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Laguna Beach

Two Laguna locals unite to help women in the US and around the globe

Suzy Elghanayan and Sarah Vanderveen first came together as co-room moms for their sons’ third grade class at El Morro Elementary. More than a decade later, their boys are college sophomores and Suzy and Sarah’s endeavors together have multiplied. 

On Sunday, September 16 at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, they and their husbands will join forces with a committee of twenty-six others to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Tahirih Justice Center by hosting its Inaugural Gala in Orange County. 

The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that protects courageous immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence by elevating their voices in communities, courts, and Congress. Committed to promoting the equality of women and men, Tahirih works to create a world where all women and girls can live in safety and with dignity. 

Two Laguna group

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(L-R) Sarah Vanderveen, Suzy Elghanayan and Tahirih Major Gifts Officer Carey Eisenberg at Lugano Diamonds

Lugano Diamonds, the first sponsor to sign on for Tahirih’s Inaugural Gala in Orange County, has created a jewel-encrusted dove that will represent man and woman – two wings of the bird of mankind which, until equal in strength, will not soar to the greatest of heights. This original Tahirih-inspired creation will be auctioned off at the Gala.

Since 1997, Tahirih has answered more than 25,000 pleas for help from women and girls seeking protection from gender-based human rights abuses such as rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, forced marriage, and human trafficking. As the only national, multi-city organization providing a holistic model of service – including free legal and social services, policy advocacy, and training and education for frontline professionals – Tahirih displays the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

In this current climate of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it is more important than ever to come together in support of organizations like Tahirih. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of thousands of women and girls and add your name to the list of generous supporters, sponsors, and auction item donors, visit today. 

For more information on Tahirih and its work in California and around the globe, please contact Carey Eisenberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Party on for Laguna Beach Art Association’s 100th Birthday

Laguna Beach Art Association is turning 100! Laguna Art Museum invites everyone to come out and share in the fun on Saturday, Aug 25, and celebrate the nonprofit’s platinum jubilee.

To celebrate the official day on which the Laguna Beach Art Association was founded in 1918, the museum will host a free day with art activities, docent-guided tours, community partner programs, and a birthday cake. This family-friendly event will be a day-long celebration of the historic milestone.

LAM celebrates window

The schedule of events includes:

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Free docent-led exhibition tours. Open to all ages.

1 to 2 p.m. – Remarks, proclamation by Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, live music, and cake.

2 to 5 p.m. – Family activities presented by community arts partners. Celebrate local art, music, and dance in Laguna Beach with interactive stations, art activities, face-painting, and more.

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

For more information, go to or call (949) 494-8971.

Lagunans of all ages come together to jive to ABBA

Photos by Scott Brashier

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Lagunas of all ages 5

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ABBA Gold brought Lagunans of all ages together on Sunday at Bluebird Music in the Park. This week’s concert will feature Room at the Top, a Tom Petty tribute band, starting at 5 p.m.

Studio at Montage receives 2018 Wine Spectator Grand Award for fifth consecutive year

Studio, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star fine dining and signature restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, has again earned the top and most coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. A full profile of winners iappears in the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator and is available online at

According to industry leader Wine Spectator, “The Grand Award, the program’s highest honor, is the ultimate recognition for restaurants with world-class wine programs. This coveted award is presented to restaurants that show uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. 

“These wine lists, which typically have 1,000 or more selections, deliver serious breadth of top producers and outstanding depth in mature vintages, in addition to selections of large-format bottles. Along with superior presentation of the wine list and its excellent harmony with the menu, these restaurants offer the highest level of wine service. Wine Spectator inspects all candidates for the Grand Award to evaluate the overall dining experience and cellar.”

Studio receives landscape

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Studio receives 2018 Wine Spectator Grand Award for fifth year 

“Only 91 restaurants in the United States and 75 other countries have been recognized as Grand Award winners this year, and our sommeliers and culinary team are honored to be a recipient,” said Wine Director Troy Smith. “This distinction is a welcome affirmation of the fine work our sommeliers put in each and every day.”

Studio’s extensive list includes collections from California, Burgundy, Rhône, Bordeaux, Italy, Champagne and Spain, and the restaurant’s wine program is comprised of approximately 2,500 selections with 30,000 bottles in inventory.

