What It’s REALLY Like to Live in the OC

November 4, 2019


What it's really like to live in the OC - M Loves M @marmar

It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years since we moved to Orange County. When we decided to make the move down from Los Angeles, I’ll admit I was a little nervous. I had all these ideas of what I thought it would be like, and fears that it wouldn’t be the best fit for us. Now that we’ve been in Orange County for a couple of years though, I feel like I have a much better idea. I got an email from a reader considering moving down here so I thought I’d share a post about what it’s really like to live in the OC. Whether you’re thinking about moving, visiting, or just want an idea on the lifestyle, I hope this post is helpful!

What it's really like to live in the OC - M Loves M @marmar The cutest bow boots from Gal Meets Glam! - M Loves M @marmarA denim skirt by Rachel Parcell! - M Loves M @marmar A ruffled polka dot blouse for fall! - M Loves M @marmarA denim skirt by Rachel Parcell! - M Loves M @marmarThe cutest bow boots from Gal Meets Glam! - M Loves M @marmar A feminine fall outfit! - M Loves M @marmarWhat It’s REALLY Like to Live in the OC


sweater . top . skirt . boots { LOVE this pair from one of my favorite shoe brands Margaux. They collaborated with Julia of Gal Meets Glam on the cutest collection!} . bag

Raise your hand if you’ve watched The OC, Laguna Beach, or Arrested Development! All three shows are set in Orange County, although of course, it’s television so certain thigns are dramatized a bit {especially “reality tv.”}. When we moved down here I was thinking that Orange County would be full of pretentious people, unattainable shopping, and more surfers than I’d ever seen. While yes, OC has all three depending where you go, it’s also been a very pleasant surprise. Matthew and I have absolutely loved living in Orange County, for multiple reasons, and our only wish was that we moved down sooner. Here are a handful of the things we love most about living in Orange County:

  • VERY family friendly! I love how many families we see out and about. There are lots of amazing parks and areas to explore with or without little ones. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Orange County with kids, though. I love how safe it feels in OC too, especially now that we have kids. They also have an award-winning school system
  • Much more naturey than I expected- There is so much green, open space. I love how gorgeous it is in Orange County. Whenever we drive down from LA it’s like a breath of fresh air {literally too!}. I love how we have beaches and mountains within 10 minutes of us! Matthew has gotten into mountain biking and we love to go hiking as a family. Also, the beaches in OC are stunning! Like you can’t beat them – clear water, soft, clean sand, and the most beautiful tangerine sunsets. One of the first shoots I had in Orange County was at this same location actually. We took photos for Augustine’s First Birthday and I left that shoot just being in love with this location. I think Orange County’s laid back attitude and nature-vibes have also influenced my style a bit. I used to tease Matthew because for the first several months whenever we were in the car driving around he would say, ” Gosh I’m so inspired living here!” It’s true though – I feel like the beauty has fueled so many interests and ideas between the two of us.
  • Lots of parking- I used to hate waiting 10 minutes for a parking spot at the grocery store, and yet that’s what life used to be like. I’d actually try to go to the store at nighttime when I knew it wouldn’t be as crowded. In Orange County, parking is so so easy! And most of the time, it’s free!! I love that I can park easily and not have to dig around for meter change.
  • Down to Earth People – This I was not expecting, but everyone we’ve met in Orange County has been so nice and genuine. Yes, some people are pretentious, but I truly believe you’d find that anywhere. For the most part, everyone is so kind and warm, people wave hello to each other, and we have thoughtful neighbors. Do any of you remember last year for Thanksgiving I was pregnant and exhausted and my neighbor brought over THREE pies for me to take to our Thanksgiving dinner? I was blown away by her kindness and generosity!
  • Shopping big and small – I love that there are some amazing malls like Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza, but I also love the cute little boutiques in Dana Point and Laguna Beach. There’s lots of great shopping and some amazing local artisans. I found the most delicious smelling coffee candle at our local farmers market and I’m obsessed with our local jam girl who makes the most interesting fruit combinations. The last one I got was Rasperry Star Anise with Vanilla!
  • Cost of Living – I think this is a big factor which is the affordability, at least compared to what we were paying in Los Angeles. In general, Orange County has been a lot more affordable for us and your dollar goes a little further than in other areas.
  • Proximity to Other Really Cute Towns – One of the things I absolutely love about where we live is how close we are to a handful of very cute little towns. Within 10 minutes we have Dana Point, Laguna Beach, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. Each one of these towns is so special and cute and has a bunch of great restaurants and local shops. And of course, we’re 15-20 minutes to Irvine, Costa Mesa and Newport, so I really feel like we have a lot around us.

While I don’t know if we’ll be in Orange County forever,  I do know it’s been the best place for us now and at this stage in our lives. Orange County is such a wonderful gem of a place and I hope each of you is able to visit at some point. I have lots of favorite coffee shops, and I need to do a bigger restaurant guide at some point! Have you ever been?? You’ll have to let me know the places you love most!


P.S. These are some of my all-time favorite home posts on the blog since we’ve moved!

What I Wish I Knew Before Buying Our First House

Our Kid’s Bathroom Re-Design

My Bedroom Decor Reveal

Refreshing My Home with Cozy Fall Decor

photos by Priscilla Frey