Greer's OC: Great garden gifts

Where to find new inspiration on home and garden furnishings? Encinitas-based Gardenology recently opened its second location at Westcliff Court in Newport Beach in the former Les Interieurs spot. It's all about bringing the inside out and the outside in.

The comfortable and relaxed store is owned by Lili McIntire, who revels in finding unique vendors (mostly from California) and always in the U.S. She sources out small creative artisans who make vintage tile picture frames, hand-poured custom scented candles, vintage brick molds and hard-to-find lighting.

At Gardenology, you can stop in for great gifts: a vintage pot, a faux plant, a diffuser bottle and scent that suits your style from the Archipelago Fragrance Bar, or a humorous "Everything You Can Do in the Garden Without Actually Gardening" book. Or you can choose from custom furniture, Italian dishes, original art and linens. There's also design services, and Gardenology is open to the trade.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 1701 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 650-9900 or visit

Fresh and fun clothes

It's thrilling to see the first Free People boutique that just opened at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The Urban Outfitters Inc. brand, a mix of bohemian and vintage looks and feminine detailing, is a fresh and fun line, and under one roof, you can find the best in Free People's date dresses under $100 – lace and crochet, summer whites, patchwork prints, rompers, darling dresses, tops, shorts and much more. The boutique also carries accessories, handbags and intimates.

Free People is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Level 1, Bloomingdale's Wing, at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714) 708-3794 or visit

Flip flops in Surf City

Havaianas, makers of stylish and comfortable flip-flops, can now call Huntington Beach home: The first Havaianas store in the U.S. just opened on Main Street. At this exclusive shop, you'll be in Havaiana heaven – choose from more than 150 styles for men, women and children. You can also make your own Havaianas at a custom station.

A pair of World Cup 2010 Havaianas are $24. The limited-edition collection features 17 soccer teams so you and your feet can show support for your favorite nation. Relax on flip-flop-shaped furniture and check out a chandelier made out of thousands of mini sandals.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday at 300 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Huntington Beach. For more information, call (714) 536-0001.

Arts festival in Laguna Beach

The summer's premier arts festival, Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach, is now running through Aug. 29. The show features 125 international, national and local artists and master craft persons. And there's even more: live entertainment artists' demonstrations and weekly art workshops taught by professional artists. At Art-A-Fair, you can meet participating artists and experience their artistic talents as they work in oil, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture, mixed media, digital art, ceramics, glass and more.

Adult art workshops are also offered from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in watercolor, oil and palette knife, acrylic, drawing and Chinese brush painting. Classic beading is also offered on select Sundays for two hours. The event is open to people 16 years and older, ideal for beginner to intermediate skill levels. Workshops cost $25 for two hours and $40 for four hours. Registration will take place on Art-A-Fair grounds or by calling (949) 494-4514.

The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A season admission ticket costs just $7 for adults and $4 for seniors (60+), military and students with an ID. Children 12 and under are admitted free with an adult.

Art-A-Fair is at 777 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. For more information, call (949) 494-4514.

Get pass for that art festival

You can buy a triple-value Passport to the Arts for just $19 (a $36 value) and receive unlimited admission to all three of Laguna Beach's world-renowned outdoor summer art festivals – the Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair – for the season. The Passport to the Arts includes a one-time, all-day free parking with each ticket.

The festivals feature more than 500 artists, 300 hands-on workshops, 200 musical performances, dozens of special events and an array of restaurants and other food purveyors. Additionally, selected retailers and merchants throughout Laguna Beach are offering special discounts to Passport holders.

The Festival of Arts runs July 5 through Aug. 31, the Sawdust Art Festival through Aug. 29 and the Art-A-Fair through Aug. 29. The Laguna Beach Passport to the Arts can be purchased at or by calling (949) 497-0521.

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