The restaurant’s sommelier team is comprised of four full-time sommeliers, three of whom hold the advanced sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ongoing education of the entire service staff is a priority, including weekly blind tastings as well as annual sommelier certification examinations in conjunction with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

In addition, the wine list at Studio, which is highly dynamic and constantly evolving, features a variety of formats with a particular focus on half bottles, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of unique wines as part of its 129 ml selections. This list includes rare, not widely available, verticals from BOND Estates produced by legendary oenophile Bill Harlan.

Summer Breeze Bus service offers free ride into town

Climb aboard the free Laguna Beach Summer Breeze bus, and enjoy all of the town without the driving and parking hassles – or at least, this is what Lagunans need to tell their friends and relatives who hope to visit and avoid traffic.

Summer Breeze riders park at the lot near SR-133/I-405 freeway and catch the bus to festivals as well as all the other Laguna attractions.

The Summer Breeze Bus service runs every weekend from June 30 – September 2 on each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - midnight, and travels from the SR-133/I-405 parking lot along Laguna Canyon Road with stops at the Sawdust Art Festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of the Arts, Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Playhouse, and the Laguna Beach Bus Station.

Summer Breeze Bus route

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Summer Breeze stops at all the favorite spots in town – and it’s a free service

The sun, surf and sand of Main Beach is only a block from the bus station. The trolley service then connects guests with shopping, local restaurants, and destinations all over town and down to South Laguna.

When the beach day is done, daytrippers can just hop back on the Summer Breeze bus at any of the stops and ride back to the parking lot. 

This service is provided by the City all summer long.

For more information, including the Summer Breeze bus schedule, route map, and directions, Tell any would-be visitors that they can “Blow freely into Laguna Beach on a sweet Summer Breeze and be returned safely to your vehicle when you’re done.”

President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises talks about the artist’s exhibition, opening on Friday, August 10


Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, says of the Dr. Seuss exhibition opening on Friday, Aug 10 at Narrative Gallery, “The entire collection is based on works painted but never released to the public. Audrey Geisel, Ted’s widow, decided to include the paintings and reproductions of sculptures.”

Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach will share a rare and compelling selection of artworks from 20 years of The Art of. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known children’s books, as well as The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, a mind-expanding collection based on decades of artwork, which Dr. Seuss created at night for his own personal satisfaction.

President of Dilemma Fish

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Dilemma Fish

Asked why these works remained unseen, Brandt says, “It’s just speculation, but perhaps he did them only for personal pleasure, as he had already gained fame and notoriety from the children’s books.”

For the last 20 years, Brandt has spearheaded all business activities at Dr. Seuss Enterprises including managing the relationship with Random House, Universal, Illumination, and all global licensees. She spearheads all Dr. Seuss business such as publishing, films, theatrical, theme park, retail, promotion, and television.

Art dealer Robert Chase met Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel, a while back to discuss her late husband’s artwork. While the world knew of Dr. Seuss’s prolific children’s book illustrations, hundreds of major artworks spanning nearly his entire 70-year career had remained unseen.

Brandt says, “Dr. Seuss Enterprises is particularly happy and proud to have worked with Chase on this exhibit.”

President of Ted at easel

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Ted Geisel at easel

This archive included concept drawings and final line drawings painstakingly created for his children’s books, artwork created in the 1930s and 1940s for early commercial projects, and private paintings and sculpture done within the intimate setting of his studio. Both Chase and Geisel believed this Secret Art deserved to be seen and the historic project began nearly two years later, six years after Geisel’s death. 

Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection are Dr. Seuss’s three-dimensional “Unorthodox Taxidermy” sculptures with names like The Carbonic Walrus, The Two-Horned Drouberhannis, and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian

Wolghast, to name a few.

Each of these Estate-Authorized limited editions has been adapted and reproduced from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s original drawings, paintings or sculptures.

Additionally, each work bears a posthumously printed or engraved Dr. Seuss signature, identifying the work as an authorized limited edition commissioned by the Dr.

Seuss Estate.

President of Chase in Forest

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Chase in Forest

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection has become one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken for a deceased artist. Nearly 300 gallery, museum, and public exhibitions have been mounted in this country and abroad over the past 20 years, garnering both critical and popular attention from the art world and the collecting public. 

Three major coffee table books have been published on The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection and 77 limited editions of Seuss imagery have now sold out. Most importantly, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) has taken his rightful place among America’s greatest artistic talents of the 20th century.

