Living the Hygge Life

Happiness – Scandinavian Style

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the new year running full speed ahead and more Things To Do lists to tackle, life can get stressful.

Fortunately, there’s a way to counteract the stress around us – by borrowing from the Scandinavian lifestyle concept of hygge.

Originating in Denmark in the late 1800s, hygge means “comfortable and cozy” and embraces relaxing with family and friends in a happy and uncontrived way.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are all for that. Sunny remembers when she was on a writing assignment in Sweden and friends asked her to stay with them.

When she arrived late at night there was a whole spread of food on the table to share. Everyone ate and talked into the wee hours enjoying each other’s company.

At its essence, hygge celebrates life’s everyday moments. Think sitting in a comfy chair by the fire or outside on the deck watching the sunset, sharing a home-cooked meal, lingering over coffee, listening to music, playing a board game, waiting in the lineup for the perfect wave.

 

Interior designer Mickey Walker, of MW Interiors in Redondo Beach, California, told SurfWriter Girls hygge is about “having your own place to breathe in comfort and warmth.”

In designing spaces for her clients, she’s found that “hygge fits well with California’s laid back approach to living and entertaining,” adding that “if you’re comfortable, others will be comfortable, too.”

Walker, one of SoCal’s most respected interior designers since 1982, specializes in “transforming houses into homes.” What she calls “harmonious homes” that reflect you and are in tune with your own individual lifestyle. “A home that fills your heart” – the kind of place where you truly can be yourself and live the hygge life.

To create your own hygge environment, here are some tips:

 

Surround yourself with furnishings that have a special meaning to you – photos, books, art, objects that give you joy. It’s not how much you spend, but the feelings of love and security they evoke.

 

Enjoy tactile things – snuggling in a soft blanket, taking a bubble bath, walking on a sandy beach.

 

Give yourself the space and time to be creative – cooking, gardening, crafting, painting, writing.

 

Balance personal space with social space – a private nook to read a book with living areas to mix and mingle.

As the Scandinavians say, “With hygge you’re creating your own happy place.”

Now, that’s something we all need!

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Wild Thing, I Think I Love You

Valentine’s Day Call Of The Wild

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

When it comes to amore, people aren’t the only ones in the mood for love. Just look at the animal kingdom and you’ll get the idea.

 

From penguins to pangolins, otters and owls,

to chickadees and chipmunks, love is in the air.

To channel your inner animal on Valentine’s Day, listen to Wild Thing, the 1966 number one hit single by The Trogs. Whether you stream it online or dust off an old 45, it will make your heart sing.

One of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All time, it will have you feeling groovy on Valentine’s Day.

So, light the candles, get out the chocolates and pour the wine.

Then let your wilder side come out.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunny and Patti

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Her Deepness Dr. Sylvia Earle

Protecting Our Oceans

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When it comes to exploring the depths of our oceans and protecting the environment, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Sylvia Earle has done it all.

Her accomplishments and accolades are astonishing. Time magazine calls her a “Hero for the Planet” and The Library of Congress says she is a “Living Legend.” The New York Times and New Yorker both gave her this regal title: “Her Deepness.”

An explorer, oceanographer, and author of close to 200 publications, Dr. Earle has led more than 100 expeditions and spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, setting a record in 2012 for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth.

Whether it’s charting the world’s oceans or safeguarding endangered ecosystems, Dr. Earle is always pushing the limits of what’s possible. Through the Sylvia Earl Alliance (S.E.A.) she launched Mission Blue, “an initiative to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots—special places that are vital to the health of the ocean…the blue heart of our planet.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know how important the initiative is.  Its goal is to “unite a global coalition of partners to inspire an up-swelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas.”

Currently less than 4% of the ocean is protected from pollution, acidification, climate change, overfishing, and other man-caused destructive actions. By bringing everyone together – governments, nonprofit organizations, corporations and individuals – Dr. Earle hopes to bring that number up to 20%.

Protecting the ocean is critical to the entire world’s well-being, insists Dr. Earle. “We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do.”  She says that we are all connected and mutually dependent on each other:

The former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr. Earle dove for the first time when she was 16-years-old, using a diving helmet because scuba wasn’t yet available. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Botany and Ph.D. in Phycology (the study of algae) from Duke University.

