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Aug 31

Where to Hike in Santa Ana Depending on Your Workout Goals

Looking for an intense summit to climb? Or rather, in need of a relaxing stroll? Maybe you’re meeting friends for a classic walk n’ talk session. Whatever your goals or activity levels — no worries. Santa Ana features hiking trails ready to walk the walk.

El Modena Hiking Trail is the ideal spot for an athletic goal chaser. With a moderate length, gorgeous view and multiple inclines, the hike offers an opportunity for a more intense workout. The inclines are, of course, followed by a panoramic outlook; El Modena will spike your heart rate and give you the needed spring in your step to tackle the rest of the day.

The Quail Hill Loop is a quick and quaint option for those hikers looking for something easy and manageable. Tall golden fields surround open dirt paths with only one incline shift on the 1.8 mile course. Quail Hill is the perfect place to walk the dog, catch up with a friend or treat yourself to downtime relaxation. Maybe even post a #sweatyselfie when completed– friends will be asking where you found such an accessible hike so close to the suburb!

The expansive nature of Fairview Park presents a variety of options for many different activity levels. From exposed bluff lookouts, to areas for bike jumping, to outdoor concerts in the park, Fairview boasts a community feel through and through. We recommend biking over with some friends, hiking through the grounds, and maybe stopping for a picnic next to a scenic outlook.

Find yourself exploring 12 paved miles along the Santa Ana River on the Santa Ana River Trail. This famed stretch is ideal for those individuals looking to bike or run long distances– think marathon or triathlon training. The trail links inland neighborhoods to the beach, and the diverse change of scenery is a great compliment to the lengthy distance. Keep yourself busy and check out all the cool spots along the path. If you choose to walk the trail, consider making a day out of it. Breakfast in the suburbs and lunch by the beach, all without having to step foot in the car!

Aug 23

Spice Up Your Life: Herb Gardening 101

You already know that fresh herbs are the key to elevating your home cooking from basic to gourmet, but did you know that herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow? They can be grown in pots on a patio, in your garden, or even in a box inside your kitchen. Read on for a few tried-and-true tips for starting your own herb garden.

Location, Location, Location

It’s important to pick the right location for your herb garden. Most herbs prefer full sun as long as temperatures don’t rise above 90 degrees. In this case, consider planting in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, or a place that receives partial light. Tip: check the area several times during the day to make sure that there are at least four hours of sunshine!

Soil Prep Is Key

Once you’ve identified the ideal location, you can start preparing the soil. If your soil is hard, sandy, or clay-heavy, add some compost to soften the soil and make it more welcoming for your new herbs – about 1 foot deep should do the trick. Even if your soil is in good shape, adding some nutrient-rich compost will help nurture your herbs as they grow.

Selecting Your Herbs

With so many different types of herbs, it’s hard to know what to plant. Learn more about some of the most popular types below. Pro tip: Add labels to each of your herbs to make them easy to find when cooking.

Basil: There are different varieties of this herb, but all of them are great. One of the most popular is sweet basil. It’s extremely versatile, but is most often used in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Basil is favored for bringing out a warm, spicy flavor and makes a great addition to soups, salads, sauces, omelets and meat dishes.

Garlic: Like onions, garlic can liven up almost any meal while adding tons of flavor and nutritional benefits. Whether used raw or sautéed, garlic is a must-have ingredient for any savory dish. Just don’t forget the breath mints!

Oregano: The oregano plant has antibacterial properties which help eliminate unwanted bacteria in food as well as in your body. This herb also adds wonderful organic flavor to tomato-based soups, sauces, stir-fries and salads.

Chives: Much like other alliums, such as onions and garlic, chives are relatively easy to grow either outdoors or indoors and are great at warding off insects. The leaves of the chive plant have a mild oniony flavor and lend a little kick to salads, eggs, mashed potatoes and sandwich spreads.


Nurturing Your Plants: The Basics

  • When planting your herbs, do not use composted manure. Typical composted manure is high in nitrogen, which makes the herbs proliferate but reduces their flavor.
  • If you’re new to herb gardening, don’t start off planting on a large patch of land. You’ll be astonished at the constant flow of fresh herbs you can get from a relatively small space.
  • Water often, but not too much; about an inch a week should do it.
  • When planting, provide your herbs with adequate space and enough drainage.

Enjoy the Harvest

You can start enjoying your herbs as soon as they reach maturity. Allow your herbs to grow back faster by harvesting no more than a third of the plant at one time. Tip: herbs taste best if harvested before they bloom and are most flavorful when harvested in the morning.

An herb garden is an excellent way to introduce nature to your home, and it doesn’t require much space or any special expertise. Give it a try this season and enjoy the spice it adds to your meals and your life.

Aug 18

Your Summer Bucket List: 5 Activities to Make the Most of the Season

All good things must come to an end, and summer is no exception. The good news is that there are still plenty of things you can do right in your own neighborhood to get out there and enjoy it. Here are five local activities that you can still squeeze in before summer ends.

1. Check Out Your Local Farmers’ Market

There’s no better summer evening staple than the farmers’ market. With fresh, healthy choices and an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can eat well and have an adventure at the same time. The Dublin Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday at Emerald Glen Park, right near The Wave. Don’t miss the delicious nuts, pasta, honey, and baked goods from farms and businesses in our backyard. Tip: Grab dinner from one of the food stands and turn the outing into a picnic in the park!

