Posts by jen:

A Brunch and Spa Celebration at The Ranch

Disclosure: Complimentary spa treatments provided to facilitate this review. 

One of the things I adored most about my mom was she loved to CELEBRATE life.

Birthdays, holidays, accomplishments, weddings, showers……events in life (big or small) did not pass her by. She made a point to make her family and friends feel special. Getting through my first birthday this year without my mom here to celebrate with was really rough.  So with my sister’s birthday on the horizon this past month I KNEW we had to do something awesome because it is what my mom would want.

I asked my sister what she would like to do to celebrate? She said she would love to go to brunch with girlfriends on her actual birthday (a Monday) and then a spa treatment after with whomever would be able to join.

As soon as she said that, I knew just the place to go for the best Orange County brunch and spa day, a place unlike any other, The Ranch at Laguna Beach. Invites were sent and a a reservation was made at their farm-to-table style restaurant, Harvest. The guests were going to be in for such a treat!

orangecountybrunch

Most of the women that attended were from Aliso Viejo, only a stone’s throw away from The Ranch, but the majority had not been to the property before. I watched their jaws drop upon arrival. The beauty of The Ranch truly does take your breath away. It is like being in another world.

We had a beautiful table inside overlooking the canyon and plenty of space to giggle a little too loud without disrupting guests :).

collage3

Flowers are a passion of mine so I did little individual centerpieces for each friend to take home.

My favorite is to use the $1.00 mason jars from Michaels and as luck would have it, I also scored some cute white vases on clearance. I tied it with some cooking twine for a little farmhouse ranch flair and voila! instant party favors that double as centerpieces!

table

Let me now talk about the food at Harvest. Because it was truly spectacular from start to finish with many of the Harvest ingredients garden grown right on the property.  Bright, fresh and delectable.To get your mouth watering, here is a glimpse of the breakfast menu….

harvest-breakfast

Our lovely server Sydney started the pretty birthday girl off with a little “appetizer” to share – one of the house specialities – the Applewood Smoked Bacon Cinnamon Roll.

If there is any reason to try Harvest for brunch, this is it.

theranchcinnamonroll

Every single item the women ordered was ooohhhhh’d and ahhhhhhh’d over to no end. From the gorgeous presentation to the unique flavor profiles, Harvest does Orange County brunch right.

orangecountybrunchfoodie Menu items top to bottom, left to right: Eggs Benedict, Shrimp and Grits, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cinnamon Roll, Avocado Toast

To spend a Monday morning laughing with good friends over mimosas and celebrating my sister was a true gift. These are the moments in life you cherish and The Ranch is the kind of place where memories like this are made.

collage11

theranchbrunch Now unfortunately after brunch was over most of the women had to return to “real life.” Luckily my sister and I were able to continue the celebration with the help of our dad who agreed to watch the kids for the afternoon so we could visit the The Ranch’s Sycamore Spa.

When I called to make the appointments I was DELIGHTED to learn Sycamore Spa was running a 50% off spa services special Monday – Thursdays for locals!! 

Ladies, I believe this deal is running through the end of the month, so call and make an appointment if you can. It’s such an amazing deal for such a fabulous experience.

sycamorespa

Nestled down the hill from Harvest adjacent to the property pool, The Ranch’s Sycamore Spa awaits and paradise is calling. I love a quaint spa where you feel more like you are in someone’s home, which is exactly what you will find here with its comfy, coastal-chic decor.

There are both outside and inside relaxation areas where you can wait before or after your treatment.  It was such a gorgeous day we cozied into two plush lounge chairs and chatted to the sounds of the fountain while enjoying the gorgeous green canyon views.

sycamorespapatio

Now let me tell you about my treatment and Jake my massage therapist.

Wow.

Wow.

WOW.

Phenomenal.

Afterwards I asked him what sort of technique he used because it was really next level relaxation. He told me he has been practicing massage for over 10 years and recently has been studying a new technique called craniosacral therapy. He started to explain what it was in more detail, but it was too technical for my post-massage spa-brain. All I know is that I felt like a million bucks. I will be back.

If you go, take it from me – ask for Jake.

Overall, it was one of those “perfect” days you wish you could bottle. And I know we made my mom very happy because we felt her sparkling all over our celebration.

