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By Paige Wood and Anissa Brown | Contributor




Photo courtesy of Balboa Gold

The newest tenant of Soco and the OC Mix is adding a little gold and glamour to your shopping experience. Balboa Gold is a handcrafted and permanent jewelry store offering a variety of statement pieces and elegant accessories. 


Founder and CEO Savannah Kirk opened her very first brick-and-mortar storefront this summer. Her experience in the jewelry industry spans several years, and in December 2022, Savannah committed full-time to creating Balboa Gold. As an Orange County native, the name derives from her experiences as a young adult on the peninsula off 28th Street. 


Each piece showcases creativity that will expand your jewelry collection beyond your wildest dreams. Among her favorite pieces are the Simple Stacking Rings, crafted by hand in small batches using 14k Gold Fill and Sterling Silver. 


However, these beautiful pieces of jewelry aren’t the only thing that will make your heart melt. Her adorable 6-year-old pooch, Tuna (the unofficial mascot of the brand) adds an extra dash of warmth and personality to Balboa Gold.


Savannah cites another reason for bringing this concept to life, “The potential for entrepreneurship and self-expression, along with the opportunity to offer unique and personalized pieces to customers, was a significant reason why I was inspired to begin in the first place.”


Balboa Gold is the perfect place to shop to take your accessories to the next level. So what are you waiting for? Permanent never looked so good.



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Photo courtesy of 1978 & Brooke Wesseling

At an age when most of us were struggling with geometry homework, Brooke Wesseling was stitching together her dreams. At just 16 years old, she started her journey in creating her own clothing brand, 1978. 


However, Wesseling explains that she’s always had a knack for fashion and entrepreneurship, “Since I was young, I would always want to play restaurant or office and pretend I owned a business. At 12, my grandma taught me how to sew”.  After that, Wesseling began making bags to sell at her grandma’s pop-up markets and she used all the money from that, birthdays, and holidays to start 1978. 


The name 1978 is an homage to Wesseling’s grandparents as they got married in 1978. They also played a major role her in her life and served as great inspirations. Her grandma, sharing the same passion for fashion and entrepreneurial spirit as Wesseling, played a pivotal role in shaping her life and business. 


Wesseling also appreciates the 70s and the iconic fashion trends that came with it, “It was such an artistic, fun and free time. It mixed a lot of different artistic mediums as well”, she explained when asked why the 70s. 


It’s easy to see the influence the 70s has on Wesseling’s designs and pieces. She is taking recognizable trends of the past and putting her own spin and special touch on them. She describes her pieces as “reminiscent of 70s Americana, boho, with a little western touch”. Hand picking pieces to sell and including her own designs, 1978 is a display of Wesseling’s talent and artistic eye. 


Wesseling recently just opened her first storefront in The Lab in Costa Mesa and could not be more thrilled. The hard work of finding a space paid off as Wesseling feels The Lab is the perfect starting place for 1978. 


With no plan to slow down soon, Wesseling hopes to continue growing her business online and with locations in California, while also hosting fun events and hoping to add men’s designs in the mix! Wesseling and 1978 are truly inspirational and are a powerhouse to keep an eye on. Check out all the amazing pieces and items offered by visiting her website or in store. 



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Photo courtesy of Flower Poppi

Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, any day - flowers are often the gift of choice to celebrate various occasions. However. The most difficult part is deciding where to purchase the perfect floral arrangements. Well, Orange County residents need to look no further than Flower Poppi.


Flower Poppi is a family-owned flower stand located on PCH in Laguna Beach specializing in unique arrangements catered to your preference. Each arrangement is well thought out with a bold presence and fun flair. They offer flower subscriptions or one-time purchases with a variety of in-season, sustainably grown flowers. 


Born and raised in Laguna Beach, Head Designer Gary Samuelian and his brother Spencer are the co-owners behind the blossoming business. They take pride in knowing their community well and what they love.  


“I think outside the box and my customers know that if they want flowers that make a statement, no other flower shop has such a wide variety of unique blooms year-round,” says Gary.


Gary’s unique approach to floral arrangements sets him apart from the rest. His enthusiasm for life is felt through his bold arrangements and whimsical designs. 


We had to ask the flower master an important question -What’s his favorite flower? “Cosmos because they are the best!”


Flower enthusiasts can obtain a Floral subscription on the website to choose from weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly deliveries straight to their doorstep!


Whether you’re looking to decorate your home, office, or elegant event, every arrangement is sure to elevate any room it’s placed in!


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Photo courtesy of The Adobe

Imagine strolling down charming Avenida Del Mar street in San Clemente, when the sun glistens on a little white shop across the street. The sign reads “The Abode”.  The home style of the store coupled with the big welcome sign and plants in front, almost ushers you inside. 


