Irvine is consistently ranked as one of the best cities to live in, well known for safety, education and it’s strong job market.
Another great perk of living in Irvine is how close so many shopping centers are! One that always comes to mind is the Irvine Spectrum Center. I love knowing that I can get all my shopping done in one place. In a single trip, I can buy a gift for my friends’ birthday, get new clothes for my always growing boys, and pick up a little something for myself!
Anthropologie is one of our favorite stores, we love their cool and relaxed California vibe. The perfect spot for a curated mix of distinctive clothing, accessories, gifts, and home décor. We also love their Anthro living home which has fun and unique home decor and furniture. Everything you find at Anthropologie is unique, uncommon, and feels original.
Since the New Year has begun, I have really started focusing on my health and fitness (especially since summer is around the corner)! Like lots of other women, I’m absolutely obsessed with Lululemon’s athletic wear. All of their clothes last forever and wearing them makes me more motivated to work out! Their store at Irvine Spectrum has a great selection of leggings and running shorts to choose from. I’m always so tempted to buy everything in there!
Irvine Spectrum also has my go-to store for flowy sundresses and cute bikinis! Free People is the perfect boutique to stop by before a vacation to Cabo or for some colorful summer clothes. I love that I can easily wear one of their maxi dresses with sandals to walk around in at the beach, and then throw on some heels to dress it up for a nice dinner.
Since the Irvine Spectrum center is in the process of being renovated, lots of new stores have popped up! My favorite one that opens up over the summer is Vuori. Vuori draws inspiration from an active coastal California lifestyle. Integration of fitness, creative expression, and life. Their products are designed with a west-coast aesthetic that transitions effortlessly to life outside the gym.
A fun place to stop in the Spectrum is Lip Lab which has customizable lipsticks. Pop in and pull up a stop and capture your individuality with a hue that’s uniquely you. Create a lipstick you absolutely love and love wearing. One thing is for certain– you’ll leave with super happy lips and colorful memories.
We love making a stop for our furry friends at Woofpak, they have great treats and a large selection of fresh food.
In my spare time, I try to focus on finding new trends, decor pieces, and furniture for my clients when they want to move or remodel their homes.
A spot that I visit often for inspiration is Ambiance Home in Irvine. They have a chic collection of plush accent pillows, soft throw blankets and lots more. I like that the whole store is filled with elegant and timeless pieces. To add a pop of color to a simple room, I usually look for an accent chair or pillows that stand out in the store! When I went last week, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the perfect emerald green velvet chairs they had on the second level for my home.
Are you looking for more stores? Check out these shopping options in Orange County:
The Best Shops in Newport Beach
The Best Corona Del Mar Shopping
The Best Shopping in Laguna Beach
Are you thinking about moving to Irvine? If so, I would love to take you to lunch and share more about this wonderful city with you!
Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727
Irvine is home to some of the best restaurants in Orange County. If you are looking for a variety of cuisines, take a look at the list of the top 5 restaurants in Irvine I have created!
One of the best and most well known Mexican restaurants is Javier’s in Irvine Spectrum. To start off a great dinner, I usually order the Pina margarita If I’m craving a sweet cocktail. It has fresh pineapple juice and top of the line tequila which is a must!
The entrée I usually split with my husband is their La Tablita. I love ordering this plate since it features several items on their menu like their beans, corn, guacamole, and salsa with your choice of mouth-watering skirt steak or grilled chicken. My favorite part about this dish is that it is prepared with tortillas so you can make your own tacos! Even though I try to eat as much of La Tablita as I can, it is pretty large.
Somehow I always manage to save room for dessert though. My all-time favorite dessert is the Pastel Tres Leches! I first tried this cake when I celebrated my birthday here with my friends. I immediately fell in love with the almonds and caramel sauce drizzled on the top in my first bite!
Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen
For Taco Tuesday I love going to Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen with my friends! This year for Restaurant Week, Cha Cha’s created an awesome menu that I was so excited to try! Their twist on a traditional Caesar salad was absolutely delicious. I loved the crunchy tortilla strips and cilantro dressing on the top.
