Nearly ninety women attend Lisi Harrison’s launch of The Dirty Book Club’s launch at the Dirty Bird

Story and photo by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Yes, that’s right, nearly 90 women registered to celebrate the launch of Lisi Harrison’s new novel, The Dirty Book Club, and celebrate they did, drinking dirty martinis at The Sandpiper, aka The Dirty Bird, with nary a dirty look to be seen, only smiles and good cheer and loud chatter.

Richelle Lavin, TJ Fink and Jen Roop were among the first to arrive. I asked them why they decided to come. “We’ve just launched a book club as a way to make sure we make time to get together because everyone’s lives are so busy,” they said. “And this seemed like a logical book to start with.”

Further discussion revealed that Richelle and I attended the same high school in Durban, South Africa – years apart – but still… These were the kinds of conversations that were going on, with a large group of rabid readers finding much in common, including admiration for an author like Lisi Harrison, who knows how to entertain, how to create believable characters and how to turn a phrase – and whose book focuses on the enormous value of female friendship.

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Richelle Lavin, TJ Fink and Jen Roop

“Women need a place where they feel safe to tell their stories,” Lisi said. “That’s really what the novel is about – empowerment and friendship.” And the tale is delivered with humor and verve.

(Local jeweler Jorjana created a symbolic gold version of the key that is a vital element in The Dirty Book Club and it was auctioned off for charity at a recent event.)

Caroline Bruderer, who is helping Lisi with publicity, sat next to me as I sipped my (first-ever) dirty martini. I was a little flustered after being asked, as part of a contest, to name whom I’d most like to go to bed with, so I decided to be honest, let the chips fall where they may, and confide my strong feelings for Kermit the Frog. (It was that kind of event.) 

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Lisi greets admirers at the entrance to The Dirty Bird, aka The Sandpiper

Caroline, who works for KX 93.5 among other things, told me that she and Lisi have been fast friends for ten years. 

“We were sitting at Heidelberg wondering where to have the launch, staring across the street, and at the same moment we said, of course, The Dirty Bird!” she said. “Lisi is an incredible writer and a terrific person. She’s so self-deprecating, when you first meet her it takes a while to discover that she is a New York Times bestseller who has literally sold millions of books.”  (Lisi is most famous for her YA series of books.)

Next I spoke to Kylie Schuyler, founder of the Global GLOW (Girls Leading the World) campaign, which is active in 27 countries, from Kenya to Colombia. 

“Never underestimate the power of ‘safe places’ for women to tell their stories,” Kylie said, explaining the work of her organization in prompting women to express their desires and fears, especially those girls and women whose voices are not much heard, because of poverty or repression or other factors. 

“To be able to share what makes you vulnerable – that’s vital to women taking the next step to independence in some cases. There is power in stories,” said Kylie, a great admirer of Lisi’s book.

That’s the value of books like The Dirty Book Club. In an entertaining way, they remind women know how important it is to talk, to laugh and to cry together, and to learn to trust when the world around them seems so chaotic. Female bonding rocks…

Theme aside, the novel is great fun. And there’s so much to be enjoyed in book club get-togethers.

Including, sometimes, dirty martinis.

National Prescription Drug take-back day is Sat, Oct 28: But you can drop off at police station anytime

On Sat, Oct 28, and any other day of the year, medications can be disposed of at the Laguna Beach and Dana Point permanent prescription drop boxes. The service is safe, free, and anonymous. No questions will be asked, no forms to fill out.  No syringes, medical waste, or hazardous waste are allowed.

National Prescription Take Back day, sponsored by the DEA, serves as a reminder to safely dispose of unused medications. This national day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse. Rates of prescription drug misuse are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses. 

Studies show that most of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  

Drop-off location is outside the police station and is available 24/7.

Lagunans are now wiser about water after landmark landscaping SmartScape event at the LBCWD


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The 8th Annual LBCWD SmartScape got underway this Saturday with participants of all ages floating from booth to booth, learning about ways to become more conscious about the impact of water on their landscaping and the environment. 

After 92 years in operation, the Laguna Beach County Water District loves to host this community-conscious open house event. 

“We try to make it as fun and community oriented as we can,” Laguna Beach Water District Assistant General Manager Christopher Regan explained. “Too many times, we hear: ‘I’ve never been in this building before,’ so it’s been a nice way to really get to know our community.” 

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Locals flocked to the SmartScape booths

Following a five year drought, this year’s crowd got to learn about ways to get their landscape bouncing back. Fifty percent of Laguna Beach Water District’s customer’s water goes to outside use, according to Regan.

 “Droughts are cyclical in our area,” noted Regan. “Eventually we’re going to go back into a drought so it’s really getting people to get an understanding of how much water they’re applying to the landscape, and then giving them ways to reduce that amount by putting in plants that are conducive to our our environment, such as succulents, and native plants.”

Waste Management also lent a hand to help the community become more water wise, selling rain barrels. There was also a free compost giveaway, and a drip conversion kit workshop. Making it convenient for people picking up these items, staff was on hand in the top parking lot with all these items staged and ready to go. During past events that were held during the drought, nozzles for use in people’s yards were made available, and timers were given out. 

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Attendees focused on plants large and small – particularly the waterwise

Upon grabbing a pair of free sunglasses from the Municipal Water District booth, participant Luke Miller was spinning the water conservation question wheel, acing every question. His grandmother Jean Miller, who was watching, noted, “He’s a real Laguna kid, he knows all the answers!” 

Upon digging a little deeper, Luke explained the reason for his depth in water knowledge: “My mom works for the water district.” Jean conceded: “We’re partial.”

“It’s fantastic!” Jean went on to explain. “The plants, and the information, the free giveaways, the water conservation, there’s so much for the kids to’s perfect! Love it!”

