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Author Shawn Hubler

  • Shawn Hubler

    Contributing Editor/Land's End Columnist

    Hubler began covering Orange County as a journalist in the mid-1980s. She lives in Laguna Beach and writes the monthly opinion column, Land's End, on the magazine's last page.


Land’s End: Trash Talk

Your butts on our beaches, and other lapses of public civility

There have been times when our children have thanked us for letting them grow up by the ocean, but April has never brought out much gratitude in them.
Never mind that it’s the perfect time to be a kid at the beach, in theory—warm, but not too warm, brisk, but not too brisk. Lively with tourists, but not so lively that Coast Highway traffic keeps you from getting to Forever 21 at Fashion Island. Read more...

Land’s End: The Overlook

Is it possible to ignore the Eden in which we live?

I know a man who used to live on a hilltop, in a house with an expansive ocean view. He’d open his drapes and visitors would go breathless. “Another day in paradise!” he’d crow. At first, he thrilled at that panorama. Over time, though, his reply took on a rote quality. Within a few years, he scarcely noticed his view unless someone else brought it to his attention Read more...

Land's End: Hoarders

Stuff happens. And suddenly, it costs $250 a month to store it all.

Following the 1965 Watts Riots, my husband’s grandparents moved from Lynwood to Fullerton. They loved their new home, but they were pack rats. They held onto the Lynwood house and used it for storage. Dishes, pianos, model train sets, bearskin rugs, pinball machines, paintings, antique guns in Old West holsters—their stuff crammed every shed, shelf, room, nook, and closet. Plus, the house was a burglar magnet. Read more...

Land's End: The Duke’s Big Fade

The slow retreat of Orange County’s adopted and imperfect celebrity

They’re burning daylight, as John Wayne would have put it, but the crowd at Newport Beach’s Balboa Bay Club lingers—beers for the tech guys, chardonnay for the blondes at the table overlooking the yachts. Blue sky, bluer water. Well- preserved grandmas in St. John knits, epaulets flashing. Some things don’t change in these parts. Read more...

Land's End: Joyful Noise

Winter rain in Orange County? There’s an app for that.

My husband is a native (and therefore hopeful) Californian, and in winter he sleeps with the windows open, hoping for rain. The splash on the patio, the droplets on wet sand, even the smells of a gathering storm give him primitive comfort. He lies in bed listening to the wet sky fall on the wet town and the wet coastline beyond it, and I, lying next to him, wonder whether generations of drought have given people here an inborn fixation with water. Read more...

Meet Orange County's Uncommon Cowman

Silverado’s Frank Fitzpatrick may not be the last working cattleman in Orange County, but this darling of O.C. foodies is the only one who practices Bikram yoga, has a college education, and sincerely believes his herd can save the planet. Saddle up. He’s about to explain.

We’re in a golden pasture that rises to the edge of a parched, scrubby ridge. Fitzpatrick is on horseback, a 65-year-old cattleman in a long-sleeved work shirt, snuff in his lip, dust on his boots, a big silver belt buckle commemorating a 2005 team roping contest cinching his middle. It’s late in the grazing season in one of the driest years anyone can remember, and what’s left of his herd is nosing the stubble. Read more...

Land's End: Twenty years after the wildfire that devastated Laguna Beach

Friend Mary lives in Laguna Canyon, in a cozy, sun-dappled house that she and her husband created from imagination and scratch. Every nook holds a piece of their hearts. Every niche tells a story. Take the yard: clean stone and concrete, salvia, sage, and cactus—a telling contrast to their home’s soft, cushiony inside. There’s a 20-year-old piece of history behind this. Read more...

Land's End: A Win-Win Situation

In the land of year-round sunshine, crosstown rivalries are friendlier than most

The Angels were flailing and the afternoon was hot, so a few weeks ago we abandoned sports for the movies—and there was Magic Johnson in the popcorn line. Read more...

Land's End: Busybodies

No one is disconnected in a county of nosy neighbors

The house up the block used to be a tumbledown beach shack covered with wisteria vines. The young couple there seemed so romantic. He was French, she was blond—you wouldn’t believe how they looked at each other. On weekends, the woman next door would stop by their house with pancakes just to feel their magic. Then one day, a construction crew arrived. Read more...

Land's End: Nice Twice

When you just need to get away from your beachside getaway

Summer is lovely in a house by the ocean. So lovely that our Laguna Beach neighbors are building a getaway in Kauai. Everyone is pestering them for an invitation—except the friends up the beach with the second home in Fiji. And the neighbors with the house on the sand near Puerto Vallarta. And the friends by Main Beach with the Costa Rican timeshare. And the friends with the ocean view who just bought a hunk of Hollister Ranch coast near Santa Barbara. Read more...

Crazy Wild

Nature has powerful ways to remind us that we are not in charge

The snapshot is old, the image grainy. I’m young, in the middle of nowhere, hair blowing around in the wind. Our teenager unearthed it and put it in her bedroom, as kids do. It was taken the summer I fell in love with her father. He and I had driven out to Trabuco Canyon, the air hot, the Santa Anas whipping down from the mountains. A red-tailed hawk was circling overhead and we had pulled over to take its picture. It had taken less time than you’d think to run out of civilization, for boulevards and malls to give way to steep cliffs and dry creek beds. Read more...


Still think graduation day is all about the kids?

The summer after our oldest graduated from high school, my husband got a new job and we moved to San Francisco from suburban L.A. I remember hearing the news and thinking, “But what about winter break? Where will she come home to?” Read more...
READ NOW: Serial Killer Seduction

Our "Center of the Universe" story is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.


Who Did Randy Kraft Seduce?

Current photos of author Jay Roberts.


A Fact-Checker's Journey to a 1980 Afternoon

Our intrepid intern tracks down the details in Roberts' story.


Why Isn't Randy Kraft Dead?

Our original piece on one of California's deadliest and most depraved serial killers. 


Editor's Letter, October 2013

Our editor considers "Center of the Universe" to be compelling—and incredibly frightening. Click above to find out why.