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Laguna Beach

Locals and luminaries light up the Festival grounds at the Centennial Anniversary Laguna Art Museum Gala

Story and photos by DIANNE RUSSELL

The Festival of Arts grounds were ‘dressed to the nines’ for Laguna Art Museum’s 100th Anniversary Gala, and not to be outdone, the crowd sported spectacular outfits as well. Not many male attendees took the “black tie optional” suggestion to heart. There were so many tuxedos and bowties, you’d have thought it was a scene from James Bond’s Casino Royale. 

locals and dresses

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Bevy of beautiful dresses, Jane Hanauer, owner of LB Books, and Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones were spotted

And when does one see a tuxedo with shorts pants? Only at this event. And the array of beautiful dresses was blinding – gold, sequined, draped – and in every stunning hue on the color palette.

Guests enjoyed tasty appetizers and sipped champagne as they mingled in the pleasant fall air. 

Diners were treated to a voyage through major milestones in California art, courtesy of Chef Ben Martinek of Studio, Chef Amar Santana, and Chef Craig Strong.

locals and dining area

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Festival grounds were transformed into a sophisticated dining area

Dinner was infused with the aesthetics of modernist works by artists such as Helen Lundeberg and John McLaughlin. Finally, guests danced the night away under the influence of the light and space movement, exemplified by artists such as Peter Alexander, Lita Albuquerque and James Turrell.

locals and Fritz

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Fritz Coleman, weatherman for KNBC-TV, on right, chats with Chuck Henry, KNBC-TV news anchor

The evening’s entertainment included celebrity MCs Chuck Henry and Fritz Coleman; music by The Gatsbys, The Tony Guerrero Quintet and special guests, and Soulcirque; and a performance by the anonymous artists The Bumbys.

There was also a raffle to win the Art Cart, custom-painted by renowned LA artist Kenny Scharf.

All in all, a celebration worthy of the Centennial Anniversary of LAM.

Paradise on the beach

Paradise on a stretch of beach

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Photo by Dan Baker

A stretch of beach between the State Beach and the Montage, otherwise known as Paradise to those who live perched above it

The Pet Rescue Center closes after 11 years

After 11 years of tremendous effort to create a nonprofit that will save the lives of dogs and cats at risk of euthanasia, The Pet Rescue Center has decided to close their programs indefinitely and point our efforts in another direction. 

“We have dedicated ourselves to make The Pet Rescue Center’s mission a success over an entire decade plus,” Co-founder and executive director Blythe Wheaton said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished. We succeeded in doing great things. Such as saving 1,500 dogs and cats from euthanasia and creating new families, distributing 300,000 plus pounds of pet food to pet owners in times of critical need, and educated thousands of individuals over our 11-year lifespan.”

Running a nonprofit is not something they had specialized in prior to founding the rescue center in 2007, but their passion for the cause propelled their successes. 

“We made personal sacrifices and drained our personal financial resources at times, but it has all been a wonderful success in our hearts and minds because of the lives we have impacted,” Wheaton said.

In order to serve the community best they felt the time was right to take a step back and re-evaluate what kind of needs the world has, match them with their current circumstances and how they can best help.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the community for 11 years. We have put forth a great effort to make a difference and will forever take with us the faces of those we have saved,” Wheaton said. “We hope that the mission we created will live on in the spirit of other rescuers and groups fighting the good fight to save lives.

 “Our remaining scheduled education groups will complete by the end of October. We will officially close our doors on Oct 31,” Wheaton said. “Thank you for being a part of our team and efforts to save lives over the past 11 years.”

Blythe Wheaton and co-founder and medical director Dr. Matthew Wheaton of The Pet Rescue Center both extend their gratitude to the community. For more information, visit

The Laguna Beach Beautification Council is acknowledging homes with great improvements 

The LBBC is giving Appreciation Notices throughout the city for great home improvements. The once rundown Arch Beach Veterinary Clinic was recently acknowledged for their renovation. They painted the building a delightful shade of blue with white trim displaying playful figures of pets on mosaic platforms and potted plants.

The Laguna Beach vet

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Submitted photo

David Gordon, DVM gives thumbs up receiving the Laguna Beach Beautification Council’s Appreciation Notice

The clinic’s nextdoor neighbor also received a notice for their charming cottage with white roses and blue shutters bringing the two separate building together. These are both examples of how thoughtful renovations and gardens beautify a block and ad to the experience of our village.

The LBBC wants the communities help in finding other great restorations that should be noticed. Residents can submit an entry by taking a photo of a project in their neighborhood, downtown, of a well-tended corner or public area and letting the LBBC know.

For more information, visit

Experience yourself anew with rebirth activation led by Alli Hutchins

Using Ancient Yogic Technologies, Somatic Movement, and Breathwork to shape each session with care and consideration, Allison Hutchins motivates the practitioner to experience the depths of their intended journey toward personal center. 

