Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snow and Santa Land in Laguna!

Want to get in the holiday spirit? You don't have to go to the snow for that! You can do it right here in Laguna Beach. Here's my list of the top 5 holiday decorated businesses in Laguna (excluding hotels). 5. Laguna Cyclery – 240 Thalia Street. Bicycle shop – sales, service, rentals. Near Glenneyre. Really cool icicle lights, colored lights, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays painted on windows, really colorful. The regular look of the building has a lot to do with it too, because it looks like a building you’d see in Vermont or somewhere, so the holiday look really brings you to a colder climate. 4. Madison Square & Garden CafĂ© – 320 N. Coast Hwy. Based on what you see right now, this would have scored much higher, BUT they have a ton of stuff decorating the front of the restaurant all year round. They did add toy soldiers, trees, lit up wreaths, etc. Definitely worth a look. 3. Anything Canine Concierge Boutique – 357 S. Coast Hwy. Near Main Beach. Wins the cute factor contest! The whole window is full of adorable dogs – stuffed animals, Dalmatian wearing a Santa hat, an umbrella covering a bunch of dogs. A tree decorated completely with dog toys. Other window – Hanukkah display. They get extra points for that! A big menorah, more dogs, Jewish stars, lights. And then you have Frosty the Snowman blown up holding a big candy cane that says North Pole on it. You may miss it driving by, so park the car or take a stroll and check it out. 2. The English Garden – 1199 S. Coast Hwy. Specialize in exquisite floral designs. Just beautiful. Classy. Snow-covered trees, deer, snowflakes, trees in background covered in all red lights, tiny little houses glistening with glitter, silver bows. So peaceful and tastefully done. 1. The Black Iris – 2950 S. Coast Hwy. Florist and fine gifts. NO CONTEST! Winner hands down. Takes over a good portion of the block. A few windows have snow-covered trees, but the front is truly magical! It’s like being in Santa’s Workshop. We see Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a moving ferris wheel, tons of trees and lights everywhere. It’s an entire village. In another window, another Santa – looks real. Huge, beautiful ornaments. So intricate. Simply gorgeous. So impressive! It’s better than any department store display I’ve ever seen. I suggest checking these businesses out at night, because the lights really add a lot to the displays. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Turkey Day Getaways from Laguna Beach

If you live in Southern California and want to get away to somewhere awesome this Thanksgiving weekend, BUT you don't want the crowds of the top 5 busiest travel destinations, I have 5 others that you'll absolutely love! 5. Ojai - the sleepiest choice on the list, but if you want peace and relaxation, this is the place. Get a massage, take a nature walk and bring a book! You can also enjoy the artistic flair, quaint boutiques and tasty restaurants in the Downtown area. About 2:20 from Laguna Beach. 4. Julian - I hesitate to mention it, because we in the know want to keep it a secret, but it's a great spot for the whole family. Bring your elastic-band pants and an appetite for sweets - fresh pies, delicious apple cider (regular for the little ones and hard cider for the grown-ups!), a fabulous candy store and so much more. You can even pan for gold! About 2 hours from Laguna Beach. 3. Catalina Island - Take a cruise on Catalina Express (free on your birthday) or Catalina Flyer. Temperatures are still nice this time of year, but bring a jacket! Try the new zipline eco tour, rent bikes or a golf cart and tour the island, check out the sealife in a glassbottom boat or see wildlife up close. Don't forget to grab some saltwater taffy before heading home. About an hour and a half ride across the ocean from Dana Point. 2. Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead - Don't wait for ski and snowboarding season! Go now! Take in the gorgeous fall colors and crisp, clean air. Go fishing in the lake, mountain biking, hiking. You can even take a scenic sky chair at Snow Summit. My favorite part? Playing board games in a cabin, drinking hot cocoa and wearing my UGG boots! About 2 hours from Laguna Beach. 1. Palm Springs/Palm Desert/La Quinta - When you're not laying out at the pool and soaking up the sun, you can take the Aerial Tramway up the mountain for a major weather and scenery change, explore the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and enjoy plenty of live entertainment. If you're brave, you can visit the Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, but pack your patience. WARNING!!! I highly recommend coming home first thing Sunday morning to avoid HOURS of stopped traffic. About 2 hours away from Laguna Beach. Don't forget to ask about off-season discounts; you could save some serious cash! Whatever you do, wherever you go, be happy and be safe!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh-men!!!

