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Join Laguna Beach County Water District for 9th Annual Smartscape Expo on Saturday

Come and embrace the Laguna lifestyle of water use efficiency and discover new ways to maximize outdoor water savings at the Laguna Beach County Water District’s 9th Annual SmartScape Expo this Saturday, Oct 13, from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the District’s headquarters at 306 Third Street.

At this free, family fun event, attendees can meet with local landscape and irrigation professionals, purchase CA Friendly plants, learn about available rebates on water efficient devices, and participate in workshops on home leak detection and getting the most out of the District’s new Customer Connect Portal and Smart Meter Dashboard. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Ricky the Rain Drop, participate in kids activities, receive free compost, and much more. 

Join Laguna Beach County Water

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Luke Miller enjoys learning about water saving plants at last year’s Smartscape Expo

This year, attendees can also learn all about the art of composting at workshops hosted by UCCE Master Gardeners. Composting reduces green waste and landfill use, reuses valuable green waste, recycles waste into a useful garden asset, and restores soil health. Eligible customers attending the workshop can pick up a Composting Bin at a discounted rate of just $35. Workshops will be offered at 9 and 11:30 a.m.

The 2018 SmartScape Expo is supported by the Water District’s partners Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and South Coast Water District. Event sponsors include Ganahl Lumber, Honey Girl Grows, Imperial Sprinkler Supply, Kellogg Garden Products, Rain Bird, Soil Retention, Village Nursery, and Waste Management. 

Community organizations represented at this years SmartScape Expo include Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach, City of Laguna Beach Water Quality Department, Laguna Beach Garden Club, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, Saddleback College, Laguna Beach Girl Scouts, California Native Plant Society, and UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners.

For more information on the SmartScape Expo, visit www.lbcwd.org/smartscape.


LBPD Community Emergency Response Team CERT Exercise on Saturday

The 2nd Annual Citywide CERT Exercise will be held this Saturday, Oct 13, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Ranch, at 31106 S Coast Hwy. The drill is a refresher training exercise for existing CERT members in Laguna Beach who wish to take part. 

There are currently over 300 active members, including Laguna Beach Unified School District trained individuals. The drill also will serve as the ‘final exam’ for approximately 30 newly trained students who are signed up for the CERT class that began September 20. 

LBPD Community Emergency Response

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Photo by Cameron Gillespie

Don’t miss the 2nd annual citywide CERT Exercise on Saturday, Oct 13

CERT drills such as this are organized by trained CERT members with advice and assistance from the Emergency Operations Coordinator, Jordan Villwock, LBPD, and LBFD, all of whom will be onsite during the exercise. Participants will practice search and rescue/fire suppression, cribbing, triage and medical skills, and radio communications in teams of approximately 15 people, each under the direction of Incident Command officers assigned duties similar to those used at actual disaster scenes. 

The Ranch agreed to host and is working with CERT personnel to make certain that Ranch guests and golfers are not affected by the simulated disaster. For more information about the CERT drill, contact Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0389.


Tractors come in handy

Tractors come green

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Is that a John Deere tractor?


This week’s waves from Mother Nature

Photos by Scott Brashier

The weeks waves blue

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A perfect glistening and gliding wave

The weeks waves splash

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Later came the giant splash


Opening artist reception for Hessam Abrishami at Avran Fine Art Oct 20

Avran Fine Art is delighted to present “Red Shadows,” a body of work by artist Hessam Abrishami about love, life, dance, romance, celebration, among other facets of life with an Opening Artist reception on Saturday, Oct 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.

 This is a free evening to enjoy beautiful original paintings by Abrishami. All of his works are abstract figurative originals, acrylic on canvas. 

The gallery encourages the public to attend and meet the artist. Appetizers and wine to be served. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Opening artist reception

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Avran Fine Art Opening Artist Reception for Hessam Abrishami is October 20

Abrishami’s works convey a unique view of the world, colored by his individual beliefs and experiences. Abrishami is deeply optimistic – he believes strongly in the goodness of people and in the world, which is reflected not only in his art, but in his personal values. 

When asked if it is difficult to see a favorite painting leave in the arms of a collector, possibly never to be seen again, Abrishami has said, “No, I have enjoyed making it and now I want it to bring happiness to someone else.” 

