Category: OC Love

Best places around Orange County, CA

Pageant of the Masters, Where Art Becomes Life

Pageant Of The Masters

It’s that time of year again, the 86th celebration of the The Pageant of the Masters is once again being performed.  Under a star-lit sky in the artist community of Laguna Beach, California.  It is an awe inspiring 90 minutes of tableaux vivants (living pictures).  It’s amazing watching the art come to life right before your eyes.  I especially enjoyed this years theme “Under The Sun” as a majority of the show was centered around the art and artists of our own community of Laguna Beach.

Pageant Of The Masters

Every evening during the summer season, classic and contemporary works of art (paintings & sculptures) are recreated using volunteers.  The volunteers pose to exactly replicate the original works of art (I don’t know how they stand so very still).  A dramatic addition to the living art work is the live 28-member orchestra and the jeweled voice narrator.

Pageant Of The Masters

In 1932 the first Festival of Arts was held in downtown Laguna, it was produced by a local artist, John H. Hinchman.  “Living Pictures” were first presented at the 2nd annual Festival of Arts and has been a tradition ever since not including the 4 years that the Pageant was halted due to WWII.

For me and my family, the Pageant is something we look forward to every year.  It is one of the most spectacular, creative, inspiring, awe filled evenings you will ever have in an outdoor theatre.  Year after year we are amazed and wait with anticipation until the following year’s theme is announced.

Pageant Of The Masters

While waiting for the Pageant to start enjoy the live band and abundance of artists and their work.

This spectacular art event runs from July through September 1, 2018.  Tickets range from $20. to $260.

For a more information about the Pageant of the Masters and to see a video of this amazing show go to Festival of ARTS of Laguna Beach

Or call 949.497.6582

Until Next Time…


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Best Orange County Beaches

Did you know there are 42 miles of quintessential shoreline in Orange County?

Orange County Beaches

From coves to private beaches and everything in between.

Here’s your guide to the best beaches in Orange County:

Seal Beach

A relaxed community and a quiet beach for those who don’t like crowds.

Seal Beach

Seal Beach is the northern most beach town in Orange County.  This is a popular beach for surfers and families alike.  Walking the pier right before pre-dusk is a must for that perfect sunset view.  Eisenhower Park is a lovely park with an ocean view that is located in a central area where there are restrooms and a small playground for young children.

Huntington Beach

These beaches have surfing all year long and are the host to surfing and volleyball competitions.

Sunset Beach

Sunset beach also know as Sunset County Beach.  It is located in-between Surfside beach (a private beach) to the north and Bolsa Chics State Beach to the south. If you are looking to relax, read a book, or just sunbathe this is by far the quietest beach in Huntington.  On breezy days this is also the perfect spot to watch kiteboarder’s ride the waves.

Bolsa Chica State Beach

This 3 mile long beach has ample parking and an RV campground (50 campsites).  It is the perfect beach to be active. Bolsa China activities include surfing, volleyball, biking, and surf fishing(as long as you have a permit).  This beach is also known as a Ecological Reserve.  Wildlife and bird watching make this beach one of the top bird destinations in California.

Huntington Dog Beach

Doggy heaven by most dog owners consider this beach.  This 1.5 mile beach is the only beach in Huntington where dogs are permitted.  There is a picnic area, restrooms, and doggy waste bags for your convenience.  Huntington Dog Beach is located between Seapoint St. and 21st. St.

Huntington City Beach

Orange County Beaches

This beach is in the center of all the beaches that stretch along the Huntington Beach coast.  Trademarked as “Surf City USA” you can always find surfers early in the morning riding the waves at this iconic beach.  You can also find Huntington Beach pier in the center of the 3.5 mile beach.  Volleyball courts are set up close to the pier and there is a paved walking and bike trail that runs along the back of the beach.  Several restaurants are available and a few on the pier itself.

Huntington State Beach

Huntington State Beach hours are from 6am to 10pm daily.  This 2 mile long beach provides picnic tables, 200 fire rings (arrive early they go fast), lifeguards, restrooms, outdoor showers, and beach volleyball courts.  Three snack shacks are open daily during peak season and on the weekends during the off season.  This is a popular beach for swimmers, body surfers, and boogie boarders.

