With the holidays fast approaching, if you're like us, you're staring down weeks of commitments, family, parties, shopping and just plain craziness. So best to keep some respites in your back pocket — you'll need them.
At the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, sneak away for a lunchtime spa escape from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday till Dec. 31.
The hotel is offering a special that includes a re-energizing 30-minute massage (choice of Swedish, deep tissue or reflexology), followed by a light spa lunch served in the Palm Terrace Lounge — with choices including ahi tuna sandwich, Palm Terrace chopped salad and a roasted whitefish.
Cost is just $99 per person, including treatment, lunch, tax and parking; therapist gratuity is not included. For reservations, call (949) 760-4992.
Buffle-style lunch at Island Hotel
Or just stop by the Island Hotel for an express lunch from one of our favorite chefs in Orange County, Bill Bracken. He's serving buffet-style weekday lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..
Choose from tortilla soup, Asian chicken salad, chilled salmon salad wrap, Angus beef sliders, pulled pork sliders, and house-fried potato chips — as well as delicious sweets from pastry chef Michael Owens.
Cost is $9.95 per person, including tax and gratuity, and parking is complimentary.
The Island Hotel is at 690 Newport Beach Drive.
Black Friday store opening times
On Black Friday, if you're an early riser and want to find great deals at stores opening early at Fashion Island, stop by Macy's and Express at midnight; Urban Outfitters at 4 a.m.; Dick's Sporting Goods and Bath & Body Works at 5 a.m.; Anthropologie and Original Penguin at 6 a.m.; Carrol Boyes and Victoria's Secret at 7 a.m.; Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Barnes & Noble at 8 a.m.
Neiman Marcus and all other stores open at 9 a.m.
Fashion Island also opened more than two dozen new stores and eateries this year.
The new lineup includes Ella Moss, Vince, Athleta, Jack Spade, Sperry Top-Sider, Roberto Coin for Traditional Jewelers, Vineyard Vines, Apple (now Orange County's largest location), Drybar, Brandy Melville, Subway, Hana Grill, Carrol Boyes, The Newport Colony Co., Stone Oven, Great Maple, 5 Guys Burgers & Fries, Sbarro, Francesca's Collections, Quiksilver Waterman Collection, Earnest Sewn, Le Pain Quotidien, Uno de 50, Tesla Motors, Casey's Cupcakes and Happy Nails & Spa.
Seasonal stores, including Sheep Dogs and The Mail Room, are also open.
Sale helps CHOC
Shop for a cause and save on modern-age-appropriate children's fashions at a two-day Neige sample sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Doubletree Club Hotel, 7 Hutton Center Drive, Santa Ana. The annual holiday Neige sale features designs from current and past seasons and a portion of sales go to the Children's Hospital of Orange County.
During the sale, you can also bid on a photo shoot package to have your child featured in the next Neige photo campaign. Three winners will be drawn on Dec. 31. Entries require a $100 donation. After the Neige benefit sale, contestants can enter in the Opportunity Drawing by going online and submitting their entry by Dec. 30.
Neige designer Adrienne Catrina and her family are passionate about CHOC, as her 6-year-old niece has benefited from being a patient there since she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Annual sale starts on Black Friday
Judith Leiber's annual sale at South Coast Plaza begins on Black Friday for three days ending on Sunday. It's the perfect time to pick up a minaudiere (little treasure box) and its recently launched Horoscope and Bad Girl heart collection for all the upcoming holiday events.
There are also gorgeous crystal embellished ties for men; for travel, cashmere blankets, pillows and eye mask; chinchilla scarves in five different colors; and crystal detailed cashmere wraps in three colors.
For the first time, Judith Leiber will be offering 20% off its Monogram special orders.
The store is on Level 1, in the Nordstrom wing at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. For more information, call ( 714)549-7177, or visit http://www.judithleiber.com
Holiday gifts with meaning
Epic Timepieces, an online watch company founded by Jeff and Jackie Bird of Newport Coast, is offering Black Friday specials for holiday gifts with meaning. Epic watches come in 20 color variations and cost just $49.95.
The concept is simple: for each watch sold, Epic will provide clean drinking water for a person in a developing country for one year.
"We're doing a water filter distribution in Haiti in January to almost a thousand special-needs orphans and families with special-needs children," says Jackie Bird. "We will be doing a 'buy one timepiece and get one half off' sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday — our biggest sale ever! As always, each timepiece sold will provide a Haitian with clean water for an entire year."
At checkout just enter the code GreersOC Coupon: Buy one timepiece at regular price and get the second timepiece at 50% off. Valid from Nov. 25 till Nov. 28. To shop online visit, http://www.epictimepieces.com.
All-day drink specials
Black Friday isn't just about shopping deals.
At the Silver Trumpet Restaurant in Costa Mesa you can take a break from holiday shopping and enjoy High Five Happy Hour food and drink specials all day. Drinks and menu items cost just $5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Choose from house-made chips, with sea salt vinegar or blue cheese crispy bacon; house-marinated olives and creamy hummus with flatbread; classic wings tossed in a sweet and spicy honey glaze; Vietnamese beef bahn mi; rosemary skins, crispy fingerling potato skins with sharp cheddar, bacon, and herbs; warm queso fundido and chorizo with tortilla chips; mussels a la Jessica with white wine, garlic, shallot, grilled bread, pommes frites; and fresh sushi.
The Silver Trumpet is at 3350 Ave. of the Arts in Costa Mesa. For more information, call (714)442-8593, or visit http://www.silvertrumpetrestaurant.com
A local green initiative
It won't get much greener than this. The Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course in Laguna Beach is debuting a hyperlocal garden to grow herbs and vegetables for the kitchen, and the produce will debut in the spring.
Aliso Creek also has a beehive to produce local wildflower honey as another green initiative at the hotel.
Executive Chef Jennifer Gonzalez and Bee Keeper and Catering Director Andrea Wilde are implementing organic gardening with local soil and compost from the property to provide a fabulous addition to the culinary programs.
Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course is at 31106 S. Coast Hwy. Call (949) 499-2271, or visit http://www.alisocreekinn.com.
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 greersoc.com, a free daily email service that provides the latest in Orange County fashion, dining, music, events and trends. Her blog can be viewed http://www.greersoc.com and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.