For my main dish, I ordered the crab and shrimp enchiladas, which were so buttery and melted in my mouth.
I also tried a few bites of my friend’s glazed salmon featured on their Restaurant Week Menu. I really enjoyed the sweet and spicy honey chipotle glaze, since it paired so well with the perfectly cooked salmon and potatoes. Yum!
North Italia is another restaurant I visit often because of their Prosciutto Bruschetta with grilled asparagus, crescent cheese, and truffle. Each time I dine here, I can taste how fresh the in-house pasta is. Another dish that I order frequently is the Roasted Mushroom Tortellini. Since I love sweet potatoes this is my absolute favorite entrée there!
My kids also love coming here too since they are a great family-friendly restaurant. Both of my boys love spaghetti, but what they really always want are the sugared donuts! They are obsessed with dipping them in the thick chocolate sauce, and they always leave here a sticky mess (although they don’t mind)!
Another restaurant I’ve been visiting for years and go to often with clients is Houston’s. Every time I visit I am always impressed by their impeccable service and how professional yet friendly the servers are. The appetizer that I think is quite unique to Houston’s, is the grilled artichokes that are usually available during summer. They are grown in Castroville California and are from rootstock passed down by Italian immigrants.
Since I’m such a huge fan of seafood, the pan-seared Salmon is a favorite of mine! The broccoli and mashed potatoes make the dish well balanced and pair well with the lentil vinaigrette on the Salmon. The perfect spot for lunch or dinner any day of the week!
A client recently told me about another restaurant by Irvine Spectrum, Fukada. I cannot say enough good things about their food and neither can my family and that’s why I included it in the top 5 restaurants in Irvine. We usually order a lot of dishes so we can try a variety of their food.
The Salmon Belly along with Shrimp Tempura are my sons’ favorite items on their menu. I feel like I’m so lucky that they’re up for trying new food! A dish that I’m always excited to order is the Udon noodles. It comes in a huge bowl with vegetables on the top, so I normally take what I can’t finish home with me since it tastes almost better the next day!
Hopefully, you get to try a few of the top 5 restaurants in Irvine soon! I’d love to know which one is your favorite!
Here are more of my favorite restaurants in Orange County:
The Best Restaurants in Laguna Niguel
Corona Del Mar’s Best Restaurants
Laguna Beach’s Best Restaurants
Top Restaurants in Newport Beach
If you are thinking of moving to Irvine, I would love to take you to one of my favorite restaurants to talk about how I can help you!
Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727
Living in Orange County includes having access to some of the most beautiful views and best hiking spots in California. Irvine, in particular, is definitely known for its parks and open space.
Since I just got a new puppy I’ve been looking for some trails that allow dogs and have found some awesome places! I can’t wait to take him to Quail Hill Trailhead since it’s been a long time favorite of my family.
One of the reasons I love this trail so much is because of the expansive view of Fashion Island, Tustin Hangars, The Great Park, and Irvine Spectrum. I love how the grass covering the hills during spring is so luscious and vibrant. Whenever I go with my family we love to play “I spy” and look for different caterpillars and butterflies. Of course, my sons spot the most animals and bugs! They’re so curious!
Turtle Rock is another favorite hike of mine since it is a relatively shorter hike that leads to one of the best views in Orange County. There are several different paths to take at this spot, that range from stairs to actual dirt trails. I would definitely consider this one of the shorter hikes in Irvine, and also very kid friendly. My family and I are usually able to make it to the top without having to carry my sons on the way up! I definitely recommend this hike if having stunning scenery and views are your priorities!
A question I get asked every weekend is, “Can we go to the big park” from my kids. Immediately, I know they are talking about the William R. Mason Regional Park! Many people in the Irvine community come together at this park since lots of events are held here. One that stood out last year was the kids live concert that took place last summer.
Both of my sons love spending Sundays having picnics and watching the model sail boating in the lake. They also can’t get enough of running around on the massive playground with all the other children there. My husband can’t wait until they get older, so all of them can go riding on the bike trails there too. I have to say my favorite part about going to the park, is that they are so tired after and fall asleep on the way home!
