Where’s Maggi?

Name that place… the mailbox edition

Laguna’s wonderful mailboxes are Maggi’s fixation this week. Have any idea where these are?

See if you’ve been walking the same streets as Maggi. Drop a note if you know where these cuties are located. 

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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Laguna Playhouse raised a record $350,000 while 300 guests celebrated its 95 venerable seasons at gala 

On Saturday, Nov 14, nearly 300 guests filled the Island Hotel in Newport Beach for Laguna Playhouse’s annual fundraising gala. This year’s event raised a record $350,000 in support of the Playhouse’s mission to enrich lives through the magic of live theatre, to provide educational opportunities for children and adults, and to create experiences that stimulate cultural and social interaction and inspire our community.

Proceeds from the annual event help cover the operating costs of the 95-year-old icon, one of the oldest continuing operating theaters west of the Mississippi. 

The celebratory event was co-chaired by Melinda Masson and Barbara MacGillivray. Ms. Masson welcomed celebrated Orange County community and business leaders with a champagne toast to 95 successful years and a surprise announcement: “For every donor who pledges $10,000, Winston Jewelers just announced that they will donate a jewelry item valued at $3,000 per pledge.” 

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Submitted photo

Playhouse Board Co-Chair Joe Hanauer (L), Gala Co-Chairs Barbara MacGillivray and Melinda Masson and water resource attorney Paul Singarella

Board of Directors co-chair Joe Hanauer spoke to the impact and achievements of Laguna Playhouse to the community, stating that, “Live theatre enhances our ability to express our thoughts and feelings. It often focuses on ethics and morals, providing life lessons. It enriches our lives and allows us to experience new and thought-provoking ideas. This is the legacy of Laguna Playhouse in its 95th season and as we look to the future.”

Highlights from the evening included the critically acclaimed Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre welcoming guests with 95th Season Gala bracelets followed by a special dance presentation by Playhouse collaborators, Laguna Dance Festival. Award-winning actor and professional clown, Matt Walker, led guests in an entertaining fundraising segment, “Produce a Performance,” where the audience experienced how their donations materialized into full-blown production elements. There was also a much-anticipated reprise of the very popular dance duet from this summer’s hit musical, Footloose, with stars Logan Farine and Lily Davis, which closed out the evening’s entertainment. 

Executive Director, Karen Wood and Artistic Director, Ann Wareham, drew the winning ticket for the opportunity drawing of 100 premium bottles of wine, which was won by Daniel and Francine Scinto. Karen Wood then shared an exciting announcement: “Jamie and Mohamed El-Erian have generously funded TheatreReach, The Playhouse’s professional outreach tour to elementary schools with a gift of $500,000.” 

The Gala culminated in an evening of dancing the night away.

Dennis’ Tidbits


November 24, 2015


Dennis is under the weather 

See y’all Friday – Happy Thanksgiving!

Crowdfunding campaign nears deadline for Miles From Los Angeles, a firstphoto book by Laguna’s Cheyne Walls 

Local landscape photographer Cheyne Walls has raised over $6,000 since launching his Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to self-publish his first photo book, Miles from Los Angeles. The project is nearly 50% funded with only days to go. The final day to support and pledge to this project and to purchase a copy of the book at a discounted price is Thursday, Dec 3.

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From his book

If the $13,000 funding goal is met, Miles from Los Angeles will be available in softcover, hardcover and a limited collector’s edition. The book will feature over 150 panoramic photographs from Cheyne’s favorite locations in Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and his home state of California. If the project does not meet the funding goal by the deadline, backers will not be charged and the photo book will be at risk of being shelved.

“This photo book is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” said Cheyne Walls. “It’s been a dream of mine to put all my favorite images together in a high-quality book that I can share with friends, art collectors, and other nature enthusiasts. With your support, we can bring this project to life.”

