Category Archives: Aliso Beach News

Aliso Beach Your Home


aliso beach, aliso beach your home, aliso creek beach, aliso beach art, scotty carter


Aliso Beach is a special, special place for me in Laguna.  It is a favorite spot of water photographer and filmmaker Scotty Carter, who over the course of working on helping to promote his photographic art, has become extended family.  With his work, the team at Aliso Beach can help you Aliso Beach your home with the incredible photography of waterman Scotty Carter.

The smell of the ocean, the merciless pounding of its shore break waves, the soothing breezes, the aqua-green water color, and the coastal hills offer a tranquil setting to beach goers while the body boarders,  soft top surfers, and the skim boarders all make this an interesting and spirited community that I have enjoyed being a part of.

One of the ways we humans show our appreciation for the natural environments we covet is to display art featuring it.  Why?  It is not explainable in many ways, but we are so deeply connected to nature that the places we experience leave a mark on us that is both unforgettable and difficult to explain. Our homes are a reflection of who we are and the art reminds us of the outdoor settings that in part define us. We are moved by sun, sea, waves and coastal breezes. This little place we call Aliso Beach is one of those locations that leaves us better than we were before we visited!  You can’t put a price on the wonder, tranquility and soothing that this incredible slice of Laguna Beach delivers.

If you love Aliso Beach, and would like to include Aliso Beach art and imagery in your home, contact me at  If you are like me, you love Aliso Beach and it is a part of you.  I recommend the 72 x 48″ size because you can look up at and feel like you are in the barrel.  It’s priceless!



Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park Tagged , , , , |

Great White Shark Activity


great white shark, art, great white shark painting, Whitney L. Anderson

Whitney L Anderson with Great White Shark Painting

From the near fatal Great White Shark Attack at San Onofre weeks ago and the OC Sheriffs Helicopter warning a paddle boarder of being in the middle of a pack of 15 sharks to personally seeing sharks thrash around the water 10 feet or less from the sand and the OC Register report of a shark at Thousand Steps Beach, the danger has become very real to this South Orange County Body Boarder and ocean enthusiast. A friend in Laguna Beach had suggested that there was a sighting at Aliso Beach several weeks back and I immediately drove up to Aliso to speak with a lifeguard supervisor who was unaware of any sighting.  That day curiosity got the best of me and I headed to Capo Beach where there has been many daily sightings over the last several weeks.  Sure enough, I got to see them in the surf zone at a spot I have paddled out at in years past.  I was moved by the fear of a friend of mine who has been in the San Clemente to Laguna community as a former professional body boarder for the bulk of his life.  I would like to acknowledge Joe Grodzen and I wanted to relay the sentiment of what he said on Facebook.  He spoke of his deep ties to the ocean and those of his wife Keila whom is also a former professional body boarder.  Raising a young boy and giving him the gift of beach and surfing culture, it is not lost on Joe how concerning the rash of shark sightings from San Onofre to Long Beach, California is.  Joe for the most part is a very unflappable, competitive and in the moment kind of personality.  What he said was very raw and very real.  Reading his thoughts, I was affected by the fear he had related to the presence of these sharks in what perhaps is a new normal along our coastline with regular visits.  He echoed the sentiment that he may have to give a second thought to being in the water to keep he and his family safe.  Joe has been at this far longer than I have, and to hear a man that has spent nearly every day of his life since he has been old enough to walk in local ocean waters express a genuine concern for his safety, it definitely caught my attention.

Still trying to process the swarm of so many sharks in the area, I did return a second time to Capo Beach noticing the shark warning signs, and eventually seeing one splash around 10 feet or less from shore.  It is probably not a good idea to be in the water at all at Capo.  Rumor has it that boats and perhaps kayakers are chumming the waters to attract the sharks.  Some of these boats are alleged to be whale boats capitalizing on the presence of these toothy new inhabitants of Capo Waters.  Any reasonable human being should not approve of throwing blood and guts into the water near shore for commercial gain, capturing footage or taking photographs.  This is a really bad idea that may contribute to a fatality and should be stopped immediately.  My hope is the lifeguards and authorities can identify those perpetrators and force them to stop.  As far as I can see that is harassment of a federally protected shark but what do I know.  If this is being done please stop this very reckless behavior.

