Tag

Southern California

Mission San Juan Capistrano

When I published my Orange County Bucket List and began making plans for how I could start crossing things off my bucket list, I knew one thing with certainty.  I had to begin at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  This mission is considered the birthplace of Orange County so it seemed fitting.  The Mission was the 7th of 21 missions and was founded on November 1, 1776 and is considered the Jewel of the Missions.

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

I have vague recollections of visiting a couple of missions in 4th grade as we studied California’s history but don’t recall visiting many missions since then.  Now I regret this and I realized I should be planning a road trip to visit all of the missions.  One of the biggest things I walked away with after my time at the mission is the importance of studying history.  And not just from a textbook where I’m absorbing facts I can find in any number of books.  But actually exploring history and studying the people and places of our past.

The stories of the passion and conviction of the priests in their missionary work.

The stories of the way of life for the Acjachemen people.

The stories of how the priests and Acjachemen people co-existed.

These stories helped me understand a piece of California’s history and I think when we take the time to truly study history we’re able to build connections between what was, what is, and what can be.  And those connections are what help us learn from past mistakes, repeat past successes and gain a better understanding of people and culture.

Whether you're a 4th grader studying California's history or if you're planning a trip to California, here's planning tips for Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Whether you are a 4th grader (or the family of a 4th grader) working on a project about the California missions or just planning a trip to Southern California, I would highly recommend a trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Tips for planning a trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano

*Go early.  I was there right when Mission San Juan Capistrano opened and it allowed me to enjoy the first hour or so in peace.  I could spend as long as I wanted at each exhibit and never felt crowded.  And I could capture pictures without other people in them.  This is especially valuable if you’re working on a mission project for school!

*Take advantage of the resources.  There is a complimentary audio tour available and there were docents throughout the mission.  Both were an excellent source of information and provided stories I would not have heard had I only explored the mission on my own.

*Plan your trip.  Head online before you go to the Mission San Juan Capistrano website and browse the schedule of tours, exhibits and hands-on opportunities.  There are days when you can pan for gold, try your hand at basket weaving, hear from descendants of the Acjachemen people and more.  So if you’re able to plan your trip around things that are interesting to you, I’d highly recommend it!

*See the swallows.  If you’re able to time your visit to go in March during the Swallows Day Parade you’ll be in for a treat as you learn about the legend of the swallows.

Have you ever been to any of the missions in California?  What is your favorite?

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Orange County Bucket List

I recently came across this Los Angeles Bucket List as I was browsing Pinterest.  And while I love traveling and have a pretty extensive travel bucket list, it got me thinking about all of the things to do right here in my own backyard!  So I started doing some research (which included asking my friends and family for suggestions on Facebook and over Christmas dinner) and put together my Orange County Bucket List.  The list includes 150 things to do in Orange County that go beyond just the beach and Disneyland (although those are on the list!).  There’s also a bonus Cupcakes in Orange County section because it really wouldn’t be a Girl on the Move list if it didn’t include cupcakes!

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Did you know Orange County has more people than 21 of the states in the US?  It is a county rich in history, filled with gorgeous views, and full of lots of opportunity for adventure.  So grab your Orange County map (Because I think adventures are more fun with actual maps!) and start checking things off the list!  And if you want to follow along with my Orange County Bucket List adventures you can find them on Instagram.

I’d love to hear in the comments section…What would you add to this Orange County Bucket List?  Is there anything on the list you’ve done that you’d recommend I’d do as soon as possible?

Cruise down PCH in a convertible

Eat a colorful bagel from Bagels & Brew

Have a bonfire at the beach

Have a popGelato from popbar

Visit all five of Orange County piers

Go biking at the beach…any beach!

