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SoCal Living: JetSet OC

The JetSet Family | Orange County California (Surf & Sand - Laguna Beach)

From the time I was seven years old, I knew one day I would call California home. Even though I had never been, the thought of miles upon miles of white sandy beaches, cottages, VW convertibles and palm trees consumed my mind. What was familiar to me only during the months of May through August was how people lived ALL. YEAR. ROUND. At a very young age, I couldn’t fathom why anyone was OK with 120 days of summer sprinkled with rain when you could have 350 days of pure sunshine? It just didn’t make sense to me. I was fast approaching 25 and I was ready to make the move. I bought a one-way ticket and headed to the left coast for good.


Greetings from Orange County

To the outside world, living “behind the Orange Curtain” has become a pop culture phenomenon. Orange County was first welcomed into the living rooms of millions through shows like Laguna Beach, The OC and The Real Housewives of Orange County, but my personal favorite? Arrested Development because it was filmed in my favorite , Corona del Mar. The tiny coastal town connects Newport Beach with Laguna Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway, so be careful because if you sneeze, you might miss it. Living in CdM is basically paradise. The homes are beautiful, the area is safe, and view is gorgeous and no matter where you live it’s just a short walk or bike ride to the beach or town. 

If you are looking for an area with a more traditional neighborhood vibe, Fullerton is a great option. Roughly 20 miles inland, Fullerton has easy access via the I-5 to both Los Angeles and San Diego. It’s also bursting at the seams with art, culture and education. Downtown Fullerton is not only the home of the Fender Telecaster which was used by guitar greats like Jimmy Page, Kurt Cobain, Keith Richards and Joe Strummer, but a little known fact is companies looking to build commercial real estate within the city limits, must donate an outdoor sculpture upon completion. A favorite amongst families, the Fullerton Arboretum and artside studio are both wonderful places to explore and become inspired. 

artside studio downtown fullerton

Permanent Vacation

Suddenly, attractions like the beach, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farms that were once reserved for the annual summer family vacations become your normal weekend and after-school (yes, after school,) activities.  

Knotts Soak City Banzai Slide

It’s not uncommon for your child’s school to be “outside” as are shopping malls like Fashion Island and the Irvine Spectrum. And our day trips are off the charts. Located directly halfway between LA and San Diego, the opportunities for adventures are endless. Start your morning west with your toes in the surf & sand and spend your afternoon in the snow skiing or snowboarding. Truth. Yes, despite what you might believe we have snow here, season and fall foliage. Prefer a “North/South” kind of day? Nothing beats a hot air balloon brunch in San Diego over wine country, or an afternoon zip lining at NAVITAT, only to finish up with dinner and drinks on the Sunset Strip.

In California, everyone can live like a rock star. 

Food for thought

One of my many jobs is contributor for CBS LA where I curate my favorite travel and fine-dining experiences here in Southern California. So I know darn well first hand how amazing the cuisine is as well. Take for instance these gems: Ways & Means Oyster House in Orange, Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales in Costa Mesa, FIG & OLIVE in Newport Beach and Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel – each one is beyond delish! I guess you can say Orange County has it all. 


California Dreamin’

Thinking about buying a home in California? I don’t blame you. 

My husband (a Seattle transplant,) and I (a New Jersey transplant,) take such pride in knowing our daughter is a first generation California Girl. Little things like constant sunshine and award-winning public schools go a long way with us and we are proud we are able to raise our child here. The only way we are going to leave SoCal is kicking and screaming, so it is common for us to discuss (and scheme) how to get more friends and family to migrate to the OC.

Orange County Living.jpg

In it’s second year, the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) integrated a consumer ad campaign called ‘Ripple’ hoping that what starts with one California REALTOR® benefits all of California. The ‘Ripple’ campaign connects the dots between REALTORS® and the California economy, illustrating how a Champion of Home™ can assist consumers achieve their dreams and together benefit the entire state. How you ask? By focusing on a powerful, positive economic impact through stimulating the economy and generating employment.

Photo credits: Nicole Standley
Promotional consideration has been furnished by California Association of Realtors. On occasion, contributors of The JetSet Family receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not hinder the influencer’s point of view. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the overall experience. This post may contain affiliate links. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Review overview
  • Tara May 19, 2014

    How can someone not love Cali!
    gorgeous pictures too!

  • Beeb Ashcroft May 19, 2014

    I’ve visited the “O.C.” before and it is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! As a Pacific Northwester, I can imagine the contrast for your husband moving to California from Seattle!

  • Mistee Dawn May 19, 2014

    I would love to visit Orange County. Looks like such a beautiful and fun place.

  • KIM May 19, 2014

    Yes, I’ve been to Orange County a couple of times. Gorgeous place to visit and live. Love the weather there too.

  • Jenna Em May 19, 2014

    As a Torontonian, I loved reading about your story to move to California. We do have a long, hard winter and I’ve often wondered how it would be to enjoy warm weather all year long.

  • Carolyn West May 26, 2014

    I picked myself up from Connecticut when I was 21 and also bought a one-way ticket to California. Never looked back. Been here 27 years. Crazy!

  • Christie May 26, 2014

    I was always a West Hollywood girl until my sister moved to Manhattan Beach…ahhhhh beach life. #loveit


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