Newport Beach

There are eight miles of beach front along the beautiful coast of Newport Beach.  These beaches are my top picks for this city:

China Cove Beach

China Cove is the site of and got it’s name from an old China House that was torn down in the ’80’s.  The small beach is surrounded by homes and the William G. Kerckoff Marine Laboratory.  The beach has volleyball posts but you must provide the net and abide by their restricted hours.

Corona Del Mar State Beach

This half mile long beach is also known as Big Corona Beach, it is perfect for families and a popular beach for swimmers, surfers, divers, and volleyball players.  Gilligan’s Island, the popular TV series in the mid 60’s was filmed on this beach and also current TV productions for Disney.  This beach is the site of the first major surf competition in Mainland America; The Pacific Coast Riding Championship in 1928.

Crystal Cove State Park/ Beach

Orange County Beaches

There are 4 beach areas which include:

Reef Point – This beach is located at the bottom of the bluff.  You can walk down the trail or you can bike ride to the beach.  This pristine beach has access to 2 coves and a great place to whale watch. Reef point is a wonderful place for tide pooling.

Moro Beach – This beach opens at 6am and closes at sunset. Once you park your car you will walk under Pacific Coast Highway to get to the beach.  You can use your California State Parks annual pass for parking.  Great beach for walking.

Pelican Point – There are 4 bluff top parking lots all with access to the beach.  There is an archway on the way down to the beach that protects walkers from the stray ball that come from Pelican Hill Golf Course.  This beach has a ton of rocks which make it a great spot for tide pools and exploring.  Watch out for the possible rattlesnakes in the heat of the summer while walking to the beach.

Historic District – Crystal Cove is popular because of it’s beach front rental cottages (which are available at, the Beachcomber Cafe, and the Shake Shack that sits on the bluff.  I love the walk from the parking lot to the beach that meanders through sycamores and brings you through a mural painted tunnel.  This beach also has an educational area called the Education Commons where they have sea glass jewelry making classes, beachside chats and guided tide pool walks.

Laguna Beach

There are 37 beaches located across the coastline in the artist community of Laguna Beach.  Here are my favorites:

Aliso Beach

Aliso Beach is very popular because of it’s large parking area, fire rings, and family friendly Aliso Beach Park. This beach attracts families as well as body surfers & skim borders.

Bluebird Beach

Bluebird is a narrow strip of beach located in front of the Surf & Sand Hotel.

Brooks Street Beach

Brooks Street Beach has a cozy sitting area at the top of the steps that provides a wonderful viewing area of the surfers.  This beach is not recommended for swimming as there is a rocky bottom under the waves.

Christmas Cove Beach

This beach is located below the bluffs of the Montage Resort.  There is a paved pathway which will take you down to a ramp that leads you to the beach.  This is a good beach to look at the tide pools.

Cleo Street Beach

This bolder filled beach plays a disappearing act at high tide.  Many use this beach for access for scuba diving.

Main Beach

Orange County Beaches

Main beach is the centrally located beach in Laguna.  This wide beach is perfect for sunbathing and people watching on the boardwalk. There are also basketball courts located at this beach and a play area for children.  It is a short walk to downtown shops.

Shaw’s Cove

Orange County Beaches

This small sandy beach is located down a staircase tucked away below homes.  The public entrance is located at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Fairview.  There are tide pools exposed during low tides.  It is the perfect quiet beach to get away from all the crowds.

Thousand Steps Beach

There is a large cave that you can explore at this beach. You can walk through this cave (tunnel) to a small rocky cove on the other end.  There is a 2nd cave (only accessible at low tide) at the opposite end of the beach that leads you to the large Totuava Beach.  Thousand Steps Beach also has restrooms, volleyball courts, and tide pools.

*Thousand Steps Beach only has 223 steps, although it might feel like a thousand steps when you are walking back up the stairs.