Eat a sandwich at Mendocino Farm (multiple locations)

Build a sand castle at the beach

Eat a Signature 50/50 burger from Slater’s 50/50 (multiple locations)

Enjoy a lobster roll from Slapfish (multiple locations)

Eat a waffle sandwich from Bruxie (multiple locations)

Hike Holy Jim Falls

Orange County Bucket List: Aliso Viejo

Picnic at Soka University

Orange County Bucket List: Anaheim

Go to an Anaheim Ducks hockey game

Stroll through Downtown Disney

Go to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game

See the Disneyland fireworks

Progressive Dinner at Anaheim Packing District

Attempt to eat “The Beast” at Blake’s Place

Ice skating at The Rinks (the official training facility of the Anaheim Ducks)

Take flight at Flightdeck

Watch the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland

Movie at Oak Canyon Nature Center

Enjoy a Dole Whip at Disneyland

See a concert at Pearson Park Amphitheatre

Have authentic beignets in New Orleans Square at Disneyland

See a show at the Royal Theatre in Disneyland’s Fantasyland

Orange County Bucket List: Brea

Take a trip to the Redwoods at The Redwood Grove at Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Orange County Bucket List: Buena Park

Eat a boysenberry funnel cake at Knott’s Berry Farm

Eat a chicken dinner at Knott’s Chicken Dinner

Mine for gold at Knott’s Berry Farm

Orange County Bucket List: Corona del Mar

Have tea at the Sherman Library and Gardens

See Disneyland’s original bandstand at Roger’s Gardens

Orange County Bucket List: Costa Mesa

Shopping at South Coast Plaza (3rd largest mall in America)

Shopping at the OC SwapMeet (Costa Mesa)

Spend a day at the Orange County Fair

See a show and eat a themed brunch/dinner at The Segerstrom Center

Eat a waffle at The Iron Press

Eat a donut from Sidecar Doughnuts

See a show at the Costa Mesa Playhouse

Stop by The CAMP in Costa Mesa

Orange County Bucket List: Dana Point

Go whale watching out of Dana Point

Visit the Ocean Institute in Dana Point

Explore the tide pools at Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area

Eat dinner with a view at Cannons Seafood Grill

Dinner at Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point

Orange County Bucket List: Fountain Valley

Spend an afternoon at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley

Orange County Bucket List: Fullerton

Spend a day at the Fullerton Arboretum

Enjoy a picnic at Laguna Lake Park in Fullerton

Orange County Bucket List: Garden Grove

Enjoy the architecture of Christ’s Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) (fun fact: this was the venue of my high school graduation!)

Afternoon at Atlantis Park in Garden Grove (note: neither adults nor kids may go without the other!)

Enjoy strawberries at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival

See a show with Shakespeare Orange County

Orange County Bucket List: Huntington Beach

Dinner during sunset at Pacific City in Huntington Beach

See the sunset at the Huntington Beach Pier

Go surfing in Huntington Beach

Visit the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach

Stroll through the Tuesday Farmers Market in Huntington Beach

Attend the US Open of Surfing

Attend the Huntington Beach 4th of July parade

Kayak in Huntington Harbor

Watch a movie on the beach in Huntington Beach with Beachfront Cinema

Progressive Dinner at Food Truck Thursdays in Huntington Beach (Beach Blvd & Stark)

Eat a donut from The Donuttery

Bird watching at Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Stay overnight at Paséa Hotel & Spa

Take a trip to Europe at Old World in Huntington Beach

Orange County Bucket List: Irvine

Take a tour at the ChocXO Chocolate Factory and Tasting Lab

Ride the big orange balloon at Orange County’s Great Park

Ride the Giant Wheel at the Spectrum

Take a produce tour at Tanaka Farms

Explore the University of California, Irvine Arboretum

Eat tacos from The Lime Truck

Take a walk along the Walkable Historical Timeline in Orange County’s Great Park

Have a milkshake at Strickland’s Frozen Custard

Orange County Bucket List: Laguna Beach

Stay overnight at The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Drinks at Splashes Bar at the Surf and Sand Hotel

Enjoy First Thursdays Art Walk in Laguna Beach

Take a selfie at Heisler Park

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach

Hike to the Top of the World in Laguna Beach

Take an art class at the Sawdust Art Festival

Have a cocktail at the Lobby Lounge at Montage Laguna Beach

An afternoon at 1000 Steps Beach

Drinks at The Rooftop Lounge

Spend an afternoon reading a book at Treasure (Goff) Island Beach

Hike Laguna Coast Wilderness park

Explore Orange County’s only lighthouse – Pirate Castle

Walk the streets of Laguna Beach on a Historic Bungalow Tour

Visit St. Francis by the Sea (once the smallest church in the world)

