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Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shop and Stroll

The holiday season is upon us and the rush to find gifts has begun. I personally steer clear of chain stores and am in favor of boutique stores and shopping local.  Like you I have a few loved ones on my list that are a true challenge to buy for, but this year, instead of spending weeks in search of the perfect gift, I found them all in one day. Where and how did I do this you ask? I went to Laguna Beach!

Sawdust Winter Fantasy
Mr. S, my husband, and I started at the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy, similar to the summer festival, but with a jolly twist of holiday cheer.

Santa's Chair

While strolling through the aisles lined with 170 artists’ booths, we enjoyed some hot cocoa and chai tea.  Holiday carolers provided the motivating theme music we needed to find those gifts we were searching for. An artist that I fell in love with was Lisa Toland. She makes beautiful jewelry and accessories all crocheted out of metal. Her work looks like delicate Victorian lace.

Scott Sporleder’s captivating photography caught the eye of Mr. S. Much of Sporleder’s photos are taken while he is in the ocean swimming or on his surfboard, allowing him to capture a totally unique perspective that is  unbelievably beautiful.

Next Mr. S and I meandered downtown to Forest Avenue, in the heart of the Laguna Beach village.

Stephen Frank Garden & Home
Stephen Frank Table & Pantry

Once on Forest Avenue, we were lured into Stephen Frank Garden & Home by the aroma that was wafting out of their doors. The wonderful smell was coming from Agraria 100% oil diffusers, a great gift for those tough to please relatives on your list.  Also inside, we discovered an oasis of unexpected home goods. Exquisite Julia Knight bowls in hues that would bring a sparkle to any table.

Local artist Theresa Seidel’s decorative bottles.

And countless other items perfect for the inside and outside of your home.

Across Forest Avenue at Stephen Frank’s sister store, we discovered the perfect place for the culinary lover on your holiday list. All Clad cookware, Le Jacquard Francais table linens, and walls lined with dressings, spices, olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Also featured in the store, are chocolates by local chocolatier, Christopher Michael,as well as imported and hard-to-find beers and wines.

Be sure to drop in on December 4th from 5-9pm for a reception, featuring artist Theresa Seidel.

Fawn Memories

Since 1974, Fawn Memories has been a fixture on Forest Avenue. They carry tropical gifts, resort ware, and souvenirs.

Mr. S and I enjoyed wandering around the store, finding treasures for our children and out of town family and friends. I especially loved the wide selection of hats to choose from.

Laguna Colony Company

Only a few doors down Mr. S and I went to Laguna Colony Company. This eclectic store had cases of interesting hand-made jewelry (some by local artists’), racks of beautiful greeting cards, and a great children’s toy and book section.

Among their d├ęcor items, we came across 100% recycled homewares by Mariposa. The pieces were simple, yet very elegant.

Green Cube

We ended our shopping stroll on Forest Avenue at Green Cube. This bold store is not your traditional retail space. Upon walking in, you might think that you are in an art gallery rather than a retail store. Each item in the store is made from sustainable materials, recycled, or is repurposed. Decorative items for the home, artwork for your walls, and even fashion. The clothing is free-trade and made from organic and sustainable materials.

What a great way to give two fold; once to the receiver with a truly unique present, and once to the environment.
Drop in on December 2nd from 6pm to 9pm for the Tag Bag trunk show. Tag Bags are made from recycled South African license plates and inner tubes.

Mr. S and I found the gift buying experience in Laguna Beach to be unparalleled to anywhere else in Southern California. Right in our backyard, we were able to support local business and artists’. So this season, when you’re heading out into the hustle and bustle to find the ideal gift on your list, don’t forget about Laguna Beach!

Signed Anne-Marie S.


  1. I love Laguna for all its gift buying. We have relatives that live back east and they look forward to their Laguna Beach t-shirts & sweatshirts every year for Christmas. But all of the unique stores in Laguna are amazing for their original style that you can't find in most towns like are's. I love shopping local.

  2. Laguna beach is one of my all time favorite areas,Fine dining all along the beach, with great shopping. A perfect place to spend the weekend in orange county