Since I spend more time at Salt Creek and the coves of Laguna Beach, I felt like I was relatively safe in the zones I like to play in.  Given the explosion of shark numbers close to shore in San Clemente and Capo Beach, the idea that there are no great whites near shore at Salt Creek and Laguna Beaches rests on quicksand.  It simply doesn’t hold.  A Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register Article, shattered my idealized safe zones with a shark spotting at South Laguna’s Thousand Steps Beach and the mention of a shark advisory at Salt Creek.  Say it isn’t so!  I don’t know what I am going to do personally and I am feeling like I may put myself on a self-imposed time out, and as Joe Grodzen so eloquently said, what are we going to do? Ocean enthusiasts have built their lives around washing away all that ails them in the ocean and doing something athletically that keeps them happy.  I don’t know the answer to this question, and I suppose time will tell.  Having paddled way out at Salt Creek and sitting in the kelp paddies, I admit that I have thought about the unseen below that perhaps I don’t want to know is there. The ocean and local waters are home to the Great White Shark, but I cannot say that in over the 30 years I have spent time in these waters, that this is normal in any way shape or form.   How I feel about this situation will in no way dictate the behavior of sharks and where they choose to set up shop.  While I pray that their presence will come to pass and they head out to deeper waters, their continued presence could put a damper on what little ocean time I have as it is.  Having had a fin pop up on me in Baja while body boarding alone at a northern stretch of La Fonda, I really don’t want to find myself in that situation again.  Fortunately, a well-timed set arrival got me out of there before I could stare into the intentions of presumably a Great White Shark…and I prefer that to be the last time I find myself in the water with one.

I would like to take a moment to thank my friend and artist Whitney L. Anderson, a brilliant painter and collage artist residing in Seattle, Washington.




Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Events, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Safety, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Dana Point, Laguna, Laguna Beach, Laguna News, Salt Creek, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Shark Research


shark warning, shark warning sigh, shark sign, capo beach

Capo Beach Shark Warning

After I heard this I decided to do some shark research today. A 50 year water man in Laguna Beach said online today there was a shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  He also said that in all his years that he had never heard of a shark reported in the intertidal zone of Laguna Beach. To be clear, this reported sighting is unconfirmed, but you can appreciate that as the owner of the Aliso Beach website and an avid body boarder that has spent a ton of time at Aliso and neighboring Laguna beaches, I am simultaneously concerned and intrigued by the recent hot spots for sharks at San Onofre, Poche Beach, Capo Beach and Long Beach.

When I got to Aliso Beach this afternoon, I got my parking pass and wasted no time finding the lifeguard supervisor. He was a cool guy, and I am sure that what I asked him is something that has been asked since Orange County News showed a helicopter warning a paddle boarder that he or she was in the middle of a pack of as many as 15 Great White Sharks in the surf zone.  When I informed him that I had a question for him, I told him that I didn’t want to shout out my question.  As I got closer to him, I very discreetly asked him about the alleged shark sighting. He was unaware of  any recent event.  They were training aspiring life guards on the beach so I am 100% sure that OC Life Guards would not expose those kids to unnecessary risks.  So the mystery deepens as it relates to the alleged sighting of sharks at Aliso Beach.  I left the beach assured that there were no issues of Great White Sharks and the absence of media attention, adds to the case that Great White Sharks had not been observed at this popular South Laguna Beach.  I did greatly appreciate the time afforded to me by the supervisor and the willingness to discuss the potential issue.  He was a cool guy and I trust in what he told me. As he indicated, you would have to be a silly white shark to want to take on the shore break conditions of Aliso Beach. With this news I am sure a talented young skimmer with dreadlocks that frequents this local spot is breathing a sigh of relief.  That is just me being funny.  I suspect that very few, if any, wave riding enthusiasts had heard about this shark sighting at Aliso Beach.  Shark research was to continue as I got back onto S. Pacific Coast Highway and headed south.

When I got to Capo Beach, I immediately noticed the traffic stand barriers with the shark warnings attached to then.  It was one of 3 or 4 I saw lining the beach to warn beach visitors of the presence of Great White Sharks. I must admit this is super freaky, and although I have heard of sharks present in local waters, this fact has not hit this close to home until now. Looking south, I noticed a couple of life guards huddled up by the tower and looking out over the water.  I walked up to them and began a conversation about the sharks, and they were definitely there to keep an eye on things and make sure people are informed.  As the shark warnings clearly stated, by entering the water you were swimming or surfing at your own risk.