For Abrishami, artwork does not belong solely to the artist, but also to those who enjoy it. Abrishami’s approach to art is intuitive and free by nature yet disciplined by his strong foundation in artistic fundamentals.

Inspiration comes from any and all interactions that happen with and around him. This is all encompassing; life, people, animals, love, romance, intimacy, beauty, dance, music, celebration. As Abrishami says, “Basically everything that makes me feel good is what I strive to deliver to others with my work.”

Avran Fine Art showcases an extensive collection of unique, evocative glass works and original paintings from the international art scene. The gallery is located at 540 S Coast Hwy, Suite 106. For more information, call (949) 494-0900 or visit www.avranart.com.


Ocean Institute to welcome a traditonal Polynesian Voyaging Canoe

A Hikianalia canoe will make stop in Dana Point after an estimated 2,500-mile voyage across the Pacific to California. Ocean Institute looks forward to the much anticipated arrival of Polynesian sailing vessel, Hikianalia, which launched from Hawaii in early August. The visit to Dana Point October 23 - 28 comes as part of the Alahula Kai o Maleka California Voyage, an estimated 2,800-mile voyage across the Pacific to California.

The voyage, presented by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, will continue the Mālama Honua campaign to inspire action toward an environmentally and culturally thriving world. The wind and solar-powered canoe, which is captained and navigated by next-generation voyaging leaders, carries a message about the critical need to address climate change by demonstrating the value of nature, the oceans, and indigenous knowledge.

Ocean Institute to welcome

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After a 2,800-mile voyage across the Pacific from Hawaii, a traditonal Polynesian Voyaging Canoe to reach the Ocean Institute Oct 23 - 28

“We’re very grateful to be part of such a meaningful and impactful event that centers around delivering education about protecting and preserving the ocean.” said Dan Pingaro, CEO and President of Ocean Institute. “The Hikianalia Voyage and its purpose is congruent to Ocean Institute’s mission, so it made sense for us to welcome the opportunity to share this exciting experience with the community.”

Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star also known as Spica which rises in Hawaii and is the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. The 72-foot canoe Hikianalia is a modern Polynesian voyaging canoe that uses sustainable solar and wind energy to combine the latest ecological technology with the heritage of the voyaging tradition.


Matt Harper will provide an update on the California Legislature Session at Mozambique

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will hold its October meeting on Thursday, Oct 18, at Mozambique. Social hour will begin at 5 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. 

Matt Harper will shirt

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Matt Harper will be speaking about the Legislative Session and other issues affecting Laguna citizens

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP invites all Republicans, Independents and Libertarians to attend the meeting. “We have a special guest this month, Matt Harper, Assemblyman from the 74th District. He will be speaking about the Legislative Session, which concluded at the end of August in Sacramento and other issues affecting Laguna citizens,” says Monda.

“The Midterms are in less than 30 days and it is critical all voters communicate with their elected officials and understand the issues on the November ballot such as Proposition 6; the effort to repeal the Democrat’s Gas Tax and other topics Assemblyman Harper will cover,” Monda continues.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as space is limited. 

Mozambique is located at 1740 South Coast Hwy.


PMMC benefits from Outlets at San Clemente 

4th annual Shopping Extravaganza fundraiser

Outlets at San Clemente hosted nearly 1,700 attendees at its fourth annual Shopping Extravaganza charity fundraiser on October 6, which helped raise $975 for Pacific Marine Mammal Center. The event raised $53,205 in total to benefit 36 local nonprofits. Consumers received exclusive discounts at more than 40 participating stores, while Outlets at San Clemente donated $25 for every $35 ticket purchased to a local nonprofit organization of the shopper’s choice. Since the first event in 2015, Outlets at San Clemente’s Shopping Extravaganza has raised more than $189,000 for various South Orange County nonprofits.

PMMC benefits from theoutlets at San Clemente

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Courtesy of PMMC website

Pacific Marine Mammal Center receives $935 from Outlets at San Clemente 4th annual Shopping Extravaganza fundraiser

In addition to exclusive discounts, Shopping Extravaganza included prize drawings for more than 1,500 prizes valued at $40,000, catered lunch, entertainment and wine and cocktail tastings in the gorgeous VIP Lounge.