Hey flossing friends... here's something to really sink your teeth into! I've lived in many parts of this great country and one of the biggest challenges every time I move is to find a new dentist and doctors that I actually like. Introducing... Dr. Hannah Lewis in Dana Point, California. She was recommended to me by my college friend, endodontist Dr. Duhli Chen, along with one of her patients. I live in Laguna Beach (hence the name Lynda Laguna), so I really wanted something close to home. I was assured it would be worth the drive, even though you usually only have to go to the dentist a couple times a year. I got there in less than 20 minutes. Super quick drive and easy to find. I was thrilled when I got there, because there's plenty of free parking in the lot. Fabulous! I walk in and am greeted by Kim at the front, who actually treated me like a person, not a patient. Friendly, efficient and very welcoming. The office is extremely clean and organized. Peaceful, pleasant - they don't overbook. The wait time was SO short! Kim even contacted my previous dentist and was able to request my x-rays while I was there. I was then brought in for my cleaning by Adrienne. Incredibly nice and very knowledgeable about everything going on in my mouth, my nasal passage, you name it! If I didn't know better, I would have believed she was the dentist. I've been to dozens of dentists over the years and she gave me my best cleaning yet. AND it didn't hurt. Even with all those uncomfortable things they have to put in your mouth, she was as gentle as could be. She also conducted conversation when it was actually possible for me to speak. I hate it when dentists ask you questions when your mouth is full of equipment and you can't answer. Why do they do that??? They used digital x-rays - I'm told much safer. Always a plus. She gave me some great advice on tartar control, toothpastes, electric toothbrushes, the correct way to use them, the proper way to floss and much more. My teeth are super smooth right now. I love it! After all that, it's time for Dr. Hannah Lewis. Super cool! I didn't feel intimidated at all. She gives you her full attention and spends more than 5 seconds in the room with you. She brought up all the pictures of my teeth showing me which were in good shape and which ones needed some help. Kids, take care of your teeth when you're little! They're the only ones you get. I wish I understood that way back when! She was completely honest with me and didn't try the scare tactic. She told me we could prioritize and not fix everything all at once. Most people don't love going to the dentist, but with an experience like the one I had today, I dread it a whole lot less! I have already made my follow-up appointments and am actually look forward to returning. If you're looking for a quality dentist in Orange County, you may want to check out Dana Point Smiles for yourself. It certainly gave ME something to smile about! Dr. Hannah Lewis 24655 La Plaza Dana Point, CA 92629 (949) 496-5713

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tommy Bahama Not Just for Your Mama

Want to get a linen shirt that keeps you cool in more ways than one? Maybe you want a bikini that's oh so teeny weeny. You can get that and a whole lot more at Tommy Bahama in Laguna Beach and their other locations all over the world, but you can also fill your belly with delicious grub and cocktails. We stopped in the other night, because why else? I had a coupon! If you know me at all, you know that I'm a HUGE bargain shopper! I don't try places or products I'm not interested in just because I'm saving money, but if it's something I WANT to try, you'd better believe a good deal is going to get me through the door. Spend $100, get $50 off?!? Fabuloso! I'm there! So, when you're saving some money, why not go big? (Insert "Go big or go home" here, if you must.) Of course, it didn't hurt that we both came with an empty stomach. Bring it on. Starter salad? Done. We'd be idiots not to try the wedge. The usual - iceberg lettuce, bacon and bleu cheese with tomato, red onion and a sweet onion vinaigrette drizzle on the side for those of you, who don't like everything on it. It was gooooooooooood! It was also cool of them to separate it into two plates without us even asking. Of course, we had to order the grilled french baguette, because I'm the carb queen. Sorry, waistline! Next up, OH... MY... GOD!!! Coconut shrimp appetizer!!! I now know first-hand why they call it WORLD FAMOUS coconut shrimp. I've had plenty of coconut shrimp in my day, but THIS is scrum-diddly-umptious. Yes, that's a word! You'll find it in the Lynda Halligan Dictionary available at your local mom and pop book store. Now, on to the main course. While I may be the carb queen, I'm also a serious carnivore! Where's the beef??? On my plate! We ordered the filet mignon with maytag bleu butter, crispy onions, whipped chive potatoes and black pepper demi-glaze. Whaaaaaattttt??? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Oh, it came with broccolini too. I've liked broccoli since I was a kid (back then, did broccolini even exist?), but for people who don't really like the green stuff (kids, I'm talking to you), THIS may change your mind. After we stuffed our faces, we had no room for dessert, but we DID complement our fine meal with a lovely bottle of Tempranillo (TEM-pruh-NEE-oh) - a red wine from Spain, which I love. Did I mention how friendly the hostess and server were? Just fab. OK, I have to go now. I'm literally salivating thinking about dinner now. Thanks, Tommy Bahama! I'll be back soon. Hope to see you there - 400 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Making "One Laguna" Your Number One Stop