If you are looking for a special place to celebration a life event with an Orange County brunch and spa day, The Ranch is the perfect place. It doesn’t even have to call for a celebration, as going there is a celebration in itself.

spasisters

For more information or to make reservations visit:

www.theranchlb.com

Rising Rates of Depression Amongst Teen Girls

This article is sponsored by CHOC Children’s Hospital

The teenage years are a time in life unlike any other marked by new, fluctuating hormones, social pressures, and school stresses. These new situations can understandably cause kids to feel down or depressed at times. But for others the feelings of sadness or hopelessness can persist in a state of depression. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 20% of teenagers experience depression before reaching adulthood.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found depression rates amongst teens stayed fairly stable from the years 2005 – 2011. However from 2012 to 2014 the rates of depression were on the rise for both boys and girls, with a more pronounced increase for teenage girls.

What is causing this increase? Is the advent of social media playing a role at putting more girls at risk for depression?

I am exploring this question, along with other extremely helpful information provided by Dr. Adrianne Alpern Ph.D. a child psychologist at CHOC Children’s Hospital on warning signs of depression in teens, symptoms and how to get help if you suspect your teenager might be depressed.

depression in teens

My daughter will be eleven soon and over the past year I have seen her evolve from a little girl into a blossoming tween where friends are paramount and Music.ly’s have taken the place of pretend play. She’s growing up.

And it terrifies me.

But why is the idea of having a teenager so scary? Growing up is part of life. We all have to go through it. Logically I know this. However, as I see the years of hovering under her at the big ladder at the park and holding her hand across every street slowly come to an end I also see my ability to protect her start to fade.

At the root of the fear is the loss of control.

Up until now it’s been my job as her mom to protect her and keep her out of harms way. When our babies are close to the nest we can watch them and keep them safe. But as she spreads her wings and starts to fly into the world without me I won’t be able to protect her in the same way.

Girls will hurt her feelings, disappointments will sting on a bigger scale, and pressures at school will build. All of which will be things completely out of my control.

My role as her mother is starting to change. 

Instead of trying to protect her from these hurts, my job will be to listen, support and encourage her to dust off her wings and try again.

More damage control versus prevention.

And it is my prayer that  she will be able to work through whatever hard times the teenage years hold for her.

But what happens when your teen has difficulty getting through a hard time? What happens when hurt feelings or disappointments turn into sad moods that last for weeks?

How do you know when a teen mood swing isn’t a swing at all, but could actually be an episode of depression?

depressioninteens

This week I had the opportunity to interview pediatric psychologist Dr. Adrianne Alpern Ph.D. about depression in teens which I am happy to share with you today as I feel it is extremely important information to have as parents.

Normal Teenage Moodiness vs. Depression

My first question was, “How do you know the difference between ‘normal’ teen moodiness and clinical depression?” Dr. Alpern highlighted the fact everyone feels sad or down sometimes and being sad is a normal part of the human experience. But an episode of depression differentiates in important ways and this is a simple way to remember possible warning signs of depression.

Depression is when feeling sad or disinterested in activities you used to enjoy lasts for:

- > Most of the day

- > More days than not

- > For two weeks or more

Say it with me moms…depression is when feeling sad or disinterested in enjoyable activities lasts for most of the day, more days than not, for two weeks or more. I will remember that, won’t you?

Some Other Symptoms of Depression in Your Teenager Could Include:

- > More or less sleep

- > Changes in appetite

- > Fatigue

- > Changes in concentration

- > Thoughts of being a “bad daughter” or “bad friend”

- > Changes in movement….moving either quicker or slower than normal

- > Thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore, wanting to disappear or die

Study Finds Depression Rates Increasing in Teenage Girls

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found depression rates amongst teens increased from 2012 – 2014 from 8.7% to 11%, and the rise in rates of depression was more pronounced in teenage girls.

Professionals theorize the use of social media could play a role in the increase in depression. Teenage girls are more likely to engage in social media and use it as a source of their self-esteem looking to others for validation or acceptance. Social media can unfortunately also be another avenue for bullying or social shaming.

Others suggest the economic downturn could have played a role in the way teens viewed the future. Or, maybe our evolving openness in the media with celebrities sharing their mental health struggles might encourage teens to be more apt to report their depression than in years past.

But regardless of the cause, the take away for us as parents though is the same – depression amongst teens is very real, and our girls are especially vulnerable. Teen depression is increasing and we need to be aware of it.

teendepression

What To Do If You Think Your Teen is Depressed

Dr. Alpern stressed parents know their teen the best. If you notice changes in your teen’s mood or behavior, there’s no reason to panic, but it is a sign to pay attention and start some conversations.

