Fashion Trends for 2023 & How to Make Them Wearable

With the new year many new things come along with it, new car models, New Years’ resolutions and, in fashion, new fashion trends!

While I don’t consider myself to be an avid “trend follower” per-say, I do think trends are influential to the way we dress because trending items become more readily available on retail shelves when their time comes. Whether you hate the idea of trends or love them, it is fun to see what fashion houses will be producing in the upcoming year and what we can prepare to implement into our wardrobe or avoid completely!

Stole Your Dad’s Jeans” Level Baggy Jeans

Baggy jeans have become all the rage as of late and this trend will not be going anywhere in the 2023 year, in fact the jeans will get even more large and in charge.

Bottega Veneta created a pair of jeans that are so wide they may be confused with a denim skirt featuring a slit in the front and Levi’s (king of jeans) has XL flood jeans available, the adjective is all you need to know the level of looseness these jeans are sporting.

Who needs sweat pants when oversized comfort fit jeans are in??!

All in the sheer details

As you may have seen during recent months, sheer tops and blouses have been circulating. We can expect to continue to see this trend into 2023.

While some people are comfortable rocking a sheer top or dress with nothing but mid coverage underwear, even those with more modest dressing styles can implement this fun trend!

My favorite way to wear a sheer long sleeve is to pair of with a nude or black bodysuit underneath depending on the colors of the top. For sheer dresses or skirts, a body-con dress could be worn underneath for subtle coverage.

Suit Up

This year we saw vests being all the rage! In 2023 the suit concept will continue to triumph. This is a trend that is timeless in nature, a well tailored suit can be worn in any year but in 2023 it will be evidently seen amongst fashion houses and fashion lovers alike.

En Pointe: Ballerina Wear with a Twist

Whether you realize it or not, ballerina inspired style has been a presence in one way or another for years. The tulle skirt has been worn since the early 1800’s and it was a big trend in 2016. Ballerina flats were seen everywhere in the mid 2000’s to the early 2010’s, paired with either straight line skirts or skinny denim jeans and a tee shirt for a more relaxed look. The recent bodysuit trend could also be seen as being lent from the ballerina aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the unitards worn.

In 2023, we will see more clothing stealing pages out of ballerina’s fashion books, but with a twist. The return to ballerinaesque dressing is being called “ballet core”, which is a style that takes traditional ballerina uniform pieces such as leg warmers, tulle, or wrap workout tops and pieces them together in an unconventional way to suit your personal style or desired tone for the day.

Show Strength

A lot of the clothing for 2023 women’s fashion will have details drawing inspiration from protective body armor worn in wartimes. Corsets have been rising in popularity recently and they will continue to do so in the new year. In addition to corsets, we will see other structured pieces like breastplates incorporated into dresses and shirts.

Arm cuffs are also predicted to be a part of this trend when it comes to jewelry, which can be a subtle way to try out this style of dressing in the upcoming months.

These are just a few trends we can keep our eyes out for in the new year. Whether you are looking for a wardrobe refresh or just want to venture out of your comfort zone a bit, perhaps give one of these a try! You may hate the new look or it may become a closet staple. Either way, as the kids like to say, you don’t know if you don’t try!

Shop my favorites of the trends!

Good American Good Skate High Rise Baggy Jeans in I258

Levi’s Women’s 94 Baggy Jeans
Continue reading “Fashion Trends for 2023 & How to Make Them Wearable”

How to Elevate any Outfit

Have you ever bought a new outfit or new item and gone to wear it and been disappointed with the overall result? You love the pieces you own but are not quite sure how to pair them to achieve the perfect ensemble.

My friend recently faced this dilemma. She has items that she loves but when she gets ready she feels something is missing and doesn’t know how to achieve the effortlessly chic styles she sees featured on Instagram.

In discussing this issue we came to the conclusion that the missing touch to the outfits were elements that come together to form an elevated look.

My definition of “elevated” is an outfit that is chic and “put together”. The fabrics of the clothes are high quality and the items worn present a timeless elegance.

In my very official research of the current “it girls” my friend was referring to online I realized that their aesthetics had several overlapping elements that seemed to add the “je ne sais quoi” factor to their outfits.

Proper Footwear

Many people think of footwear as a functional clothing item, which it most definitely is as shoes provide comfort and support in carrying you (literally) through your daily activities.

