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Laguna Beach

New organic waste recycling requirements began January 1

Starting January 1, all residents are required to separate their food waste from the trash and place all food waste in the green container, along with green waste for composting. These changes are part of California’s new Senate Bill (SB) 1383, California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. This bill was passed in an effort to divert organics (green waste and food waste) from our landfills to help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Food waste consists of meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, grains, eggshells, coffee grounds, plate scrapings and minimal amounts of food soiled paper. Your organic waste will be diverted from the landfill and recycled into compost.

New organic waste food

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

This month, Waste Management will deliver a reusable Kitchen Food Waste Recycling pail to each residence to help you start separating your food waste at home

This month (January), Waste Management will deliver a reusable Kitchen Food Waste Recycling pail to each residence to help you start separating your food waste at home. Residents may place kitchen food waste scraps inside the pail and empty the contents directly into their green waste container for service on their regularly scheduled collection day. If you currently do not have a green waste container, one will be provided to you as part of this state mandated program.

To learn more about this state mandated program and how to use your containers, download the SB 1383 Residential Service Guide. For additional information on what can and cannot be recycled, check out the Recycling Guide for Your Home and the Co-mingled Organic Waste Recycled Guide.

The city understands that this is a significant change for residents, and that there will be many questions regarding the program. The City of Laguna Beach along with their solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will be hosting a community virtual town hall on January 12 at 6 p.m. to discuss this new program and answer questions. To attend the online meeting, go here on January 12. No registration is required.

The city thanks you for your efforts to help the State of California reach the goal of 75% organic waste disposal reduction by 2025.

For further assistance regarding your program and services, call 949.642.1191 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jackeline Cordero joins Laguna Canyon Foundation as senior director of operations 

Jackeline Cordero has been named senior operations director for Laguna Canyon Foundation (LFC). In her new role, which starts on January 18, Cordero will be focused on resource management, systems integration, strategic planning and budgeting and Laguna Canyon Foundation’s JEDI program. 

Cordero joins Laguna Canyon Foundation from OC Parks where she served for more than 15 years in several capacities, including park ranger for Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and senior manager. She was responsible for more than 90 full-time staff, 14 regional and historical parks and facilities and a $10 million budget.

Jackeline Cordero closeup

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Courtesy of LCF

Jackeline Cordero assumes her new role on January 18

 Cordero’s dedication to creating safe places of inclusion and understanding to connect people to the land – as well as her skills and experience in stewarding our precious open space – are welcome additions to Laguna Canyon Foundation. 

“We’re so thrilled to have Jacky join our team,” said LCF Executive Director Hallie Jones. “Her long-standing commitment to Laguna Canyon and our incredible open space, as well as her extensive management experience will bring a new richness and diversity to the LCF family.”

Cordero earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. Cordero resides in Orange County with her husband Ryan and two children, Luke and Sierra.

For more information about Laguna Canyon Foundation, go to

Meet Pet of the Week Pappy

Pappy is currently taking over Pet of the Week. He is a 10-year-old red and white Pomeranian who is neutered. Pappy does not let his age stand in the way of his energy – he is full of life, super outgoing and loves to have lots of fun. He is on the search for a new place to continue to grow in. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, is hoping to have Pappy adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Week Pappy

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Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Meet Pappy – one of the happiest dogs out there

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. Call 949.497.3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures,

Executive Esthetics, a new Laguna one-stop esthetic shop for facial and body transformations


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

During 2021, the lives of Raquel and Joe Snowden changed dramatically. Not only did they open their business Executive Esthetics in May – in July they welcomed daughter Julietta. 

Executive Esthetics is family owned and operated – with an emphasis on family. Julietta accompanies the Snowdens to work, along with their dog Gustavo and Oppie, Raquel’s mother Ingrid’s dog. With the presence of Julietta and the two dogs, the space takes on a relaxed and convivial air. On especially busy days, Raquel’s mother or Joe’s mother can be found tending to Julietta. Additionally, good friend Dyan Russell often jumps in to help.

Executive Esthetics was founded on quality care and patient education, offering treatments from Botox to full face and body transformations – a one-stop esthetic shop. They specialize in custom service and care that one doesn’t get at a spa.