When talking to your teen, she emphasized how the most important thing we can do as parents is to listen. Sometimes it is easy to downplay teen struggles because many parents think “life is easy” for a teen. What on earth could be so stressful? They have no mortgage, food is on the table, they have a roof over their head, etc.

However, teenagers have legitimate stressors in life, many of which they are encountering for the first time, so it’s important to empathize and validate their feelings versus discounting them.

starttheconversation

If the sad or down moods persist and start to interfere with your child’s relationships with friends or family, school work, or ability to complete daily activities (such as chores), it might be time to seek the help of trained mental health professionals.

Your child’s pediatrician could be the first place you turn to for direction on where to go to help. Many insurance plans also have lists of mental health providers.

Help is available and effective treatments exist for depression. 

How to Explain What Therapy is to Your Teen

Dr. Alpern expressed how there are so many misconceptions about therapy and we both agreed that “myths and facts about therapy” deserves its own entire blog post for this very reason! Many people think therapy is a place where you just talk about problems and vent but that is what friends and family are for. Therapy is so much more.

To break it down simply for your teen, therapy is a place to get help with the thoughts or behaviors that are causing you to be “stuck” and therapists are trained to notice these thoughts or behaviors and are able to brainstorm with you to help get you “unstuck”.

But What If My Teen Doesn’t Want to go to Therapy?

Dr. Alpern brought up the point that a lot of teens are resistant to the idea of going to therapy. However, if as a parent, you can get them in the door, the therapist can take it from there.

She suggested telling your teen how much you love them and how as their parent you want them to give it a try to see if it helps. Urge them to try it for 3 – 4 times and assure them they do not have to talk about anything they don’t want to. Tell them they can decide what they want to talk about. Giving them this sense of control can be comforting when going into an unknown situation.

There are Effective Treatments for Depression!

Dr. Alpern told me effective treatments exist for depression, and there is ALWAYS hope. With the help of a licensed trained counselor or psychologist in addition to adjunct consultation from a psychiatrist when necessary, depression can be treated.

If you are looking into help for your child, the website www.effectivechildtherapy.org can be a great place to start.  She suggests this site to many parents as a mental health resource. Click on “The Public” and you can find lists of symptoms and treatment options.

Teens Are Not Ticking Time Bombs

When I was expressing my fears about having a teenage daughter someday she told me many parents approach their teen like a ticking time bomb with gloves on, trying to diffuse whatever might come their way. I had a good laugh at this visual. So true!

She assured me that MOST teenagers do JUST FINE in the teen years. She assured me that many teens are using social media appropriately without significant harmful effects. After all, 87% of girls and 94% of boys in the study in Pediatrics did not report significant symptoms of depression within the past year. She assured me that many teens will  be able to navigate life without any major issues.

Exhale.

However, help is out there and you do not, I repeat, do NOT have to face these challenges and your child does not have to face challenges alone. Getting help for depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns is nothing to be ashamed of, it is just as important as their physical health. If your child has a broken leg, you would rush them into the doctor for treatment. If your child seems “stuck” in weeks of sadness or withdrawal from activities they used to enjoy, it’s time to take them into the doctor for treatment.

Same, same.

For more information on the CHOC Children’s pediatric mental health initiative visit:

www.choc.org/giving/mental-health/lets-talk-about-it

Galileo Innovation Summer Camps for Kids (Giveaway!)

This post is brought to you by Galileo Innovation summer camps for kids

galileomaingraphic

When the calendar turns to March every year without fail the texts and emails begin to filter in from my mom friends asking each other the same question…“What summer camps are you signing your kids up for this year??” And behold, the summer camp conversations begin.

For all you mamas starting your summer camp planning and research on the best OC summer camps for kids, I am thrilled to share with you a fabulous innovation summer camp which might not be on your radar since it is fairly new to So Cal called Galileo. But it should be! You can thank me later.

Because Galileo is not your typical summer camp. Yes, it’s super fun, and the kids will have a blast. But it is something more, something special. It’s a camp that is profoundly enriching because Galileo seeks to teach children they have the power to change the world. They want to teach them their ideas matter and anyone can take an idea and make it come to life.

Take a moment to watch this quick video to give you a taste of what Galileo summer innovation camps are all about…

GIVEAWAY!

