A Laguna Beach Sunset Cocktail Party

Shining Example

There has been much ado about Marie Kondo’s slim volume The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a neatly folded ode to the practice of paring one’s universe down to the essential. In recent years, we’ve witnessed our parents enacting their own version of this process – donating, downsizing, shedding the unnecessary. For one, this has netted a tiny, wooden cottage on a pristine Laguna Beach hilltop, the ocean’s indigo stripe at your eyeline from virtually each of the home’s snug corners. It is not the absence or lack of anything but rather, the unfettered permission to enjoy what matters. This is Laguna in diorama, a live study of the thread that binds the personalities, endeavors and scenic lookouts that comprise a whole community. It is necessarily simple, and that translates to just room enough for the good stuff.

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Zinclinis & Champagne + Cheese Course + Pico de Gallo and Local Chips

These house regulars from local stars Zinc Café, Lobby Lounge at Montage, Sapphire Pantry and La Sirena are short on prep time and full of flavor, our favorite starter combination.

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Cucumber Lime Margaritas + Bites, Minis + Salad Spread

Fresh squeezed cocktails and skewer-and-eat nibbles make for a mix and mingle-friendly atmosphere.

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Balboa Bars + Frozen Bananas

A childhood favorite gets the “mini” treatment for a dessert that’s fun and easy to make at home.



SUNSET      –         DRIFTWOOD     –          POTTERY        –         SEA



We love a good formal dinner party, but nothing says ‘party’ quite like strategically placed food and drink stations. Consider having furnishings like a side table or hutch stand in as a mini-bar or serving stop, and don’t overlook the potential hidden in window ledges, stairwells or garden corners. The novelty is a fun surprise for your friends, and an easy way to up the social ante on your evening. Keep florals casual in stoneware pitchers or found containers and let seating happen in casual pairs throughout. 

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May We Suggest…



The beauty of a cocktail-oriented event is that you can pop a drink into each friend’s hand as they arrive and there is plenty of choice to please even the pickiest palate. Let friends sway to surf-inspired tunes as they drift from one plate to the next, and when it comes time for the sweet tooth, we’re hard-pressed to think of a better way to enjoy sand-ready frozen treats than alongside a beach bonfire (or snuggled in front of a fireplace).

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Theme From A Summer Place, Percy Faith
Let’s Go Surfing, The Drums
Rockin’ Robin, Bobby Day
Dream Lover, Bobby Darin
Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys
For The Longest Time, Billy Joel
Me and Julio Down By The Schooyard, Paul Simon
Bye Bye Love, The Everly Brothers
Grazing In The Grass, Hugh Masekela
Do It Again, The Beach Boys
Paint It, Black, The Rolling Stones
Hooked On A Feeling, B.J. Thomas
Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini, Brian Hyland
Take Five, The Dave Brubeck Quartet
The Girl From Ipanema, Stan Getz

Looking for more Laguna Beach stories? See the full Gather collection here.

Contributing Photography: Helen Brooks

© Shining Example, Laguna Beach Cocktail Party.