Cheyne’s fine art photographs have received national and international awards. He has exhibited throughout the United States and locally at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts and Art-a-Fair. Additionally, Cheyne regularly welcomes guests and patrons to his artist studio/gallery located on Laguna Canyon Road. Miles from Los Angeles will be his first photo book.

With pledges of $40 (plus $5 shipping), backers can pre-order a softcover copy of Miles from Los Angeles signed by the artist. Additional reward tiers include hardcover copies, a special collector’s case, name and thank you in the finished book, open edition prints, and limited-edition prints of the cover photograph. For more information and to contribute, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheynewalls/miles-from-los-angeles-a-photo-book-of-the-western/

“I am incredibly grateful for the support and enthusiasm we’ve received so far,” said Cheyne. “There are only a few more days left to contribute and help make this project a reality.”

Photographer Cheyne Walls specializes in panoramic images of the Northern American landscape. Prior to dedicating himself to capturing and printing his fine art photographs, Walls worked as an advertising and editorial photographer in the automotive industry. Traveling across the United States and throughout the globe on these photo shoots, he fell in love with the diverse landscapes of the world. Walls, a southern California native, received a degree from Brooks Institute of Photography. His award-winning photography is part of numerous private and commercial collections worldwide. Past exhibits include New York’s Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art, Florida’s Artist Haven Gallery, the Irvine Fine Art Center, the Los Angeles G2 Gallery, Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters and San Diego Art Institute.

For more info, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit http://www.cheynewalls.com

2015 Juried Fine Art Exhibition—winners announced

The Arts Commission conducted its ninth annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition this month, which is currently on display at City Hall at 505 Forest Ave. It can be viewed through Nov 25, 2015. 

The juror, Laguna Art Museum’s Executive Director, Malcolm Warner, reviewed 186 submissions from artists throughout Orange County. The winners of the exhibition were announced as such: 1st Place, Elizabeth McGhee; 2nd Place, Brett Caplinger; 3rd Place, Cliff Wassmann. The prizewinners were awarded $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively.

Honorable mention was awarded to Noriho Uriu, Gary Zuercher, Carole Daley, Mike Lucas, Josie Weber and Ellen Rose.

The Oaks at Ojai: a lifestyle destination retreat 

Story and photos by MAGGI HENRIKSON

Ojai has long been a favorite weekend destination of mine. You can drive there in a little more than two hours from Laguna Beach, and be well rewarded with golden hills for hiking, farmlands full of great produce, a big, fancy resort, or several adorable little boutique inns plus a food, craft brews and wine culture second to none. The community, made up of hippies, celebrities, musicians, and farmers only adds to its charm. And the drive there is spectacularly beautiful.

They say that the Chumash Indians encountered spiritual healing in this place of the rosy sunsets, and the name Ojai means Moon. When the sun sets, the refection east, off the Topa Topa Mountains creates what is known as the “Pink Moment” – the nirvana of sunsets, especially as the moon glows simultaneously over the valley. 

Being in this vortex of Native American healing, with its beauty and small town charm is downright invigorating. So, I was doubly charmed when I visited The Oaks at Ojai to partake in their package of health and wellness.

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Located smack dab in the center of town, The Oaks is a large cluster of casitas beneath towering oak trees. It is not the Canyon Ranch or Golden Door type of destination spa, but rather a friendly, welcoming, inclusive place that also includes weight-loss goals and kick-ass fitness. It is actually affordable for the Average Joe (though most likely a Jane) as the stay includes all meals, 10 – 12 exercise classes, and often art or other mind-stimulating seminars.

I visited with my husband, who was one of only a couple of men we saw (though we were told that two men had just visited for an entire month). Nonetheless, my man is not daunted by a majority of female company, and I think that both of us came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for people of all shapes and sizes. The Oaks is an inclusive place, and guests seem to genuinely feel free to be themselves.