We discussed theories on why the sharks are there.  It was a cool conversation.  I have always found OC Life Guards to be a class act, and as we talked a shark surfaced and thrashed around a bit. Until that moment, I had never seen a Great White Shark in Southern California waters. I found it surreal.  Capo Beach isn’t the best surfing, body boarding or even swimming beach due to a sloping beach, waves crashing right on the sand, and a fair amount of small rocks lining the shore.  Nonetheless, life guards were keeping everyone informed and watching for the presence of sharks which numbered 15 several days ago.

I talked to them about how I was following the Great White Shark population resurgence with federal protections extended to them and the seal population which represents meals on the preferred menu for these toothy creatures.  Having kept up to date with shark sightings in Southern California, I told them about Ralph Collier and Pacific Shark Committee.  Ralph is a leading scientist and expert on Great White Sharks and predatory behavior in North America. The life guards told me that Chris Lowe, the California State University Long Beach Great White Shark expert and researcher, was working with OC Life Guards on tagging the sharks to gain a better understanding of migratory patterns.  I was a bit surprised to learn that they were doing the tagging via jet skis.  Initially I had asked for a seat in that boat but quickly changed course when I found out that they were doing this on the much smaller and more exposed water vehicles.  That is a little too close and not enough protection for this fat, old guy.

Reality is that local Orange County Waters we hold dear as surfers, swimmers and body boarders, are the homes of Great White Sharks.  To some extent they have always been there.  Perhaps the record rain and runoff combined with cooler waters, spring wind patterns and upwelling are creating perfect conditions for movements in the food chain that have these sharks closer to shore to feed.  While I don’t have all of the answers with my shark research, the numerous sightings from Long Beach to San Onofre have definitely captivated me.  Let’s hope we do not have any more encounters like we saw at San Onofre where a Vista woman was attacked, bitten and air lifted to the hospital clinging to life. I am pleased to say that she made it.  Despite additional surgeries coming and a long road back to as normal a life as she can have given the serious injury to her leg, she is alive and not wishing sharks any ill will.

Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, Laguna, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , , |

Trash To Treasure


Have you ever heard the saying “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”?  I haven’t come across that statement in a while but it was the first thing that came to mind after visiting Aliso Beach two consecutive weekends in a scene representing trash to treasure.

trash to treasure, debris, storm debris, aliso beach

Aliso Beach Debris from storm runoff.

We have experienced a rainy season for the record books.  I hate to say it but rain and Southern California are like an oxymoron most seasons.  This winter has proven to be a very memorable one for weather, rain and snow.  While it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the wet season is over, the snow pack has been measured well over 100% of normal, California dams have been stressed to near breaking points and roads have been washed away with cars overcome by torrents of water under heavy downpours.  Our local Southern California Beaches, including Aliso Beach, Laguna, are on the receiving end of all the runoff and whatever it carries down stream from storm drains, washes, creeks and rivers.  With significant rain over short periods of time, you can imagine all the things swept down into our ocean and deposited back on our beaches. Plastics, bottles, toys, wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, baggies and even dreaded syringes as seen recently in Newport Beach near the River Jetties.  Also ending up on the beach from heavy rain and wind events were leaves, twigs, tree branches, logs and driftwood.  At times it seems like you could take a rake to the top layer of the ocean surface along our coastline, and those logs and branches put wave riders at risk of serious injury.

That first trip to Aliso Beach, there was an unsightly pile of wood and branches just south of the main lifeguard tower.  It was, however, cleared from the beach and shoreline and staged for removal.  This is where the ingenuity of a father spending time with his son transformed the debris from trash to treasure.  I had no doubt the County of Orange, who does a great job of maintaining Aliso Beach, was going to come in and remove the pile of wood.  Probably because of consecutive days of rain, they were unable to get the debris out of there, or they figured they would add to the pile during additional rain events so they could clean up the beach all at once.  It is completely logical to me.  The picture to the left shows the wood all piled up steps from the parking lot and ready to be hauled out of there.  Given that our winters in recent years have not produced much rain, it was somewhat surprising to see a pike of branches and wood like that on the beach.  Some of the branches were substantial, and with all of the trees that came down in South Orange County along the coastline, it really wasn’t any surprise to see that kind and volume of wood deposited on the beach.  I am wondering if the Full Moon Drum Circle group saw that pile of wood.  It would have made for a great night with plenty of wood to keep everyone warm!


aliso beach, trash to treasure, storm debris, south laguna beach

A fort built by a father and son with wood washed to the beach from winter Southern California storms.