A master facilitator with over a decade of teaching Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, mindful movement, Hutchins’ unique teachings weave sacred geometry, energetic awareness and healing abilities to help access and connect the individual and group to experience the expanded self. 

It is Hutchins’ intention to bring classes and teachings that serve to purify as participants allow and access the opportunity to tune into creative wisdom and divine love. 

Alli Hutchins Experience Yourself anew

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Photo by Inna Shnayder

Experience rebirth activation with Allison Hutchins this Saturday at Moss Point

“I believe that innate nourishment is our greatest desire and that the ability to take care of ourselves – and be supported in doing so – is liberating,” Hutchins said. 

Her journey has brought lessons and teachings of beauty and harmony as well as growing pains and challenges. Hutchins offers the many modalities she brings together as expressions of the wisdom and expertise gained through many years of experience and gratitude. They are offered with the highest intentions of well being and happiness.

Allison’s next session is this Saturday, Oct 6 at 4:30 p.m. at Moss Point Estate at 161 Moss St. Suggested donation is $25. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Glennwood House and the community celebrated 5 amazing years Saturday at Seven 7 Seven

Photos by Scott Brashier

Glennwood House and event

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Glennwood residents were excited to celebrate 5 years as part of the Laguna Beach community

Glennwood House in Laguna Beach celebrated its 5-year anniversary on Saturday, Sept 29. The community joined for an outdoor festival of fun at Seven 7 Seven and all ages enjoyed the wonderful event. 

Glennwood House and booth

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Friends and families enjoyed the 1970’s VW photo booth at the event

Two local bands performed at the event, The Stick Shifts and Elu The Dust. There was also be face painting, a photo booth hosted by Desi DJ Productions, which was set up in a 1970s VW van, a silent auction, food and beverage and local vendors. 

Glennwood house and auction

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Items were auctioned as part of the fundraiser for Glennwood House

Fundraising events at Glennwood support their program services and recreation programs and ensure that independent living is a fulfilling and life giving experience for all who live at there. 

Glennwood House and friends

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Family and friends in the community showed their support at the fun-filled event Saturday

Local baby purée company Stork Bites launched at the farmer’s market Saturday

Stork Bites, a local baby purée company with home delivery, is pleased to announce their launch at the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Sept 29. Founded by local “Mompreneurs” Allyson Liu and Maria Del Toro, Stork Bites has made mealtime for babies healthy and easier than ever.

Local baby moms

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Founders of Stork Bites are honored to be part of the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturdays

“I know first-hand the challenges of preparing healthy baby food from scratch, while juggling all the responsibilities of being a new parent. Our purpose is to provide busy parents with a variety of organic purées they can trust, and make it just the way they would have, if they had the time. We also provide home delivery for added convenience,” said Allyson Liu, Co-Founder.

Deemed “Home-style Purées”, Stork Bites have no added water, so the consistency is as if it was homemade. Using only seasonal organic ingredients, these purées are steamed or roasted in small batches, and frozen in convenient, individual 3 oz. servings.

Stork Bites is committed to giving back to the community. In an effort to support other mothers and children in their time of need, they have pledged to donate unused, perishable baby purées to Casa Teresa, an Orange County Women’s Shelter. Casa Teresa’s mission is to empower mothers by teaching lifelong skills to end cycles of homelessness, abuse and addiction.

Stork Bites frozen baby food is available for home delivery direct from the website Current delivery area is within California only. Future expansion of delivery area is planned for 2019.

Ohana Fest at Doheny Beach was a musical delight last weekend

Photos by Scott Brashier

Ohana Fest at yeah

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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs captured the audience in an outstanding performance

Ohana Fest at delighted

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Many delighted in the great tunes from popular musicians at the festival

Ohana Fest at Beck

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Beck was among the artists who rocked the stage last weekend

Ohana Fest at Norah

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Norah Jones seranated the audience at Ohana Fest

Ohana Fest at Mumford

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Mumford & Sons performed new songs along with their fan-favorite classics

Sapphire, September’s birthstone, symbol of truth, nobility, and loyalty

By Lorraine Hornsby

Sapphire, the September birthstone, has historically symbolized many things, including truth, nobility, and loyalty. The best quality gems are a “cornflower” blue – a pure, rich color which is not too pale and not too dark. The photo below is of a gorgeous example of sapphire, the 62-carat Rockefeller Sapphire, which was purchased in by John D. Rockefeller in 1934 from an India Maharajah. Most recently, it was sold at auction by Christie’s in 2011, for just over $3 million.

Sapphire, Septembers Rockefeller

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Photo from Christies

62-carat Rockefeller Sapphire

Related Gems

What do rubies and sapphires have in common? They are both varieties of the corundum gem species. This means that they have the same crystal structure and base chemical composition, but the presence of trace elements results in different colors.