“When I pulled up to The Oaks, it was my first time, and I thought it was nothing special,” one guest shared with me. “Then I came inside, and was greeted by this unbelievable warmth. It was overwhelming.” She was tearing up as she described the negative outlook she has had about her own body. She feared judgment that she was overweight and out of shape. But at The Oaks she found acceptance, friendship, and classes allowing her to progress at her own pace. She is a Silicon Valley executive, and she told me she has already booked her entire company to come for a week.

There’s something for every level of fitness at The Oaks. We started the first morning with their Brisk Walk; a fast-paced 3-mile sunrise special. On that morning the route led through dirt paths, beside horse corrals, and on to neighborhood streets, including passing by the home of former resident Reese Witherspoon, and many homes of unique architectural designs.

 Accompanying our group of six walkers was Sheila Cluff, the fit and fabulous owner of The Oaks. Her story is quite remarkable and almost made me want to stop for a chat capable of breathing in between. But, of course Cluff could walk at fast pace and talk too. 

The Oaks owner and fitness expert, Sheila Cluff

Sheila Cluff was a teen ice-skating star from Canada. She began teaching cardiovascular fitness with dance in the 1950’s, and went on to become what she calls “the grandmother of aerobics.” 

“I had to convince the principal to pay for a piano player, so we could have music with exercise,” she said. She even taught fitness to new moms – using their babies as weights. Her drive and ambition met with opportunity, and Cluff moved first to New York and then to California with her husband. She opened The Oaks in 1976, building on the fitness trends into the 1980’s, which incorporated dance movement with traditional strengthening techniques but she tied in nutrition for the complete package. 

“I wanted neither a fat farm nor a beauty spa,” Cluff writes in her memoir, “but a place that focused on health and fitness, where people would come to enjoy themselves, not be ‘punished’ with exercise and diet food.”

Today Cluff still participates in The Oaks classes, which include yoga, Pilates, strength and toning, dance and zumba classes, as well as aqua cardio in the nice outdoor pool.

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Stretching along the morning Brisk Walk

The nutritional aspect involves three included meals per day plus two times a day snacks. We were offered yogurt, fresh fruit muffins, hard-cooked eggs, oatmeal, fruit and various teas at breakfast. Lunch and dinner featured soups, Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, Salmon, and Portabella mushrooms stuffed with spinach and cheese, whole grains, and even something sweet to finish – all very tasty. The mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack was a vegetable broth or energy drink, and raw vegies with dip or a smoothie. It was hardly starvation themed, as we all felt satisfied with these 1200 calories a day.

Guest will often share tables at meals, and most likely share life stories. One guest told us that she has been coming to The Oaks for 30 years, “Every time a need a breather… when I just need a break,” she said. Another guest said she was thrilled to have lost five pounds in four days. We also met a guest who is a participant in the mind stimulating part of The Oaks. Her specialty is handwriting analysis, as well as creative painting extrapolated from known works of art. That day she gave an insightful analysis of handwriting including those of great artists and President Obama.

We balanced our own activities of multiple walks, Pilates and yoga with some of The Oaks spa treatments. A good night’s rest was had following a deep Vitamin C facial (for me), and an invigorating coffee detoxifying body therapy (my husband). Both our treatments were superb and very relaxing.

Before checking out of The Oaks on Sunday morning, there’s the delightful Ojai farmer’s market located almost directly behind the campus, with lots of fresh produce and handcrafted items. After a healthy and strengthening weekend, I admit we bought a couple of pieces of homemade fudge to bring home. But as Sheila Cluff is first to say, it’s about balance, “Get a tight pair of non-stretch jeans, and make sure they always fit. Measurements are more important than weight.”

Ojai makes a great destination for lifestyle, fitness, and fun. The Oaks adds comfortable and attractive accommodations, and everything to fill your day with mind and body stimulation.

For more information about The Oaks at Ojai visit www.oaksspa.com


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, Erin Burris, Michele Hall, Suzie Harrison, Allison Martin, Elizabeth Nutt, Niki Smart and Samantha Washer are staff writers.

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

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, Maggi Henrikson, Aga Stuchlik, 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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