While the pile of wood certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, a father and a son went on a building spree.  They took the larger wood pieces and buried them vertically in the sand.  I was surprised that with the girth of the branches that the sand would keep them standing upright.  As far as I know, no one was injured in the evolution of trash to treasure in what I call the making of an Aliso Beach fort.  I have to admire the father.  It takes the ability of a parent to think creatively like a child to entertain a child.  I remember how much I liked forts as a kid, and to be child-like was worthy of my attention and a smile.  In that moment, it felt like all was right in the world and that everything was okay.

The picture below, is the result of a creative father showing his son a good time.  It was cool to think back to my own childhood and how forts at summer camp at home were a big part of my own childhood!  My guess, by the looks of him, is that the little dude had a really good time!  I was truly happy for them and grateful to be under the smiling eyes of Mr. Sun.  Is it summer yet?




Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park Tagged , , , , , , |

Scotty Carter Showroom At Woods Cove Fine Art


Woods Cover Fine Art Gallery

February Art Walk Event At Woods Cove Fine Art Gallery

It has taken several months of hard work, advice, renovations and good people with a shared vision and enthusiasm rallying around the idea of creating opportunities for artists to show art in Laguna Beach, California.  This Thursday, February 4th, 2015, the Scotty Carter Showroom is officially open at Woods Cove Fine Art. We are proud to be a part of this movement in South Laguna Beach.  We invite you to enjoy a night of incredible art, music, good people and refreshments down at the gallery located at 1963 South Coast Highway on the beach side of the  road above the breathtaking Woods Cove in Laguna.  For those visiting galleries on the north end of town that would like to see the Woods Cove Fine Art Gallery, a new stop has been added to the Trolley route that drops off at Diamond Street just south of the gallery.  We believe this will give many people to see the new gallery that may have not come before because it was tough to get to.  That ends this Thursday! Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk now connects with south Laguna via the Trolley, making this new gallery more accessible to residents and families that enjoy this once a month event.

The event is 6-9pm. Come see water sculptures by Scotty Carter including his new distressed wood frame metals in large format and his large canvas speaker unit.  Come test out his speaker unit using bluetooth technology to play your music using a smart phone to communicate and play through the speaker.  It is amazing!  All art sales include something you can’t get at the typical gallery.  Because the gallery is operated by Laguna Foundation For the Arts, a government recognized 5013c charitable organization, a tax deduction is possible with your purchase of art.  30% of the gross sale goes to the foundation which gives you a write-off of that dollar amount at the end of the year.

There will also be music from Jackie Pember and Eric Henderson.  Thursday night will be a great opportunity to see cool art, listen to amazing music and wash the experience all down with a glass of red or white wine!  We hope to see you all down there!  Don’t miss out!

Also posted in Aliso Beach Events, Art Events, Laguna, Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , , , |

Eye Off The Ball


Because going into 2016 I took my eye off the ball, I am no suffering the indignity of a flu that I had not experienced in 3 years.  Yes, I am telling you that I am miserably sick for the beginning of the New Year as a result of my own doing.  For a couple of years, I have diligently gone to Juice Stop or Mother’s Market for wheat grass and organic vegetable juice.  I rarely missed a day.  Choking on phlegm, I spent the first day of the New Year fighting my way through a day of getting back to work.  It wasn’t an easy task speaking with customers while trying not to rip my own head off to rid myself of this obnoxious flu.

I did this to me.  Right before Christmas, I got hyper-focused on clients because I knew that the business would slow to a crawl that would made the idea of receiving a commission check equivalent to chasing a unicorn.  No matter how much belief there was, a commission check wouldn’t magically appear without some sort of Herculean effort. My intentions were really good and I was able to board a number of new clients that really helps get 2016 started off strong.  The problem is that with my desire to get to as many new clients as possible in a short period of time, I neglected one of the most important aspects of the work I do.  Health is perhaps the most important aspect of productivity, and by allowing myself to come unplugged from a really good routine that kept me healthy while others got ill, I joined the ranks of people battling this terrible flu.

