Happy Habitat

A backyard design hooks up with the natural world

This eco-friendly backyard habitat includes a pollinator garden, compost pile, rain barrels and solar-powered lights. Found, repurposed and refurbished materials were used throughout the yard and to create the studio workspace. My personal mission in life is to connect everyone with nature—to remind us all that we are part of something much bigger and greater than ourselves. For our yard,…

USD Wine Classic

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Some 800+ University of San Diego alumni, parents and friends celebrated USD Wine Classic’s 10th anniversary by raising more than $90,000 toward scholarships for deserving students. With funds from this year’s event, the Wine Classic has raised more than $500,000 since its inception for the Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund. Categories: On The Scene

Oceanside Museum of Art

Photography by Carol Sonstein

A sunset champagne toast on the Oceanside Museum of Art’s expansive terrace rang in the museum’s “Beneath the Sea” ball. Afterwards, partygoers proceeded to the Oceanside Civic Center Plaza for cocktails, an al fresco dinner and dancing to local classic rock legend, The Fabulous Ultratones. This year the ball honored Bram and Sandy Dijkstra and Robin Douglas. Categories: On The…

Our Favorite Garden Designs

A Look Back At The Best From the Last 10 Years

In September, we celebrate gorgeous garden designs. So we decided it was the perfect time to put together a roundup of the lush landscapes, pretty plants and exceptional yard designs that have caught our attention in the past. Categories: Gardening

St. Germain Children’s Charity

Photography by Carol Sonstein

St. Germain Children’s Charity culminated a year’s efforts by gathering more than 100 guests to celebrate and recognize the life-changing work of 11 nonprofit organizations dedicated to preventing and stopping child abuse in San Diego County. The grants committee awarded $150,000 to these organizations and South Bay Community Services received the special Barbara Christensen Heart of San Diego Award for…

Rendezvous In The Zoo

Photography by Carol Sonstein

The Chameleons brass band set a festive tone at the entrance to the 35th annual Rendezvous In The Zoo where guests were entertained by costumed performers and close-up animal encounters, and enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a three-course dinner. It is anticipated that the event will net more than $2 million to benefit the new Sanford Children’s Zoo at the…

Secret Garden Party

Photography by Vito Di Stefano

St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center’s inaugural Our Secret Garden Party showcased its campus, garden and new aquatics center to more than 300 attendees. The event featured beer and wine tastings, live music, catered food stations, boutique vendor booths, a student-made art and plants sale and auctions. Categories: On The Scene

Diamond Anniversary Gala

Photography by Vincent Andrunas

More than $3 million was raised at the Seacrest Foundation Women’s Auxiliary Diamond Anniversary Gala to support the Seacrest Village Retirement Communities’ Resident Assistance Fund. Held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, guests were awed by ballroom décor that included a trio of beaded columns, orchid and hydrangea floral arrangements and tables bedecked with turquoise satin and white sequined tablecloths….

10 Tips to Vibrant Eclectic Design with Spanish Flair

After all, what better place than San Diego for ‘Hacienda Chic’?

Getting eclectic decor right is not as easy as it looks. And to combine the traditional with the flair of Mexican-Spanish culture could end up looking more like a mish-mash than a dynamic design. Ashley Astleford, the creator of the “Hacienda Chic” design style offers these 10 tips: Categories: design inspiration, Home Design, Tricks of the trade

San Diego Food Bank

Photography by Carol Sonstein

This year’s Chefs, Cork & Craft gala was themed as a spring garden party and the décor featured flowing floral patterns with vibrant colors and sunset hues. Guests enjoyed food from celebrated local chefs, live musical acts, silent and live auction items and the famous cocktail lounge in the Food Bank’s walk-in refrigeration unit. Categories: On The Scene

Navy SEALs and SOF Support

Photography by Carol Sonstein

The Del Mar Country Club was packed and more than $1 million dollars raised during the 2018 golf tournament and dinner gala benefiting Navy SEALs and Special Operations Forces Support Foundation. The day, which honored Navy SEALS and SEAL Team Six in particular, began with a patriotic performance from the Navy Band Southwest and ended with an energetic live auction…

Concours d’Elegance 2018

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Guests kicked off the 14th annual Concours d’Elegance weekend in 1930s style at the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars La Jolla “Dapper and Delight Soiree” presented by UBS Financial Services and Schubach Aviation. The ritzy cocktail party was held at the elegant COVO restaurant. Categories: On The Scene

San Diego Opera

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Honoring the creative and inspiring spirit of Dame Zandra Rhodes, the San Diego Opera Ball was a night for fun, firebrands, pink provocateurs, rosy raconteurs and for those who danced down the pink carpet to their own beat. Held at The US Grant Hotel, the gala was chaired by Sherry Ahern. Categories: On The Scene

The Kyoto Benefit Gala

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, The Kyoto Benefit Gala served as a distinguished opening ceremony for the Kyoto Prize Symposium while also honoring Kyoto Prize Laureates Dr. Takashi Mimura, Dr. Graham Farquhar and Dr. Richard Taruskin. The black-tie event also helped fund the future Kyoto Prize Symposium Scholarships. Categories: On The Scene