However, just as essential as a properly fitted and chosen training shoe is to your particular training activity, so a properly fitted and chosen shoe is essential to a complete outfit.

In my wardrobe, for instance, I recently realized that my footwear was an afterthought when getting ready for the day. I would pick out my favorite jeans or pair of slacks and pair them with the same old Chanel espadrilles I had been wearing religiously for the past four years.

I realized I needed more variety in my everyday footwear, so I purchased a new pair of Chanel espadrilles (I really love those shoes) and the black Gucci loafers I had been eyeing for quite some time. My shoe collection still has a ways to go before it reaches the point I would like it to reach, but those two additions helped bring more excitement to the outfits I was assembling.  

Cool Outerwear

Blazers, leather jackets, shawls, shrugs vests, hoodies. Outerwear is every where and for good reason, it can not only provide an extra layer to your outfit in colder temperature’s but it can also add an intriguing element to your overall look.  

Suit vests are a big trend for 2022. The fun thing about adding a vest to any outfit is that it automatically makes the look feel more classic and “elevated” due to the original inclusion of vests being with formal suits. Vests have veered from strictly suit wear material to other materials such as knits and denim. 

Vests may not be your thing, but amongst the arrays of outwear available there will most certainly be pieces that are. I would highly suggest investing in unique outerwear garments that you love and can pair with many different outfits. You will find that these pieces will help achieve the “elevated” aesthetic you are aiming for. 

Carefully Curated Accessories

According to Wikipedia, a fashion accessory can be broadly characterized as an item that is worn or carried. Historically, handbags, wallets and even ceremonial swords were worn as fashion accessories.

Nowadays, accessories can be found at every price level and suited to any personal style. Handbags can range from more affordably priced vegan leather options for a couple hundred dollars to more extravagant leather and animal skins that can be sold for thousands of dollars per bag, such as an Hermes or Chanel bag.

My belief is that any accessory item regardless of its price point, has the ability to enhance any outfit. Different types of belts and handbags are my favorite way to enhance my wardrobe, but I am also beginning to expand into hair items such as bows and headbands along with costume and Demi-fine jewelry.

Finding a few key accessory types that you like and implementing them into your daily fashion can really elevate your style.

If you address these three areas of your closet, I guarantee you will be able to elevate your fashion to the level you want to reach and your key closet pieces will shine like a diamond under bright lighting.

I have linked below a few of my current favorites to help you get started on this journey to elevate your style!

Classic Shoes you need!! ->

Alexander Wang Women’s Carter Loafers

Chloe Women’s Woody Espadrille Flats

Givenchy Women’s City Sneakers

Elevated Outerwear I love ->

Allsaints Balfern Leather Biker Jacket

Aqua Suit Up Blazer – 100% Exclusive

Bcbgmaxazria Faux Suede Jacket

Key Accessories ->

rag & bone Women’s Rebound Leather Belt

Tory Burch Women’s Aviator Sunglasses, 57mm

Moon & Meadow 14K Yellow Gold Tiny Hoop Earrings – 100% Exclusive

Re-Creating Hailey Bieber’s Green Themed Business Casual Outfit

Hailey Bieber is many girl’s fashion, beauty and skin goals. She is often snapped by paparazzi leaving events, meetings, the gym and anywhere else they can spot her. Her outfits are usually always on point, but some are extra enviable. The outfit pictured above is one such outfit for me.

From the moment I saw it, I immediately wanted to find exactly what she was wearing to purchase it. However, once I saw the prices, the reality hit me that I don’t possess her wardrobe budget. The stunning neon blazer alone is from a brand called Kwaidan Editions and is selling for 1,400 Euros or about 1,430 U.S. Dollars currently. This really stung because the neon jacket is what caught my attention the most about the outfit.

Armed with intense determination I took myself to the mall searching high and low for a suitable alternative in my actual price range, not my fantasy wardrobe allowance that I have in my head.

So naturally I stopped into my favorite store first, Aritzia. Unsurprisingly, I found a host of items that I rapidly gathered for purchase and then I saw it. A deep green oversized blazer with black buttons being sold for 248 U.S. Dollars. Still no bargain, but definitely more my wallet’s speed.