Before I go on any further, I don’t want you to miss the opportunity to enter to win $200 off one week of 2017 summer camp to one family at any of the Galileo locations. All you have to do is click here to visit their website, and then come back comment on this post about what you would be most excited for your child to learn at camp. Giveaway runs through March 19, 2017 at 11:59pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Good luck!

Galileo Innovation Summer Camps for Kids

I had the opportunity to speak with Hope Adams, the Galileo Orange County Area Director last week to gather info for this post.

Her first grade daughter has attended the Galileo camps and she was SO passionate about the program and the magic that occurs when kids attend a Galileo camp, she actually called me back about a half an hour after we hung up because she kept thinking of more amazing things to tell me.

She shared with me the amazing growth she saw in her daughter and how the camp sparked her creativity, stretched her imagination and inspired her to innovate in her imaginative play. The passion in her voice was contagious.  You know when you are talking to a mom who LOVES something and wants EVERY mom to know about it? It was like that.

galileorunningpic

What is Galileo?

Galileo summer camps are innovation summer camps for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade to create and nourish a love for innovation.

The program was launched in the Bay Area back in 2002 and came to Southern California just a little over two years ago where it has been growing like wildfire. With multiple locations in Los Angeles and three Orange County locations in Irvine, Newport Beach, and Rancho Santa Margarita, you can visit the Galileo website to find a 2017 Southern California Galileo summer camp near you.

Camp Galileo

For younger innovators ages pre-K through 5th grade, Camp Galileo offers unique immersion experiences in art, science and the outdoors through different weekly themes. The 2017 summer themes include Galileo Amusement Park, Galileo Makers: Move It, Medieval Adventure and African Safari.

campgalileo

Galileo Summer Quest

For older innovators entering 5th – 8th grade, Galileo Summer Quest  gives them the opportunity to dive deeper into specific topics by choosing different “majors” for the week in areas like Go Karts, 3-D printing, Chefology, Web Design, and Inventor’s Workshop.

galileosummerquest

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 1.57.01 PM

You might be wondering how Galileo does it? How can you teach kids to be innovators and change makers? The Galileo Innovation Approach taught at Galileo consists of three main areas to enhance learning and confidence in all campers.

First, the young Visionaries are taught The Innovator’s Mindset.

Which consists of the following 5 pillars:

I AM VISIONARY: I envision a better world. I imagine things that don’t yet exist. I believe it’s my place to turn ideas into reality.

 I AM COURAGEOUS: I freely share my creative thoughts. I stretch myself to try new things. I embrace challenges.

I AM COLLABORATIVE: I value the unique perspective of others. I build on the ideas of others. I use my strengths to support the work of others.

 I AM DETERMINED: I persevere until I achieve my goal. I recognize setbacks as opportunities to learn. I know that innovation and mastery require effort.

I AM REFLECTIVE: I take time to think about what is and isn’t working in my design. I think about how my work impacts other people and the world. I seek feedback to improve myself and my work.

Next, children are taught The Innovator’s Knowledge.

Before any innovator embarks on a new project, they must have an understanding of key fundamentals.

Working within the theme for the week for the littles, and the major area of study for the bigs, the talented and camp counselors work to present the key concepts, facts, skills and techniques to enhance their knowledge.

And finally, the campers learn The Innovator’s Process.

Once the kids  have an understanding on the knowledge, background and qualities it takes to be a visionary and designer, they are now encouraged to bring their ideas to life through The Innovators Process which looks like this.

GIA_Graphic_110812

One of the key components of the process is in the testing, where kids are encouraged to see mistakes as building blocks, or opportunities to improve and refine.  In fact, they are called MARVELOUS MISTAKES at Galileo and high fives are encouraged when something doesn’t work just right because it means that a better, more improved creation will be on the way.

galileopainters

I feel like all of these concepts are extraordinary life lessons for our children. So, plug this camp into your summer camp planning spreadsheets mamas, but don’t wait too long to register because spots are limited!

Galileo Registration Details

Who: Change Makers ages Pre-K through 8th Grade

What: Galileo innovation summer camps

When: Summer 2017. Dates vary by location.

Where: Over 70 locations throughout Los AngelesOrange County and the Bay Area for any of our friends up north. Click here to find the location nearest you.

Time: All camps officially run 9am – 3p, but extended care is offered from 8a – 9a and from 3p-6p for those who need it.