Woods Cove Beach

Movie Star Bette Davis lived in a tutor style home in the cliffs above this beach which is now registered as a historic structure.  The southern most part of this beach is known as Lover’s Cove.  During low tide there are huge rocks that poke out of the water just off shore.  This beach is great for scuba divers, but not for swimmers as the rip tides and the rocky condition under the water make it unsafe.

Dana Point

Capo Beach

Capo Beach (aka Capistrano Beach) beach offers may activities such as; beach volleyball, basketball, cycling, as well as other beach activities. Surfing is also very popular at this beach.

Dana Point Harbor Beach

Orange County Beaches

This beach is also known as Baby Beach.  There is a roped off area for the kids to swim and a grassy park with picnic benches.  Next to the beach is a small fishing pier and a replica of the historic ship by the name of The Pilgrim.  Baby Beach is also a popular place to start your kayaking adventure (as rental shops are close by),

Doheny State Beach – North

This State Park has a visitors center with exhibits, an aquarium, a store, and indoor tide pools.  There is also a grassy area with shaded picnic tables and sand volleyball.  It is a great family beach.  The entrance to this beach is located at the intersection of Park Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive.

Doheny State Beach – South

If you are looking to go camping on the beach then you have found your place! The southern most area of this beach has a large campground. There are picnic tables and fire rings, along with lifeguards.

San Clemente

Calafia Beach

This beach is one of the more popular beaches in San Clemente.  There is a beach parking lot, but on sunny days it fills up quickly.  There is a cafe right on the beach which makes it convenient if you don’t want to lug a cooler with you to the beach.

North Beach

North Beach is the widest beach in San Clemente and extends all the way to the San Clemente Pier.  This is a great family beach, there are fire rings, picnic tables, swings for the kids, and beach volley ball courts.  There is a Amtrak stop at this beach and the parking lot is shared by the Amtrak commuters.

Riviera Beach

Riviera Beach might be a little tough to find, but once you are there you’ll understand why this beach made the list.  This is a great beach to enjoy during high tide when there is enough sand to still have a place to sunbathe. There are no facilities at this beach.  Find access to this beach by mapping 2300 Plaza A La Playa.

San Clemente Pier City Beach

Best Orange County Beaches

It is the main beach of San Clemente with sand on both sides of the pier.  There is a large parking area and street parking available.  Don’t miss walking out to the end of the pier which is 1296 feet long. You will find fishermen on the pier dropping lines to catch the big one and surfers below looking for that perfect wave.  This is a great place to people watch.

San Clemente State Beach

This State Beach has a large campground where there is tent and RV camping areas.  San Clemente State Beach is a narrow beach in front of the railroad tracks.  There are hiking trails above the beach in the high bluffs.

T Street Beach

T Street Beach is located at the end of Esplanade Street which crossed in to Paseo De Cristobal.  There is an walking overpass which keeps pedestrians safe away from the railroad tracks.  This palm tree lined beach has a beautiful view of the San Clemente Pier.  Swimming and surfing are great at this beach, but check the rules for when it is allowed.


Let me know in the comments which Orange County beach is your favorite and why.

Until Next Time…


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Pageant Of The Masters ~ Living Art

Every year, my family looks forward to a truly magical evening celebrating the wonders of art in the city of Laguna Beach, at the Pageant Of The Masters.

Pageant of the masters festival

  The Pageant Of The Masters is a world famous production of living art.  The performance is located in a outdoor theatre lit by the stars and surrounded by lush greens that transports you to another place in time.

Pageant of the masters theatre

The 90 minute “show” is made up of recreations of famous paintings and pieces of art known as “living pictures”.  My favorite part of the performance every year is when the Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy provides a recreation of the entire process the performers go through, from call time to being on stage.  The process is so interesting and even after watching it happen right in front of you its hard to believe you are not looking at the actual painting.  Each living art recreation is set to music from a live orchestra which enhances the whole experience.

Every year, the last piece of art work is always the same, I won’t spoil it for you if you have not been, but it is breathtaking and I am in awe every time I see it!  I have seen the original in person and the recreation is spot-on.  Handsome and I are fortunate to have a friend who performs every year in that last piece and a few years back he took my family and I on a private tour backstage.  What a once in a life time experience that was.  The amount of work that goes into each and every piece of art is mind-blowing.