The outfit had begun to be formed. Now for the shirt, shorts, shoes and other accessories. The shirt Hailey is wearing is from the brand Toteme. I was unable to find the exact shirt she was wearing on their website currently, so I decided to see if Aritzia had any similar options. The top I went with was a knit bra top for 48 U.S. Dollars.

As for the shorts, in the photo she is pictured in EB Denim shorts that are cross front with frayed edges. On the website, the shorts that most resemble Hailey’s are the OG Short selling for 250 U.S. Dollars. I had recently purchased frayed edge shorts from Paige for 149 U.S. Dollars that I thought would suffice alternatively.

Lastly for the green strappy sandals. These are the leather Stretch Sandals from the trending brand, Bottega Veneta. Her handbag you may recognize as the ever popular Mini Jodie in the color Parakeet, retailing for 2,500 U.S. Dollars from the same brand. The sandals are still available for purchase on their website for 950 U.S. Dollars, but no longer in the green color she was wearing.

I had similar black strappy leather sandals from Gwen Stefani’s now non-existent fashion brand L.A.M.B, sad to say, because she produced some really great items back in the day.

As for the accessories, while I love them I did not have the budget or time to purchase the glasses, jewelry and a similar purse to hers but I have linked below a few items I am eyeing to purchase in the near future for when I re-wear my Hailey Beiber-esque look.

Check out the links below to purchase her exact outfit or my replica! Please tag me on Instagram if you choose to recreate this look as well, I would love to see what you come up with!

Hailey’s Look:

Neon blazer-

Toteme Creme Top-

EB Denim Shorts-

Bottega Veneta Stretch Strap Sandal- <a href=”*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.193854132543&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a>*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.193854132543&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”*aD/lKlynnw&bids=779093.193854132543&type=2&subid=0&#8243; >

Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie-<a href=”*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.193854118578&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a>*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.193854118578&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”*aD/lKlynnw&bids=779093.193854118578&type=2&subid=0&#8243; >

My Budget-Friendlier Look:

Aritzia Green Blazer-

Aritzia Brown Bralette-

Skims Bodysuit (for a more modest look)-

Paige Shorts-<a href =”*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.190161996639&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a>*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.190161996639&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”*aD/lKlynnw&bids=779093.190161996639&type=2&subid=0&#8243; >

Bottega Veneta Strappy Sandal Dupe-

Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie Dupe-

Accessory Options:

14K Gold Layered Necklace (currently on sale)-<a href=”*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.98087856306&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a>*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.98087856306&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a> <a href=”*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.98087856306&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a>*aD/lKlynnw&offerid=779093.98087856306&type=2&”><IMG border=0 src=”,0&layer=comp&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bilin&op_usm=0.7,1.0,0.5,0&fmt=jpeg&4msn=.jpg&#8221; ></a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src=”*aD/lKlynnw&bids=779093.98087856306&type=2&subid=0&#8243; >

14K Gold Plated Layered Necklace-

Black Sunglasses-

*DISCLAIMER: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission when you use the links to make a purchase. I greatly appreciate your support of my blog in choosing to purchase utilizing my links.

Most Instagram-Worthy Spots in Laguna Beach

An intriguing backdrop is a major key in landing a fantastic shot. In any town you are able to find backdrops to take your photographs to the next level if you just search carefully enough. If you are ever in Laguna Beach and are looking for the spot to capture the perfect shot for your next IG post, we have you covered!

Thousand Steps

Thousand Steps is an enchanting, narrow staircase that leads to a small, private beach in Laguna. Despite its name, the stairs do not reach the thousand mark there is a few hundred steps, which is still a decent trek. While you may have to compete with the dedicated cardio enthusiasts for time on the steps, both the entrance to the stairs and the hundred or so stairs themselves make for an interesting photo op with a glute burn as an added bonus.

Hotel Laguna

If you prefer a backdrop that is more artistic in nature and requires less leg work [pun intended], Hotel Laguna, adjacent to Main Beach provides ample opportunity to create the perfect photographic masterpiece. The hotel lobby features an eclectic style of rustic chandeliers surrounded by unique art pieces and heterogeneous seating such as tufted leather sofas paired with green suede seats. Our favorite is the ‘light bulb’ mirror next to the hostess stand near their restaurant, Larsen. Few mirror selfies could compete with those taken there.