As you may have noticed, I slowed down with the new features here on the Aliso Beach website.  I needed time to reflect on the two years I have put into the website and how I would like to change it for the better in 2016.  While it is true I took an eye off the ball as it relates to the website, I probably see more clearly a future for this website and the benefits it will provide to the South Laguna Community.   I have been working on the intake of photography and art that will become a part of an offering geared to split profits between artists and Laguna Blue Belt.  Just this past weekend, I interviewed female skim boarder Diana Rosa, the only Mexican, Professional skim boarder in the world.  I already had an idea of what kind of person she was but she is really interesting and will be featured on the website.  I also have a commitment from Austin Keen to sit down next weekend.  Given the pleasant surprises I found in my interview with Diana I have an idea as to what I would like to do in an interview with Austin that I feel everyone would enjoy.

I have also been working on the Scotty Carter showroom down at Laguna Foundation For the Arts.  Renovation in the showroom will be complete this week and there will be an impressive and legitimate fine art section of the gallery dedicated to Mr. Carter.  It will be, hands down, the most impressive collection of Scotty Carter Water Sculpture Art in one place.  Featured art will include a 6o inch  40 inch one off speaker unit featuring one of Scotty’s pieces.  If you have Itunes or Pandora on your phone you can play music from your phone on the speaker.  It is badass!

You might say that I had an eye off the ball.  I might agree with that!  What I didn’t stop doing was working, thinking about business, networking, hanging art and making deals.  Unfortunately, that has me worn down but I am blasting this cold with all the fresh vegetable juice and wheat grass that I can.  Hope I can shed this flu quick.  I simply don’t have the time or the patience to deal with being sick!

Hope you all had a healthy start to 2016!  Watch yourselves!  Breaking healthy routines and getting run down get us nowhere but in bed hoping the flu will break, and it sucks!


Tagged , , , , |

Great Big Plants


Great Big Plants, tomato plant

Before Great Big Plants feedings for 5 weeks

I have been promising a Great Big Plants Story for months now, and I thought that people from the Aliso Beach and South Laguna communities would enjoy the article.  I am glad, however, that I waited to write this story because the success of the product since the time period that I was supposed to write the article in has shown 15 times better results.  Let me start by going back in time and talking about how a connection has turned into the promotion of an amazing product with real results in my own backyard.

My fraternity brother’s family owns Left Coast Brewco in San Clemente, California.  He had been nudging me for at least a year to come check out the tasting room.  Not sure why I didn’t take the bait of finely crafted beers until nearly 2 years of existence as a business, but I finally got there.  In addition to the quality of their micro brews, I was struck by the type of people that were in the tasting room regularly and felt like it could be really good for business.  The clientele at Left Coast is really cool. One of the people I met early in my time at Left Coast was this funny, young, twenty something who had a penchant for thrift store work shirts.  Everyone of them came with a different name sewn on the shirt and a different company name.  I found that hysterical and lo and behold Spenser was someone I talked to a lot while at Left Coast and a friend.

One day we ended up in a conversation about his family business Great Big Plants.  I told him that 2014 was very productive for tomatoes in the backyard and that 2015 had been for the most part a disappointment.  He suggested that I try his organic Great Big Plants solution which puts beneficial nutrients and microbes back in the soil that are beneficial to growth and productivity. He was even willing to bring me a complimentary sample.  It seemed like a lost cause but I was down to test it out.  The plants looked like they had completely given up and the life had been sucked out of them.

Two of the three tomato plants after feeding them the solution for a couple of weeks roared back with a deepening healthy, green color and new foliage.  There wasn’t a single tomato initially, and the flowers that started to spring to life seemed to be die and fall to the ground.  That was discouraging, and the bees that were so prevalent in the spring were nowhere to be found.  When this feeding process first started it was late summer early fall.  It was not a forgone conclusion that this would work but in addition to the color, the vibrant smell of the plant became more pronounced and a tomato magically appeared.  I began to notice that the local humming birds that chase each other around the yard for priority on the feeder hanging from the back patio, were now interested in and feeding on the nectar from the tomato plant flowers.  For awhile, the lone tomato grew larger and then one day, it seemed like there were 5 or 6 more.


