will include new and improved decorations. Amidst the characteristic maze of fine arts and crafts exhibitors, visitors can enjoy a selection of new classes in the Winter Art Series, such as creating watercolor holiday cards or origami ornaments. A new lineup of entertainment, including the likes of Trevor Green, Salty Suites and Masanga Marimba, will also be featured. The 2012 event maintains its most beloved holiday traditions: The 12th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m., and visits from St. Nick are scheduled every day of Winter Fantasy. The festival grounds will be open, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children aged 6 to 12. (sawdustartfestival.org) —F.N.

All in the Family

Another reason to finally sign up for those Spanish language courses you’ve been meaning to take: San José del Cabo in Baja California Sur, Mexico, is now an official sister city to Laguna Beach, joining the ranks of current sister city, Menton, France. The Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA) chose San José del Cabo from 20 publicly submitted city candidates due to perks such as: two-hour flights directly from John Wayne Airport, comparable tourism and service industries, an active arts community in San José del Cabo and potential for increase of travelers from targeted demographics to Laguna. “We are thrilled about expanding our sister cities reach to a location that’s much closer to us, which will help us immensely in achieving our reciprocal goals of cultural and business exchange,” says Karyn Philippsen, president of the LBSCA. In addition, St. Ives, England, was recently made a friendship city. St. Ives has been suggested to the Future Sister Cities committee and will likely become a sister city in the future. (949-492-0883; lagunabeachsistercities.org) —L.D.

Barca: A Local Brainchild

Local video game designer Andrew “Drew” Caldwell has entered new creative territory with his board game Barca, The Watering Hole Game. The nature-themed game pits three savanna animals trying to make their way to goal-square watering holes. It’s a personal project for Drew: His brother-in-law John Alvarado carved the original game pieces—a mouse, lion and elephant—by hand out of his children’s wooden blocks; friend and video game artist Phillip Dickenson designed the board and box; and Drew assembles the game in-house. The trio recently released the game as a Facebook application. With enough interest, they will produce a full-color folding board version for market. Drew is interested in all kinds of games, having previously designed dice, card, board and video games. “I always thought that it would be a video game,” he says. “But I think the Barca board game will be my most enduring game creation.” (playbarca.com) —F.N.

AREO Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Established in 1992, AREO celebrates its 20th year of providing unique and edgy home decor items in Laguna Beach. Since the beginning, AREO has prided itself on customer service and specialties such as signature gift wrap and support to local charities and local artists. To carry on the tradition of great service and local flavor, AREO held an open house anniversary celebration for its customers on Sept. 8, providing live music, appetizers, wine, raffles, giveaways and more. Twenty percent of the sales from the event were donated to local charities. For the past 20 years, customers have enjoyed AREO’s unique atmosphere, classic collection of unique gifts, bath accessories, cards and books, handmade jewelry and much more. (949-376-0535; areohome.com) —L.Z. LBM






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