Why: To give your child the opportunity to experience a summer camp that is crazy fun but also profoundly enriching with life lessons that will carry on long after summer camp ends.

How: Registration open now! Click here to register. Make sure to look for any special referral bonuses at your location if you are able to recruit friends to join. And, if you refer a new family, both you and your friend will receive a referral discount of up to $100 (varies by location, check website for details)!

Camp For All! 

Galileo has a robust financial assistance program, and last year, they awarded over 3600 weeks of specially priced camp. For anyone seeking financial assistance to give their child the opportunity to attend a Galileo camp, applications will be accepted through March 31st, 2017.  Families can complete the application here

www.galileo-camps.com

Anxiety and Children

This article is sponsored by CHOC Children’s Hospital

As a person who has struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, mental health is an important topic to me. Mental health needs to be talked about. Today’s article is focused on anxiety and children. Do you have an anxious child? I do. Which is why this post today on anxiety and children is particularly important to me. I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with Dr. Christopher Min a licensed pediatric psychologist at CHOC Children’s about anxiety and children and he was so insightful.

Anxiety and Children

You know the phrase the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, my oldest daughter, is my anxious apple. It is astonishing to watch her anxious behaviors and hear her thoughts sometimes, because I GET it. I wish she didn’t have this, but it is part of who she is just like it is a part of me. What I do want is  to give her the tools to help her manage it at a young age, because it took me until age 35 to seek ongoing help.

Anxiety and Children

Here are the questions I asked Dr. Christopher Min about anxiety and children.

How do you know the difference between normal worry and anxiety in children?

He started by explaining that worry is a natural and normal physiological response built into us as human beings to help us to survive. Way back when anxiety was necessary to keep humans from getting eaten by tigers and the ‘fight or flight’ response kept us alive. Worrying is very much part of being a human. However, for children with brains more sensitive to these triggers, anxiety might be hard to control. If the anxiety is prevalent, constant and persistent, some kids might need help to re-wire or re-train their brains to diminish the response and help calm their bodies.

Anxiety Symptoms in Children

There are different ways anxiety can manifest in children. When talking about the type of anxiety that is characterized by excessive and persistent over a number of different things, it is called generalized anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in children include:

– Worry which is hard to control and becomes constant and consuming
– Irritability
– Sleep onset problems
– Fidgety
– Inability to relax
– Hyper vigilant / hyper aware of surroundings
– Fatigue
– Physical symptoms like persistent stomachaches or headaches, etc. in response to worry or anxiety
– For a full list of symptoms click here

Other Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety can cause other different types of anxiety disorders in children as well, issues such as:

Panic disorder: Unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress
Social anxiety disorder (common in teenagers): persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions
Phobias: persistent fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation
Adjustment disorder: trouble adjusting as a result of a stressful event
Selective mutism: when children do not speak in certain settings

When do you know it’s time to seek help for your anxious child?

When anxiety interferes with everyday life and functioning it might be time to seek professional help from a licensed therapist. Problems with school refusal, difficulty sleeping, test anxiety, constant meltdowns, eating issues, etc. are not things to be ignored and anxiety can be treated under the care of a professional. Dr. Min stressed that a parent truly knows their child best, so if you feel in your gut that something is going on with your child, trust your instincts.

If you have concerns, schedule an appointment with a licensed professional trained with children and adolescents, preferably one that has experience with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses the cognitive distortions or unhealthy anxious thoughts in combination with tools to help stop the dysfunctional behavior that go along with it. Cognitive therapy is an attempt to change or re-wire the anxious thoughts into more realistic and helpful ones. Behavioral therapy such as relaxation, positive reinforcement and exposure therapy work to diminish the fight or flight response. In combination, this therapy can be very effective in treating anxiety.

Anxiety and Sleep Problems in Children

I asked Dr. Min if I could ask him about something my daughter is  currently struggling with – problems going to sleep – and I am so glad I did because he had a lot of good advice.

He expressed sleep problems in children are a giant issue. Giant. In fact, CHOC Children’s even has a dedicated Pediatric Sleep Center where he is a psychologist on staff. The Sleep Disorder Center helps treat children that have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or fears of going to sleep.

Sleep Advice for Anxious Kids

  • Keep a Bedtime Journal.

