West Coast living for East Coast dwellers … the best of what to do the next time you’re in California.
Summer Sojourn in Laguna Niguel
There’s nothing more delightful than spending lazy days at the beach during SoCal’s spectacular summers.
One of my favorite places to enjoy this seasonal pastime is at the fantastic Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel where you’ll be spoiled beyond measure with their playful approach to luxury.
Magnificently displayed atop a 150-foot seaside bluff with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the popular Salt Creek Beach below, this resort is perfect for couples, families, or even if you’re traveling alone.
Located equidistance between Los Angeles and San Diego in the coastal haven of Dana Point, Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is a resplendent property, boasting 29 spacious suites and 367 guest rooms.
Dining at their pan-Latin restaurant Raya is a particular delight for lunch, not least because of the spectacular unobstructed views from the floor-to-ceiling windows and also due to their delicious fare, including lobster tacos, truffle manchego fries, and pan-seared scallops with char sui pork belly. Delicious!
Other dining options include Enosteak restaurant, renowned for their organic produce grown locally in Orange Country and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef for amazing steak meals, coupled with their signature compound butters and sauces to tantalize your taste buds.
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is the perfect summer vacay spot and has something for everyone, including adventure seekers who have 15 eco-excursions to choose from; it’s a paradise for surfing fans and you can experience the serene spa with a comprehensive program of massages and treatments for the more tranquil traveler.
One of the featured treatments is the Beach Stone Therapy, where smooth beach stones are heated and placed at strategic parts of the body and then incorporated into a relaxing massage to relieve stress and tension of the mind, body, and spirit.
And one of the best things to experience to top off your days are the spectacular and colorful ocean sunsets at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. Everything you’ll love and more. RitzCarlton.com/LagunaNiguel
Unplug at LA’s Latest Trend: The Meditation Bar
Feeling stressed out and need a calm place to regroup in this hectic metropolis we call La La Land, even if it’s just for half an hour?
Unplug Meditation Bar could be your answer, as it’s doing wonders for droves of Angelenos who can’t get enough of this latest craze. It’s also the only drop-in meditation studio of its kind in the city.
This guided-meditation studio offers 30- and 45-minute classes in a clean, modern, and calming environment.
The inspirational guides will move even the most skeptical of beginner or Zen novice in and out of meditation, leaving you floating on air.
Unplug encourages you to just sit back and relax, taking a few precious moments for yourself from your busy jobs, crazy schedules, and never-ending demands on your time.
Owner Suze Yalof Schwartz was formerly the executive fashion editor at Glamour with stints also at Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire and started the company after moving her family from the east coast in search of a more peaceful life in LA. Her pedigree also brings a very beautiful and calming aesthetic to the studio space.
Going by the sold out classes and the way people emerge from the sessions with a renewed sense of calm and relaxation, we’d say that Unplug has plugged into a much needed service in LA that is providing Zen for people at whatever stage of the meditation journey they are on. UnplugMeditation.com
New American Flavor at Norah
It’s easy to get lost in the plethora of eateries to choose from in West Hollywood, but Norah stands boldly on Santa Monica Boulevard with a very distinct culinary aesthetic and a beautiful environment in which to enjoy it.
Designed by Thomas Schoos, the dining space is charming and inviting with delicious New American fare.
The high ceilings opened to the rafters give a bright and airy feel with wood, glass, leather, and steel touches for a modern, but comfy interior.
Their daily market crudo is always a surprise treat with a rotating selection, and the pork belly and octopus dish is a hearty choice.
Standout dishes are the confit of rabbit with grits, heritage pork with cider glaze and the lobster Bolognese. But always start with the cast iron cornbread with rosemary and honey butter, just because it’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
There are two bars on either side of the dining room and the sink-into-them leather sofas are perfect to enjoy the craft cocktails with bites like the cauliflower popcorn, and fried hominy cakes. Yum!
Special Spotlight – Cheryl Saban
Cheryl Saban is a modern day “Renaissance Woman” and prolific philanthropist. This mother of four created the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women and Girls to help empower women, putting her Ph.D. in psychology to great use.
Having suffered the unspeakable ordeal of rape when she was 18 years old, Saban has used the horrendous experience to help others.
“I have an understanding of the re-victimization of rape victims that compels me to seek change for women – to level the playing field, not just for victims of violence, but for gender struggles of every kind,” she told Bella.
Saban has donated over $12 million to girls’ and women’s causes through the foundation over the past seven years. This California native is also a glass-blowing enthusiast and recently opened her atelier, “The Shop on Nemo,” where she sells her artistic glassware and jewelry.
Saban has also written several books dealing with the subject of children, women, families, and social issues. “We were all born with a full dose of our own brand of specialness, and we’ve got to learn to acknowledge it, accept it, nurture it, and empower it,” she implores. SelfWorthFoundation.org