Dr. Earle has been pushing past barriers and breaking records her whole career. In 1970 she captained the first all-female team to live underwater. Two weeks later, when she and her teammates returned to the surface, they received a ticker-tape parade and a White House reception.

Then, in 1979, much like Neil Armstrong’s “small step for man; giant leap for mankind” walk on the moon, she walked untethered on the sea floor off the coast of Oahu at a lower depth (1,250 feet) than any other person before or since.

Eager to help others see the world of wonder under the sea, Dr. Earle founded two companies – Deep Ocean Engineering and Deep Ocean Technologies – with engineer Graham Hawkes to design undersea vehicles that scientists can use to navigate depths that were previously inaccessible.

From her birthplace on a small farm in Gibbstown, New Jersey, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s journey has taken her to the farthest reaches and depths of our planet.

A true Ambassador to the Ocean, her accomplishments are unfathomable.

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Mutts Say “Yesh!”

Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell Gives Animals A Voice

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell’s popular syndicated comic strip Mutts does more than entertain. It gives a voice to animals and builds public support for protecting them.

Started in 1994 to capture the joyful spirit of McDonnell’s beloved Jack Russell terrier Earl, the comic strip has expanded to include a host of animal and human characters – most notably, Mooch, Earl’s inquisitive cat friend.

McDonnell says he “had hoped the storyline (introducing Mooch) would be good for a few weeks’ worth of jokes. But, Mooch, like every cat I’ve known, walked into my life and took over.”

Mooch and the other Mutts characters have staked a place in SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel’s life, too.  We are huge Mutts fans and love the comic strip’s heart, good humor and sense of wonder.

As Earl and Mooch explore the world around them, interacting with their human companions, other animals and the characters in the Mutts universe, this gives McDonnell the opportunity to showcase the duo’s friendship and remind readers of the bond we have with the animals in our lives.

It also lets McDonnell shine the light on all the dogs and cats in animal shelters. For the past 20 years the comic strip has devoted two weeks a year to Mutts Shelter Stories about the pets in shelters who need homes.

 

Since 2000 McDonnell has been a member of the board of directors for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and is a strong advocate for the organization’s work.

McDonnell says being on the HSUS board has been “life-changing” for him, giving him an even greater opportunity to help make the world a better place for animals.

 

One of McDonnell’s cartoons “Sweet Dreams” particularly sums up his wishes for animals – showing their dreams of being free, happy and loved.

Its a dream McDonnell has for all animals and one we all can share.

As Mooch would say to that, “Yesh!”

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Rose Garden Memories

Labor of Love Creates Family Legacy

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

They say that the rose – written about by poets and painted by artists – is the most noble of flowers.

Patricia Alorro Magdaug, SurfWriter Girl Sunny’s mom, thought that.

After seeing the Exposition Park Rose Garden in Los Angeles, a landmark with 15,000 rose bushes in more than 100 varieties, Sunny’s mom was enthralled by the flowers’ beauty – and decided to plant her own rose garden.

Sunny remembers visiting plant nurseries with her mom on the weekends and walking in local neighborhoods to admire the gardens and get ideas for their own garden. Sunny and her mom filled the yard around the family’s house in Los Alamitos, CA with a variety of roses.

Finding just the right flowers, planting and tending them was something they could do together, making the garden a place the whole family could enjoy.

Years later, when Sunny’s mom was losing her memories to Alzheimer’s disease, fresh-cut roses from her garden could always make her smile.

Now, Patricia Alorro Magdaug – lovingly called “Mama Pat” by her large, extended family in California and the Phillippines and “Lola” by her grandchildren – has passed away. But the roses remain and the love she shared with everyone.

Lovely Spring While Roses Bloom

Written by Sunny Magdaug

Red rose petals are fragile in velvety dew,

Glistening and abundant in the Spring mornings about sunrise.

 

Imagine you and me meeting in lovely Spring while roses are blooming…

A precious moment in Heaven that will have eternal value.