Thoughts that run through the child’s mind are one of the major issues with having problems falling a sleep. If a child is able to put pen to paper before bed and get all of their worries and thoughts out before, it can help. Bringing the journal to a therapist can then help with addressing the worries.

  • Stop All Devices (Blue Light) One Hour Before Bed.

The major source of blue light is the sun and when we see the sun, are brains are cued to be awake. Electronics such as TV, tablets and phones also emit a high amount of blue light so that when looking at them, our brains are cued to think “it’s daytime” and the natural sleep hormones that kick in when it is time to sleep are halted. Removing devices one hour before sleep helps your body naturally do what it supposed to do at night – sleep!

  • Behavioral Recommendations To Help with Sleep.

– Regular bedtime and wake time each day
– No naps for older children
– Use the bed only for sleep
– Keep room on the cooler side as being too hot can inhibit sleep
– Keep a regular bedtime routine they do every night

Positive Reinforcement System for Sleep Problems in Kids

The most common (and to me, personally frustrating) behaviors that go along with sleep problems in kids have to do with seeking out interactions with parents.  You know, one more glass of water, one more kiss, one more snuggle, etc. As a parent, we want our children to be independent and able to go to sleep, or put themselves back to sleep, without needing our help.

He said what children are looking for with these behaviors is control, so he suggested a system where kids are given a certain amount of “tokens”, say 2 – 3, at the beginning of a week that they can turn in for “one more” something.  Basically, it’s a pass to get out of bed or ask for something.

If at the end of the week, if a token was not used, it can be put towards a prize or reward that is really motivating for the child.

We might be giving this a try. I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you Dr. Christopher Min for the incredible advice and for taking the time to talk to me about this important topic!

For more information on the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Initiative and programs, click here. Together, let’s talk about it.

Social graphic 1

Romance at The Ranch

Disclosure: Complimentary media stay provided to facilitate this review. 

Every year my husband and I make it a goal to get away in November to celebrate our anniversary. The time together alone, no kids, is magical. It’s one of the highlights of my entire year. To have extended, uninterrupted hours to talk, relax and reconnect is like fuel for the marriage tank.

In the years when we have only one or two nights for a getaway, staying close to home is best for maximum relaxation time and living in Orange County, we are pretty darn lucky to have a large number of phenomenal destinations to chose from.

Back in August we were lucky enough to able to stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach as a family of four and enjoyed all the amazing family-friendly activities available for guests.

Click here to read my post about staying at The Ranch at Laguna Beach as a family.

When we were deciding where we wanted to go for our 15 year anniversary, I thought The Ranch would be the perfect spot.  We got married in Laguna Beach, so the town holds special memories for us, and I couldn’t wait to experience The Ranch as a romantic Laguna Beach hotel.  If you are looking for a staycation spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day or a special event with your sweetie, here’s a little taste of what could be in store for you…

romanceattheranch

We dropped the girls off at school and headed down on a beautiful Friday morning. I was giddy with excitement. Swim suit. Check. Dress for dinner. Check. New book to dive into. Check.

R & R was all that was on the agenda and I couldn’t wait.

We requested early check in and as luck would have it, our room was ready so we could get settled into our cozy king Cabin Room where a bottle of bubbly was there to greet us. Time to uncork the champs!

Total travel time to champagne? About 45 minutes total. That’s the best thing about a staycation close to home!

theranchcabinroom

The Ranch, which just celebrated its grand opening end of last year, exudes classic, Laguna Beach elegance. From decor to amenities, the resort spared no detail when it comes to guests’ comfort.

– Keurig coffee makers

– Microwave

– Fridge

– Comfortable robes

– Daily paper delivery of paper of choice

– Complimentary Wi-fi

– USB ports bedside

– Complimentary parking and valet

– And my personal favorite, NO ADDITIONAL RESORT FEE. Yes!

theranchpool

We were lucky to get some warmer than usual November temperatures in Laguna so we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around the charming pool, The Pond, where cushioned lounge chairs and signature cocktails await.

sycamorespa

Adjacent to The Pond is the Sycamore Spa, which was in the final phase of completion when we stayed so we were unable to take advantage of a treatment. I am happy to report, it is open now and in February, locals can visit the Sycamore Spa and receive 15% off a 60-minute Couples’ Massage and also receive a takeaway spa amenity!

Super sweet Valentine’s Day gift.

sycamorespa1 photo credit: The Ranch

After a few hours at the the pool we decided to try our skills at the bocce ball court. Hubby kicked my booty. That game is harder than it looks!

