Sneak Peek at The Ranch in Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Viewthis coming year, i will be partnering with The Ranch at Laguna Beach to share the latest news and all about what’s happening at OC’s newest hidden gem. just two weeks ago, the hubby and i got to check it out and enjoy a weekend stay so that i could share a sneak peek of what’s to come. everything that we experienced is already available to anyone who wants to book a stay at The Ranch. it’s still under construction, but it’s scheduled to open with all of it’s amenities by summer 2016. currently, there are a number of rooms available at a special preview rate. and there’s the restaurant, golf course, pool, and in-room spa services also available.

now to show you a sneak peek of The Ranch at Laguna Beach….The Ranch at Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Beach is tucked away in a beautiful canyon right off of Pacific Coast Highway across from Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach. before now, it was a golf club with some old-school condos built in the 60’s, a local golfing spot situated in one of the most serene and natural settings in Orange County. the 9-hole course was designed by Gary Roger Baird, and is carved into the naturally dramatic and lush walls of Aliso and Wood Canyons, creating an ultra-private playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway.

starting with this great golf course, The Ranch at Laguna Beach has transformed the old condos into beautifully decorated, Laguna Beach inspired retreats that are nestled right next to the lush golf course.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach GolfingRooms at The Ranch in Laguna what excites me most about The Ranch, is that it’s unlike any other luxury hotel in Orange County. The Ranch at Laguna Beach gives you the luxury of a four star hotel, with experience of being surrounded by nature – secluded within a peaceful blend of canyon and sea. it’s an authentic sanctuary that invites guests to get caught up in the world of a Laguna local that’s off the beaten path in every sense. a stay at The Ranch is a microcosm of the best of Laguna in one organic, refined place. the staff offers an insider’s take on hidden surf spots, shops and specialty galleries. laid-back luxury speaks to the Laguna mindset, and non-stop programs, such as the barefoot Friday golf with three clubs, and monthly art gallery tours, all capturing the vibe of our unique locale.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Hotel Check-inthe rooms are beautifully decorated with a Laguna Beach vibe. probably one of my most favorite resort looks ever. tranquil and beachy with a vintage flair, i love the pops of orange. we arrived to The Ranch later in the evening, so we enjoyed some room service and just chilled out in the room. a nice evening just the two of us….it was the best.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Caricutrie PlatterThe Ranch at Laguna Beach King BedThe Ranch at Laguna Beach BathroomThe Ranch at Laguna Beach DetailsDecorated Room at the Ranchthe next morning, we woke up bright and early. we were treated to homemade energy bars made by the chef of The Ranch, and then got transportation to the “Top of the World”, a favorite local hiking spot. we made it just in time for the sunrise. a morning hike with views of the ocean and of Orange County’s hills was just the recharge i’ve been needing.

Homemade Energy Bars at the RanchSunrise in Aliso ViejoFuji Water HikingHiking in Aliso ViejoAnimal Print Aliso ViejoHiking in Newport BeachOcean View in Aliso Viejo

we worked up an appetite after all that hiking, so we headed back to clean up an enjoy breakfast at Harvest, the only restaurant currently open at The Ranch so far. it’s last seating is at 3pm, and it serves breakfast and lunch. lets just say that the food we had was amazing, so fresh…and the view quite nice as well.

The Harvest Menu at the RanchThe Ranch at Laguna Beach Golf CourseBrunch Places in Orange County Breakfast at the Ranch in LagunaBest Breakfast in Orange County

after breakfast, the hubby and i explored the rest of The Ranch. it was amazing for a nature lover like myself. someone who loves the idea of camping in the great outdoors…but also craves a little luxury on my vacations. there are trails to walk, and explore….plus there is so much more to come. the Sycamore Spa will be opening spring 2016 and by this summer, the Ranch House, the Canyon Camp activity center, featuring a multitude of activities, and the Ranger’s Station, providing nature and adventure-driven kid’s programming will also be open. it’s going to be an awesome place for families to stay. there are even family suites available.

on this day we rode through the golf course, checked out the outdoor event space area, saw where they were working on the chefs garden and the pool. you will notice a lot of the architecture and fences are made with reclaimed wood from the previous construction. a lot of attention is being taken to make sure that The Ranch is made with high standards regarding sustainability and with high environmentally friendly standards. this is very important to the resort.