“The success of Shopping Extravaganza would not be possible without our generous community that makes it their mission to give back to deserving local nonprofits tackling key issues facing Orange County,” said Nicky See, marketing director at Outlets at San Clemente. “This is one of our favorite days of the year, as we’re presented with the opportunity to bring together philanthropic shoppers for a fun-filled day that benefits such an array of important causes.”

Outlets at San Clemente is dedicated to supporting the Orange County community through a variety of philanthropic efforts, including the annual Shopping Extravaganza. In its first four years, Outlets at San Clemente positively impacted Orange County by increasing City of San Clemente tax revenue, employing thousands of workers and donating more than $100,000 in goods and services to community nonprofits each year.


Ribbon cutting ceremony for Ocean at Main

Ribbon cutting group

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On Friday, Oct 5, local dignitaries celebrated with Chef Craig Strong on the grand opening of his new Laguna Beach restaurant, Ocean at Main. Shown left to right: Councilmember Toni Iseman, Ocean at Main’s Chef Craig Strong, Ocean at Main General Manager Dylan Cloughen, Kurt Armstrong and the Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Meredith Dowling


Catmosphere combines a café offering yummy food with a nonprofit Cat Lounge alive with rescued cats 

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Catmosphere, Orange County’s first cat café, offers two great experiences: one of the culinary kind and one of the feline kind. First fill up on delicious cat-themed food and drink (including wine and beer, if desired) in the bright café, and then enter a cat (and cat-lover’s) paradise next door in the Cat Lounge, where furry kittens gambol and adult cats seek laps on which to snooze.

Or the other way around.

Either way, it’s double the fun of most eateries.

Unto itself (and with no charge for entering), the café is a delectable place to eat, with menu items such as scrumptious avocado or Nutella toast, and the bread alone is something to howl about. There are also salads and a cheese platter. The wine is top notch, I can attest to that. 

Catmosphere founder Gail Landau’s intention is for this feline heaven, the Cat Lounge, to serve as a temporary foster home for the residents while they await permanent loving homes. She has partnered with the Laguna Woods Cat Club, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, and local feline rescues. 

Catmosphere combines Gail

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Gail Landau with Mame and Natto, bonded mother and son pair whose human Mommy passed away suddenly. These two beauties are from the Ark of San Juan. Both are gentle and very social. Mame is 10 and her son Natto is 8.

For Landau, it’s all about rescuing cats and kittens from small cages, or even death – and then finding them a matching person or family. They are socialized in the Cat Lounge so that they adapt quickly to their new homes.

There’s a required fee to enter the Cat Lounge, all of which goes to the care, treatment and welfare of the cats. Think of it as a donation to improve, well, the Catmosphere on this planet by helping this important 501(c)3 project.

So with great anticipation, I enter the beach-themed lounge for an hour of fun. 

Since Catmosphere opened eight weeks ago, Landau has adopted out 10 cats, and the kitten Pumpkin Patch will be number 11. She currently has 12 cats in residence, with a waiting list of rescues to move in once there’s a vacancy. 

Catsmosphere combines a cafe window

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Café visitors have a great view of cats playing in the lounge

From the café, the cat lounge is visible through a huge floor to ceiling window. Patrons can just watch or decide to go in and interact with the cats, but an appointment must be booked ahead of time. See website below for fees. And likewise, it’s possible to go to the lounge without patronizing the café, but as I said above, it’s well worth a visit, and next to impossible to pass up the macarons.

Arriving for my first interaction with the cats (I had been there a few times just observing), I settle in to get to know them. 

“Music for Cats” plays in the background, soothing and Zen, which supposedly has underlying purring sounds undetected by humans. If these subliminal sounds could result in the visitors purring, I wouldn’t be surprised, it’s a very peaceful place. However, the kittens are a bundle of kinetic energy. For the entire visit, they run through a tunnel, skidding into various tubular toys, and then race up the cat tree. That alone is worth the visit. 

Catmosphere combines Onda and Natto

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Onda and Natto wait for the mouse tail to come out from under the toy

However, still no cat or kitten has ventured onto my lap. Can it be I smell of dog?

I get some history on the cats from Landau (all the cat bios are on the website). Natto and Mame, who have been at Catmosphere since it opened and are a bonded pair that must be adopted together. Natto is Mame’s son. Since they’re original residents, Gail is hoping they’ll be adopted soon.