In its pure state, corundum is composed of aluminum and oxygen and is colorless. Such a gem would be known as white sapphire, and has been used to imitate diamonds.

When the trace elements of iron and titanium are present, however, the result is a blue sapphire. If the trace element is chromium, the resulting color ranges from pink to red (aka ruby).

The Many Colors of Sapphire

Besides the traditional blue, sapphires can be violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, or purple. These are known as “fancy” sapphires, and the color descriptor should be included as part of the name. So when a stone is described simply as “sapphire,” it refers to a blue gem, but the other varieties would be called “pink sapphire” or “green sapphire,” etc.

Sapphire, Septembers colors

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Courtesy of Jeff Scovil and GIA

Fancy Sapphires

If you come across a gem called a “padparadscha,” it is the orange variety of sapphire, and it is my favorite of the fancy colored sapphires. 

Phenomenal Sapphire

Like rubies, sapphires can have geometrically aligned inclusions of another mineral, rutile, which can result in a “star” effect.

Sapphire, Septembers large gem

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Courtesy of Chip Clark and the Smithsonian

330-carat Star of Asia

Sources of Sapphire

Sri Lanka and Myanmar have traditionally been considered the best sources of sapphire, but they are also found in Madagascar, Tanzania, Australia, and the United States.

Synthetics and Look-Alikes

Gem-quality sapphires can be lab-grown. These synthetic versions are beautiful, but they are significantly less valuable than natural gems, so it is important to know whether the stone you are buying is natural or man-made. Always ask, and be sure the receipt documents what the seller has told you!

Lorraine Hornby is a local jewelry artist and Certified Gemologist, SCC. Her work can be viewed at, and you can read more about gemstones and jewelry fabrication on her blog,

Sip & Shuck Shindig returns Sunday, Nov 4


I know the 5th Annual Driftwood Kitchen + The Deck Sip & Shuck party isn’t happening for an entire month (November 4 to be exact, 2 - 6 p.m.). The tickets for this event, though, disappear faster than oysters on the half shell, the namesake for this event. 

Our fine folks at Driftwood and The Deck restaurants introduced the Sip & Shuck in 2014 as an oyster/champagne party in the name of nonprofit love for Laguna Beach. This year, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is the lucky recipient.

The first Sip & Shuck party in 2014 included all sorts of tray-passed small bites and was filled to the brim with a sold-out crowd from the moment it opened its doors. 

Sip n chef

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Submitted photo

Chef Rainer Schwarz

Each year since, the champagne and food offerings have only expanded, and the party has only gotten bigger. 

Ticketing Price Provides Serious Benefit

Admittedly, the price for entry has gotten bigger, too, and understandably so. While Chef Rainer Schwarz and business partner John Nye can either donate or find donating partners for most of the party’s expenses, there are some hard costs that just have to remain what they are. 

And, given the popularity of the event, Schwarz and Nye want to be sure that the nonprofit they select to honor each year actually receives enough funding to prove beneficial.

Party goers seem more than happy to comply with the goodwill gesture. 

This year, general admission tickets for 21 and over are $125. VIP tickets, which include early entry at 1 p.m. are $150. 

Food & Beverages as Far as the Eye Can See

The press release I received about this year’s Sip & Shuck says that “admission includes oysters and other small bites, as well as access to champagne, wine, cocktail and beer sampling.”

Trust me when I say this is quite the understatement.

Sip n glass

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Submitted photo

Libations as far as the eye can see

The event will include beverages from Veuve Clicquot, Laguna Beach Beer Company, Piper Sonoma, Nicholas Freuillate, Nolet’s Gin, Bianchi Winery, Kendall Jackson, Tito’s Vodka, Reyka Vodka, Cote de Roses, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Ketel One, Sailor Jerry, Bloom Gin, Casamigo Tequila, Lavazza Coffee, Chambers and Chambers wines, and more. 

These are typically served up in very creative ways, including iced luges, drizzled snow cones and more. 

On the food side…well, that presentation just goes on and on, with fare from all three of Schwarz’ menus – The Deck, Driftwood Kitchen and Laguna Niguel-based Hendrix. The food fare meanders on over-laden tables from the Pacific Edge Bungalows, up the stairs to The Deck, and up more stairs to even more tables in Driftwood Kitchen and the Stateroom Bar.   

And, then, there’s the Entertainment Factor

Sip & Shuck has been known to introduce a few “surprises” along the way. In the past this has ambled between live sand castle building, live painting and art exhibits, actual tattoo artists in play, photo booths, raffles, swag shops and more. The team also brings in phenomenal live music. 

While there’s nary a promise as to what may be lurking at this year’s party, you can bet you’re not going to be bored. Not for a minute. 

Buy your Sip & Shuck tickets at (Sorry, ages 21 and over only allowed to the party.)

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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