Laguna Beach

Pumpkin sky

Pumpkin sky stoplight

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Harvest colors usher in the fall and create ghostly silhouettes 

Fans of Kaira Rouda and her novel The Favorite Daughter fill Laguna Beach Books on Sunday


On Sunday, Laguna Beach Books welcomed local author Kaira Rouda to the store to discuss and sign copies of her most recent book, The Favorite Daughter.

Fans packed the bookstore and peppered her with questions about her novel, her writing process, and her attraction to the dark side. 

The Favorite Daughter is a gripping story of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, and suited for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena. 

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Well, not so perfect. 

When asked about writing on the grim side, Rouda admitted that she’s happier dealing with the dark side of the suburbs. Even her daughter told her to stop writing about dark things.

“I love writing. The characters in the novel start talking to you,” Rouda said.

She already has another book finished and submitted. 

Fans of book

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Photo by Sharael Kolberg

Kaira Rouda with her novel

Rouda said that when she’s writing, she can’t read other novels or listen to music, it’s too distracting. In answer to a question about process, she said, “I don’t outline, I write by the seat of my pants.”

When she isn’t writing, her reading preferences lean toward Southern Literature. “I love Shelly Dexton. I read the classics to reset. They stand the test of time. We saw To Kill A Mockingbird in New York, and it reminded me of the power of words and the power of literature. It’s so resonant right now.”

An audience member asked the question, “Are you going to write The Favorite Son?”

To which she replied, “No. I have three sons and only one daughter.”

Turns out it was her son Dylan asking the question. 

Fans of dog

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Photo by Stacia Stabler 

A furry fan

In addition to fiction writing, Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker, and internationally bestselling and award-winning author. A former magazine editor and society columnist, she won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway. 

Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. Turning to a full-time writing career, her most recent work before The Favorite Daughter was Best Day Ever. Rouda has received numerous awards for her community service, including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, among many others.

Fans of The Favorite Daughter are looking forward to her next novel, which will no doubt be on the dark side.

LB Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. For information about LB Books, go to or call (949) 494-4779.

For more information about Kaira Rouda, go to

Great City

This great city,

Heart of human energy,

Of opportunity, of verve,

Of canyon-streets

Framed by structures tall

Filled with focused lives;

This city of noisy ethnicity,

Of dynamic enterprise,

This historic, cultured place

Of power, art and song

Its linear landmarks now

Dusty debris and twisted steel,

Now sighs with sadness;

Its people, though full of fear,

Heroically helping those in need

Where death and danger lurk;

This city of sacrificing, selfless souls

Grievously grieving for lives lost;

This courageous, resilient humanity

Resolved to resurrect its greatness.

Arnie Silverman 9/12/2001

LB Garden Club presents Chris Epting and “The Camping Trip that Changed America” on Friday

On Friday, Sept 13 at 9:30 a.m., Laguna Beach Garden Club will host its monthly speaker program featuring a presentation by Chris Epting on “The Camping Trip that Changed America.”

Chris Epting tells the story of President Theodore Roosevelt’s very important trip to Yosemite, the fateful three-day trip that shaped the destiny of Yosemite and the National Park Service. Chris’ presentation will include anecdotes of how John Muir’s love of plants helped shape our nation. 

Chris will be selling and signing copies of his best-selling book, Teddy Roosevelt in California. Chris Epting is an award-winning author of more than 30 travel/history books. He contributes articles to publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Westways, and Travel and Leisure Magazine. Chris is also a veteran music journalist and recently co-wrote Def Leppard and Phil Collins’ memoir as well as John Oates’ memoir. 

Laguna Beach Chris

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Submitted photo

Award-winning author Chris Epting is the featured guest speaker at LB Garden Club’s monthly meeting on Friday 

Chris also hosts the REELZ Channel series It Happened Here, which he also created. Originally from New York, Chris now lives in Huntington Beach. 

The Laguna Beach Garden Club meets on the second Friday of every month, September through May, at the Laguna Presbyterian Church. Social Hour starts at 9:30 a.m. and the General Meeting is at 10. The public is welcome; there is no charge for guests on their first visit. 

Before or after the meeting, guests are invited to browse the outdoor “Garden Boutique” where donated garden-related items and plants can be purchased at “dirt-cheap” prices. 

Parking is free in the Laguna Canyon Road lot (spaces 300-422) or $3 for all day in spaces 185-228. 

For more information on the garden club, visit   

The nonprofit Laguna Beach Garden Club, Inc. was founded in 1928 in beautiful Laguna Beach, and celebrated its 91st anniversary in February. Its members support a wide variety of projects related to education in gardening, horticulture, landscape and floral design, conservation, ecology, and bird life. 

The Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave in the Tankersley Hall. 

Where’s Maggi – the answers!

The pelican – his beak can hold more than his belly can…Don’t you just love him? Maggi spotted this happy pelican on Ocean Way.

Who knew? Janet Anderson knew. She likes him, too – she put him there!

Look for another puzzler on Friday, and keep Maggi on her toes.    

Wheres Maggi 9 10 19

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This little pelican resides on Ocean Way

Sultry sunset 

Sultry sunset bird

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A single bird under a September sky

Shelter from the sun

Shelter from the

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Boy in a sun bonnet

Protective gear to be bought for City firefighters


It’s time for Laguna’s firefighters to get new personnel protective gear in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association.

The only question is which company the City Council will select at tonight’s (September 10) meeting to supply the equipment, which includes structure and wildfire clothing for fire suppression personnel.