Aretha, a beautiful Abyssinian, stays fast asleep during the entire visit. I pet a few of the other cats, Arthur, a gorgeous gray tabby, who is asleep high up in a tree perch, but still none seem interested. I come to the conclusion that 4 - 5 p.m. is nap time. 

Catsmosphere combines Aretha

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Aretha curled up for a nap

Mercedes, who attends to the lounge on this day (an attendant is always present), has been here since Catmosphere opened. Unfortunately, where she lives there are no pets allowed, so she gets her cat “fix” here.

I ask if she sometimes has to caution visitors to be more gentle with the cats. 

She responds, “Sometimes it’s only the adults who’ve had experience with cats, or maybe they never grew up with pets, and they come here because they want a positive experience for their kids. We educate guests about cats and how to be a responsible pet owner, and how the cats give warnings signs with their body language. In these cases, we want visitors to leave with a better sense of how cats should be treated.”

Catmosphere combines Merceds

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Mercedes with Onda, a two-year-old Siamese mix

Landau is particularly careful about choosing the adoptive parents. They must visit and interact with the cat/kitten during two visits, and then submit to a home check. What does Landau look for?

She says, ”There are certain things I watch for; I want to see if it looks like a house where they are going to welcome a feline, where they can have cat toys out. Then I see how people are in their own homes, where they litter box will be and such, and how excited they are to have a feline join the family, and how serious they are about safety. Also, if they had a cat in the past, I ask what happened to it.” 

Landau gets numerous calls from people wanting to know if she can take their cat. “I need a health certificate and a vetting by Dr. G at Canyon Animal Hospital,” she says.  “Then I know the caller is motivated and serious.” 

So, whether you’re looking for some great food, quality cat time, or most importantly to adopt (or all three), go to Catmosphere Laguna, it will make your day. Even though it’s difficult not to consider adopting one, I had to resist, it would be a catastrophe for our dog. He was terrified of our cat Anabel. 

Catmosphere combines Tostito

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Tostito, companion of Arthur

Hours: Closed Mondays. Open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Happy Meowr every day from 4 - 7 p.m. with $2 off all California beers, wines, and Meowmosas!

Special events:

Entire Month of October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Pink Toast and Rose Special in the Cafe

Every Wednesday morning: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Senior Meowments for 65+. Free beverage and $2 off a visit to the Cat Lounge

Cat on the Mat Yoga with the Kitties! Second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.. Eight spots available. $25 for the Meowr. Book online. Bring your mat or a large towel. The kitties love it. 

Birthday parties and office parties are a big hit with felines!

Catmosphere combines yoga

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The cat sat on the mat

Every Tuesday through Friday all day Study Meowr with the Kitties. With a student ID, buy a one-hour Lounge visit and receive another hour free!

Thursday, Oct 18:  Taste of Laguna!  5 - 10 p.m. Come taste delicious toasts and have some bubbly at the Catmosphere Laguna Booth at FOA. Special Prizes.

Saturday, Oct 20: Drag Bingo returns with the fabulous Ms. Niobi McQueen, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. 18 spaces available for $18. Book online. 

Wednesday, Oct 24: Halloween Walk 2018, 4 - 6 p.m. Candy and treats for all!

        Feline Wellness and Nutrition presentation by Ryan Beard from the Lucy Pet Foundation, 6 - 7 p.m. in the Cat Lounge. $2 off Lounge visit. 12 spots available. Book online. 

Tuesday, Oct 27, 28, 29:  National Cat Day is on October 29, but the celebration lasts all week! $2 off California beers, wines by the glass (1/2 bottle) and Meowmosas all day long. 

Wednesday, Oct 31: Halloween Pawty with the Kitties. Wear your costume and your visit to the Kitty Lounge is half price all day long. 

Thursday, Nov 8: Olive Oil and Wine Tastings with Temecula Olive Oil Company in the Café! 6 - 7 p.m. Free to enter and taste test.

Saturday, Nov 10: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Catmosphere Laguna will offer holiday gifts and prizes at the Laguna Woods Cat Club Annual Holiday Boutique. Lots of fun and prizes. Laguna Country Methodist Church. For more info, call (949) 951-2760

Catmosphere is located at 381 Forest, (949) 619-MEOW

For information and to register for appointments, go to www.catmospherelaguna.com.

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