Corona del Mar Today

Corona del Mar's Twistbands Spark National Craze

What began with a Corona del Mar's mom spur-of-the-moment attempt to keep her hair comfortably away from her baby daughter's grasp has turned into a successful business that recently was featured on the "Today" show.

Jessica Frandson created her Twistband company in 2008 and to date has sold more than 1.5 million of the colorful, stretchy bands that look just as good as a bracelet as they do as a hairband. The bands, which come in a rainbow of colors, some featuring little baubles, sell for about $2.50 apiece.

"I can't make enough Twistbands," Frandson said. She began in her home crafts room, using leftover ribbons and decorations, trying to find a more stylish ponytail holder that wasn't too tight. Now, she's branching out, adding colorful hair pins and shoelaces to her business.

"The shoelaces were one of those 'Ah-ha!' moments in the middle of the night," she said. "I woke up thinking, 'Shoelaces would be fun…'"

The shoelaces come in rainbow tie-dye and neon shades, and once they are on your shoes and tied, you can stretch them and slip shoes on and off without worrying about retying laces.

"They are great for kids, but also for elderly people who have trouble with laces," she said.

The popularity among older people and boys led Frandson to create laces in more traditional colors, she said, which will soon be available for sale. She also has party kits available, so girls can create their own Twistbands at parties, or for favors.

Sales have been great, online as well as in retail shops across the world, and locally in shops like Hobie Surf Shop in Corona del Mar and Trompe L'oeil Cosmetiques in Newport Beach. But Frandson said a recent plug on the "Today" show really sent orders through the roof.

"The power of television is unbelievable," she said, describing how she was walking with her daughter when the clip first appeared on the East Coast. "By 7:30 a.m., I checked my phone and had 180 e-mails already," she said. "My website started blowing up."

Frandson said she's going to donate $50,000 worth of goods to the Today Show Toy Drive later this year, and she also created Twistbands for Hurley to hand out at last year's Huntington Beach Open Surf Contest. Some of her marketing efforts are personal and local, as well — handing out bands at the Cameo neighborhood's July Fourth party, or to strangers who remark on her armful of colorful Twistbands.

For more information, visit http://thetwistband.bigcartel.com/.

Dog Beach Hours Won't Be Limited During Winter Months

The Newport Beach City Council voted on Tuesday to expand the hours that dogs are permitted on beaches — but not for the 90 minutes a day that a staff report suggested and a parks commission approved.

Instead, in a 5-2 vote, the council decided to keep dog hours the same during summer months but eliminate restrictions from Sept. 15 to May 15, when beach crowds typically thin out.

Several dog owners, who were in the audience and testified in favor of the expanded hours, applauded after the vote.

Currently, dogs are banned on Newport Beach beaches from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the year. Many dog owners wanted to extend the hours in the winter, when it is dark by 5 p.m. and difficult for them to walk dogs safely after dark on city beaches.

City staff wanted the hours to be the same year-round in order to simplify enforcement. But Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said that 4:30 p.m. is too early for dogs to be on beaches on crowded summer weekends — and it's too restrictive on winters when the beaches are mostly empty.

In the end, the Council voted to eliminate the hours altogether in the winter months. Councilmen Ed Selich and Don Webb voted against the plan.

"I think we ought to leave things the way they are," Selich said.

The issue will go before the council for a second reading before it is adopted, said City Manager Dave Kiff.

Hobie Shop Opens In Corona del Mar

Hobie Surf Shop has opened its doors in Corona del Mar, six months after the Becker shop quietly went out of business.

"We felt the store was ready to go," said Jake Schwaner, general manager.

So at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, as soon as the computers were up and running, they opened the doors and began selling merchandise.

"People have been coming in every day, asking if we were open," Schwaner said. "It was great to finally get things going."

The shop sells surf boards, accessories, clothes and other surf-related items. Today, a few women in the shop asked where the kids' clothes are.

"We'll have clothes down to toddler sizes," Schwaner said. But right now, they are still getting stock and setting things up. "We're still getting it going."

Customers have been stopping in steadily, he said, with everyone saying, "Welcome back!" and "Glad to see you back!"

"Everyone has been so nice and friendly," said manager Whitney Rose. "It's fun."

The shop's merchandise is similar to Becker's, but the space has been remodeled with a brighter, more airy feel. The checkout counter is now in the center of the shop, and the counter and shelves and racks are filled with brightly colored displays of perfumes and local products like Sanuk and Twistbands.

Hobie is located at 3140 East Coast Hwy.

Corona del Mar Chamber Event 'A Smashing Success'

A recent sold-out wine dinner event at Mastro's Ocean Club was a "smashing success" that raised money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and kicked off the countdown to the Corona del Mar Coastline Car Classic.

The private wine dinner was hosted in partnership by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce and Mastro's Ocean Club and included a four-course meal paired with wines and a live auction, emceed by Dave Kunz, automotive commentator for Channel 7 News.

The Coastline Car Classic will take place at Big Corona State Beach on Sept. 12. The show, in its seventh year, brings hundreds of visitors to the area to see exotic and prestigious cars.

For more information, or tickets, call (949) 673-4050.

Charity Cycling Event Gets OK to Ride Through NB

A last-minute change of heart by Newport Beach staff members, right in the middle of a City Council discussion, will allow an Irvine-based bicycle event to ride through Newport Beach in October.

The First Annual Gran Fondo ride is scheduled for Oct. 19. The name, which is Italian for "Big Ride," offers participants cycling courses that range from 11 to 101 miles, and depending on the route, will wind through Irvine, Lake Forest, Orange and other cities including Newport Beach. The event will raise money for the St. John Neumann Catholic Parish in Irvine, where cyclists will start and finish their rides.

When organizers asked Newport Beach for permission to use city streets including Back Bay Drive, however, the recreation staff said it would require a special event permit. And because staff had already issued the maximum of 12 permits for "bike, foot, race and surf" contents for the year, staff didn't think an exception should be made for an out-of-town organization. A staff report also said that police might be needed to keep the event running smoothly, particularly since it coincided with a California Department of Fish and Game marine life inventory event in the same area, at the same time.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, however, organizer Canmeron Jackson said that while he hoped one day the event would draw more than 1,000 cyclists, this year the number riding through Newport Beach would likely be closer to 35.

"It is intended to be a low-impact event," Jackson said. "I would expect the last rider to be out of your city by 9 a.m."

The event also is not a race, he said, and riders would be required to follow traffic laws. They would be staggered as well, he said.

City Manager Dave Kiff pointed out that many cycling events have no permits because there are no organizers who bother to get them, and that some groups who casually ride through Newport Beach are a lot larger than 35 people.

Councilwoman Leslie Daigle agreed. "I don't see a substantial impact," she said. "I don't see a big problem."

Council members discussed whether to ask Jackson to withdraw his request for a permit and just run the event through town, or whether to vote to grant the permit despite the staff report. In the end, officials asked the recreation staff who wrote their report to agree that a permit was not actually needed this year.

If the event is successful and grows in the future, city officials may require a permit, they said.

John Tzinberg, owner of Bike Religion, said his business is sponsoring the event. Tzinberg, who served on the city's Cycling Safety Task Force, attended the meeting on Tuesday.

"It is great that the city can come to an agreement to accommodate this cycling event," he said. "The Gran Fondo is a fun event that encourages everyone to jump on a bike and enjoy all of the OC."

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