See a film on a third Thursday at California’s oldest museum, Laguna Art Museum

Eat a short rib grilled cheese from Three Seventy Common

Take a food tour with Flavors of Laguna

Pool day at Montage Laguna Beach

Listen to music at Reggae Night at Sandpiper “Dirty Bird”

Enjoy fresh gelato from Dolce Gelato

See a play at The Laguna Playhouse

Eat Brulee French toast from Break of Dawn

Orange County Bucket List: La Habra

Explore history at the La Habra Historical Museum

An Orange County Bucket List for your trip to California with 150 suggestions to help you plan things to do, beaches to visit, hikes, and cupcakes to eat!

Orange County Bucket List: Mission Viejo

Enjoy a wine tasting at A Hidden Vine On The Lake

Explore the Butterfly Garden while hiking Oso Creek Trail

Orange County Bucket List: Newport Beach

Brunch at The Beachcomber Café

Fruity Pebbles French Toast from Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

Spend a night at the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

Go stand-up paddle boarding in Newport Harbor

Spend an afternoon at Newport Dunes Waterpark

Enjoy a milkshake at Ruby’s Crystal Cove shake shack

Take a ferry to Balboa Island

Take a boat ride in Newport Harbor

Enjoy a frozen banana from Dad’s on Balboa Island

Spend an afternoon at Balboa Island Fun Zone

Watch a movie Newport Dunes’ Movies on the Beach

Enjoy the pink sauce at Mama D’s Italian Kitchen

Orange County Museum of Art

Explore Balboa Village

Relax for a day at The Spa at Pelican Hill

Take a gondola ride with Gondola Adventures in Newport Beach

Have a glass of wine at Orange Coast Winery

Watch surfers at The Wedge in Newport Beach

Enjoy a picnic at Inspiration Point in Newport Beach

Shopping at Fashion Island

Eat a ham and cheese croissant from Seaside Bakery in Newport Beach

Orange County Bucket List: Orange

Aquacycle ride in Irvine Park

Hike Peters Canyon

Ride the wine trolley in Old Town Orange

Antique shopping in Orange Circle

Eat dinner at Orange Hill restaurant (note: this is where my parents got engaged!)

Step back into history with dinner at the Filling Station Cafe

Have a soda at California’s Original Soda Fountain – Watson’s Soda Fountain Café

Eat pancakes from Flappy Jack’s Pancake House

Orange County Bucket List: Rancho Santa Margarita

Take a walk around the lake and enjoy sunset drinks with lake views at the Blind Pig

Orange County Bucket List: San Clemente

Go running on the San Clemente Beach Trail

Build a burger at Riders Club Café in San Clemente

Eat crepes at the beach at La Galette Creperie

Attend an event at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens

Watch surfers at Trestles – the “Yosemite of Surfing”

Take a trip to the South with dinner at Iva Lee’s

Enjoy a cheese plate or board from The Cellar

Orange County Bucket List: San Juan Capistrano

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano

Orange County Bucket List: Santa Ana

See the monkeys at the Santa Ana Zoo

Progressive dinner at 4th Street Market in Santa Ana

Explore Discovery Cube: Orange County

Attend a performance at Orange County School of the Arts

Learn about the history of Orange County at the Heritage Museum of Orange County

Visit the Lyon Air Museum

Explore the Bowers Museum

“First Saturday” Artwalk in Santa Ana

Orange County Bucket List: Westminster

Dinner at Little Saigon in Westminster

Orange County Bucket List: Yorba Linda

Visit the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

An Orange County Bucket List for your trip to California with 150 suggestions to help you plan things to do, beaches to visit, hikes, and cupcakes to eat!
Bonus!!! Orange County Bucket List: Cupcake Edition