The Pool at the Ranch in Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Beach riverThe Ranch at Laguna Beach Reclaimed WoodThe Garden at the Ranch in Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Water Tower

there is also special suite that is under construction called “The Tree House”. i got a glimpse of the inside, and it is going to be a very special place for guests to stay. 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Tree House
this is soon to be the home of the main lobby, a restaurant and event space that will host weddings and special events. a large deck will be overlooking the gorgeous golf course and canyon. yes, currently there is a lot construction happening in and around The Ranch, but it still is very enjoyable. The Clubhouse at the Ranch at LagunaThe Golf Course at the Ranch
if you need a snack or a coffee break while you are at The Ranch, stop by Ben’s Pantry. it’s rustic, organic feel is reminiscent of a treasured country bakery and cafe. it is the place for a local outdoor café experience – featuring natural wood display cases and a local legendary vintage espresso machine. it is stocked with California flavors and seasonal ingredients. Ben’s Pantry is changing the way Laguna does local. it’s your new coffee stop in the canyon, and it’s as perfect for enjoying outdoor eats as it is for sipping your favorite California coastal wines. even if you aren’t staying at The Ranch, you can still stop by and enjoy the delicious food of Ben’s Pantry or the Harvest restaurant.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Coffee Shop

finally, the best treat of our stay was an in-room couples massage. it was amazingly awesome and the best massage i’ve ever had. it left me feeling so relaxed, i spent the rest of the day in bed. please do not disturb….i’m having the best day ever! Couple's Massages at the Ranch in Laguna The Ranch at Laguna RoomsRelaxing Sign at the Ranch before we headed home, we stopped by the beach to enjoy the salty air and ocean breeze. it’s within walking distant from The Ranch, and starting soon, a shuttle service will also be available to take guest to and from the beach.Aliso Beach ParkAliso Creek Beach as you can see, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is going to be a magnificent getaway for couples, families, and those who love the beautify of the Laguna Beach beaches and wilderness canyons. it has a great vibe and offers something that is unique from any other hotels in the area. i just can’t wait to take the entire family this summer to check out all that there will be to offer families. i also hope to make it a favorite staycation getaway for years to come!The Ranch at Laguna Beach Vintage Car

A Visit to Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach

Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, CA

Laguna Beach. home to some of the most beautiful Southern California beaches you can see, and Victoria Beach is one of them. nestled between cliffs and upscale beach homes, Victoria Beach is one of the hidden gems of Orange County. many refer to this beach as having a Rapunzel’s Castle or a Pirate Tower. and as you can see, it kinda does. last week, the boys and i decided to have sunset picnic on Victoria Beach. what a special evening it was to enjoy the magical landscape and candy coated sunset over the Pacific waters.

Victoria Beach is located on Victoria Drive, off of Pacific Coast Highway. the address to the stairway entrance is 2713 Victoria Drive, Laguna Beach. it is not the easiest to spot, as it is surrounded by gated homes and private beach mansions. and parking? yes, it is very scarce! most likely you will have to park on Pacific Coast Highway and walk down. luckily, my hubby dropped us off at the entrance, and went off to search for parking on his own.

Entrance to Victoria Beach in Laguna Victoria Beach Lagunathe trek down to Victoria Beach is fairly easy. the walkway and stairs are paved and nicely kept. Access to Victoria Street Beach in LagunaStairs to Victoria Street Beach in LagunaAccess to Victoria Beach in Lagunawhen you reach the bottom, you will see a small white sand beach. i am sure it gets crowded at times, but it wasn’t too crowded the evening we went. p.s. there isn’t bathroom access or lifeguards.Victoria Street Beach

to get to the “castle”, you need head to the right and walk around the cliff to the North. there you will see it, a fantastic rustic castle-looking rocket structure nestled up to one of the Laguna Beach cliffs.

so what is the deal with this tower?

Victoria Beach Castle Laguna Beach

this structure, is a 60-foot castle-inspired tower that was built in the 1920’s along with the house at the top of the bluff. the tower has a staircase inside that was used to get down to the beach. it is made of poured concrete, and has an ocean stone foundation. the cone-shaped roof is made of shingles. there are several narrow window openings in the tower wall that allow light to pass through to the wooden spiral stairway inside.

Laguna Castle Beach

the home above the tower is known as the “Norman House”, and it and the tower are landmarks of Laguna Beach. they were built for the wealthy, California State Senator William Edward Brown and his family as a summer home. many Americans who spent time in France during WWI were inspired by the chateaus and castles. many of them built homes during the 1920s that would emulated these chateaus and castles. the Norman House is one of the few remaining examples of this on the oceanfront of Southern California.

Laguna Beach Castle Detail

just a few yards south of the tower, you will see a circular concrete structure that was once a seaside pool. it is now filled with sand, but you can still see the basic outline where the pool once was. kids can run and play here as the waves crash around it.

Laguna Beach Historythis is the view from the tower looking to the south. if you look closely, you can see the circular pool structure.Best Beaches in Laguna

we had such a fun time exploring Victoria Beach. not just the tower, but also the beach, circular pools and tide pools.

Family Fun at Victoria Beach - OC Mom - Popsicle Blog
Jill Parkin Popsicleblog at the Beach


the tide was in that evening, so the water was a bit rough. i had to keep a close eye on all the boys to make sure they were safe from the water. but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

High Tide at LagunaBeach

Laguna Beach Tide Pools

i highly recommend visiting Victoria Beach. it is always a treat to check out the different hidden gems we have in Orange County as well as the beauty of our beaches. Victoria Beach will not disappoint.