The plants aren’t out of the woods though as winter temperatures and predicted El Nino rains threaten the viability of keeping the tomato plants.  There are now 15 tomatoes on the plant which to me is absolutely remarkable.  They are all green and not quite at the ripening stage.  I am hoping that they continue to develop into a salad friendly fruit, or vegetable depending on who you talk to, but the branches are starting to split under the weight of the tomatoes.  This may force the decision to pick the larger tomatoes to see if placement next to a ripening banana starts a chain reaction that leaves them all red.  Understand that I had no expectation for results like this.  I was convinced that there was something to this solution when I saw the new, green growth and a single tomato formed. The odds were long so getting to 15 tomatoes in my mind is nothing short of amazing. We are approaching 3-5 days of rain, and I will be interested to see how well the plants hold up.  Plan B is to remover the big ones to see if they can be influenced to ripen by bananas.

Why is this important to Aliso Beach or South Laguna?  One of my initial thoughts was that the greens over on the 9 hole course at The Ranch At Laguna Beach were treated with pesticides and fertilizers that get into Aliso Creek.  As you may know, phosphorus in fertilizers contribute to algae blooms that upon their death leave a toxin called domoic acid that poisons shellfish beds, lobsters, crabs, fish and larger sea creatures that feed on them.  Couldn’t the Ranch at Laguna Beach make a change that keeps the greens healthy and pristine without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers?  Wouldn’t such a move keep in line with the purpose of maintaining the Marine Reserve at Aliso Beach which is downstream from the golf course? Keep in mind this is just me thinking about the potential uses for Great Big Plants.  The company is already responsible for flipping a country club in South Orange County into their product and doing away with harmful fertilizers and pesticides. It makes me think that it is possible at a place like the golf course at the Ranch at Laguna Beach.

To be crystal clear though, I have no idea what the Ranch at Laguna Beach uses to maintain that golf course.  I think most would agree that golf as a sport generates so much interest and revenue that keeping the greens attractive and top notch are important to the success of the course.  I would bet that most would agree there is a good chance that like many other golf courses, the one here uses pesticides and fertilizers that we would be smart to keep out of urban runoff, out of Aliso Creek and out of South Laguna coastal waters.  Again, I have no idea what they are using at the Ranch.  I do think it would be cool if a business like Great Big Plants got in there and helped them make a change to organic solutions that went along way to protect local ocean waters and honor the Marine Reserve that environmental activists in Laguna worked so hard to create.

The product works.  I can and do enthusiastically speak on behalf of the Great Big Plants solution.  I thought that in order to talk about the product the way I should that I would need to perfectly understand the science of it.  With the plants coming back to life off season and producing tomatoes, all the evidence needed is the tomatoes growing on a couple of plants that were basically dead when the solution was first applied.  After a 30 day period not feeding the tomato plants, some of the foliage died and they did not look as healthy.  The tomatoes kept growing despite the leaves turning brown and the Great Big Plants feedings are back under way.  We will see what happens, but either way, there is more than enough to convince me that this product does what it says it will do.  I will leave the science of that up to Spenser.  My enthusiasm for and belief in the product was enough to connect Spenser with a large player in the landscape and organic gardening business in South Orange County.  The rest is up to Spenser!  It feels good to get this article out there and honor my friend whose family has a product I believe everyone can benefit from.  Linking the organic gardening and landscape business to Great Big Plants feels like a very natural fit with the opportunity to partner on business that makes a real difference in South Laguna and neighboring communities.  The potential for this company to redirect businesses and residences to organic and sustainable gardening is a massive opportunity.  In today’s climate, I feel like people are ready to circle back to growing their own vegetables organically and contributing to the environment by discontinuing the toxic pesticides and fertilizers that deliver foods laden with poisons and soils that produce runoff that gets into our salt and fresh water.  Using Great Big Plants is a win for everyone!

Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Stories, Aliso Creek, Aliso Creek Beach, South Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , , , |

Little Sandra That Could


The early rain storms we have had over the last three and a half weeks have done nothing for our surf.  The Thanksgiving Holiday has been a dud for waves and unless the latseason tropical storm I have dubbed the little Sandra that could saves us, the surf won’t be any better until next week.  What a buzz kill that would be if Sandra, a record breaking late Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane, does not send us waves.  Category 4 Sandra is now the latest ini the calendar year that a hurricane has formed in the Eastern Pacific.  But, can she deliver waves?