In every aspect, Executive Esthetics is a product of teamwork – Raquel, a former ICU nurse, is the esthetic specialist, and Joe, who comes from an extensive hospitality background, takes care of the business operations. Dr. Allyson Berkey serves as the medical director.

executive esthetics family

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Raquel and Joe Snowden with Julietta

A dynamic partnership

Raquel was born in East Los Angeles and attended Los Angeles City College where she received her undergraduate RN degree and then graduated with honors from California State University Long Beach in 2016 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She mastered Intensive Care Medicine after rigorous and continued education with the Los Angeles County Medical Level 1 Trauma Center from 2014-2019. Raquel would then go on to develop a passion for work in plastic surgery and aesthetics while under direct observation of Dr. Paul Nassif. Raquel is currently enrolled in the University of Southern California’s Nurse Practitioner program to receive her master’s degree.

Joe grew up in Spring Lake, Michigan and went on to study Business Management at the University of Cincinnati. He began working for Hyatt Hotels in 2005 and would eventually go on to manage at every level over his nine-year career from Cincinnati, to San Antonio, Seattle and finally Napa, California. In 2015, he took over as general manager of a historic Michigan resort hotel before returning to California where he would assume the role of services director for WeWork’s Southern California Portfolio. Over a period of three years, he would manage all of the 35 SoCal locations operations, service contracts, lease agreements, opening plans and much more.

Together they melded their unique talents and founded Executive Esthetics.

executive esthetics exterior

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Executive Esthetics opened in May 2020


With an emphasis on the most advanced technology and technique, Executive Esthetics offers a complete menu of the latest and most desired aesthetic treatments: peels and facial services, injectables, PDO threads, laser hair and vein treatment, body sculpting, vitamin and IV infusion, Morpheus8, Lumecca IPL, skin tightening and resurfacing.

They also carry a medical skin care line created by Dr. Zein Obagi in Newport Beach, a pioneer in skin care. 

The name Executive Esthetics reflects their vision for the clinic. “We wanted a high-end medical office instead of a spa, an expert level boutique,” Joe said. “So, we wanted the name and vibe to match.”

Raquel’s devotion to patient education translated seamlessly into opening the clinic.

“We were initially going to go into the homecare business,” Joe said. “We had a lot of ideas, but with Raquel’s dedication to education, this is where her passion is.”

“Because of Dr. Nassif, I got into aesthetics,” Raquel said. “I was burned out in ICU. During COVID, we weren’t bringing people back. Before that I enjoyed putting patients at ease and talking people down when they were anxious and aiding in their recovery. It was rewarding.”

executive esthetics three generations

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Three generations (L-R) Julietta, Ingrid (Raquel’s mother) and Raquel

When consulting with her patients, Raquel focuses on education. “I’m very visual, and I use a mannequin to explain procedures,” she said. “I want the patients to understand what the body is doing, and that it’s an end game. We can do big gun treatments and then a maintenance program. However, if a patient is more comfortable with non-invasive treatment, we can start on the journey a different way. The treatments are customized based on what the client wants. There’s an entire protocol to get ready and I take time to explain. There are a million ways to accomplish the end goal, and I want to find what works best based on pain tolerance and budget.”

Client Carolyn Chingros said, “My skin has never looked better and I have Raquel to thank for it! She carefully explained the different procedures and options that would best serve my needs and the outcome was amazing. I chose the Morpheus8 and after my first treatment, my skin was noticeably tighter and the area around my chin was much smoother. I am excited to see the end results in a few more weeks. Also, their office is beautiful.”

executive esthetics lobby

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Beautiful lobby

“All the patients fall in love with Raquel,” Joe said. 

“Raquel and Joe make you feel so welcome when you come into their beautiful office,” said one of Raquel’s patients. “Raquel is an excellent esthetic nurse. I am getting laser treatments done to tighten my skin and she knows just how to make you comfortable with the treatment. I will be having other treatments with Raquel. I’m going to be her patient forever! Can’t even think about going anywhere else.” 

 “We have hired two new staff members, so we can maximize the rooms,” Joe said. “One person will take over the laser treatments. Another part-time staff member will be doing medical weight loss.” 

One of the new staff members is Jessica Weisenbach.

The additional personnel will also free up some time for Raquel, who will soon begin her clinicals for her master’s degree in nursing at USC. 

Partners in life and business

At the end of 2019, Raquel and Joe met on a dating app. 

“Both of us had recently gone through divorces,” Raquel admitted. “Neither of us was interested in having a serious relationship.”

