“These are a few of my favorite things…”

Story and photos by MAGGI HENRIKSON

It’s that hap happiest time of the year. And if you don’t want that song stuck in your head, you’ll be much happier shopping in Laguna than out there in mall-land at Christmastime - which seems to start just after Labor Day.

I confess, I like giving gifts and I even like receiving them. I feel that way despite all the begrudgers, like my father who says, “I don’t need anything!” Or my husband who cannot stand even the thought of shopping.

So, I’ve gone on my annual quest for my (completely biased and opinionated) favorite things in Laguna, in the hopes that our readers will enjoy these local treasures. Our sweet hometown shops offer some of the most unusual and creative gifts you’ll find anywhere. 

Here is what I window-shopped for today in the heart of downtown:


Coast Hardware - The Tiffany of hardware stores, this is a go-to spot for the cooks in your life. They have all kinds of gadgets and hand tools great for stocking stuffers, plus my favorite brand of pots and pans, Le Creuset. You could get anything from a nifty bright-colored spatula for around $4, to a fancy Nespresso machine for $450. Le Creuset, the enameled iron cookware goes from stove to oven, and will last forever.


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Coast Hardware

Laguna Drug - Of course, where else would you find holiday décor but at the drugstore? They have very real looking gingerbread houses, sweet yet inedible. They’ll keep on giving for years to come (house shown, $148). Plus they have the best selection of real taper candles, when you’re ready to break out your nice candlesticks. Don’t forget the bobeche (that’s a trivia question- who knows what that word means?).


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Laguna Drug

Rock Martin - Ooh, isn’t this a pretty necklace? I love it ($365). There are many fine one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry in this treasure chest of a shop on Forest Ave. 

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Rock Martin

Tuvalu - This store is jam-packed with visual delights, so let’s keep it simple. Here is a one-size-fits-all gift. These are lovely bottles filled with seashells and oil, for burning.

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Tune in as the big day approaches. I’ll be highlighting more of my faves in town.

Where in Laguna, you know you know!!

Here are this week’s Maggi where-in-Laguna challengers. She thinks everyone will get these, and she says that’s her holiday gift. We think she’s got her fingers crossed behind her back! She doesn’t want to lose!

If you think you know the things and locations pictured here, go ahead and let her know. No need to say thank-you. Tell her “Gotcha”!

Begin with the featured photo below then click on the left-hand photo in the slideshow to view the other three. 

Good luck!

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

The correct answers will be in Friday’s edition and on our Facebook page.

Have fun and thanks for playing!

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Sawdust Winter Fantasy’s final weekend coming up

The 24th Annual Winter Fantasy, A Holiday Tradition, begins its final weekend this coming Saturday. The Winter Fantasy is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Santa’s hours are 10 - 5:30. Adult admission is $7; $6 for seniors (65+); $4 for children (6-12); free for children (5 & under); and $10 for a Season Pass. 

Over 175 talented artisans (33 new this year!) will create, showcase and sell their original artwork on the Sawdust grounds, which will be transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of holiday decorations and a freshly built “Towne Square” in the center of the festival. The featured Winter Fantasy artisans handcraft each piece of artwork, creating a truly unique holiday shopping experience for visitors. Art mediums include glass, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, textiles, painting, photography, mixed-media and more. 

Special holiday highlights include the annual Community Night and Tree Lighting Ceremony, Zoomars Petting Zoo, Toys for Tots holiday toy drive, Children’s Holiday Playhouse, thousands of lights and holiday decorations, and Santa! The Winter Fantasy entertains patrons with art classes for all ages including this year’s Winter Art Series classes, holiday carolers, Rene’s Marionettes and music of all genres.  Additionally, the Winter Fantasy has four outdoor cafés, an espresso bar, a popcorn booth and the Sawdust Saloon. Visit the Winter Fantasy and experience a true Laguna Beach holiday tradition.

Throughout the festival, guests can participate in the special community events planned for this winter show, including Toys for Tots every Sunday of the festival. Toys for Tots is a foundation supported by the Marine Corps Reserve with a mission of collecting toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. Visitors to the 2014 Winter Fantasy can show their support by contributing new unwrapped toys for children, newborn to 17, every Sunday during the festival. Those that donate a new toy with a value of $5 or more will receive free one-day admission to the Winter Fantasy that Sunday. 

Supporting the Sawdust Art Festival’s mission of educating the public, artists will create artwork live in front of our guests, in the artists’ booths and at our popular Glassblowing Demonstration Booth. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore their own creativity and take an art class at the Ceramic Center, Studio One, Children’s Art Spot and also the classrooms of the year-round Sawdust Studio Art Classes. 