Peppertree Lane

Want to fool people into thinking you have taken a European vacay? Peppertree lane is the spot to go. This adorable alleyway is paved with rustic, red brick and it features adorable shoppes such as the beloved Gelato Paradiso and La Rue du Chocolat. The French windows combined with the Late Victorian street lights and brick lined streets will give no indication that you are anywhere but strolling down the streets of Italy with gelato in hand. Your secret is safe with us. 😉

When it comes to finding a beautiful backdrop to for your IG shot, Laguna Beach is teeming with photogenic hot spots! The three spots we featured above are perfect starting points for your photoshoot and you are certain to find additional unique backdrops while exploring them.

Let us know: Have you ever been to Laguna Beach for a photoshoot? Where is your favorite IG-worthy spot?

Don’t forget to tag us when you visit these hotspots so we can like and comment on your post!

The Iconic Cartier Love Bracelet: Is is worth the cost?

Love bracelets have become the most coveted jewelry piece over the past decade. The bracelets rose to trending fame after being seen in multiples on the arms of all the Kardashians and Jenner’s, with many noting that they carry the price of a college tuition on their writsts.

Locked in Love

While the Love bracelet has risen to fame over the past decade, it has been around for over four decades. Aldi Cipullo designed the Love line, centered around the infamous bracelets, back in 1969.

An interesting fact about the unique design is that it was modeled after the Medieval chastity belts which were said to be worn by wives and daughters to preserve their integrity while the men were away for extended periods. The notion of women actually wearing these metal contraptions is mainly mythological as there is no evidence to prove that this was actually practiced.

Cipullo’s intention was not to mimic a barbaric, imposed kind of love. Rather, his thought was that love should be semi-permanent and that a symbol of love should not be easily removed.

Rise in Popularity and Price

When the Cartier Love bracelet first became available it did not cost thousands of dollars like it does currently. As you can see from the advertisement excerpt below, the Love bracelet in 18k gold was sold for $250.00. This is a far cry from the most affordable Cartier Love bracelet being sold now at $4,250.00!

So, to what can we owe the immense surge in price? A portion of the increase can be credited to natural inflation that occurs over several decades. However, the immense popularity of the Cartier Love line amongst celebrities and “influencers” who have touted the bracelets and rings as status symbols created immense attention and demand which caused the prices to skyrocket. Another thing to note is that the Love bracelet was originally gold plated, but it is now only available in solid gold, to which the stark rise in price can be attributed as well.

The Love bracelet has become a trendy jewelry piece in a way that is similar to the Tiffany charm bracelet. The Tiffany bracelet used to be a trendy, status symbol in the late 90’s and early 00’s, and while these pieces are still beautiful, they are no longer trendy or synonymous with current luxury fashion.

Trends Come and Go

Just as with any fashion trend, after their surge in popularity and fame, they inevitably fall making room for the next flashy item. I would classify the Cartier Love line as both a trendy and classic piece.

When something is trending that is of this caliber of a price tag, the most important question to ask yourself is does it truly fit my style? If it was not a sought after piece, would I still have the same feelings towards it?

These seem to be very basic, straightforward questions, yet they are very important to consider before purchasing. More often than we are often willing to admit, we are influenced by what is popular and recognizable.

While there is no end in sight for this bracelets popularity, one day it will inevitably be out of fashion. At that point, the only reason to rock it would be if it truly fits your style and taste.

Durability and Resale Value

The bracelets are made of solid 18k gold and some are even plated in other precious metals such as Platinum. Despite its relative fashion trend value, these bracelets will always hold their value due to the precious materials that they are made of. Currently on the resale market, Cartier Love line items cannot be found for any less than 88% of full retail value.

When it comes to durability, this is where I am unsure of the value being met at the bracelet’s retail value. I purchased the white gold, platinum plated, Love bracelet with 4 diamonds. It is a stunning piece and I was in love the moment I put it on.

Love bracelet, 4 diamonds White gold, diamonds

While it is definitely a statement piece, it is still subtle enough to wear daily. The diamonds are small, but they add an extra shine and bit of intrigue to the piece.

I was very careful with the bracelet as it is the most expensive piece of jewelry I own besides my wedding rings. The bracelet was $11,300 before tax, not an amount that I am able to spend everyday. Much to my dismay, despite being very cautious about where I was placing my hands, so that the bracelet wouldn’t be touched by any hard object, the bracelet was scratched after just one full day of wear.

