Greer's OC: Open surf season

Tuesday marked the beginning of an incredible free concert series at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, but BMX, fashion, skating and, of course, surf events will continue from morning until night.

The venue opens at 7 a.m. or earlier for the remainder of the competition, allowing visitors to make their mark on the Nike 6.0 Art Wall or wander around the grounds. If you missed the Cold War Kids on Tuesday night or Bedouin Soundclash on Wednesday, Switchfoot will take over the stage tonight. Weezer and Hot Hot Heat, a bill that will sell out an arena in minutes, will close out the free concert series Saturday night – best to get there early and watch the women's surf finals!

Friday is the Walk the Walk Grand Championship on the music stage, presenting five high school teams in a "Project Runway" meets "Friday Night Football" competition. Huntington Beach High School is among the contenders who are competing for a $25,000 donation for their school after making it through the video challenge process. Schools are encouraged to put together something worthy of Fashion Week and the final judging begins at 4 p.m. Cobra Starship and Street Drum Corps will perform on the same stage immediately after.

The men's surf competitions finish up Sunday. The U.S. Open of Surfing stadium and festival grounds are on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

Sleek, sophisticated hotel

The Hotel Hanford in Costa Mesa has debuted 79 newly designed, sleek and sophisticated guestrooms with handmade furnishings, flat-screen televisions and free wireless Internet service. The independent, boutique-style hotel even has Starbucks coffee available for delivery right to every guest's door. Hanford Hotels, a Newport Beach-based hotel owner and operator, has been converting the former Holiday Inn Costa Mesa since December 2009. The hotel has remained opened since the renovation began and plans for the final debut will be announced at the end of the summer.

Minutes away from John Wayne Airport and shopping and dining at South Coast Plaza, Hotel Hanford also offers Smooch the Pooch packages that include dog walking, pet beds, gourmet menus, bottled water and many more treats. After enjoying an afternoon nap on a memory foam pillow and a relaxing shower under a rainwater shower head, guests can also visit the recently opened Savoy Restaurant and Lounge. Offering new interpretations of European and Oriental cuisine, the restaurant will soon feature a private wine salon and tasting room.

The Hotel Hanford is located at 3131 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa next to South Coast Plaza. (714) 557-3000 or visit

Paper or Plastic?

LOVE Reusable Bags provide an eco-friendly alternative for shoppers who want to reduce their impact on the environment. Functionality and fashion are the inspiration for these bags, the first collection to be marketed by Costa Mesa-based American Joe Inc., that will help eliminate the use of plastic and paper bags. LOVE bags can be stashed easily and will stand on their own and range in price from $8.95 to $39.95. For more information, visit

Free Yoga!

This Saturday, lululemon athetica is offering a free all-level, all-abilities yoga class at Fashion Island. A part of Salutation Nation, a nationwide outdoor yoga event, the hour-long vinyasa class will begin at 9 a.m. in the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale's Courtyard. Thousands of people across the country will take their asana practice outside to connect with others in the community. For more information, call (949) 644-9642.

Egyptian Chic

It may not come from the tomb of an Egyptian mummy, but Molly Wood Garden Design is now offering handmade Egyptian pottery that is a must-have for any home or garden. The creamy off-white clay pots come in many new shapes and sizes. Unplanted, prices range from $14 to $48 and may run out soon. Molly Wood's showroom is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. The store is at 1660 Orange Ave. in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 548-1611.

Converse With Artists!

Today continues the Festival of Arts' "Coffee and Conversations with Artists" series. From 10 to 11 a.m., Festival of Arts ticket holders can speak with Tom Lamb and other photographers about "Photography and Digital Media." Focusing on the impact of the digital age and its effect on artists' careers, these artists, led by Lamb, will discuss the changing nature and challenges of bringing and presenting photographs to the world.

Lamb has been an exhibiting artist for over 18 years at the Festival of Arts and currently works with color photography.

Admission is free to "Coffee and Conversations" with the purchase of a Festival of Arts ticket ($7). Festival admission prices are $7 for general admission and $4 for seniors and students. All general admission tickets are season passes giving unlimited admission to the Festival of Arts all summer long. Laguna Beach residents and military personnel with ID receive free admission, as do children younger than 12.

GREER WYLDER writes Greer's OC for the Huntington Beach Independent each Thursday and the Daily Pilot and Coastline Pilot each Friday. She's the founder and president of, a free daily e-mail service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed and she can be contacted at

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