Morning Hike at Las Ramblas

Hiking Las Ramblas

Today’s morning hike kicked my booty the rest of the day because I am beat! This was my first time hiking at Las Ramblas Trail located in San Juan Capistrano. Though worth it, I did not expect the trails to have very steep hills. The whole hike took about 5 miles where we took 2 different trails called “Las Ramblas” and “Patriot Hill”. Both had good views of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano which made the hike worth it. One downside is the lack in shades so, if you decide to come here make sure to bring a good hat and plenty of water or go early in the morning when the weather is a bit cooler. Otherwise, be prepared for the heat beating down on you.

Five Things To Do in Orange County, CA

Castaway Park

Did you know the largest city in Orange County is Anaheim? Did you know it was founded by the Germans? At one point the Germans lived near the Santa Ana River and combined the name Ana with heim (it means home). The Germans got it right because Orange County is home to me. With so many things to see and do, it’s no wonder I keep coming back.

Here are the Top 5 Things To Do in Orange County in no particular order.

1. Hit the Beach
Without a doubt, going to the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Orange County. We have more than 100+ beaches to choose from on a 40 miles coastline. Just take a look while you drive down highway 1, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway. You’ll see through this highway the different cities how each one has its own character and as you go through, start counting the amount of beaches you see along the way. It’s almost impossible to count them all.
 
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2. Amusement & Water Parks
Besides the beaches, Orange County is home to the biggest attraction in the world and draws about 18.6 million visits (in 2018) known as Disneyland. It is a staple of Orange County that is a must-see. Another theme park worth noting, although not widely known in compare to Disneyland is Knott’s Berry Farm. Besides the price difference, read here to assess which option suits best for you or here. See other lists of theme parks here.

3. Shopping
For the amount of public beaches we have in Orange County, we also have a comparable amount of shopping centers around. One notable mall that you should know is South Coast Plaza. It is the largest shopping center on the West Coast of United States and is conveniently located near John Wayne airport. For those with long layovers or general shopaholics (like me), you can access this mall via 405 fwy in a mere of 8-10 minutes depending on traffic.

Other Malls:

4. Hiking/Cycling
Hiking and cycling is one of the most popular things to do here in O.C. We have numerous parks with trails around to choose from. The City of Irvine alone is nationally known for its “well-planned parks, greenbelts, open space and interconnected bike network.” Here are a few of my go to places to hike.

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5. Spas and Wellness
In O.C., we are health conscious mentally and physically. It’s quite common to see locals in their gym clothes while running errands which, brings me to Spas and Wellness Centers as one of the Top 5 Popular Things to do in O.C. When it comes to Spas and Wellness centers, you can find various options from moderate to luxurious places. There’s no right or wrong way to go on this one.

Links:
Spa Finder
Spas and Wellness in O.C.
Wellness Experiences

May Update: Stay at Home Order Lifted

Exploring San Diego

Word around town is that today is the first day of the “Stay at Home” Order in California being lifted. We are entering Phase 2 which means a few businesses are allowed to re-open for curbside pickup such as retail. Certain guidelines are still in effect like wearing a mask when entering restaurants and social distancing. My employer also have started asking us to work in the office next Monday but, I’m still doubtful about the whole re-opening the economy considering that the virus is still around. I definitely don’t want to risk getting infected especially for someone with asthma which puts me in a “vulnerable” category.

On the contrary, a few other countries are also re-opening their economy. I thought it was nice to see people living their “new normal life” taking a walk outside, jogging, soaking in the sun and the likes. I guess time will tell how this whole thing will play out for all of us.

How do you feel about the economy re-opening at this point in time?

Bowers Museum exhibit on “Couture Beyond”.

Coming from Milan, I’d like to say I know a thing or two about luxury fashion. Definitely, I’m no fashion connoisseur, though, I found ‘Couture Beyond’ exhibit happening now in Santa Ana quite fascinating.

The Bower’s Museum is an art museum located in Orange County, California. Its permanent collections highlights Native American Art, pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, Asian, African and Oceania art and special exhibits such as the ‘Couture Beyond’.

‘Couture Beyond’ exhibit drew me in because of its elaborate styles. All of the pieces I saw were feminine and girly with intricate detailing. Think Lady Gaga style; over the top, exaggerated and bold except with more colors.