I've often wondered why people spend thousands of dollars to travel to Southern California to sight-see and visit various attractions, but when you ask a local what they think about Olvera Street in Downtown L.A. or Griffith Park Observatory, they tend to answer "I don't know. I've never been there." or "I went there once on a field trip when I was a kid, but I don't really remember it." SoCal has so much to offer... to visitors AND residents. I mean, isn't that why so many of you moved here in the first place? I'm a Los Angeles native - yes, born and raised! People are always so shocked that some of us are really FROM L.A. Apparently, there are a few of us running around. I've moved to many parts of the country as a news anchor and television host (Alaska, Minnesota and Iowa to name a few - brrrrrr!), but for me, home truly IS where the heart is. I have recently moved back to Orange County, where I lived during my college years (U.C. Irvine - fight on, oh mighty Anteaters!). I have recently gotten engaged to my soul mate and have moved in with him and his amazing son. I have made Laguna my home and already feel like I belong. Thanks, everyone, for being so welcoming! No matter where I go, whether it's some podunk town in the middle of South Dakota or a lively, bustling city like Charleston, South Carolina, I looooooove to explore! I like to be the authority on where to eat when I want to wine, dine and wear a cloth napkin, but I also want to know where to get the juiciest, messiest cheeseburger and tastiest seasoned fries. I want to know which beach is the place to go when I want to read a book and enjoy some peace, but I also want to know where to plop down my towel when I need action, noise and conversation. Even though I've been coming to Laguna Beach for years, I never lived like a local here until I actually became a local. I try to experience a different business, bar or park every day and I'm excited to share my experience with YOU. Right now though, I'd like to share a really hip, cool, unique experience with you. Whether you're visiting Laguna for the very first time or you've lived here for 50 years, you should put One Laguna at the top of your list of places to check out. Located in an historic building at 225 Forest Avenue in the heart of Downtown Laguna, One Laguna is a discovery center featuring a high-tech way to get the scoop on where in the city you'll want to eat, play, shop and stay. Come through the doors and feast your eyes on diverse art work from the Laguna College of Art and Design or LCAD, but then, head upstairs, where you'll be greeted by a friendly expert, who can guide you through all the interactive media center has to offer. There are floor displays, wall displays, even coffee table displays that will help you get to know Laguna in so many different ways. Trying to plan a perfect Saturday for you and your out of town visitors? You can actually set up an entire itinerary. Looking to buy property or you just want to see how the privileged people live? Take a virtual stroll through multi-million dollar homes featuring stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Want to see what Laguna looked like before you were even a twinkle in your parents' eyes or how the city has changed over the years? One Laguna features photos that take you back to the way it used to be. And speaking of photos, why not get a picture of yourself in front of a beautiful Laguna backdrop while you're there and email a personalized postcard to your friends and family all over the world. It's an original way to say "Wish you were here" (and "Aren't you jealous of my awesome life?!?"). Here's something else that's awesome. Local radio station, KX, has a dj booth there. You can watch a broadcast as it's happening... LIVE! Where else can you do that? There's so much to say about One Laguna, but the most important thing to say is "Stop reading this and go see it for yourself. No, don't SEE it. EXPERIENCE it. It's open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stop in... and interact.