Surfline forecasts that waves from Sandra will filter in throughout the day today.. Solspot forecasts not much of anything from Sandra, but I can’t tell how real their reports are recently as their lead forecaster often misses the date of the scheduled long range forecasts for the site.  A friend called at 6:00 am to cancel a meeting of old friends to surf together this morning with 1-2 foot surf.  This report seems to favor Solspot intheir assessment of dribbling surf this weekend.  Hurricanes don’t brew  this late in the Southern California swell window and we had back to back storms with potential to bring us waves.  Tropical Storm Rick didn’t have the balls to deliver us waves, and Sandra while flirting with sending us a good burst of tropical, holiday treats, may have just been a tease.

Sandra did get into our swell window as a Category 4.  Winds did reach 100 miles an hour but the small size of Sandra and not all of the fetch entering the Southern California swell window means that we may have been punked on this swell.  It just didn’t stay in the swell window long enough with the bulk of the winds.  She did everything she could for us and by last report, she may be weakening and headed over land.  Sandra is a product of El Nino’s warm waters.  Without them, such a storm does not have the fuel to get going this late into the season.  I have to imagine that Sandra sucked any all hope out of the tropical waters of Mexico.  Now all we can do is hope that storms originating out of the Gulf of Alaska start to get into our swell window.  The tiny surf is getting ridiculous.

Sandra will or will not saves us at this point.  The forecasts will be right or wrong.  All we can do is check hour by hour to see if this was the little Sandra that could or the little Sandra that promised we would get southeast swell and decided to not honor her word.  I am voting for the Little Sandra That Could!  Somewhere out there I am hearing I think I can, I think I can, I think I can evolve into I know I can.  Get it done little Sandra!

Tagged , , , , |

Black Friday


Black Friday is pure insanity.  People wait in line days before the day after Thanksgiving to get the best deals of the Holiday Season.  In a particular news bit, a dude was interviewed that had camped out in front of this big electronics retailer 8 straight years.  He built a fort with a canopy that was stocked with a computer, television, refrigerator and a bed. Have people lost their  minds? I can see what all the fuss is about, it is so much fun to wait in line for days then to be crawled over and trampled on in the rush to get yours be for everyone else gets theirs.  Yep, so much fun!  The news even featured a woman who was waiting in line at a popular retailer who intended to sell the spot to help pay for medical treatments for a loved one.  These spots have become so valuable to holiday shoppers that I bet she makes a little money.

I am not sure these people understand opportunity cost.  By waiting out there days before, they are sacrificing  time with family for the holiday.  We get so few hours to spend with each other in this country with busy schedules that drive us apart that it is reasonable to believe that people value and want that time together.  These people that would wait out in front of these stores several days ahead sends a different message.  If you are out in front of a retailer for  7 days prior to the event, what happened to work days?  In that case are you not  sacrificing income to save a few bucks on shopping.  It is madness!

aliso creek

Day after Thanksgiving 2015

Pacific Coast Highway was clear sailing with virtually no traffic late this morning.  There may have been 15 people on the beach with the sun peaking through the remnants of a lingering storm that gave us a second helping of badly needed water overnight.  It was still warm enough for  flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt which makes coastal Southern California a really amazing place. I do not give up time at the beach around the holidays to go crawl over everyone to get the best deal.  I never will.  The angst involved in that frenzied rush of people to avoid being on the wrong end of the unforgiving law of supply and demand when it comes to these deals is of no interest to me.  It hardly seems like fun but those who do it, are wide-eyed and ready to go. There is no etiquette between people in this first come, first serve deals event.  If they run out before you get yours, sorry folks better luck next year.

This time of year is a time to decompress, get away from work, enjoy family and relax.  Retailers have always hijacked this time of year where people can chill out for a moment.  While many people run for the malls and giant retailers I am running as fast as I can the opposite direction.  I want no part of it.  You will find me on a beach staring at the ocean and enjoying my toes in the sand.  The name Black Friday has no meaning to me save for the fact that the evening news shows us how far people are willing to go to get a deal.  Although some retailers have drawn a line in the sand by decreasing their hours for Black Friday, many continue to disrespect time off for their employees and subject them to one of the most grueling retail days of the year.  As a former Trader Joe’s employee, I can tell you how a retail season sucks the air out of you.  It is exhausting,  and I feel terrible for those who have to work like that and take time away from family.