Mike Phillips, an Environmental Specialist for the Water Quality Department voiced his opinion as to why the event was so important. “Conserving water also helps protect the ocean. The most common storm drain violation is over-irrigation.” Water from sprinklers when mixed with pesticides, fertilizer, and litter that might be in the street (if the street sweepers haven’t arrived yet) will head to the ocean, he cautioned.

Robin Jones, owner of the local business Honey Girl Grows, brought a bee pond to feature. “Bees use water like an evaporative cooler in the hive. They flap their wings drink the water in order to keep the hive at an exact 73 degrees to incubate their babies.” She also brought several award winning honeys to sample, as well as beekeeping starter kits for sale.

Laguna Canyon Foundation was present as well. Originally started as a group of locals who, backed by a financial group, set out to acquire land, and then “set out to enhance the stewardship of our local land,” Laguna Canyon Foundation’s Field Instructor (for the education program) Chris Reza said. 

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Complimentary tote bags reinforce the message

Reza spends his time educating some 3,500 to 4,000 Santa Ana School District students, leading hikes on local trails in order to “introduce and elaborate on some concepts like habitat adaptations and predator/prey [behavior].”

Spotted heading back to their car with their complimentary navy blue bags, return attendees John and Susan Parks, gave their testimonial. Said John Parks, “Our entire land, we changed over to desert landscaping, and it cut our water bill by 80 percent. We probably eliminated at least 80 sprinkler heads.” 

Susan Parks mentioned how convenient their life is since the change: “ We don’t have to mow, we don’t have to worry about raking. Today we got (soil) moisture testers, six bags of mulch, free seeds, and just enjoyed the music.”

In all, a hugely successful event.

Laguna Beach-based SCIL, sponsor of bill, applauds Governor’s action to ban sale of mill-bred pets

Last week, a landmark bill banning the sale of mill-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. 

In addition to the ban, AB 485, introduced by Assemblymembers Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills), and sponsored by Laguna-based Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL), will require that stores offer dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescue groups. 

The signing of AB 485 makes California the first state in the country to enact a policy of this kind and will eliminate the trafficking of mill-bred animals into California pet stores.

“This is an exciting day for pets in California,” Assemblymember O’Donnell said. “I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill’s sponsor. 

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course, but also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”

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Photo by Lynette

Boris hears the news, and approves

The bill comes on the heels of similar local bans approved in various communities throughout California, including some of the first local ordinances in West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles which were also driven by Social Compassion in Legislation.

“When we began the effort to sponsor legislation to codify these local ordinances into state law earlier this year many people said it couldn’t get done and that the timing was not right,” said Lagunan Judie Mancuso, Founder and CEO, Social Compassion in Legislation. 

Yet, since the bill’s introduction in February, under the leadership of Mancuso, SCIL worked tirelessly with Assemblymember O’Donnell to build a broad coalition including local governments, public and private animal shelters, pet stores, rescue groups, and animal welfare advocates. Facing significant opposition in the Assembly, the bill ultimately garnered broad bipartisan support, and in the end passed the Senate with no opposition.

SCIL surveyed every registered pet store in the state of California in March 2017 and found less than 10 percent of the pet stores in California continued to sell out-of-state, commercially bred animals. 

The majority of retail pet stores in California have already shifted to the “humane model” familiar to patrons of such stores as Healthy Spot, whose owner Andrew Kim gave compelling testimony in both the Assembly and Senate hearings in support of the bill.

“We are overjoyed with the Governor’s signature and broad support from the entire animal-loving community for this groundbreaking legislation,” said Mancuso. “In banning the sale of mill-bred animals, California took a bold step forward. The deplorable conditions that animals suffer in these high-volume breeding facilities are not a secret and now they have a champion in California.”

Integrative Cancer Prevention and Treatment Seminar will be hosted by Health in Balance on Oct 26

Health and Balance is set to host a Cancer Prevention and Treatment Seminar on Thurs, Oct 26, at 6:45 p.m. located at 330 Park Avenue, Suite 9. This presentation will be delivered by Dr. Marcela Dominguez, M.D.

Dr. Marcela Dominguez has a fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapy through the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. She has insightful and profound wisdom to share on the topic of cancer as people progress on their journey of health.

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Dr. Marcela Dominguez

The event will offer advice on what lifestyle choices to implement to help prevent cancer and how to use integrative cancer therapy options alone or alongside conventional cancer therapies.

The plan is to offer practical steps that attendees can implement into their lives both for prevention and treatment.

Seating is limited to the first 25 guests, and the cost is $15. RSVP to reserve your spot here:

Canyon 2 fire reminds us: Be prepared…Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Workshop scheduled Oct 18 at Susi Q 

The City of Laguna Beach has started preparation of a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP), a five-year strategic plan to improve local resilience to hazard events, and 

would like input from the community. Residents are invited to attend a workshop at Susi Q, 380 Third St, the Hazard Profiles Open House on Wed, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.

Development of the plan, (the first such plan for LB), is being funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The plan is being prepared by public safety officials and City staff, with support from members of the Laguna Beach Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Committee, other affected agencies, and technical consultants. 

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Photo by Lexie LeFevre

Recent fire in the canyon required air drops

The LHMP will summarize the natural and human-caused hazards that pose a threat to the community, including drought, flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. 

In addition to protecting Laguna Beach from current and future hazards, having an LHMP will allow LB to be eligible for grants from FEMA for additional hazard mitigation efforts. It will also make LB eligible to receive additional disaster relief funding from the State of CA, per CA Government Code Section 8685.9.

It will also incorporate regular feedback from key LB community members. The City plans to release a draft of the plan for public review in Jan of 2018, with final adoption planned for the summer of 2018, following approval from the California Office of Emergency Services and FEMA.

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