I love the comfortable feel of The Ranch. Zero pretension. The property makes you feel right at home.

bocceball
The evening was so beautiful we decided to walk across the street hand-in-hand to catch the sunset.  It’s an easy 5 – 7 minute walk to the beach, but the resort does have golf carts available you can call for rides.

Nothing more romantic than sunset at the beach, and how often do you have the chance to watch a sunset with your love?

alisocreeksunset

That evening we were ecstatic to dine at the just-opened Harvest restaurant, which is one of the most stunningly beautiful dining spots in OC.  The decor is grand, but comfortable at the same time with a modern clubhouse type of feel…the type of place where you can sit by the fire, belly up to the bar or nestle into a dining table and stay awhile.

harvest

Harvest restaurant and bar celebrates California cuisine with farm-to-table dishes that change with the seasons. The chef integrates fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, many of which are grown on property in the half-acre Harvest Garden.

Click here for a sample menu and if you go for dinner, order the crispy Brussel Sprouts with sweet chili sauce, pecans, green apple and radicchio. Best we have ever had!

Harvest is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. If you are local, make your reservations now. You will fall in love.

harvestrestaurantinterior

photo credit: The Ranch

Our dinner service was impeccable, and we giggled over another class of champagne as we toasted our 15 years.

harvestcollage

We were back the next morning for a glorious breakfast al fresco where we watched a family of deer grazing on the greens as we dined.

Can you spot them? You have to look close….

deer-family

One of the best things about The Ranch is its location. You are so close to all the hustle and bustle of PCH, Main Beach, and its restaurants and shops, yet when you pull down the drive to go back ‘home’ to The Ranch you enter a completely different world.

On Saturday night we decided to Uber into town and dine at The Deck, which is now a restaurant, but 15 years ago the property was a private wedding venue where we said our vows.

So many memories came rushing back when we got seated at our table, essentially in the exact same spot we got married!

thedeckcollage

After dinner, we found ourselves at a local dive bar dancing to an 80’s cover band like we were kids in our 20’s again. SO. MUCH. FUN.

After a deliriously good night’s sleep in our comfortable bed, we headed up to Ben’s Pantry at The Ranch for breakfast, which is their grab-and-go cuisine for seat yourself patio dining.

Latte. Breakfast burritos. Morning paper. This view.

Perfection.

benspantry

After breakfast we took a walk over to the beach and walked for a long stretch up to Treasure Island.

I forget just how gorgeous these beaches are but was reminded when I noticed the large number of tourists walking the path. People that likely traveled long distances to visit Laguna Beach. And, here we are, able to come and take a staycation in one of the most beautiful locations in California.

alisobeach

It was an AMAZING weekend and The Ranch was the perfect spot to recharge and reminisce, the quintessential romantic Laguna Beach hotel.  If you are looking for a local spot to share a special time with your significant other, make your reservations now.

Month of February Romance Specials at The Ranch:

Book your romantic getaway in the month of February 2017 and resort credit applies towards resort activities:

Make a one-night reservation and receive a $50 resort credit

Stay 2 or more nights and receive $100 resort credit

 Based on availability. Visit website for restrictions. Click here to reserve.

February 2017 Specials for Locals:

Sycamore Spa:  

1 – 60 minute Couples massage at 15% Receive takeaway spa amenity

Golf: 

Couples Golf Tourney

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Tee times available 10-11:30am

Price $150/couple to ride $120 to walk. Includes greens fee, electric cart, $50 F&B credit, 2 sleeves of Vivid balls and prize eligibility. Participants also get 20% off merchandise that day.

 Prizes offered:

·         a “One-night romance package for two, 2nd place:  60 minute Couples Spa treatment

·         Closest to the Pin winners – 2 free rounds of golf

·         Highest Score – free one hour couples lesson

February Golf Specials

·        Couples Golf Lessons – 20% off couples introductory golf lessons

           ·         $128 for 1 hour couples lesson (takes place at the range and putting green)

           ·         $224 for 5 hole playing lesson, 30-min intro at the range and play holes 6-9 on your own

For more information:

www.theranchlb.com

Follow The Ranch for specials and news:
facebook.com/TheRanchLagunaBeach
twitter.com/TheRanchLB
instagram.com/TheRanchLB
pinterest.com/theranchlb

Show Mobile Version