Appearing unsuspecting from the front, like a run-of-the-mill gift shop, the multiple rooms filled with unique knick knacks and countless fun finds prove to be an amazing surprise. One could spend hours inside combing through all The Abode has to offer, just to find the outside filled with colorful patio decor to look through as well.  


Owners Linda and Eric made sure to lay out the items with their appropriate room in the house turned store with all kitchen items in the kitchen, bathroom goods in the bathroom, and so on. Walking through the store, you are transported from “gift shop” to a welcoming home. Each room tells a story, and every corner is a surprise in itself. 


There is an incredible range of products featured in the store with many of the items made from local artists and small businesses. Linda and Eric love being a part of the San Clemente community, so they take extra care when it comes to highlighting the local talent. 


The Abode is truly a hidden gem of San Clemente and the perfect place to find everything from souvenirs, to patio decorations, to homemade jams, and so much more. Learn more about it from their website or stop in to check it out for yourself. 





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Photo courtesy of Roger's Garden Halloween Boutique

Pumpkins, potions, and spells, oh my! Starting September 1, magic is all around at Roger’s Gardens Halloween Boutique, and this year’s theme is sure to illuminate your Halloween spirit. 


The Witching Hour immerses you into a world of mist-enshrouded gardens covering a rusting manor while casting long shadows. You observe scattered relics, and massive iron gates as the eerie glow of candles unveil walls lined with potions and mysterious books filled with enchantments.


Intrigued? We thought so! You’ll find that and more as you explore their collection of finely curated Halloween décor and exclusive artisan pieces. Seasonal shoppers beware, these finds are so good, it’s good! 


Since 1965, Roger’s Gardens creatively set itself apart with Roger’s Gardens Unique Original Designs products, like signature hanging baskets and seasonal color containers. Every year, patrons flock to Corona Del Mar to indulge in a savory selection of the senses. Explore a variety of home décor, holiday décor, gifting, gourmet foods, collectible and artisan collections, outdoor furnishings, indoor and outdoor plants, planted arrangements, and more!  Additionally, guests can delight in the menu offerings at the Farmhouse, a sustainable open-air restaurant with seasonally inspired and locally sourced foods in a beautiful garden setting.


Take the chance to attend this must-see fall event!



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Photo courtesy of Krantom Kava Bar

Let’s face it - life is stressful, chaotic, and hard. Within this chaos are moments of clarity, happiness, and peace. The hard part is finding the tools that make these moments last. Well, with the help of a local OC business, that peace of mind may be within reach.


Kratom Kava Bar is a one-of-a-kind experience with a focus on helping customers understand the benefits of Kratom and how it can help their specific needs. The business opened its doors to the local Orange County community this summer inside The OC Mix at SOCO. 


Kratom is a natural botanical native to Southeast Asia and part of the coffee family. Many people use it as an alcohol replacement, along with euphoria, heavy sleep aid, and energy. 

With the help of their educated team members, customers will be able to customize their selection and choose from various flavors, doses, and effects they seek.


CEO Blair Collins was inspired to create Kratom Kava Bar following her journey with something that millions deal with - anxiety and depression. After being introduced to Kratom by a friend, she realized that this was a life-changing alternative to prescription medication. 


Blair began conducting ample research and was able to open her first store five years ago.  Today, she has six locations across California. At Kratom Kava Bar, their products undergo extensive testing to ensure that everything is 100% organic with no fillers. 


“People appreciate this as well as the information we provide. That’s why we are a trusted name in the industry,” says Blair. 


It’s time to take a new approach to your wellness. To learn more about Kratom, or purchase products, visit their online store.





Photo courtesy of Randy Kraft

How do I define my life? What will I leave behind? How do I deal with the challenges of aging?


These are some of the themes in Randy Kraft’s third novel, Off Season. Randy carefully crafted this story for seniors because, she says, not enough fictional works speak to people of that demographic.


“It’s about coming to the other side of what you’ve built in life and making the msot of the downside of that arc,” says Randy. “The focus of this story is what happens to relationships as we age.” 


The novel is set in the months leading up to the pandemic lockdown. The central characters, Sharon and Red, are in their 60s. Divorced six years after a 30-year marriage, there’s more affection than acrimony between them. When Red invites Sharon to join him on a three-month retreat to Laguna Beach, the intent of the trip is not to rekindle their romance but to salvage their longstanding relationship. To both their surprise, she says yes, which will have an irreversible and unexpected effect on their personal story. 


Randy hopes that the novel inspires readers with thoughts of their own about what it means to be devoted to the people we love and how we come to terms with aging. 


“We are constantly in construction mode. Constructing a life in school, in careers, family - we are always building lives. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the blessings of friends, family, and a love for what I do. Being an elder should be about reaping the rewards of our efforts.” 


Randy will begin writing her next novel in the fall. In the meantime, head to your local bookstore or e-retailer and grab a copy of Off Season. 



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