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By Anissa Brown | Contributor



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Photo courtesy of Bruce Cook

Who doesn’t love a good beach book to relax with on a beautiful summer day? Look no further than “An American Rich Girl,” a fictional work by local author Bruce Cook. A writer his entire life, Bruce began his career under the bright lights of network television. He got his start in the mid-’70s, going on to become a founding producer of “Entertainment Tonight.” A few years later came “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” followed by “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers” for the newly formed Fox television network. 

Bruce began writing “An American Rich Girl” at a turning point in his life as he underwent dialysis, pre-kidney transplant. The novel was published last year, following the release of his Hollywood mystery novel “Fame Farm,” and tells the coming-of-age story of a privileged millennial from Beverly Hills. Following a devastating college heartbreak, Kate Fairchild runs to Newport Beach and accidentally kickstarts her career in the world of fashion design — which turns into another chance at love. Since no one likes a cliffhanger, you can purchase a copy through online retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  



Photo courtesy of Brickhouse Interiors

For one Orange County family, interior design is in their genes. Creative director Bryant Putnam, his mother Natalie Putnam and aunt Kayla De St. Jean combined their talents in real estate, interior design and home staging to create Brickhouse Interiors. Located in Costa Mesa, this home design store offers a curated selection of furniture, accessories and home decor items that blend contemporary and vintage styles. The sisters (who are identical twins!) have staged over 700 homes, and if you’re a home decor enthusiast, you may recognize them from hit reality TV shows like “Flip or Flop.” After deciding to take some time away from the television spotlight, they focused on interior design and Brickhouse Interiors was born. In addition to the retail store, the company offers a range of design services, including space planning, furniture layout, kitchen cabinetry and more. “We believe that everyone deserves a beautiful home," Kayla says. “Our motto is to create spaces that are comfortable and inviting."




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Photo courtesy of FONBAS

The Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS) is changing the landscape of the city, one adoption at a time. Led by a dedicated group of former mayors and community leaders, FONBAS was formed in 2017 as a nonprofit to supplement the funding of special medical procedures, equipment and services for animals under city care. Early on, FONBAS entered a public-private “paw”-nership with the city of Newport Beach, raising funds through memberships and capital campaigns to acquire land and construct a state-of-the-art animal shelter. The years-long partnership paid off this year with the opening of the shelter in June 2023. “This is a huge win for the city, residents and most importantly from the animals,” says FONBAS board member and city council member Robyn Grant. 



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Photo courtesy of Juliette’s Cafe & Coffee Culture

You’ll find more than just your average cup of joe at Juliette’s Cafe & Coffee Culture. Co-owner John Hughes describes it as a “third-wave coffee shop with food on steroids.” John and his wife Juliette Hyun-Sook Chong are the masterminds behind this new coffee lounge, and this isn’t their first rodeo. The former owners of the Filling Station in Orange and Juliette Kitchen & Bar in Newport Beach have been in the industry for over 20 years, with Juliette receiving praise from locals and publications including the Los Angeles Times for her delicious baked goods. She’ll be at the helm of the baking room at the new Newport Beach cafe, overseeing all the pastries and items baked in-house. Once Juliette’s Café & Coffee Culture opens in June, expect classic breakfast favorites such pancakes and bacon as well as unique twists on traditional dishes, plus brunch sips including limited beer, mimosas, cocktails, soju, bloody marys and margaritas. For lunch, you can enjoy fresh sandwiches, charcuterie, homemade potato chips, granola salads and soups. Coffee connoisseurs will also be thrilled to know that all coffee is roasted in-house. 





Photo courtesy of Trouvaille Imports

Everyone has their own unique personal style — shouldn’t their personal space reflect that as well? Trouvaille Imports, a new female-owned home decor company in Newport Beach, thinks you shouldn’t have to go on an international excursion to find one-of-a-kind pieces to decorate your home. Its name means “a lucky find,” a found treasure, something stumbled upon by chance. The sentiment is reflected in its charming showroom, which features curated items inspired by owner Audrey Elo’s love and passion for travel and cultures, and her adoration for beautiful spaces, old decor and architecture. Stop by to find antique and vintage wares, along with handmade items and pottery created by artisans from all over the world. 



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Photo courtesy of Coco Republic

Costa Mesa’s favorite design destination is making a splash this summer with four showroom openings that will help transform every corner of your home. SOCO + the OC Mix recently welcomed a new Purple showroom, where sleep-seekers can try out cutting-edge mattress technology and shop an array of accessories that will send them off to dreamland. If you’re squared away in the bedroom but need to customize your kitchen, save the date for the opening of Reform. With a commitment to craftsmanship, quality and environmental responsibility, Reform offers a glimpse into the future of modern kitchens — sustainable and totally customizable. The new SOCO showroom is a space to check out materials in-person and work with consultants to bring ideas to life. For indoor-outdoor living spaces, Coco Republic is a new go-to with an exquisite selection of high-end furniture and decor. Now open, the Orange County flagship of the Australian brand features luxury home goods that embrace both continents’ love of incorporating nature into the home. Lastly, Visual Comfort will help light up any space, no matter your style. There’s an artistry to lighting design, and at the soon-to-open showroom you can discover how to balance functionality and aesthetic to elevate any room. And what’s a beautiful home without the perfect finishing touch? Hadley & Ren Floral Co., another new arrival at The OC Mix that opened last year, specializes in dried arrangements with creative designs and a DIY dried floral bar.  




Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide Newport Beach

Just launched in May 2023, The Scout Guide Newport Beach is your entertaining cheat sheet — a website and hard copy coffee table book for jet-setting visitors and locals alike who want to discover the best places to shop, eat and sightsee around town. Launched in 2010, The Scout Guide began in Charlottesville, Virginia, but now comprises more than 3,000 small business owners, artists, artisans, dreamers, doers and makers. At the helm of The Scout Guide Newport Beach — the first in California — is Catherine Lowe, a third-generation female entrepreneur born and raised in Newport Beach. “Social media is important, but it can at times be fleeting and always not as impactful,” she says. “However, there is so much permanence in power and print. A picture is worth 1,000 words. People love to experience and look at the beautiful photography.” From homemade candles to hotels, The Scout Guide Newport Beach offers an alternative to clickbait internet searches. You can pick up the first volume at more than a dozen local hot spots such as A Market, Lido Marina Village, Mama Bijoux and more.  




Photo courtesy of Blue Atlas Marketplace

Finding the perfect gift is a struggle we’ve faced for centuries. Enter Blue Atlas Marketplace, created by friends turned family turned business partners Susan Bush and Liz Canady. Married to cousins, they are truly sisters at heart. By blending their collective knowledge of fashion and home design established at companies such as St. John and Martha Stewart, the women built a highly curated online storefront with the unique purpose of finding the perfect gifts and pieces that accent your life. They came up with the concept and launched a website in Spring 2020. With very few stores open, the pair found themselves in high demand — not just among people looking for gifts for a special occasion, but also for those seeking to share a simple token of love at a time when so many things were uncertain. This June, Liz and Susan are celebrating the one-year anniversary of their brick-and-mortar store on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. And when it comes to finding the perfect graduation gift, birthday gift or everything in between, they have one piece of advice: “It’s not what you spend, it’s what you give and the effort you take to finding something special and unique for that person.”  


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