Don’t miss out on the many photo ops in Towne Square, where you will find Children’s Playhouse, Santa’s House and Sleigh, Reindeer Barn, Community Tree and even falling snow!  

The festival is located at the Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road. For additional information, please visit www.sawdustartfestival.org or call 494-3030.

Easy, Like a Sunday Morning

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Mark Porterfield

At Bluebird Beach

Dennis’ Tidbits



December 16, 2014

Rain and some old yarns about surfing hereabouts

Rainfall totals for December 2014 are already approaching the month’s norms with more water on the way. Last Friday’s rain event was a wild one in some spots with convective activity hammering some places. 

Did anybody see the footage of the EF-1 tornado that touched down briefly near Vernon, a small industrial area just southeast of LA Downtown? The very rare twister did no damage to any homes, thank goodness, as the area is all industrial structures, but the funnel tore up several roofs with its 95 mph winds. 

Several towns collected loads of hail that reached one inch in diameter. Funny thing is, while all of this madness was taking place here in Southern Cal, the sun was shining with record warm temps up in the land of suicide weather, the Pacific Northwest, where duck hunting, Skoal sucking rednecks that hate us Californians, look like Larry The Cable Guy on the loose. 

It’s California’s turn to get a bunch of rain, finally! Realistically, we need at least a couple dozen more of these drenchers just to break even, but at least Ma Nature is beginning to put a sizeable dent in this severe statewide drought. Just keep ‘em coming!

On this date in 1962, one of the biggest winter swells in memory hit the California Coast. It was the biggest North Pacific swell since January 10, 1953 when the Queen of the coast, (Rincon) had sets up to 20 feet! Imagine surfing triple overhead Rincon with less than a dozen guys out, lead by a young Reynolds Yater and the late Bob Simmons, who drowned off Tijuana Sloughs later that year. 

Both were pioneers in the surfboard industry. 

There weren’t that many surfers back in 1953; maybe 200 at the most; the explosion in the surfer population didn’t start until the late 50’s. By 1960 there was upwards of 50,000 surfers. Five years later, that figure more than tripled, thanks in large part by the birth of Surfer Magazine started by John Severson in 1960. The new publication opened up all kinds of doors. Surfer Mag is still in full swing 54 years later along with its partner Surfer Journal

Tidbits began surfing in 1960 at Doheny back when it was pristine before the powers that be messed it up and put in a harbor in 1970.

Doheny was such a neat place to surf and hang out and talk story with a host of famous surfers who frequented the place including the likes of Phil Edwards, considered the best surfer on the coast back in 1960. Hobie Alter, Doheny lifeguard Bob Moore, Bobby Patterson, a young Billy Hamilton (Laird’s stepdad), a young Corky Carroll, the list goes on. It was like going to the country back then. Dana Point was just a small one lane each way on PCH; a fishing town.

Before they put the harbor in, there were seven spots along the two mile stretch bordering the Point at Dana Point on the north and the mouth of San Juan Creek to the south. With no jetties, Doheny broke on any direction swell and its long tapering waves offered rides of 200 yards or more. The Point at Dana Point was a famous big wave spot during summertime big south swells. 

The spot gained the nickname “Killer Dana”. Now it’s called Killed Dana. Sad. 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

Clouding Up and Raining All Over Us

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Lynn Whitlock

Reader Lynn Whitlock snapped this from her home on Temple Hills Drive Friday morning. That’s the definition of an ‘ominous cloud’ if ever there was one! Thanks Lynn, and we’re sure all of us who never got back to sleep can now see why…

Mary Spease

This is about the most water we heard of in one place from the Friday downpour.

Keep your umbrella handy!

It looks as if we’ll have more this morning and into Wednesday with the amount intensifying overnight. The weather service says a second storm will follow on the heels of the Tuesday rain throughout the day Wednesday. 

Daytime temps are expected to be in the low 60s.


The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer. She also designs our marketing materials - and is responsible for our new logo.

Maggi Henrikson is our Associate Editor; Diane Armitage, Niki Smart, Samantha WasherErin Burris, Allison Martin, and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Anita Razin and April Steinert are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, Maggi Henrikson, Cliff Getz, Mike Altishin, and Jay Rubin are the staff photographers.

Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena takes care of our sales goals and strategic marketing and finds ways to keep Stu on topic and on target…it’s football season!

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising


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