These were some of my favorite pieces. The colors, cuts and embroidery were impeccable.
Those shoes though….
This is definitely not meant to sit down.
Look at how beautiful those embroideries are on the dress and shoes!
The hairpiece was also fun.
Another favorite of mine. I thought the clips on the tutu were a nice touch.
My favorite room with the sequins!
lol this one was very very ornate
This gown I can see people wear.
Thoughts?
I love this one!

Aside from seeing various pieces laid out they’ve also added a videos on the walls that showcase how these clothes were worn on the runway. I was beyond impressed how such complicated details worn on the runway looked effortless. Do you have a favorite piece?

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Trick or Twat

I can’t remember the last time I dressed up for Halloween. The older I get, the more I seem to cherish my time alone. Call me old folk if, you will. In contrary, this year is different. I’ve been invited to a work related Halloween party held at Orange County Mining Co. Restaurant. Word around town, this place apparently has one of the best views in Orange County. I guess I can’t complain, free booze and food at a party with a great view, I’m all in….or so I thought. Continue reading “Trick or Twat”

A Sunday Tea Affair

The affair started a year ago. A group of us used to work together where we bonded over work drama and secretly meeting at restaurants to run away from our daily stressful lives at work. Somehow, we outgrew meeting at random restaurants over the months and one day, we decided to meet at a tea house. The affair became much deeper. I wasn’t quite sure if it was the love for tea or food or both but, since our first rendezvous at The Tea House on Los Rios, we knew we had to keep our tea meetings going.  Continue reading “A Sunday Tea Affair”

A Walk Through Casa Romantica Cultural Center

As the name sounds, Casa Romantica Cultural Center is every bit a romantic place as it can get. It is an old historic home of Ole Hanson who co-founded the city of San Clemente located along the coast in Southern California. Today, you can visit the center for $5 (entrance fee) that includes a self-guided audio tour of the home. What drew me in to this place was its Spanish Colonial style architecture with courtyard entryways, arched corridors and an open terrace overlooking the pier and the Pacific Ocean.

cultural centerYep, I could definitely live here.

IMG_4657.jpgThe view on the terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the pier was unforgettable. I probably spent most of my time here taking in the overall scenery. Wouldn’t you?

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IMG_4600.jpgInside, you’ll find various information about the family and its history. I took my time walking through its corridors and the different rooms to get to know the place a bit more. I especially loved peaking through the windows which, gave a view of the ocean.

IMG_4597 (1).jpgThe main entry way was like a center piece that pulled everything together.

cultural center (2).jpgIn the front courtyard, the hallways wrapped around with tiled floors that were just adorable.

IMG_4594.jpgIMG_4748 (2).jpgOf course, I couldn’t help but take photos. The entire viewing of the place took me about an hour and I highly suggest coming here an hour before closing time. There’s less traffic and I was pretty much by myself in the museum during those times. It helped to see the place in a better light than fighting for space with people.IMG_4729.jpgAside from the museum, the center also holds various activities such as yoga, outdoor movie nights, workshops and much more. If you’re in the area, this is worth stopping over to see.

Birthday brunch at Orange Hill Restaurant.

There’s no denying that birthdays is a special day. I think most people will want to do something nice to celebrate on the day that they are born or not (whichever one prefers). It could be a simple staying at home or in my case, going out for brunch.

Last weekend, my roommate introduced me to a restaurant that she believed I would enjoy. We had a few minutes of discussion about what this place had to offer and I was convinced it was the right place to spend my birthday. It turned out, she was right. Continue reading “Birthday brunch at Orange Hill Restaurant.”

10 Scenic Parks in O.C.

Without a doubt, Southern California offers one of the best weather anywhere in the world which, makes outdoor activities that much better. Since moving back from abroad, I think I’ve learned to re-kindle my love for my city and realized that there’s so much that I have yet to see. With a new bike within reach, I saw places that I’ve never been to, explored areas that I’ve never taken and sometimes, just go without any plans. Here are a few new (and some old) places that I came across this year that are worth seeing.
Continue reading “10 Scenic Parks in O.C.”

Newport Beach Castaways Park

Where there’s water, there’s likely a good view somewhere nearby. Castaways Park is a perfect spot for a quick stroll or jogs early in the morning or late in the afternoon (whichever you prefer). It is located in Newport Beach, perched on a hill right next to million dollar homes overlooking the Newport Marina Bay. Continue reading “Newport Beach Castaways Park”