Finding the first scratch on my beloved bracelet after one day of wear was extremely dissapointing. The bracelets are very durable in the sense that they will not be easily dented nor will they tarnish when exposed to water or other harsh elements. However, since gold is a delicate material, it does scratch easily, especially at higher concentrations or higher Karat values.

At first I was dissapointed, but then I realized that it is just a natural part of wear and tear and nothing can be used and kept in mint condition forever. So, while I am as careful as possible with my bracelet, I still wear it everyday and enjoy it because that is the whole reason I purchased it.

Worth the Cost?

So, is the Cartier Love bracelet worth the cost? Well, like many things in life I think it depends. If this is a piece that you absolutely love (no pun intended), then yes, absolutely! Just remember that the piece will get scratched despite your best efforts to prevent it.

If you are able to deal with a few scratches and the pros of having the bracelet outweigh the cons to you then like any other love go out there and get it!

Get the Look for Less

Here are a couple of bracelets that I love that don’t make such a big dent in the bank!

Alberto Amati 14K Yellow Gold Polished Bangle Bracelet

kate spade new york Stone Hinge Bangle

*Please note: the links above are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission for any purchases made utilizing the link. I thoroughly appreciate your support of my blog in using these links if you so please.

Posing as an Acrobat at Skull Canyon

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an acrobat? Being suspended hundreds of feet in the air putting your balance, agility, and strength on full display. If you have ever seen Cirque Du Soleil you have definitely had a phase of curiousty for the amazing acrobatics that they display. The professionals make the movements look so effortless and elegant, it is impossible to not wonder what it is like to be in their shoes (come on, I can’t be the only one. . .)

Well, if you are a wannabe acrobat like me, who is also a big wuss, Skull Canyon may be the perfect opportunity for you. Skull Canyon is tucked away in the Inland Empire. They offer visitors what they refer to as an eco-experience. Skull Canyon has several zip lining routes that vary from 80 to 300 feet above ground. In addition to their zip lining routes, they recently introduced Sky Gym a jungle gym in the air.

Wearing a harness, you are able to wander through several obstacle courses of varying difficulty at different heights. Sky Level 1 is the lowest level and it is approximately 15 feet above the ground, but feels much higher once you are on it. Sky Level 2 is about twice as high as Level 1 and presents a greater level of difficulty. Skull Canyon is also currently working on Sky Level 3 which will be their highest obstacle course and be about 50 feet above the ground! According to the employees, it is expected to be finished within the next 12 months.

In our opinion though, Sky Level 1 is about as much of an adrenaline rush as we can handle. The higher levels do look exciting though if you are particularly unafraid of heights.

The Sky Gym is a fun, afforable, experience that we think everyone in the family would enjoy. Sky Gym Level 1 is $39.99 and it allows you to explore the course for one hour. The Sky Gym Level 1 + 2 option is $59.99 and provides an hour and a half of acrobatic fun. We did the first option and the hour went by very quickly, as they say happens when you’re having fun!

If you’re looking for a little adventure or something new to do with the family, a visit to Skull Canyon is highly recommended!

Kat + Alex’s Tips:

  • Close toed shoes are REQUIRED
  • Water is provided, but bringing your own is also recommended.
  • Sunglasses and comfortable, breathable clothing are recommened as it can get very warm here in the summer.

Check out our youtube channel for more insight into our adventures!

The Art of Archery

Ever since seeing the Disney movie, Brave, I have wanted to try archery. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is centered around a princess who is impetuous and wild. She has a passion for archery and horse back riding and refuses to be placed into the traditional mold placed on princesses. Being a rebellious spirit myself, I related to Pricess Merida’s nonconformist nature. In the movie she is a skilled archer and unapologetic about it in every sense.

Archery is an art form in the truest sense. There is something very powerful and magnetic about it. From the craftsmanship of the bow and arrow to the strong angles your body forms when preparing to shoot it and the way the arrow flies forcefully through the air to its target. The whole process is one that generates the awe of all onlookers.