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Laguna Board of REALTORS® installs the 2022 Board of Directors

The Laguna Board of REALTORS® installed their 2022 Board of Directors and honored the REALTOR® of the Year and Affiliate of the Year. The event was held virtually for REALTORS®, Affiliate members and guests.

Laguna Board of REALTORS Walsh

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Photos courtesy of LBOR

2021 President Dave Walsh, California Association of REALTORS® was the keynote speaker

The keynote speaker was 2021 President Dave Walsh, California Association of REALTORS®. President Walsh shared words of wisdom, resiliency, housing forecast and insights to the year ahead.

Laguna Board of REALTORS Duhs

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Gilda Duhs, 2021 REALTOR® of the Year

Gilda Duhs, Coldwell Banker Realty, was honored as REALTOR® of the Year.

Laguna Board of REALTORS Ortiz

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Ellie Ortiz, 2021 Affiliate of the Year

Ellie Ortiz, Laguna Legal, was honored as Affiliate of the Year.

2022 Laguna Board REALTORS® of Directors and Officers

Laura Baptista, President - Re/Max Luxury Coastal

Madelaine Whiteman, President Elect - Berkshire Hathaway

Dana Wall, Secretary - Berkshire Hathaway

Geoffrey Dunlevie, Treasurer - Compass

Kendall Clark, Past President - Berkshire Hathaway

Directors: Jesse Brossa - Compass; Gilda Duhs - Coldwell Banker Realty; Traudi Hansen - Surterre Properties; Hanz Radlein – Compass; Marie Thomas, Director for Life - Laguna Beach Properties and Reuben Gulledge, Director At Large - Surterre Properties.

2022 LBOR Affiliate Directors and Officers

Gratia Hansen-Schafer, Chairperson - Corinthian Title

Dylan Cloughen, Chairperson-Elect - Vylla Title

Shawna Sundstrom, Secretary - RTC Mortgage

Debbi Faber, Treasurer - Chicago Title

Ellie Ortiz, Past Chairperson- Laguna Legal

Directors: Candy Babcock - First American Natural Hazard Disclosures; Jerry Bieser - Chicago Title; Rick Cirelli - RTC Mortgage and John Hoover - Notary.

COVID-19: 262 new cases and no new deaths reported in Laguna Beach this past week

Stu News Laguna is reporting COVID-19 numbers on a weekly basis, as reported by the OC Health Care Agency.

This week, January 5-11, there have been 262 new cases in Laguna Beach and no new deaths, bringing the overall totals to 1,839 cases reported to date and 10 deaths. 

During the past week, the county reported a total of 45,366 new cases, raising the total to 402,886 to date. The death totals for the county were 14 for the week, bringing the overall total number of deaths to 5,911.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 11, Orange County has performed a cumulative of 6,383,138 tests to date. There are 1,013 current cases of hospitalized patients in Orange County, of which 159 are in ICU.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call 714.834.2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the county’s data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated weekly by Stu News Laguna in Friday’s edition. 

SNL COVID 19 1 14 22

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Data courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Proposed ballot initiative discussion raises questions, concerns and support 


A discussion of a proposed ballot initiative this week led to concern by some that a recent fiscal report wasn’t thorough enough regarding the benefits, raised questions about the cumulative impact and comments that the initiative had good ideas that were poorly executed.

On Tuesday (Jan. 11), council heard a fiscal impact report and land use implications analysis for a Laguna Residents First PAC proposed ballot initiative that would require voter approval on certain commercial development projects.

The agenda item also led to a conversation about over-development in Laguna Beach, and even some agreement on what most residents would like to see for the future of the town.

They all live in Laguna Beach for a reason, Mayor Sue Kempf said in reply to an accusation that some councilmembers want extreme development in the city.

They like the town, including the scale of it and the look and feel of it. They don’t want tall buildings in Laguna and the height limit is there for a reason, she added.

“Nobody is pro-development up here,” Kempf said. “And I think the whole council would like to protect that, now it’s just a matter of how you go about doing that.”

The commercial building stock is clearly aging, she said, and that needs to be addressed. It’s also a challenge when the town is in the Coastal Zone and has to comply with regulations from the California Coastal Commission.