In her preface to the popular coffee table book on this collection, The Cat Behind the Hat, Audrey Geisel writes: “I’m gratified to carry out Ted’s wishes and have these works revealed to the world.”

Join the gallery for a fascinating glimpse into the unique artistic vision of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The exhibit runs from Friday, Aug 10 through Sunday, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Narrative Gallery, 417 S Coast Hwy. 

For more information, visit

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi wonders if anybody else has hitched their wagon to this wagon. 

Where did she find it? Let her know you’re on to where she found this wagon at its hitchin’ post! 

Submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 8 3 18

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One-of-a-kind jewelry by Nancy Golden on display at Nuance Home today


From noon until 3 p.m. today, Friday, Aug 3, Nancy Golden’s handcrafted one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories will be showcased at Nuance Home. Golden re-purposes leather from designer handbags and used jackets, adding agates, beads, turquoise, and select links to transform them into stunning necklaces and cuffs. Who would have imagined an old designer bag could have a new life as a gorgeous bracelet?

Trunk show Nancy closeup

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Nancy Golden switched from interior design to jewelry design

Golden had a 36-year career as an interior designer, and was the first designer to launch the DIY network, hosting DIY Decorating and Design, Bare Wall, and Weekend Decorated. She was also guest designer on HGTV’s Decorating Cents and Room for Change and appeared on Nate’s Show (her son Nate Berkus is a famous interior designer and HGTV star).

About eight years ago, Golden switched to jewelry design after she bought a Marni necklace in New York. She then started hunting Goodwill and thrift stores for designer bags and used leather jackets to re-purpose into her jewelry, which she describes as “a rustic style combined with natural elements.” She washes and dries the items, takes them apart and cuts them into small pieces. 

Trunk show leather pieces

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Unique jewelry re-purposed from old leather jackets and designer handbags

A pawn shop in Las Vegas, the city where she lives (she spends summers in Laguna) saves their damaged designer goods for her. She also searches antique stores for finds.

Golden’s pieces are obvious attention getters, as evidenced by people on the street who kept asking her where she got her jewelry. That’s when she decided to start selling them. And because she makes things to her taste, she doesn’t do custom orders. 

“I make things I want to wear myself,” Golden says. “That’s my inspiration. Last year she ran into Lisa McDennon, the owner of Nuance, which has been open since 2014. 

McDennon is also a designer and founded her Laguna Beach-based interiors firm, Lisa McDennon Design, in 2000.

Trunk show Nuance

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Nuance is located at the historic Old Pottery Place

With the launch of her first home and lifestyle boutique at the historic Old Pottery Place, McDennon brought her award-winning aesthetic to the world of retail.

Nuance showcases McDennon’s modern, sophisticated style with custom furniture, lighting, and linens. The boutique is currently featuring some examples of McDennon’s new lighting collection for Hinkley Lighting, the Lisa McDennon Collection for Hinkley. 

Nuance sounds like the perfect place for Golden’s one-woman trunk show. 

Golden says, “I had a few pieces at Nuance last year, but not a trunk show. This is my first one there.” She’s had two shows in Las Vegas, and a few years ago, she had a couple here in Laguna (at Just Looking and Brass Tack). 

“I never wanted to have my pieces on permanent display in a store,” she says. “I think when people go to an art fair or trunk show, the artist needs to be there to talk about their work.”

And it should be quite interesting to hear Golden explain how an old jacket or designer handbag ended up as a stunning piece of jewelry.

Nuance is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. The phone number is (949) 494-8833.

The HeART of Fashion at the Sawdust beats to a different drum – and that’s what makes it so great


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Stu News shared some of Mary Hurlbut’s wonderful photos of the HeART of Fashion runway show at the Sawdust last Sunday in our Tuesday issue – but that wasn’t enough for our readers, so here are more.

The fashion event showed off the tremendous talents of Sawdust artists who produce and/or work with fabrics, textiles, jewelry and accessories of all kinds. The audience was treated to a wide variety of headdresses, from cloches to triangular Chinese bamboo hats to sharp chapeaus of all sizes and shapes (including a cone-shape to cap it all off).

the heart cloche

the heart headdress

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Hats off to the Sawdust artists, who knew exactly where they were heading with these designs

Not to mention the Red Riding Hood outfit by Reem Khalil, inspired by the fairy tale (no wolf in sight, fortunately, not even a coyote).