Pageant of the masters living Art

If you love art this should be on your bucket-list.  People from all over the world travel to see this incredible artistry and illusion of living art.

Pageant Of The Masters

Runs every summer from July through August.

Check their website for dates and times.

650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Ticket Office 1-800-487-3378 {toll free}

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Paws in the Garden, Garden Tour ~ Part 2.

Last week I was told you about the adorable garden tour, Paws In The Garden, I was invited to by one of my friends.  Here comes the next two gardens…

The next two gardens you are going to see are both located in the oldest neighbor in California.  The Los Rios District is located right across from the Capistrano Depot train station in the city of San juan Capistrano.  There are 40 homes in this neighbor, which vary in age from 50 to 204 years old.  3 of them are original adobe structures.  A majority of the homes are still private residences, while there are a few restaurants and businesses in some of the old homes.  Originally these houses were built for the workers and builders of the San Juan Capistrano Mission (yep, the same mission you studied about in 4th grade).  If you are in the area go talk a walk down this historic street.  It’s amazing!

It’s time to check out the third and fourth home on this fun tour through San Juan Capistrano.

House #3 (not a house, it’s an adorable artist’s gallery that has a fun garden area)

SJ Garden Tour House #3

Wouldn’t you love to greet the morning with a cup of tea on this rustic wood bench?

San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour, Paws in the Garden

Or in the late afternoon share a few laughs with a friend over a glass of ice tea…or maybe something stronger?

 You too, can visit this garden and while you’re there check out their wonderful artwork.  The Cottage Gallery.

San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour House

On our way from garden #3 to garden #4, we passed by this artist creating a painting of one of the historic homes on Los Rios.

House #4

San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour House 4 As we walked through the picket fence we were greeted by this adorable plant stand.San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour House 4 - 6

Don’t you just love this engraved rock surrounded by flowers that are butterflies favorites?

San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour House 4

I loved this old time water pump turned into a fountain.

San Juan Capistrano Garden Tour House 4 -9

The jacaranda tree provided plenty of shade in this garden.

SJ Garden Tour House 4 - 10

Just like the day bed at the 2nd home in the 1st garden post here, how adorable is this desk set?  I love how both of these homeowners are using everyday indoor items as a place to showcase plants.

SJ Garden Tour House 4 - 9

Isn’t this a treehouse any kid would love?

SJ Garden Tour House 4 - 3

These raised garden beds are in their own gated community.  It’s the only way to keep the bunnies out!SJ Garden Tour House 4 - 2

What a great place to enjoy a lovely summer dinner with family and friends.

SJ Garden Tour House 4 - 7

If you have been on Pinterest lately, then no doubt you have seen all the items you can make out of simple wooden pallets.  How adorable is this pallet chandelier with mason jars holding the lights?

I hope you enjoyed this Paws in the Garden, Garden Tour!

To see the first two gardens, click here.

Did you get a chance to check out The Ark of San Juan website?  If you love Cats and Dogs are are able to donate a little their way, I am sure they would appreciate it!

Thank you, Stacey for inviting me!

Until next time…

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Paws in the Garden, Garden Tour in San Juan Capistrano

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to the Paws in the Garden, Garden Tour in the charming historic city of San Juan Capistrano.  I am always up for going to a Garden Tour with friends.

SJC Garden Tour Sign

There were 4 gardens to explore and I couldn’t wait to get started.  Today, you will have a look at 2 of the stunningly unique gardens.

Let’s get started with Paws in the Garden…

House # 1

SJ Garden Tour House 1 - 5

When we first walked up the driveway we were greeted by this beautiful clay pot planted with green plants and white flowers, my favorite combination.  Don’t you love how the plants drip down the side of the pot?

SJ Garden Tour House 1 -1

This backyard reminded me of a beautiful villa in Spain, with graceful sounds of water splashing in the fountain and the pea gravel paths.

SJC Garden Tour House 1- 2

What a perfect place for quiet moments in this lush garden.

SJC Garden Tour House 1 - 3

There were a couple of arches throughout the yard with elegant climbing roses.