Celebrating at the New Village Arts Gala

Photography by Carol Sonstein

An evening of music and adventure, the New Village Arts Gala celebrated honored guest Francella Perez of KUSI-TV. Attendees dressed in hiking boots to heels to celebrate adventure and NVA’s accomplishments over the past 17 years. Categories: On The Scene

Foster Youth’s Walk the Talk

Photography by Carol Sonstein

“Rise Up” was the theme of this year’s Just in Time for Foster Youth’s Walk the Talk. The annual fundraising celebration was held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine and honored volunteers Gretchen and Bill Morgan. Categories: On The Scene

Scripps’ 46th Annual Mercy Ball

Photography courtesy of Scripps Health Foundation

Scripps’ 46th annual Mercy Ball raised a record $700,000 to benefit trauma care at both campuses: the purchase of cutting-edge technology for head and spine trauma surgery in Hillcrest and the remodel fund for Chula Vista’s Triage Center. Nearly 500 guests attended the event, held at the Pendry Hotel.   Categories: On The Scene

Go Red For Women Luncheon

Photography by Vincent Andrunas

This year’s Go Red For Women Luncheon celebrated the 2018 San Diego Legendary Women of the Heart: Joyce Butler, Valerie Cooper, Susan Hoehn and Armi Williams. Guests enjoyed a Survivor’s Fashion Show presented by Macy’s and Red Haute & Co. Categories: On The Scene

109th Anniversary Charity Ball

Photography by Vincent Andrunas

Held at the Hotel Del Coronado’s historic Crown Room, the 109th Anniversary Charity Ball was an elegant evening of dining and dancing to the Wayne Foster Orchestra and the San Diego Master Chorale. This year’s gala, chaired by Phylicia Cicalo-Aiken, raised money for the Trauma Center at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Categories: Lifestyles, On The Scene

Sixth Annual Paw Walk in the Garden

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Sabrina Sambuceto and Mellow The sixth annual Paw Walk in the Garden was the one day of the year where guests to San Diego Botanic Garden could bring their dogs. Along with walking the garden, guests could peruse pet products as well as information and displays for animal lovers. Categories: On The Scene, Uncategorized

A Zandra Rhodes Fashion Event

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Guests hobnobbed with Dame Zandra Rhodes at a fashion event featuring more than 30 of her couture gowns, available for purchase—and perfect to wear to San Diego Opera’s Pretty in Pink opera ball. Categories: On The Scene, Uncategorized

Celebrating The Giving Hearts Gala

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Celebrity impersonator Eileen Finney greeted guests and honorees at this year’s Giving Hearts Gala, where The Country Friends revealed the 52 agencies chosen to receive grants. The event raised approximately $60,000 for the non-profit’s Legacy Campaign. Categories: On The Scene

Las Patronas Beneficiary Reception

Photography by Carol Sonstein

Las Patronas raised a total of $903,000 during the 2017 Jewel Ball of which more than $300,000 was given to the major beneficiaries at its annual Beneficiary Reception. Las Patronas also provided funds for its Legacy Society Grant recipient, Social Advocates for Youth, Inc. The remaining funds will be contributed to minor beneficiaries. Categories: On The Scene

Collective Impact Center Brunch

Photography by Carol Sonstein

A day of inspiring speakers, a fashion show, networking and live entertainment was all part of the Collective Impact Center’s brunch to benefit the Homeless Coalition and the Urban Street Angels of San Diego. Categories: Lifestyles, On The Scene

How to Pick the Perfect Spot for Your Houseplants

Because they might not need as much natural light as you may think

With a fervor that rivals the heyday of houseplants decades ago, new generations are accenting living rooms, bedrooms, home offices and even baths with greenery. Think of it as “interiorscaping,” says best-selling author Barbara Pleasant in The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. “Plants are moving indoors as living art—and more.” “Lush plants bring interiors to life,” says Samantha Owens who’s helped a…

Garden Planner: Dazzling Sunflowers

Let Sunflowers Bring a Splash of Color to your Garden

Ever since gazing at fields of dazzling sunflowers in France, I’ve been enchanted by these bold summer beauties. Always on the lookout for a deeper red or taller giant to try, I struck gold with SunflowerSelections.com. Their breeder Tom Heaton shares results of four decades of innovation with these North American natives. Take your pick of seeds for more than…

Garden Planner: Showy New Succulents

Aloe...Yes, We're Talking to You

Looking for some stellar additions to your succulent garden? Garden America radio co-host John Bagnasco and Altman Plants horticulturist Bob Reidmuller, both North County residents, share their top 100 picks in their new book Success With Succulents (Cool Springs Press, $24.99). Among the tantalizing choices—standards to rarities—are some must-have hybrids, many bred in Altman’s Vista facilities. Find them at garden…

Garden Planner: Critter Controls

Because No Gardener Likes To Find Their Edibles Nibbled

No gardener likes to discover their edibles nibbled to nubbins by hungry critters. Keep rabbits, deer, birds, insects and even family pets away with covers, mats and fencing designed to protect sprouting and ripening veggies. All are available from Gardener’s Supply Company (gardeners.com). Categories: Garden Guide

Tea by the Sea

St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center partners with The Marine Room

St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center partnered with The Marine Room to host Tea by the Sea