“It’s a balancing act that we have here. We have to keep the town vibrant and make it look good without doing too much. So, it’s a tricky thing. If you swing the pendulum one way too far or the other way too far, you get in trouble,” Kempf said. “I’m very keen to protect the town that we have, make it look better and make sure its sustainable going forward.”

None of them are in support of over-development in Laguna Beach, agreed Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen.

His concern isn’t regarding the big projects, but the smaller projects and the cumulative impact provision.

“It sort of acts as a drag net to pull in a lot of other projects,” Whalen said.

Due to some of the public testimony, Whalen asked for more staff analysis on the cumulative effect and the impact on housing.

There was also some concern from councilmembers about the parking variances and ensuring that developers are required to mitigate for loss or lack of parking. 

Proposed ballot initiative beach hotel and houses

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Discussion about a proposed ballot initiative led to concerns about over-development and protecting the character of Laguna Beach

There was no vote on Tuesday, but council directed staff to further study the initiative regarding Whalen’s points and send a memo to councilmembers before it returns in February for a status update on the signatures.

Laguna Residents First submitted some 2,600 signatures to Laguna Beach City Clerk Ann Marie McKay on Monday (Jan. 10). If the Orange County Registrar of Voters certifies at least 1,845 signatures, the “Beautiful Laguna Overlay Zoning District” initiative would qualify to be placed on the ballot this November.

If the initiative passes, voter approval would be required on “major” commercial projects that exceed 22,000 square feet of floor space, create 200 or more additional daily trips by vehicles, fail to meet allowable on-site parking requirements, attempt to combine lots that exceed 7,500 square feet of total area (6,000 square feet in downtown), or exceed a height of 36 feet.

The initiative also covers all property in the city located within 750 feet of the centerline of either Coast Highway or Laguna Canyon, which effectively encompasses 51% of all parcels in the city.

At their November 2 meeting, council directed that the analysis be completed by Kosmont Companies, a Manhattan Beach-based real estate and economic development advisory firm.

Council also previously directed staff to have the initiative reviewed by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, investigate potential better approaches to parking, provide further analysis of the cumulative effect provision and the proposed initiative’s impact to outdoor dining, provide an analysis of lot consolidation policies; and refine the list of projects that would have triggered the proposed ballot initiative in the last five years.

On Tuesday, Kosmont President Ken Hira provided an overview of the report. It was focused on examining the near-term and long-term impact on the general fund if the measure is approved.

Laguna Beach has not seen a lot of development in recent years, which could indicate a potential need for rehabilitation in the next 10 to 20 years. Retail and hospitality, for example, are in a far more fluid and dynamic environment all across the state, he explained.

“The commercial world…it’s changing,” Hira said. “We are in the middle of a land use revolution.”

The current “doorstep economy” (the rise of home delivery services) are emblematic of the need for operational changes and flexibility, he said.

Laguna Beach’s fiscal health and sustainability relies, at some level, on the vitality of restaurants, retailers, and hotels – and their capacity to remain competitive, Hira said. The timing of adding a voter required approval process is “less than ideal” given the fluidity in today’s environment, he added.

Kosmont’s research found that voter approval requirements could add a “significant element of risk and uncertainty that can discourage investment in new projects, as well as the rehabilitation of underutilized or blighted properties.”

According to the report, if a project goes through the process, the city could see lost revenue opportunities if the project is not approved or pursued.

“The initiative could have a noticeable negative fiscal impact to the city’s general fund over the next decade,” Hira said.

Expected revenue loss could range from $1.5 million to $2 million per year within the first five years based on a hypothetical 10% to 30% range of voter approval, according to the Kosmont report.

A provision in the initiative factors is the “cumulative effects” of other projects within a half mile of the project site that occurred within the past eight years, explained Community Development Director Marc Wiener. If the total adds up to more than 800 average daily trips or 88,000 square feet, then it would be considered a major development project, regardless of the scope of the actual project, he said.

Answering a council question about how to protect out-of-scale development, Wiener said they can study the neighborhood, the downtown for example, and identify the areas where they want to keep the small-scale character. They also can look for opportunities for potential larger buildings, he added, and cap how large the lots can be (in the case of lot mergers).

Given the average 50-60-year-old age of the commercial building stock, it’s likely that more rehabilitation or expansion projects will be proposed in the future, Hira noted. So the longer the voter requirement is in effect, the greater the potential annual loss to the general fund, he said.