Susie Cakes

Casey’s Cupcakes

Patty’s Cakes and Desserts

The Perfect Circle Cupcakery

Bubba Sweets

Simply the Cupcake Store

Rockwell’s Bakery

Sprinkles Cupcakes

French’s Cupcake Bakery

Sweet N Saucy

B Candy

Beverly’s Best Bakery

Hapa Cupcakes

Frostings Cupcakes

Wonderland Bakery

Sugar Blossom Bake Shop

Frosted Cupcakery

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5 Things to Do in the San Jacinto Valley

For many people, November to March means having to bundle up every time you leave the house.  It means shoveling your sidewalk, scraping ice off your car, and  having to change out your summer wardrobe for bulky sweaters.  Enter Southern California.  Particularly the San Jacinto Valley.  Where average winter temps hover around 70 degrees making the San Jacinto Valley your ideal winter escape!

I was recently invited to visit the San Jacinto Valley courtesty of their tourism board and I can’t wait to share five things to do that make this your perfect winter escape.

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Diamond Valley Lake – On our trip we spent an incredibly relaxing morning out on this man made lake that was dedicated in March of 2000.  Diamond Valley is a drinking water reservoir that suppies water to much of Southern California.  But it’s more than just an hour glass shaped drinking water reservoir!  It’s a great spot for fishing and boating.  Water sports are not permitted (no human contact is allowed with the water) but there are 50 boats available for rental and if you’re escaping winter weather a gorgeous afternoon out on the lake is the perfect way to soak up the sun!

La Michoacana 100% Natural – Y’all know how much I love cupcakes!  But if this trip is your winter escape, what better way to celebrate winter in the sun, than with ice cream?!?  Enter La Michoacana.  Where the Mexican ice cream is made on-site…with real fruit! I enjoyed a Mango Mangonada and…WOW!!  Such a yummy treat that is perfect after an afternoon on the lake!

Escape the winter blues with a trip to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California where you can hit the lake, trails and delicious restaurants.
Golden Village Palms RV Resort – If you’re going to take a winter escape, you need a place to stay!  And I would highly recommend this five-star resort.  Whether you’re bringing your own RV or staying in a cottage it won’t take long to call Golden Village home.  When you’re not out exploring all the San Jacinto Valley has to offer, you can relax by the pool, take in a game of shuffleboard, hit the gym, and so much more.

Western Science Center – Confession time y’all!  I’m a closet nerd.  I LOVE learning.  As much as I love healthy, active travel, I also secretly love visiting new museums where I get to learn.  And the Western Science Center does not disappoint!  When Diamond Valley Lake was built they uncovered a treasure trove of fossils so they decided to build a museum by the lake to house the findings.  Including Max the Mastodon!  Not only are there a variety of rotating exhibits in addition to the permanent exhibits but there are also 3 digs on site.  There are 2 archeological and 1 paleontological digs students use to help them with the study of everything left behind by past cultures and of extinct animals.  Y’all…I nerded out big time in the Western Science Center and can’t wait to return!

 Escape the winter blues with a trip to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California where you can hit the lake, trails and delicious restaurants.
Simpson Park – Simpson Park offer gorgeous views of the sun setting over the lake and 15 miles of well-groomed trails.  You’ll find hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers out on these trails which have been built and maintained largely by volunteers.  The trails are set up so that it is difficult to get lost which is great news for travelers!

Bottom line y’all…if you’re looking for a winter esacpe head to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California.  And as an added bonus, once you’re there you’re only a quick drive from LA, Orange County (beaches, Disneyland!), San Diego and so much more!

What is your favorite winter escape?

Other Travel posts you might like:

The Ramona Bowl

San Diego Urban Adventure Quest

One Day in San Francisco

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OC International Auto Show

One of the things I am most passionate about is travel…specifically road trips! If you’ve been following my blog or social media for any length of time, you know I road trip regularly. In the past year I’ve done 15,000+ miles and there are more road trips to come in the next year!