Victoria Beach in Laguna

See’s Candy Store in Tustin


the other evening some of my blogger friends and i got to check out the new See’s Candy Store in Tustin Marketplace before it’s grand opening last Friday. the new store is fantastic! double in size to regular See’s Candy stores, and it is set up to help you shop and checkout during busy time with ease. it’s a drive up store located right next to Spout’s in Tustin Marketplace off the 5 freeway.

i had forgot just how much i LOVE chocolate….especially See’s Candy. and it was fun to see the hundreds of different chocolate flavors displayed throughout the store.


some of my personal favorites are the walnut squares…


molasses chips….


and my all-time favorite…the cordial cherry. do not settle for those everyday grocery store ones. See’s Candy has the best cherry cordials. if anyone wants to get me a gift…these (and the Mayfairs) the key to my heart.


i love the great packaging for the Christmas chocolate. See’s Chocolates makes great gifts for neighbors, teachers, family and hostesses. i like to fill my kids stockings up with these chocolates…it is such a treat. i also like to give them the little holiday gift boxes…it has been a tradition since i was little. also, if you are having a party and would like to get a great chocolate to pair with your wine offerings, See’s has suggestions that would pair perfectly.


you should have seen how much chocolate i tried. i was in Heaven. and when you are in the store, if you would like to try a piece before you purchase, you can! don’t forget about See’s Candy this holiday season. YUM!



the new Tustin store is located at:
See’s Candy
2985 El Camino Real
The Market Place
Tustin, CA 92782

or you can visit any of there 200+ stores across the US.

{disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. i was invited to check out the new Tustin store. i just like chocolate….and all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own.}

Billy Elliot the Musical at the Segerstrom

have you been tutu bombed? tutus are popping up all over Orange County in celebration of the award winning Billy Elliot the Musical opening at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts tonight!  from April 16 – 28, 2013, OC audiences can enjoy this favorite musical based on the international smash – hit film Billy Elliot.  featuring music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical has earned critical acclaim around the world and was the winner of ten 2009 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Billy Elliot the Musical is the joyous celebration of one boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent that inspires his family and his whole community and changes his life forever.

wanna go? here’s the info…

Billy Elliot
April 16 – 28, 2013 
 Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Segerstrom Hall,  600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

tuesday – friday • 7:30 p.m. 
saturdays • 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. 
sundays • 1:00 and 6:30 p.m.

start at $20.00 per person 
purchase at the Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626
open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
online – • phone (714) 556-2787

Big Air: New Trampoline Park Opening in South County

There’s a new trampoline park opening in Orange County –  Big Air! located in Laguna Hills, it will be a welcome entertainment for people of south county who are now able to enjoy a trampoline park closer to home.

Big Air’s, big grand opening for OC Families will be this Friday, February 8th, and will celebrate it’s new, 25,0000 square foot trampoline park. Big Air is accessible to the freeway and will greatly benefit folks in South Orange County. many are familiar with this location as “Furniture Row.” it offers 14,000 square feet in jumping surface and will include a large main court, two dodgeball courts, foam pits, slam-dunk basketball and the extreme jump zone. the arena will also include arcade games, party rooms suited for birthday and team parties, and a parents’ lounge with large screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.

Big Air is run by the former Wild Rivers manager of 25 years, Greg Briggs. now, as President of Big Air, he and his team are bringing family entertainment back to Orange County by the trampoline park in a 25,000 square foot location with 14,000 square feet of jumping space. the new park is expected to be a gathering place for Orange County families who are looking for fun recreation, a great place to throw a party, or even an aerobic class.

the first class design of Big Air is unique, modern and user-friendly. as opposed to constructing the trampolines above ground like most parks, the concrete floors and more than 1,000 cubic feet of dirt have been dug out so the trampolines can be built at ground level. safety is a priority at Big Air and referees are stationed throughout all jumping areas to monitor and enforce safety rules. children ages 8 and younger can enjoy gentler jumping in the children’s jump arena and designated kid’s zone. feeling comfortable and safe is all part of having fun at Big Air.

Finally! get ready for the Big Air Grand Opening party this Friday, February 8th, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  there will be great food, great music and a whole lot of high-flying fun–not to mention some insane giveaways, contests and prizes. this party will be a blast for kids of all ages and guests will enjoy live radio remote from 98.7FM LA’s Rock Alternative, trampoline demos from gymnasts and boarders, live music from local musicians and tons of prizes and giveaways!

wanna go? here’s the info…

Big Air Trampoline Park
23251 Avenida de la Carlota Laguna Hills, CA

hourly fee is $12/hour per jumper

Monday – Thursday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m
Friday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 pm.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit Big Air’s website

{disclosure: we received complimentary tickets to Big Air Trampoline park for review purposes. this post was not compensated and all thoughts and opinions are my own. }