Proposed ballot initiative beach hotel and houses

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The discussion also included the impact of development on neighborhoods

The argument of losing potential revenue is important, said Councilmember George Weiss, but has to be balanced with what the community will gain in terms of quality of life or the impact on neighborhoods.

His comments were echoed by several public speakers who said that’s a key goal of the initiative. This is the result of the public’s frustration from feeling ignored, said Councilmember Toni Iseman.

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The Plant Man: Starting the New Year off right

By Steve Kawaratani

 “New Year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of new years?”

–with apologies to Ogden Nash

The Plant Man Steve Kawaratani

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Courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

Julius Caesar decreed the first day of the year as January 1 – the western world has now observed 2,067 consecutive New Year Days. I can usually be found in my garden during these first few days of a newborn year; the holidays still linger and I need the downtime to unwind and consider the possibilities. Being in a garden allows for a new year’s adjustment and freshness of thought.

Your questions for the Plant Man, for this first month of the year 2022 included the following:

Q. What is the most important garden job this month?

A. January is the month for pruning. Prune carefully to encourage the type of plant growth you want. Early-flowering shrubs and trees may be pruned after they have flowered.

The Plant Man azaleas

Courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

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Gift azaleas 

Q. Dear Plant Man, my azalea plant was in blossom when I bought it about two weeks ago, but most of them have turned brown and many leaves are dropping. Should I take it to my daughter’s to plant outside?

A. Azaleas have a difficult time growing indoors. Rapid leaf drop is an indication of too much heat (perhaps it’s next to a heater), lack of water or possibly the plant is sitting in saucer water.

Q. I have planted bougainvilleas in pots. A few branches are about four feet long now. I would like the plants to grow longer and fuller, and then have lots of flowers.

A. To keep your bougainvillea full, you must keep the ends tipped back. Gradually, you can allow the branches to grow longer as well, but only to a point. If you allow the plant to become too large, the roots will outgrow the confines of the pot. A healthy plant should give you lots of flowers.

Q. Is it too late for bulbs?

A. Spring bulbs, like callas, gladiolus, lilies and Lily of the Valley are available at your favorite nursery. If you can still find them, there is time to plant daffodil, ranunculus and narcissus.

Q. My girlfriend›s pansies are looking a little weak and droopy right now. Is this a normal state for them? The temp has been in the 30s at night. How often should we water them?

A. Your pansies would prefer much warmer temperatures; generally, they are not set out this early in colder climes. Keep the plants moist but avoid overhead watering in freezing temperatures.

Catharine, Loki and I spent the early days of the new year in temperate Baja California Sur. We toasted absent friends and family, and wished for renewed normalcy and peace from Laguna, Loreto and beyond. But mainly, we celebrated the New Year because it felt like a Roman holiday being away. See you next time.

The Plant Man Steve and Loki

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Photo by Catharine Cooper

“Watch the curve, Dad!”

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Loki. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.494.5141.

Liv’s Leashes: a dog’s best friend


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Long walks, nature hikes, trips to the beach and treats – such are the things that fantasies are made of for our canine companions. Laguna resident Olivia Soares, founder of Liv’s Leashes, makes this dream come true for her four-legged clients, one dog at a time. 

It’s no secret that Laguna Beach residents love their animals. Most of us try to accommodate our canine housemates with sufficient exercise, if for nothing more than to bring peace into our homes (a worn-out dog makes for a happy owner). However, due to a variety of circumstances, it’s not always possible on a daily basis. 

“I strive to give the dogs I walk a rich and stimulating environment so when they get back home, they’re ready to get back to their favorite nap spot!” Soares states on her website.

Liv’s Leashes provides a private walk – Soares doesn’t do packs. “One-on-one walking is much more manageable,” she said, emphasizing that single dog walking also affords the opportunity for thoughtful, caring and responsive attention.

Soares offers half-hour and hour-long dog walks (packages available), playdate packages, and at home pet care (for cats and dogs), both drop-in and overnight. It’s not always feasible to take a pet along on a trip and trustworthy at home care is critical.

liv's leashes closeup

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Liv Soares

Dog walkers

Evidently, professional dog walkers have been around for at least 87 years. On January 5, 1935, The New York Times published an article, headlined “Walking the Dog - Big Business.” 

Certainly, the demand for them has increased over the years.

