i heart ocAs you’ve already know, we {heart} OC in a big, pink, puffy heart kinda way. But we know we aren’t the only ones. So, once a week we’re asking our readers to tell us (& you) why they {heart} OC. Maybe it’s a specific attraction or restaurant. Perhaps is just the laid back way of life. Or, maybe it’s all about the Dole Whip on a hot, sunny day. Whatever it is, we want to know, & we figured we’d bring you along for the ride.

Meet Emily Lawrence.  She grew up right here in Orange County, and, after going away to college, decided that she missed the beach and the sun.  So, three years ago, she & her husband moved back.  She now has an 18 month old daughter, Camille & keeps busy chasing her around, and running a private music studio.  Life is good.

The thing I {heart} about living in the OC is that there are so many things to do.  As a working mom, with an 18 month old, my time is limited and I want to make the most of my days off.  So I try to pack in as many adventures as I can.

I {heart} the OC because it invests so much money into maintaining its city parks.  From my little apartment, I can walk to four beautiful parks.  My favorite one is this one.

That’s just on a normal day, but sometimes I like to do something special.

Like yesterday, for example…My husband was home from work, and we wanted to make both of our days off count.  So my husband, my daughter and I did the following things:

•    Took a trip down to the beach.  After a couple weeks of rain showers, I couldn’t believe how clear the coastline was.  The storm blew out all of the smog, and the beach was gorgeous!  We went down to walk around and enjoyed the view of Catalina and the rest of the coastline.  My daughter played in the sand, collected sticks, climbed on the rocks and enjoyed being able to run around on the open beach front.  It’s the one place where I don’t have to worry about her getting lost, or run over or anything.  She has complete freedom, and the sound of the waves completely rejuvenates me.

the wedgethe wedge

We went to “the Wedge” at the south end of the Balboa Peninsula.  I {heart} living here because I get to do touristy things at non touristy times.  If I were to go down to the Wedge in July, I would never be able to find a parking spot, and the beach would be packed with people.  Today, we were the only ones there.  It was like our own private getaway.

•    After the beach, we hit up Taco Tuesday at Café Rio and their tacos are to die for!  Café Rio sells their famous tacos for only $1.50 every Tuesday, and if you dine in, kids get a cheese quesadilla free.  A gourmet meal for $3…I’ll take it.  Other Taco Tuesday specials I {heart} are here and here.

•    After lunch and naps we were off to Disneyland.  Could this be real?  The beach and Disneyland in one day?  What I love about living in the OC, is that you don’t have to commit a whole day to anything because you can come back over and over again.  We rode three rides at Disneyland, watched the parade and called it a night.

If there were 36 hours in a day, I would have gone on a walk in Orchard Hills, Irvine.

orchard hillsOrchard Hills is a new housing project in Irvine off of Portola and Culver.  The houses aren’t built yet, so no one is up there, but the roads are paved, and if you run up the hills, you can catch beautiful views of Orange County like this one.  Even better than that, the city offers FREE hikes during the week and on the weekends.  You get to explore Orchard Hills as well as the neighboring Santiago Canyon.  It’s absolutely beautiful and completely free.  You just have to sign up here.

Is there another place that allows you to pack so much into one day? I think not.  I {heart} the memories I made with my family today, and because of that, I {heart} the OC.


Thanks Emily! It really & truly is absolutely AMAZING how much you can pack into an OC-filled day!

xoxo, K

p.s. interested in contributing & telling us why YOU {heart} OC? Just send us an email: justspotted@gmail.com