My introductory archery experience was at Orange County Archery. They provide bow and arrow rentals and give you a brief lesson on archery upon arrival, which is ideal for beginners like myself. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

At Orange County Archery, “open shoot” is available to the public daily and you are allowed 90 minutes of shooting time. Reservations are not mandatory, but they are recommended to ensure that there will be spots available once you arrive. You can elect to use their range with your own equipment, or rent their equipment for your visit. I chose the range time that included a rental which was $25. This option includes a recurve bow, arm guard and four arrows for shooting, along with 90 minutes of range time. The range time without rental equipment, is $15.

Archery is such a unique skill. It requires focus and practice, but also trust and composure. I found that when I focused too hard on hitting the target, my arrows would fly furthest away from it. It was when I regained my composure and released the tension from my body that I was able to get closest to the target and even the bullseye.

Like many sports, archery can teach you life lessons. In my case, the lesson I learned is that you should focus on the process instead of the target. When seeking to achieve something in life, we can often be consumed with the final result so much so that we do not pay close enough attention to the steps we need to take to get there. Each step of the way you learn about yourself and grow in your abilities. So focus on mastering the process and the rest will take care of itself.

Kat + Alex’s Tips::

  • Long sleeve shirts are recommended to prevent possible chaffing when releasing the arrow
  • Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended. (Small facility)
  • Reservations required for groups of 6 or more
  • Facility closed on MONDAYS

Click the link below to visit the archery facility we went to!

“A good archer is known not by his arrows but by his aim.” ~Thomas Fuller~

Aim high and far! ~ Kat + Alex

A Bird’s Eye View of Orange County

Orange County, California is nestled between the fame ridden Los Angeles County and the Mexico adjacent San Diego County. This coastal county has many sights and adventures to offer from a visit to the world renowned Disneyland resort to legendary surf locations such as “The Wedge” in Newport beach. Adventures abound in this marvelous region of Southern California. One such adventure worth trying is off-roading through the picturesque mountains of Orange County.

The Main Divide Truck Trail to Santiago Peak is a fun off-roading trail that takes you to the top of the tallest peak in Orange County at an elevation of 5,689 feet. The trail is 28.3 miles of a paved path winding up the mountainside. While most of the trail is an even and flat paved incline, some areas do have deep impressions and boulders thus it is advisable to visit this trail with a 4WD vehicle or a high clearance SUV. It takes approximately one hour to reach the peak of the mountain if driving at a leisurely pace as is recommended. With off-roading, the fun is not in reaching the destination but in the journey it took to do so and the paths traversed. The stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the bustling city below are simply an added bonus to the adventure of getting there.

Many people bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal amidst the bird’s flying nearby, while others choose to enjoy a few drinks at the top of the mountain (responsibly, of course). The scenic backdrop also makes for magazine quality photo shoots so you can get cool shots of your off roading beast of a vehicle!

Kat & Alex’s Tips:

  • If going in the evening or wintertime, be sure to have a warm attire it is quite chilly at the peak and snows at certain times of year.
  • Unless you would like to relieve yourself in nature, we recommend limiting liquids for the majority of your off roading experience and using local restrooms before embarking on your journey as there are no restroom facilities on this trail.
  • While Santiago Peak is home to several cellphone towers, be prepared to be disconnected from the technological world on this adventure.

Go Wild! ~ Kat + Alex

Feeling Nostalgic Riding Swans in Echo Park

Echo Park is a neighborhood located in central Los Angeles. In the heart of this town is Echo Park Lake, a picturesque lake surrounded by Palm Trees and a clear view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. An interesting fact about Echo Park is that it was previously known as Edendale and it was the center for film making on the West Coast in the early 1900’s, prior to Hollywood coming into existence.

Echo Park Lake began as a reservoir for drinking water in the late 1800’s and it has become a historical gem on the east side of Los Angeles. The tranquil lake is surrounded by the busy streets and freeways of Los Angeles yet somehow it remains unbothered by the rush of the city. A walking path encircles the lake where you can find locals out for an afternoon stroll or selling their custom-made merchandise. Unfortunately, as in many other areas of Los Angeles, poverty abounds, as is evidenced by the row of makeshift homes lined along the grass in Echo Park. Honestly, this was a bit alarming to us at first but the people who live there did not threaten us in any way.