Dresses ranged from the floaty to the formal (even a wedding dress!) and included bias-cut tie-dyed dresses as well as outfits conjured up from materials including leather, silk and tulle, with fringes making seriously flippant fashion statements. 

The outfits featured the useful (for example, an egg-carrying apron by Mary Keating, along with other aprons so cute they were worthy to be worn après-anything) to fabulously frivolous frippery to the unexpected – such as Diane Valentino’s lacy “skirt belts” – a modern take on those unmentionables of old: garter belts that held up (preferably) silk stockings.

Even sandwich boards were incorporated into the show, perhaps for those who prefer to keep their figures under wraps?

the heart sandwich

the heart shawl

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Sandwich boards and shawls; scarves and sarongs – all on show on Sunday

Then there were the amazing internationally themed outfits, using bright vintage fabrics, as deployed by Sue Winner (who says that she developed her taste for color when she ate her first crayon at the age of two).

Oh, and there was also a python. A real, butterscotch yellow python – who knew they came in that color? And that such a muscular snake would look so fetching worn around the neck? (I mean, talk about a statement necklace!)

the heart apron

the heart costume

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Amazing aprons! And Asian influences added to the internationalism of the show

Reem Khalil’s contributions were stunning, quite naturally so – she uses organic dyes from cochineal beetles, mushrooms and eucalyptus, among other plants, to add piquancy to her creations.

The emphasis was on the natural in most of the stuff that was strutted on the runway, with American native influences dominating.

Elegance and eccentricity were both prominently on show, contributing to a most excellent event. There were too many great outfits to describe in one article…everyone did a terrific job. Can’t wait for next year!

Tony’s Treehouse donated scholarship for SoCal camper, continuing a Boys & Girls Club tradition

An 8-year-old boy from Long Beach was able to join hundreds of other campers from the Laguna Beach’s Boys & Girl Club community this week – an opportunity made possible through a generous donation from the nonprofit Tony’s Treehouse. 

Founded by local Becky Martinez, the organization has contributed thousands of dollars over the years to help fund special field trips and camp tuition at the Club. The organization is dedicated to continuing the compassionate spirit of Becky’s son, Tony Martinez, by uniting family, friends, and community who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for families in need. Tony and his brother Danny were members of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach as children. 

“We have a long history with the Club, going back to 1997 when my boys began attending,” says Becky. She explained that back then, as a recent divorcee and working full-time in town as an insurance representative, the Club’s after school program became a lifesaver to her. 

“Better yet, they gave me scholarship funding due to our financial hardship. And it was later, when I lost my youngest boy Tony on December 23, 1999, that we started our charity in honor of his sweet and generous spirit,” she added. 

Tonys Treehouse

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It turns out that RJ had never attended a summer camp before last week, making his time in Laguna Beach, made possible by Tony’s Treehouse, extra special

Since the organization’s inception, Tony’s Treehouse has helped many local families and young people through the years. The group’s connections happen in many different ways: sometimes through friends in local news outlets, or working with homeless advocate groups, which is how they met RJ’s family. 

The mother and grandfather of this bright and sweet child were homeless for a period of time when Becky crossed paths with the family at an OC homeless holiday event. That was back in 2010 when RJ was just a one-year-old, and the family found an apartment thanks to Section 8 housing, in Compton. Now living in a more family-friendly area of Long Beach, the family has been “adopted” by the organization on a personal level, attending holiday, birthday parties, baby showers and other family celebrations. 

However, tragedy struck in 2014 when RJ’s mom and dad lost his newborn sibling to SIDS. 

“They couldn’t afford a grave marker, so our supporters pulled together and raised enough money to provide the baby with a beautiful headstone,” recalled Becky.  “One thing that sets our little grassroots group apart from others is that we develop and nurture long-term relationships with our families,” she reflected, which is why partnering up once again with the Boys & Girls Club – whose mission is parallel – was a natural choice for the organization to fulfill a week long stay at camp for RJ.

CEO of the Club, Pam Estes, added, “We were thrilled to have RJ experience summer camp at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach this summer, where he played, went to the beach and saw tide pools, made new friends – all while connecting with caring mentors in a safe and supportive environment. We hope to see him back next year!” 

For more information on Tony’s Treehouse, visit

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

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

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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