I would like to propose something a little different for the day after Thanksgiving.  Let’s call it Blue Friday.  The place that magic happens is down at Aliso Beach for me.  Any beach in Southern California would do, but I happen to find this one extra special.  To me it is hard to imagine anything more appealing than a beach in the amazing weather we have here in Southern California on the day after Thanksgiving.  Let the mind wander over the Pacific Ocean, dip a big toe in the salt water and take a walk up to the tide pools below the Montage Hotel and see if that doesn’t leave you better than you came.  Refreshed, revjuvenated, recharged and reinvigorated is how a leisurely stroll up this beach will leave you feeling.  I have no clue how some of you get this needed relief on Black Friday sales events.  From where I sit and type, you are all adding stress to your lives that is completely unnecessary.

It’s okay though!  Don’t worry about me.  I will be down at the beach healing, releasing mental fatigue, soothing the soul and being thankful for the amazing coastal environment that captivates and de-stresses me.  You all carry on knowing that I hope all of the madness was worth the craziness.  An hour down at the beach this morning was worth my time on this Blue Friday!



Re-charged, revjuvenated, reinvigorated and soothed soul.




Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, Aliso Beach Stories, South Laguna Beach Tagged , , , , |

Happy Thanksgiving


I wanted to take a moment and wish friends, family, fraternity brothers, partners, clients, men and women serving our country and everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  Two years ago, I almost lost my life in a near drowning event at Salt Creek on Thanksgiving Day.  Nature dropped a serious lesson on me about my own mortality.  Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and something as unpredictable as a set of large waves beating me senseless is a reminder that there are some things I can’t perfectly control.

I left that near death situation a little wiser with an extra helping of motivation.  I really do want to impact the world and make my time here count. There are a lot of really disturbing things going on out there in the world around us, and although there is little I can do to change those things, I do feel like I can make small but meaningful differences in the lives of people that are close to me or in my sphere of influence.  They could be family members, friends or complete strangers asking for help.  Reminding people that they are cared for goes a very long way even if the kind gesture is small. Never underestimate the  power of kindness and giving to lift people up when they need it most.  I have to remind myself at times to step outside of my own crazy world to remember this and it is an internal dialogue that I will keep active so that I never forget that people need help.

The Aliso Beach website is a labor of love and I am incredibly humbled by the appreciation and encouragement the website has received from people.  The South Laguna region of beaches including Aliso is very special to me.  People in and out of the community have found the information on the site useful and have reached out with questions.  I am proud to say that every question and/or request for information have been promptly returned, and as a result of the visibility online, I have be given some opportunities to really help some people.  I have also been blessed with the opportunity to recognized people in the beach community that have helped others.  It has been an absolute joy to extend the Aliso Beach community through the website.

sunset, south laguna, south laguna beach sunset

Glowing ocean surface in fleeting moments of sun.

As the days in 2015 dwindle towards the New Year, the need to do what I said I would do when I started the website again is gnawing at me a bit.  What I said was that I would add art to the website and sell with a split of profits between the artist and a recognized 5013c non-profit charitable organization benefiting Aliso Beach.  By January 1st, 2016, the e-commerce section of this website will have contributing artists and products that may be purchased online that benefit artists and a charity whose work benefits this beach. I view this as an amazing opportunity to support charity and artists. If you are an artist or photographer with work influenced by or featuring Aliso Beach, let’s talk. My collaborative vision for this website requires involvement from members of the community who want to help make a difference.  When the vision comes together perfectly, I will consider ways to make sure there is a transfer of ownership of this website to someone, some organization or some collaborative group of people who will carry this torch on forever.  As we have all seen, the work to preserve our beaches and valuable marine life is one with no finish line.  Aliso Beach has plenty of issues with runoff from the creek damaging water quality and putting the health of beach goers, recreational water enthusiasts and marine life at risk.  In addition to being a great source of information on Aliso Beach, it is a goal to help charities fighting for good water quality and marine preservation with funding generated through the sale of art. The site is getting closer to realizing this desire to help and artists and charities benefiting Aliso Beach.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this work and offer others the opportunity to help.  Together we can make a huge difference in beach community of the ocean playground we love.  The website is always looking for pictures, stories, writers, artists and anyone else with an idea for how to collaborate in a meaningful way that enhances the impact we have on both creative people getting their message out about their art and charities that fight for Aliso Beach.  It’s fun and a great way to give back!

Please be encouraged to bring your ideas for the website to the team here at Aliso Beach. The goal is to involve as many people that want to make a difference in the lives of artists while benefiting a marine water conservation minded charity. Come join us!  We can do great things together with this website.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo Credit:  Scotty Carter

Also posted in Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, aliso beach website Tagged , , , , |