We rented the swan pedal boats online from “Wheel Fun Rentals” website. The rentals must be done in advance online, they cannot be rented on-site. The rental fee is per person and is $11.00 per person for one hour. The boats fit up to 5 passengers each. Free parking can be found around the lake as well as in the neighborhoods nearby. We chose to park around the lake because we wanted to ensure that our vehicle was in viewing distance as we were unsure of the safety of the area.

The pedal boat itself is pretty self explanatory, you and a front seat passenger pedal the boat to move it forwards or backwards and turn the nob in the middle to steer around the lake. It is not the most exhilarating adventure as you may have guessed, but it is definitely relaxing and a great setting to have conversations. The rental facility allows you to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages on the pedal boats as well, if you would like a fresh new twist on your normal afternoon picnic.

Echo Park is one of those locations in Los Angeles that you must visit at least once. Whether you take a stroll around the lake or decide to rent a pedal boat, you will be able to enjoy the nostalgic location.

“Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface and great depths of kindness.” ~Lao Tzu

Take some time to slow down and have a conversation, whether with yourself or a loved one, you won’t realize how parched you have been for communicating your thoughts until you have released them.

~Kat + Alex

Hollywood Glamour Meets Ranch Life

Hollywood is probably the most famous part of Los Angeles and it is home to big dreams and glamorous lifestyles. An iconic feature of Hollywood is the Hollywood sign which is situated on a mountainside in the star-studded Hollywood Hills neighborhood. The Hollywood sign was raised in 1923 by real estate developer Harry Chandler and is reported to have cost $21,000 to construct and assemble. It originally read “Hollywoodland” which was meant to draw attention to a neighborhood in the area. However, in 1949, when the sign was restored, the “land” portion of the sign was removed and what remains today is the more noteworthy Hollywood sign.

There is much to do and see in this touristic mecca, take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, enjoy an open-air bus tour that visits local landmarks and celebrity’s homes, or if you are feeling a bit melodic, you can view a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The options in this touristic hub are seemingly endless. A lesser known option is a horseback ride adjacent to the Hollywood sign.

In the midst of the glitz and glamour of the city lies Sunset Ranch, a small piece of country in the big city. As you arrive at the property you are met with neighs, snorts, and nickers as the horses eat and play in their large corrals. It is evident that these horses are well cared for and happy living on the ranch.

Sunset Ranch offers three different riding tours: an evening tour, 1 hour tour, and an 2 hour riding tour. The evening tour is a two hour riding tour that provides you an expansive view of Los Angeles during its golden hour. Per their website, the evening tour costs $95 per person and is available Sunday-Friday at either 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., or 5:00 p.m. The 1 hour tour is available everyday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and is a bargain at only $50. The 2 hour riding tour is the one that we chose. This tour is available everyday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is $75 per person. We were glad that we chose the longer tour because as they say, time flies when you’re having fun and this tour was no exception.

The riding tour was both relaxing and exciting. It takes you through the hills of Griffith Park a provides breathtaking views wherever you look. The guides are very friendly and conscientious of how you are feeling throughout the entire ride, they even provided us with water bottles to ensure we kept hydrated on the hot summer day. As all horse have different personalities and thus levels of difficulty controlling, the guides pair you with a particular horse based on your riding experience. Being a novice rider, I was paired with an older horse who was very docile. The advanced rider in our group was given a mustang to ride and the difference in the horses level of assertiveness was evident.

Our visit to Sunset Ranch was beyond what we expected. It was an experience we raved about for weeks, telling anyone who would listen that they had to make time to visit the ranch and enjoy it themselves. The quirky personalities of the horses, picturesque landscapes, and friendly ranch personnel made for an exceptional experience. If you find yourself in the Los Angeles area, schedule a ride with Sunset Ranch we guarantee it will not dissappoint!

Kat + Alex’s Inside Scoop:

  • Horses are trained to walk near edge of mountain; if you are fearful of heights another flatter ride may be a better option.
  • If you spot extra hay on the ground, you are allowed to hand feed it to the horses and they will love you for it! Just make sure to feed them with an open palm or risk getting a chomp on your finger like I did..
  • This may be obvious, but wear clothes you are willing to get dirty because you will definitely get dusty and dirty (but it’s totally worth it!)

“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in a saddle.”

~Winston Churchhill~

Saddle up and get out there!

Kat + Alex ~ ✨