The Great Park has to be the most well known, as well as most appreciated parks in Orange County. Since it is close to 1,300 acres of land, there are so many awesome features. Something unique about this park is that it has a hot air balloon that gives a birds-eye view of the gorgeous landscape from 400 feet above the ground.
A new ice facility for figure skating, tournaments, and recreation was also opened over winter! The Sports Complex is also another popular feature of the park. This complex includes several amenities for lots of sports such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and tennis. There is literally something here for everyone.
Something that I really enjoy about the park is the Farm & Food Lab. For gardening enthusiasts, this is the perfect place to learn more about organic horticulture. Every Sunday from 10 a.m.-2p.m. The Farmers Market at the Great Park is held, where produce grown locally and from the Great Park Farm is sold. I love cooking with fresh and organic food for my family so buying produce at The Great Park is always on my to-do list for the week!
Here are a few parks in Orange County that you might like to visit:
Laguna Niguel Hikes and Parks
Top Corona Del Mar Beaches and Hikes
Best Beaches and Hikes in Laguna Beach
If you love being outdoors and in the sunshine, then Irvine would be a great city to consider moving to! I’d love to take you to my favorite coffee shop Blk Dot Coffee so we can talk about how I can help you if you are thinking of buying or selling your home.
Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727
Since Irvine is such a large city in Orange County there are always fun concerts and events being held year round!
When the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre was closed the city was able to bring live music back to the city by building the new FivePoint Amphitheatre. This venue is loved because of its outside seating that’s close to the stage.
The festival feel of the amphitheater has a large grass courtyard, along with food trucks, cocktail and beer carts, and merchandise stands. Several well-known artists like Brad Paisley, Iration, and the Rascal Flatts are playing there over summer and I’m so excited!
Improv at Irvine Spectrum
I love living near the Irvine Spectrum not only to go shopping but also because so many of my favorite comedians perform at the Improv as well. I usually keep track of the comedians coming to town so I can buy tickets in advance. Nothing is better than a date night there with my hubby, letting loose and having a good laugh after a long week!
Normally, my husband and I have a drink and delicious dinner at Javier’s and walk to the show after. One of our favorite comedians is Amir K who visits frequently! He’s one of my husband’s friend from high school and we love seeing him and always laugh hysterically!
The Great Park Farmer’s Market
Since I try to feed my family healthy and local produce, the Farmer’s Market at The Great Park is always on my to do list for the weekend. On Sunday mornings I love to stop by the market to look through and buy some fruit and veggies that are either grown at the Great Park Farm or locally. I love that the market is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. so I don’t have to wake up too early and rush the kids out of the house to get some fresh food!
The Great Park Family Game Day
The Great Park also hosts many classes, camps, ice skating, and activities throughout the year! They have a variety of classes that are available to all ages including mommy and me classes too! I can’t wait to sign my kids up for a few and even attend a some on my own!
My kids love going to the Family Game Day at The Great Park on Saturdays since there are lawn games, board games, and family activities! They are especially into the giant chess board that is set up. We love bringing blankets and lunch so that we can enjoy a picnic for the day!
Tanaka Farms Harvest Festival
In Irvine, Tanaka Farms is well known for its delicious produce and also events that are found there almost every month. During summer, my kids always beg me to take them to go on the strawberry and watermelon tours where they can pick and eat their own fruits.
There are festivals each month that feature the seasonal harvest. The Spring Harvest Festival happening March-April is so much fun, we are looking forward to going this year and there will be an Easter egg hunt! The Tanaka Grill on the farm will be serving cauliflower tacos and the farms famous strawberry lemonade!
During fall, my kids are absolutely obsessed with the Pumpkin Patch because of the activities, wagon rides, and corn maze. However, the favorite thing has to be the ATV rides and face painting!
Here are some more activities you can do in Orange County with your family:
Best Events in Laguna Beach
Are you thinking about moving to Irvine? If so, I would love to take you to lunch at Two Left Forks and share more about this wonderful city with you!
Natalie Boyle 949.929.5727