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Photo courtesy of Newport Harbor Home & Garden

Marking its 27th year on May 16, 2024, the Newport Harbor Home & Garden Tour is a celebration of all things decor and design. Get inspiration for your next home renovation project on a tour featuring seven beautiful homes in the Newport Harbor High School area. In addition to the home presentations, attendees can enjoy a luncheon and shopping opportunities at a specialty boutique overlooking the bay. “What I look forward to every year is the fabulous after party our presenting sponsor Barclay Butera hosts in his store on Westcliff,” says co-chair Karen Taylor. “It is always so fun to walk into Butera and see all the smiling faces of people who loved the tour and are celebrating!” Karen is also the mother of a child who attended Newport Harbor and a former president of the Newport Harbor Educational Foundation, which will use proceeds from the event to fund academic support programs, International Baccalaureate, field studies, instructional supplies, school safety, professional development for faculty and more.



- Anissa Brown



Photo courtesy of Donald and Elizabeth Lockhart

During the pandemic, those across the country found their way back to the simple things in life, from baking sourdough loaves to growing fresh produce in the garden. For Donald and Elizabeth Lockhart, there’s one more item on that list: beekeeping, a practice that can provide proponents with fresh honey while also protecting pollinators. “Bees are an integral part of our food source,” Elizabeth says. “We wouldn't have produce and fruits and vegetables and all that [without them]. There wouldn’t be beauty in our world. They just do amazing things for the Earth.”

Based in Orange County, Backyard Bees helps rescue and relocate beehives. Founded by Janet Andrews, who started beekeeping 20 years ago, the company is now mostly run by Donald and Elizabeth. The couple has an Adopt a Hive program that allows locals to work with Donald for a day. If you choose to continue, your program fee will cover equipment like the hive and stands, as well as two or three more sessions with Donald (he’ll even remain on-call for questions). You can also visit them at the Orange Home Grown farmers market on the first Saturday of the month to shop Backyard Bees’ honey and beeswax products. 


- Ashely Ryan


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Photo courtesy of Houseplant Nation

Step into a world where a love for caffeine and appreciation for plants blend in perfect harmony. Opened during the pandemic, the family-owned Houseplant Nation in Huntington Beach is the first hybrid plant shop and coffee house in Orange County. Lined floor to ceiling with beautiful plants and unique decorations, the storefront features cozy nooks nestled in greenery that are perfect for comfortably sipping your drink. The plant selection is top tier, with a selection of rare and imported varieties hand-picked for health, uniqueness and an ability to thrive in different environments. But the experience doesn’t end there. Houseplant Nation is not just a shop — it’s a hub of activity and community excitement. Whether you’ve got a green thumb or want to catch a comedy show on the last Friday of every month, this is a must-visit hidden gem.


- Paige Wood


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Photo courtesy of Houseplant Nation

A universal favorite, pizza holds a special place in our hearts. It’s rarely a question of whether to get pizza, but rather where to get it from. Earlier this year, chef Sandro Nardone of Bello by Sandro opened a new spot that’s sure to satisfy your cravings. SUGO Costa Mesa offers “pizza a pezzi,” which translates to pizza by the slice — a style commonly served in chef Sandro’s native Italy. He honors techniques that have stood the test of time, meticulously preparing the perfect balance of crispiness and chewiness in SUGO’s crust. Top that off with the freshest of ingredients, from potato to Nutella, and you have a slice that embodies tradition and excellence in every savory (or sweet) bite.


- Paige Wood


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Photo courtesy of Eller Bakery

Discover a place where classic meets modern: Eller Bakery has officially opened its doors in Costa Mesa. You’ll find everything from hearty breakfast options to fresh salads and sandwiches, along with handcrafted sourdough breads and pastries inspired by Western Europe. The bakery prides itself on passionately upholding Europe’s rich culinary traditions and sourcing rare ingredients from skilled artisans. There’s a focus on delivery high-quality, fresh flavors, so menu items are sugar-free, freshly milled and use the finest heritage grains grown before the introduction of scientific plant breeding. To complement your treats or breakfast, Eller Bakery also offers a wide range of espresso drinks made from artisanal roasts crafted in-house. Grab a seat in the chic, cozy space and relax with a flaky, crisp croissant that’s worth waiting in a line that often wraps out the door.



- Paige Wood


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Photo courtesy of Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library & Gardens is truly a place for all — for those who are young and young at heart. The botanical retreat tucked away in Corona del Mar is the perfect spring escape. Mark your calendars for May 11 for the upcoming Spring Garden Art Faire, which invites visitors to stroll through the gardens to the sounds of beautiful harp music. You’ll meet local artists and makers showcasing their botanical-themed artwork in a variety of mediums including watercolor, mosaics, oils, acrylics, ceramics, glass, leather, jewelry, quilling and driftwood. On an ongoing basis, the library also has a lineup of workshops and lively lectures ranging from children’s activities and watercolor classes to an evening speaker series featuring experts from the worlds of art, horticulture and history. Visit the website for an up-to-date list of all the seasonally inspired sessions taking place this spring.



- Paige Wood



Photo courtesy of Joanne McDermott

At the Orange County Bird of Prey Center, raptor health and safety is always at the forefront. The nonprofit’s main goal of rescuing and rehabilitating has been a success, with thousands of birds saved since the late 1980s—including 148 last year alone.

The birds are evaluated at a veterinary office down the road before arriving at the rural center for further evaluation. “People need to know that they’re important to our ecosystem,” notes Harmonie Wooley, the center’s director of husbandry. There are multiple routes the nonprofit can take: rehabilitating the raptors before releasing them into the wild, finding placement for them at a zoo, or, if they have the right temperament, keeping them as education ambassadors. Others may have to be euthanized.

Although the center itself is closed to the public for the animals’ protection, there are a number of ways to see their education birds out and about, at schools, parks and community events, such as Earth Day at the Bay at Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach on April 20, the SMWD Annual Water Festival in Rancho Santa Margarita on May 4 and Bugs & Butterflies at Riley Wilderness Park in Coto de Caza on May 19. You can also visit The Ranch at Laguna Beach every Saturday morning to learn about owls and hawks that live locally, how they survive in the wild and what goes into rehabbing these creatures.

For those that would like to get more involved with the birds of prey, the center operates with a large number of volunteer workers. “We’re very much dependent on our volunteers for almost everything we do,” says Director of Administration Joanne McDermott.

This spring, if you see a baby raptor that has fallen from a nest, leave it be or call Animal Control to give it the best chance of survival. Reach out through the center’s website to get more information on how to become a volunteer or keep an eye on social media channels to look for upcoming community events.


- Ashley Ryan

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