SJC Garden Tour House 1 -4

The homeowner was present in her back yard when we were taking our tour, and she told us the yard had been landscaped and is maintained by Rogers Gardens.  If you live in the southern California area and you haven’t been to Rogers Gardens, you must go, you are missing out.  If you don’t live locally do yourself a favor and check out their incredible website here.

House #2

SJC Garden Tour House 2 -1You know you are at the home of an artist as soon as you walk by this charming china plate mosaic mail box.

SJC Garden Tour House 2 -3

Then you are greeted by this topsy turvy clay pot arrangement.  I love how the flowers spill out of the pots on to the next one.

SJC Garden Tour House 2 - 2

How cute is this old laundry tub turned herb garden?  And the markers for the herbs, painted wooden spoons…Genius!

SJC Garden Tour House 2- 9As I walked through the white picket fence into the backyard, I felt like a child.  There was so many wondrous flowers and sculptures my eyes didn’t know where to look first.  I could have spent hours in that yard taking in all the delightfully pieces of art and flowers.

SJ Garden Tour House 2 -2

Be careful where you sit!

SJC Garden Tour House 2 - 6

Or sleep!  Talk about a bed of roses…

SJC Garden Tour House 2- 4

The house you are looking at beyond the the enchanting table is the adorable separate cottage suite.SJC Garden Tour House 2 -5

Can’t you just imagine having afternoon tea with all your dearest friends at this lovely table?

SJC Garden Tour House 2 -7

The entire backyard, house, and both cottages {guest suite and artist studio} are all shaded by this impressive tree.  One of the volunteers said it was one of the oldest trees in the city of San Juan Capistrano.

SJC Garden Tour House 2 - 8

Everywhere you looked there was flowers gracing every item.

SJC Garden Tour House 2 - 1

This sitting area was located next to the art studio cottage.  It is a perfect place to sit with a tall ice filled glass of sweet tea or a cocktail in the early evening.

So that is the first two homes…click here for the next two!

How adorable is the name of the tour, “Paws in the Garden” put on by The Ark of San Juan.   The Ark of San Juan is a Companion Animal Rescue, if you are interested in learning more about this awesome organization please click here.

The Ark of San Juan

P.O. Box 117, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693   ~  {949} 388-0034

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Sherman Library & Gardens

Last week I had the pleasure of going somewhere I had never been, although I’d driving by almost daily for years and years.

Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library & Gardens is a 2.2 acre botanical jewel.  It is located on the highly populated and busy Pacific Coast Highway in Corona Del Mar, California,  amidst all the boutiques, coffee houses, home specialty shops and exclusive showrooms, sits this unassuming natural beauty of over 1500 plants.  As soon as you walk through the gates you are transported to a different moment in time.  The beauty of the grounds calms you and your sense of smell is heightened with every breath.  The flowers fragrant scent wafts through the grounds as if someone was delicately spraying perfume.

I can go on and on about how beautiful this garden is but, I would rather show you.

Sherman Library & Gardens Pink Rose


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Spring Garden Show

Happy May Day!

May 1st has many traditions, and flowers play a part in most of them.  So, in honor of May Day, I want to share with you a spring garden show I recently attended.  This spring garden show is one I look forward to every year.  3 floors of beautiful flowers and plants inside a shopping mall.  I can’t think of a more wonderful way to spend the day, viewing it’s breathtaking garden displays, listening to speakers, venders and much, much more.


This year’s theme was “The Garden As Art”, and featured Andy Warhol’s version of Botticelli’s “Venus” all done in flowers.  The flowers in the boxes below were colored coordinated, the were all so vibrant.Andy Warhol's version of Botticelli's venus done in flowers


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Bruxie Gourmet Waffles

Looking for a unique twist in your next dining experience? Bruxie gourmet waffles is a destination for you. Their menu is filled with tasty items you wont find anywhere else. I live within about 30 minutes of all their locations, but found out about this adorable place by reading one of my favorite blogs, Kevin & Amanda. Amanda wrote such a glowing review, I knew I had to give it a try.

DSC_1053 (more…)

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