So it’s only fitting that for a girl on the move, you need a great set of wheels! Which is why I’m excited like a kid on Christmas morning about the upcoming OC Auto Show…I mean, the show features more than 500 new vehicles from 34 manufacturers, 100-plus vehicles to test drive, an Exotic Gallery, concept vehicles, crossovers, sports cars, alternative fuel options and more…this road trip girl is going to be in HEAVEN!!!

Orange County International Auto Show 2015

And it gets better because Camp Jeep® Anaheim will be there…and since I drive a Jeep I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to head out with professional 4×4 drivers on a thrilling adventure along a rugged test track with an 18-ft. high, 35-degree hill climb up the iconic Jeep® Mountain; teetering, extreme three-wheeling across an 8-ft. high, 50-ft long Trail Rated Pass; and adrenaline-inducing terrain that simulates fallen logs! You can pretty much guarantee my time at the OC Auto Show is going to be EPIC!

And you’ll probably want to make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Periscope to catch all of the action!

And get this, it gets better…because I have tickets to give away!!!

Here are a few details about the OC Auto Show and info on how you can win a pair of tickets!!

*The OC Auto Show is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center

*The show opens at 4pm on Thursday, October 15 and runs through Sunday, October 18

*You can head to their website for ticket information and more details

As for how you can win, it’s really quite simple…leave a comment below telling me why you want to go to the OC Auto Show!

Bonus Entries: If you follow me on Instagram and/or Periscope (comment below to let me know you followed) you’ll get extra entries!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to the show for myself and to giveaway.

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Wipeout 5k Run

Five years ago my sister competed on a Wipeout: Blind Date episode…if you’ve been a fan of the show for years you might remember her as the cougar!  She did really well…her partner, affectionately referred to as the cub, not so much…so they did not make it past the second round.

But now it’s time for redemption!

Wipeout 5k Run Orange County

That’s right, we’re participating in the Wipeout 5k Run on November 7 at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre…and I want you to join us!  If you’ve ever watched the show Wipeout and thought you can do better, this is your chance!  Join me for this crashtastic 5k run in Orange County.

Tweet: Join me at the Wipeout 5k Run in Orange County this November! http://bit.ly/1SR2grp #wipeout #SoCal

Let me know in the comments below if you’re going to join me at this awesome 5k run because I want to meet up with you for pictures and fun!  And if you don’t live in Southern California you can check out their site to find your local race!

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Up, Up, and Away

…well maybe not away, but you get the idea 😉 Today’s Travel Thursday post takes us to Temecula, CA for a hot air balloon adventure.  Hot air ballooning has been on my bucket list for quite a while, so imagine my excitement when I was able to cross this adventure off my list!

We took our trip up with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and I would highly recommend this group if you’re looking for a ballooning adventure in Southern California!  And honestly, our adventure was pretty magical and even though I’ve crossed it off my bucket list, I would love to go again!  It is an absolutely gorgeous way to get a birds eye view of an area made even better by the fact that we went hot air ballooning in wine country which means you can go on wine tastings afterwards!

Hot Air Balloon Adventures in Temecula, CA

There was something truly amazing about floating along just above the trees and seeing everything below. I absolutely loved our adventure and a couple of things about going for a hot air balloon ride surprised me…

* It is much hotter up there than I expected…because the balloon is powered by fire!

* It is louder up there than I expected…again, because the balloon is powered by fire and fire can be noisy

* Because of the above two surprises it’s not quite as romantic as you might think…it would still make a great date but it’s not a quiet blissful experience

* The pilots have less control over the location of the landing than you’d think.  Where you land is controlled by the wind so on our ride we actually went about 20 minutes longer than expected (awesome bonus!) because of how the winds moved.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

A couple of reasons why I’d recommend this tour company if you go…

* They leave a few minutes later than the other groups in the area which makes you think you’ll miss the early morning views, but the truth is it means your views will include other hot air balloons.  Because your travel is dictated by the wind if you are at the back you can take great pictures filled with other balloons!

* You get mimosas at the end…is there even really a need to explain why this is a good thing?!?

* The pilot is quite knowledgeable about hot air ballooning and the area which makes the experience even more enjoyable

Have you been hot air ballooning?  Would you want to go?  What’s one thing on your bucket list?

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