 

In Loving Memory of Patricia Alorro Magdaug

August 25, 1925 – October 29, 2017

 

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Listening To A Continent Sing

Book A Tribute to Joyful Bird Sounds

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

In our modern age, filled with the harsh sounds of sirens, leaf blowers and loud radios,  it’s a welcome relief to hear the joyful sounds of birds celebrating the wonders of life.

Now, thanks to Donald Kroodsma, you can hear those birdsongs in his remarkable book (with recordings) Listening to A Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Kroodsma, a professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, set out on a 10-week/10-state, 5,000 mile journey with his son, David, bicycling on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail from Virginia to Oregon, recording the songs of the birds they encountered along the way.

And what a pantheon of sounds it is – 381 recordings – of every type of bird from sparrows and wrens…

to talkative jays and hooting owls.

Riding on deserted country roads and well-traveled thoroughfares, from early in the morning until the fall of night, the bicycling duo listened to and chronicled the birds of a nation.

The book is beautifully formatted with illustrations depicting the scenery and birds spied during their travels. (QR codes embedded in the pages bring the birds to audio life when scanned.)

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are amazed at the magnitude of the book.

Like Sacajawea interpreting the Shoshone Indian language for explorers Lewis and Clark, Donald Kroodsma has archived and interpreted the language of birds – opening a wondrous door on the sounds of nature for us all to enjoy.

This is a father-son road trip not to be missed.

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Robb Havassy Surf Story II

An Homage to Surf Culture

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Everywhere you looked in the cavernous Hurley sports company warehouse the walls were filled with artworks – paintings, photographs, montages – depicting the ocean and surfers.

Raw and vibrant, it was a giant, visual wave that stimulated the senses.

 

Representing the artists in Robb Havassy’s new book Surf Story II, the art on display at the premiere reception in Newport Beach gave guests a preview of what’s in his 550-page book – Robb’s heartfelt homage to surfing and the surf culture.

The massive, two-book collection of art and stories from more than 200 of the most influential artists, photographers, writers, and iconic figures in surfing shows their love and passion for the sport.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to share the stoke on this momentous occasion with Robb and our friend artist Colleen Gnos, who is included in the book.

We were in awe of all the people who turned out for the celebration. Literally the royalty of surf culture creatives, everyone was there to thank Robb for this epic sequel to his 2009 Surf Story.

Watching them pose for a group photo, Patti thought of the famous 1943 MGM studios photo of all its actors – and Louis B. Mayer’s quote: “More stars than in the heavens.”

The Surf Story II reception was equal parts gallery show and book-signing party with friends and family mingling and the artists signing each other’s books and enjoying the vibes.

Robb – at the center of it all – signed books, gave hugs and greetings, and took in the sights and sounds of this long-awaited day.

Like Bruce Brown’s landmark 1966 film The Endless Summer – on display in a 50th anniversary DVD edition – Robb Havassy’s herculean achievement tells the neverending story of surfing.

 

Surf Story Project: More than a book – It’s history!

– Drew Brophy, surf artist

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Viva La Vaquita!

US Navy Dolphins Called to Rescue

Endangered Porpoises

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

If you haven’t heard of vaquitas before, that’s no surprise. The vaquita, whose name in Spanish means “little cow,” is the world’s rarest marine mammal.

 

A little porpoise that wasn’t even discovered until 1958, it is now on the verge of extinction with its numbers steadily falling from an estimated 600 in 1997 to a small fraction of that today.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that in the past two years the vaquita population has dropped by half.

Scientists say there are less than 30 vaquitas left in the world.

Wildlife experts are desperately trying to save the remaining vaquitas, who are falling victim to illegal fishing gill nets used in the Gulf of California.

As they say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” In this case, the US Navy has even been called in to help in an unexpected way.

It is deploying teams of bottlenose dolphins, which are equipped with sonar and trained to locate underwater mines, to find some of the vaquitas so they can be taken to a safe spot where, it’s hoped, that they will breed.

Under the Navy’s program, vaquitas left in the wild could also be tagged with transmitters and tracked for research purposes.

In June 2017 the Mexican government instituted a permanent ban on gill nets. Dr. Anna Hall, president of the Porpoise Conservation Society, says, “If we remove the gill nets, we will likely save the vaquita.” She and other marine scientists and conservationists are calling on world governments and organizations to speak out against the nets and to support conservation efforts to protect the ocean and sea life.

