Orange County is my local place.

A new outdoorsy adventure is the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa. Head a tad north of one of the best-ever shopping destinations, South Coast Plaza.

It’s a hybrid of stores for home furnishings, designer furniture, kitchens to live in and shop for, art center/gallery, beauty school and, of course, restaurants. Catch a quick bite from the food trucks that show up on Saturdays next to a popular farmer’s market.

Winner of the MHB’s recent Cutest Baby contest, Sascha, showcases a “Lulu” puppy burnout tee by Nichole Horiuchi of Laguna Beach. (Courtesy of Milk and Honey Baby)

At the core in a separate structure is Portola Coffee Lab. Take a break with a cuppa joe that costs more than Starbucks but elevates the pleasure of a crafted coffee brew made just for you. Worth the wait in line encircling their domain.

A mixed crowd meanders about, checking out tasting bars for tea, oysters, olives, wine, cheese and Gelato. Smaller shops feature the non-perishables, like trendy fashions, jewelry, eyeglasses, plants and kid stuff.

Milk and Honey Baby is geared for kiddos, six and under. Coming off of their 17th birthday celebration this past weekend, look for comfy urban to beach-inspired wear and accessories.

Owner/designer Nichole Horiuchi is a Huntington Beach local out of Ocean View High School. After studies at CSU Long Beach and the Sorbonne in Paris, she got down to business working at Billabong Surfwear and the Mark Eisen Collection.

“Retail is my life,” she said, “but if I have time, there’s yoga, or just walking on the beach, being outside in the fresh air.”

Traveling, interesting people and good common-sense design, be it architectural, product, home or fashion, drives her creative processes. Mom Irene Horiuchi was a designer for over 20 years and that influence is apparent.

Connor’s casual look complements a red “Thurston” dog tee. (Milk and Honey Baby)

Specialty stores across the U.S., Japan and Canada house Nichole’s products.

Head due north, all the way to San Jose on Sunday, April 28. J-town streets are gearing up for fun and festivities for Nikkei Matsuri — a Kodomo no Hi, run, health fair, farmer’s market, and children’s crafts besides their Asian arts and crafts booths.

Check out Vivi Kids’ adorable onesies and tees!

Graphic artists by day, Tony Nguyen and Vivien Choi, decided two creative minds are better than one for a business endeavor that started three years ago.

Thinking outside the box is what works in their favor. Simply draw some illustrations, screen print and voila!

Lucky for them, family and friends wanted more of their 100% cotton graphic tees as uber gifts for showers and birthdays. Local boutiques in the Bay Area carry their stash.

They find inspiration everywhere! On a recent Japan trip, eye candy bombarded them—blingy signage, billboards, gumball machines, anime, everyday objects, even ramen packaging. Add to that list childhood faves Astro Boy and Doraemon.

Smart folks for this event are thinking green and clean.

Fact is that they expect to divert at least 50% of their waste from landfill. Green compostable containers are for food, scraps and food paperware. Blue recyclable containers will house plastic bottles, aluminum cans and foil.

It’s all about the panda and penguins in these fun-loving animal cotton tees from Tony Nguyen and Vivien Choi of San Jose. (Courtesy of Vivi Kids)

Recycle . . .

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Sunday, April 28, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Nikkei Matsuri
5th & Jackson, San Jose
(408) 241-0900, Warren Hayashi

Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A Time for Sharing Spring Boutique
Elks Lodge
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
(310) 329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

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