2. Get to the Water

Have lunch on a sailboat, ride a kayak or find your balance on a paddleboard. Santa Ana River Lakes is the perfect location to enjoy nature and soak in the last bit of summer.

3. See a Movie Outdoors

Chino Hills has a summer movie series your whole family will enjoy. See Sing on August 18, or choose another great film on their summer lineup. No matter where you live, check out your local community events page. You may be surprised to find a wealth of family-friendly choices you never expected.

4. Read a Book in the Park

The world has no shortage of great books and Dublin, California has plenty of beautiful parks – a match made in heaven! Why not relax on the grass at Emerald Glen Park with a good read? Or if you’re in the Chino Hills area, check out what Chino Hills State Park has to offer – you won’t be disappointed. Likewise, Centennial Regional Park or Morrison Park near Santa Ana are both perfect places to enjoy the weather and get lost in your favorite book.

5. Play Tourist in Your Own Community

No matter where you live, there are plenty of landmarks and tourist-friendly locations nearby. Looking for something interesting to do with the kids? Friends in town for the weekend? Take a careful look around and you will be surprised what you find in your own backyard. Being a tourist in other locations is common, but being a tourist in your own local community can provide you with hours of fun and excitement that you may have previously overlooked.

 No matter what you decide to do with the last few weeks of summer, there’s still time to take advantage of the season. Whether you read a book on the grass or have fun at your local farmer’s market, summer is a beautiful time to appreciate life. What are you waiting for?

Aug 10

Inspiring DIY Ideas for Back-to-School Season

The beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time, but sometimes even the quintessential back-to-school supply shopping can get old. You sift through aisle after aisle of the same notebooks and pencils you’ve seen a million times before, feeling uninspired and reluctant to creatively tackle another year. However, getting crafty with some simple DIYs will revamp your supplies and school year alike.

Meet Your New BFF: Washi Tape

When Staples and Office Max’s unoriginal designs let you down, meet your new best friend. Washi tape is a cheap and easy way to customize anything from phone chargers and phone cases to pencils and notebooks. Enjoy the process of picking out your favorite washi tape designs and incorporating them into your school supplies for a personal touch!

Now Meet Your Other BFF: Duct Tape

If washi tape isn’t for you, classic household duct tape can also be used as an ideal DIY tool. Some students and parents prefer duct tape because of its accessibility – often other specialty design tapes can only be purchased at craft stores, while duct tape can typically be found at the local drugstore. There are so many options when it comes to duct tape; check out this fabulous  matching clipboard and pen set. It is also a great school supply to have on hand for the new year – whether something breaks, you need to hang posters, or anything in between!

Get Jazzy with Pipecleaners

Say the word “pipecleaners” and many students immediately think of kindergarten arts and crafts – but these fun accessories extend far beyond the world of Elmer’s glue and googlie eyes. In fact, they open up a world of creative school supply ideas from chic notebooks like this fuzzy design for middle schoolers and teens to kid’s fun and sparkly pencil ornaments.

Look Forward to the Lunch Bell

Get excited to show off a revamped lunch box this school year. Consider painting the inside with chalkboard paint to reveal personal messages, to do lists, or drawings. Maybe even print out miniature photos of friends and family and secure them with the already-purchased washi or duct tape from the crafts above. Getting original with a DIY lunchbox will help you get excited to pack lunches as well, keeping you on track and healthy for the new year ahead.

Aug 02

Curating Your Ideal Workspace

As modern technology and the age of social media continues to develop, more and more individuals find themselves working from home. Abandoning an office space may seem like a theoretical dream come true, but not being able to clearly and cleanly separate work from home can make mental and physical organization tricky. You don’t need to undertake a costly remodeling project to thoughtfully redesign your workspace. Just a few simple adjustments will make all the difference in curating a productive ambiance.

Natural Light

We as humans are designed for natural light, and being exposed to that sort of lighting during working hours will produce the best results in terms of both happiness and productivity. When designing your space, position your desk to face the window and soak up the sunlight.

Thoughtful Uses of Color

Evidence suggests that certain colors have the potential to increase our moods and productivity. While most modern decor trends lean towards a minimalistic palette of grey and white, consider incorporating pops of color that reflect your workspace goals. Blue hues help to calm and soothe, while green yields balance after long hours and yellow boosts creativity. Don’t go crazy and try to weave in every color of the rainbow though – that could overstimulate your space and have a negative effect.

Life through Plants

If green is your mood-stimulating color of choice, then plants are an excellent decoration for you. Bringing plants into a workspace is a great way to increase tranquility, improve air quality and literally liven up the home office.

Sub Spaces

While not all at-home professionals will have the luxury of their own singular room, being able to diversify seating and working options within your home office is a great way to stimulate productivity. If you find yourself stuck while brainstorming, moving from desk to lounge chair to futon may end up being more productive than taking frequent breaks. Having multiple seating options will also help you feel more comfortable in your office, making work feel more relaxing and less intimidating.

Cable Chaos

Ultimately, an at-home worker is only as productive as their space, and electronic cords and clutter are some of the biggest burdens to a dynamic and clean work environment. Many design experts recommend “cord baskets” where all electronic cords can be coiled and placed in a single, solidified unit. Moreover, don’t be afraid to take this step to the metaphoric level and clean up your computer’s desktop, organizing files into titled folders for a clean electronic workspace.