Journalists know that -30- is the notation you put at the end of a story. It means The End. If we don’t take action now for the less than 30 remaining vaquitas, it will also mark The End for this species.

Don’t Write Off the Vaquita!

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Women of Surfing: Art and History

Huntington Beach Exhibit – A Tsunami of Talent!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The Vans US Open of Surfing is over now, but some of the best surfing action you’ll see this summer isn’t on the beach. It’s at the Huntington Beach Art Center’s Women of Surfing: Art & History exhibit (now till September 2, 2017).

 

Featuring paintings and photographs by today’s top women surf artists, the exhibit is an ode to the joys of surfing and the beauty of the beach.

It’s also a tip of the hat (or board!) to the amazing women artists who are helping to capture the essence of the ocean and this sport of Hawaiian kings.

When SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel arrived for the opening night reception we got a big surprise.

Kathy Kohner-Zukerman (AKA “Gidget”), who inspired her father’s 1957 bestselling book Gidget that helped launch the surfing revolution, came over to greet us.

 

Taking a break from signing book copies, she told Patti she remembered meeting her before – a special gesture from an icon in the surfing community.

 

 

The exhibit – staged in collaboration with the Surfing Heritage & Culture Center – is curated by Costa Mesa surf artist Phil Roberts over a three-room space that creatively showcases the different styles and periods of art.

Among the artists represented are champion surfers Courtney Conlogue, Sage Erickson, Kim Hamrock. and Lynne Boyer.

This is Conlogue’s first time participating in an art show and it was clear that she was enjoying interacting with everyone who stopped to see her painting.

 

As you move from one gallery space to the next there are exciting discoveries around each corner, changing the artistic mood and direction…

 

much the way a wave can change course when you least expect it.

 

SurfWriter Girls were especially excited to see San Luis Obispo. CA award-winning artist Colleen Gnos – one of the nine outstanding women featured in SurfWriter Girls Women Making Waves 2017.

In addition to her paintings, Gnos is known for the mermaids she paints on surfboards and her murals on lifeguard stations.

Seeing Kim Hamrock was a thrill, too. A champion surfer, surfing instructor, artist and much more, Hamrock is one of SurfWriter Girl Patti’s former students.

She took Patti’s business start-up class at Cypress College when she was developing her Danger Woman surf school.

 

Reflecting the different viewpoints and visions of each woman, the paintings and photographs are as unique as the artists who created them.

But, they all share one thing in common: a love for the ocean.

 

 

Roberts says, “This exhibition is for us to see, feel and appreciate the ocean through the personal narratives of women who call the waves home.”

For ocean-lovers, Women of Surfing is a joyful homecoming. 

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Vans US Open of Surfing 2017 – Definitely Still Off The Wall

So Many Sights to See!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

 

You never know what you’ll see at Vans US Open of Surfing (July 29 – August 6).

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love watching the surfing competitions and everything else. Whether you’re hanging off the Huntington Beach Pier or at the water’s edge, there’s always something going on.

Just ask HB local Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti. Fig has been the announcer at 19 Opens! And when surfers are in town they always stop by his surfboard shop on Main.

The top surfers, skate and BMX stars will be out in force to show their best stuff. Plus there will be games and activities for everyone.

 

To see the surfers of tomorrow, head North of the Pier for the annual groms Stoke-O-Rama hosted by Vans and the surfing Gudauskas brothers.

 

Surfrider Foundation members will be there sharing the stoke and helping to keep the beach clean.

There’s always something new at the Open…with the surfing community, organizations and businesses joining in.

 

One year a new company with a cool, action camera showed up to wow the crowds – it was GoPro!

McDonald’s introduced its McCafe at the Open, too. Its pop-up Cafe on the beach was a big hit.

And when Fiat wanted to showcase its mini Fiat 500s it made a gigantic splash – with the cars floating on the water!

Everybody – well, almost everybody – wants to be at the Open.

Who knows what you’ll see at this year’s Open?

To put your best foot forward, step out in Vans Custom Shoes.

It’s easy to design your own signature shoe. Just click: Shoes

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