Although Soares has always been an animal lover – she now has a cat named Cowboy – she didn’t consider translating it into a career until she moved here. She credits her love for animals to her grandmother and her father, who is an artist (working in watercolors) and does animal portraits and botanicals.


“Before the pandemic hit, I was working as an assistant paralegal in Springfield, Virginia,” said Soares, a University of Rhode Island graduate. She realized being inside at a desk didn’t suit her. 

“I chose to use the pandemic as a reset button, and I moved to Laguna Beach to start a new chapter,” she said. “I always dreamed of moving to California, so I packed up my car and came out.” 

On her arrival, Soares lived in Lake Forest for two months, then she met her boyfriend, and she’s been here ever since. Since he’s in finance, he lends her a hand with the business numbers. 

liv's leashes walking

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Liv taking Axe for a brisk walk

In August 2021, Soares founded Liv’s Leashes. “I got my start on Wag!, which is an on-demand dog walking app as a part time gig,” she said. “I loved it so much I created my own LLC to make this full time.”

She now spends as many as 12 hours a day giving her clients different and exciting experiences be it a hike, walk, or beach time.

“I like exploring new neighborhoods,” Soares said. “I love walking the dogs and getting to know people I meet. I also have become friends with the owners, and sometimes we chat when I pick up the dogs and bring them back.” 

As evidence of her time spent outdoors (she has walked 15 miles in one day), Soares said, “When I moved here, I was a brunette, now I’m a blond.” 

Walking also gives her the chance to listen to podcasts and learn new things, another one of her passions. 

“I love to see how happy the dogs are,” she said. “I give them time and work on manners.”

liv's leashes treat time

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Learning manners

 Client accolades

One of her steady clients is Axe, a high-spirited 3-year-old Husky, who owner Jill Lockhart rescued. Soares has been walking him for four months, and he’s one of the lucky dogs that she walks five days a week. I tagged along on part of his walk, an event Axe clearly loved, as did Soares. 

“I don’t claim to be an official trainer, but I teach them signals. Axe knows how to listen. He’s very vocal and he has a lot of energy and personality,” she said. 

It appeared that part of the job is knowing the neighborhood dog population. As we rounded a corner, Soares put some distance between Axe and an approaching dog. “The dog isn’t friendly, so we get out of the way,” she said. “I’ve learned from the daily walks which dogs to avoid.” 

Lockhart gave Soares high praise. “I saw Olivia’s flyer for ‘Liv’s Leashes’ and took a chance and reached out to Olivia. I needed a dog walker but with Olivia, you get so much more. She has a special way with the animals and they truly love her. Axe, our husky, waits for her at the gate and howls with joy when her car pulls down the street. Not only does she give them a workout, she makes it fun for them while still requiring discipline. We have two very different dogs, Olivia can handle all breeds and sizes. She is truly the best!”

liv's leashes axe sitting

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Taking a break for a photo opportunity 

When Soares started her business, she used the old-fashioned method of distributing flyers and handing out cards, which obviously worked, because she now has 30 clients (15 steady ones) and is hiring a new employee – her friend Lexie – to take on more clients. She also set up an Instagram account and has had 13,000 views. 

Another of her canine clients, Cooper, is a German Shepherd-Labrador mix who is large but well behaved, said Soares.

“Olivia has been great for us,” said Nicole Hughes, Cooper’s owner. “We moved to Laguna Beach from Long Island, NY without knowing any friends or having family here. We travel often and were in need of a trusted sitter who we could rely on. Cooper is so important to us so it was critical to find someone we could trust. Cooper is always so excited to see Olivia and is able to be comfortable in his own home which gives us a peace of mind while traveling.” 

Future plans

In addition to Lexie, Soares is looking to hire other dog walkers for her business and eventually would like to expand from Laguna to cover Corona del Mar. 

Soares offers a free of charge meet and greet, during which time she explains the services and pricing. 

“I’m dedicated to making the dogs happy,” she said. “I truly love what I do. It’s the happiest I’ve ever been.”

There’s no doubt that her four-legged clients feel the same.

For more information or if you’re looking to become a dog walker, go to, or call 401.935.9620.

Follow Liv’s Leashes on Instagram @livs_leashes.

Birdie, birdie in the sky…

Birdie, birdie in the sky

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Photo by Scott Brashier

This bird is just out enjoying the sunlight from the atop the trees

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