An informal bid process allowed the fire department to determine the brand that best met the department’s needs, according to the staff report. 

Fire Department personnel evaluated the protective turnout coat and pant sets from three companies. AllStar Fire Equipment’s LION brand was rated the highest by the personnel whose lives may depend on the equipment.

The fire department has recommended the purchase of the LION brand equipment at a cost of $99,028.71, spread over four years.

Cost of the LION’s equipment was midway between the high bid of $146,971 and the low bid of $85,486. 

The council had approved $160,000 for the purchase of protective gear at the 2018 midyear budget hearing.

$100,000 was estimated for replacement of the turnout sets. The remaining $60,000 will be used to buy other equipment, such as boots, gloves, protective hoods, personal lighting, and helmets.

The timing of the purchase is in accordance with National Fire Protection Association recommendations to protect firefighters from chemical and toxic hazards and/or “any incident-danger-life-hazard environment.”

The expenditure is on the Consent Calendar for Tuesday’s meeting and will be approved without discussion unless pulled by a member of the City Council or the public.

Staff recommends approval of Bluebird Canyon Farms events


A neighbor of Bluebird Canyon Farms has appealed the Planning Commission approval on June 19 of agricultural and educational events at the facility and the expansion of the apiary.

The appeal, scheduled to be heard by the council at tonight’s (September 10) meeting, raises issues that include alleged inconsistency with the city’s General Plan, the city Zoning Code, and Local Coastal Program; approval of the findings that justify the Conditional Use Permit approved by the commission; public noticing; compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act; wildland fire hazards; traffic and enlarging the apiary.

However, staff supports the commission’s approval, laying out its responses to the issues raised by the appellant in a 218-page rebuttal that includes additional conditions recommended by the fire department.

The fire department recommendations limit outdoor cooking during classes and events to the four terraced patios to the rear of the primary residence on the property at 1085 Bluebird Canyon Dr, unless other locations are approved by the fire department.
Staff recommends Bluebird Canyon Farms

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Submitted photo

Bluebird Canyon Farms

Outdoor heating appliances and the use of open flames, smoking, and outdoor candles are also restricted to the patios.

A shovel and an operable hose or fire extinguisher must be available within a weed-free 20 feet of the apiary, also stipulated by the fire department. 

Smokers must have a fire-resistant smoker plug installed to prevent embers from escaping and when not in use; smokers must be stored in a non-combustible container with a secure lid.

Bluebird Canyon Farms has a business license to operate as a farm, including raising non-invasive vegetable food products, fruit and nut trees, horticultural specialties, and educational uses.

The license does not permit conducting classes and events. The code violation would be remedied by council denial of the appeal.

Among the activities approved by the commission in addition to agricultural and educational classes, the commission approved a market garden, internships, workshops, meetings, lecture series, and one large annual festival. 

The council hearing on the appeal tonight will be de novo – legalese for “start from scratch” and is the last item on the agenda.

A Magical Breakfast with Mermaids at the Ocean Institute’s
Tall Ships Festival

Story and photos by Brittany Charnley 

If you drove past Dana Point Harbor over the weekend, you may have noticed a few extra vessels, people dressed up, and a variety of vendor tents throughout the parking lots. Last weekend marked the 35th Annual Ocean Institute Tall Ships & Ocean Festival in Dana Point. 

The Ocean Institute Tall Ships & Ocean Festival brings together the community with all kinds of interests surrounding the ocean. There was shopping, live music, interactive experiences, food trucks, and plenty of activities for the kids! Each year it brings California’s rich maritime history to life and celebrates many of the organizations that work to support the preservation of just that.

A Magical Ocean Institute

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It was a beautiful weekend for the 35th Annual Ocean Institute Tall Ships & Ocean Festival

A big highlight for families is the special Mermaid Breakfast in the Ocean Institute. This year the Mermaid Breakfast began promptly at 9 a.m. A little before breakfast began, guests checked in and were told where they would be seated, picked up their ticket add-ons, and then went on to meet their first mermaid, Quinn. 

As families arrived, you couldn’t help but feel the magic as kids were dressed as little mermaids and in mermaid-inspired outfits. Once we all said hi and snapped a photo with Quinn, we went under the sea to the dining hall that was totally transformed into the ultimate mermaid brunch experience. 

A Magical water

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Mermaids at home in the water

The tables were decorated, and we were off to create mermaid crowns and mermaid bracelets until it was time to eat. Families enjoyed an amazing breakfast that included a delicious fruit spread, eggs, sausage, and pancakes. Orange juice, coffee, water, and a fun hot cocoa bar were also included. 

Midway through breakfast, two additional mermaids swam through and kids got a unique one-on-one conversation with them. A few of the kids were a little timid at first, but it was absolutely precious seeing the way that the mermaids interacted with them and made the kids the highlight of the interaction. As a parent, that is the magic that you love to see and cherish. 

A Magical shells

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Mermaids galore

Once breakfast and conversations were done, it was time to split into two groups. One group stayed in the room for story time with a mermaid, while the other group enjoyed a mermaid swim encounter. After quite some time during one activity, the groups switched. This allowed each and every one of the attendees to experience it all. 

A magical mermaid

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Mermaids are real

After all the fun, we said our goodbyes to the mermaids and headed in to continue our experience at the Tall Ships & Ocean Festival. What a blast it was – there was so much to see, do, and learn! 

The Ocean Institute hosts a variety of events throughout the year, in addition to the amazing educational experiences that it provides daily. Stay up to date on all of its happenings

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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