Locals Only: Smocking Birds Baby Boutique

Located in one of the largest spaces in The OC Mix in Costa Mesa, is family owned Smocking Birds Baby Boutique, a shop filled with higher end baby clothes with so much more. Whether it’s a special occasion like a baptism or photos, they carry adorable outfits for a little wardrobe. I bought a ton of pieces for Max's wardrobe here, I can tell you it's a store I love and am excited to share. 

Becky, founder of Smocking Birds, has been dressing kids for over 30 years, and her handmade gifts were on high demand, she took the plunge and opened up shop. It began with handmade smocked baby gowns, which are still her best seller, to unique organic lines exclusive to luxury shops. 3 years later and a much needed renovation and extended space, it’s as beautiful as ever! What I love about it is it's a shabby-chic mixed with glamour, not something you'd expect for a kids store, that's what brought me in. 

Smocking Birds doesn’t end with clothes, though. They offer classes on how to make smocked baby gowns (I personally would love to do this, it’s like an heirloom to pass down). They also offer classes with story time, kids entertainment, science experiments, and other hands on activities in their busy calendar. Becky has successfully hosted Women’s Entrepreneurs Extravaganza (another great thing Becky has done is opened up doors to celebrate women in business of the OC ), Tea and Tots Fashion Show, and The Spring Fling. The OC Mix Mart is already a family friendly area and there’s something for everyone, but Smocking Birds is a great place to bring kids. You can check out what other classes they carry here. 

Smocking Birds Baby Boutique located inside The OC Mix

3313 Hyland Ave Costa Mesa, California

Free parking. 

Check them out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here. 

DogVenture with DogVacay

This post is in partnership with DogVacay

There are times when our parents can’t always watch our dogs, and this is where DogVacay comes in. They make it simple, just like booking a hotel online, but for pets. They make it even easier with an app. Search local pet “hosts”, and book your stay for your pet online. DogVacay includes free pet insurance, customer support for 24/7 and requires a daily photo from your host to know pets are having a safe and fun time. 

As a reward for putting up with us leaving them occasionally, we like to take them on a mini vacation of their own—their favorite spot is the Dog Beach in Huntington Beach—a beach devoted to all kinds of pups. Leashes are “technically” required, but that rule is only enforced for unruly pups. It’s the perfect place they can run, swim, get dirty, and socialize with other dogs. 

Frodo is the type of dog that is happiest anywhere she is, as long as we are around. She’s much more happy socializing with us then the other dogs, but even she can’t resist the atmosphere. Usually by the time we are ready to go home, Merry is all done barking in excitement and running in circles—she sleeps the entire car ride home…and pretty much the rest of the day too.  

Real talk- this is how half my photos looked like. Happy dogs don't pose for blog posts apparently. 

Real talk- this is how half my photos looked like. Happy dogs don't pose for blog posts apparently. 

California- where dog’s life is a beach. Thank you to DogVacay for sponsoring my DogVenture! 

Locals Only; Shutter + Light

I just have to note the irony of this post- I couldn't blog the past couple of weeks because my disk on my laptop was full. I'm writing about an awesome analog camera shop but my digital photos were taking up space...Well, I thought it was funny. 

UPDATE! Shutter + Light has moved! They are still located in Santa Ana, but the new address is updated below.

 Shutter + Light is a camera store located in Santa Ana, close to my favorite shops, Mothers Market and Harveys. When I head down there, I like to pop in Todd's camera store and say hello, and see what new stuff they carry. They are the only ones in Orange County that carry Impossible Film, offer tintypes, and will offer to test your Polaroid camera to make sure it works before buying film. How awesome is that? I can't keep track of the amount of time and money wasted in thrift stores and ebay searching for the perfect vintage camera only to discover it doesn't work. This is one of the perks Todd offers in his shop. 

I've actually just found out about tintypes through S+L, and I was curious about what they were. I was there for the process and it was awesome to watch. I saw how careful the process was, sometimes it's hit or miss, but just like film, that's the exciting part of it and I can see why Todd does them. 


"A tintype is a handmade photographic process that was invented in the late 1800’s. It is a chemical based process that allows you to put an image on a piece of tin (we use aluminum). So the image you see on the plate is silver. Since it is a chemical based process each image is unique and one of a kind. If you have the same subject and controlled lighting the image will still look a little different because of the way the chemicals were poured on the plate. It’s a fascinating process...When I say beautiful images I mean that in the way they are unique and one of a kind. Like a lot of hand made products they have their flaws and special qualities. They are not perfect and to me that is what makes them beautiful."

You can see more of Todd's tintypes and book your appointment here. The prices range from $60 to $220.


Visit the store for their vintage cameras, too. I was in awe of the vintage Diana cameras they had. It's a small shop but they have so much! If you're going to Disneyland and are short on film, this is the place to go. 

Shutter + Light on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

904 East Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana, CA 92701

(714) 617-5374
Shop hours:Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-5pm

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here. 

Lobster Nachos, Hidden Mickey's, and Sequins

Over the weekend we went to The Cove Bar in Disney's California Adventure. We've heard great things about the lobster nachos and the drinks. We went on a Friday at opening and it's not as crowded and you have first dips on the tables with the great views. Scott and I split the lobster nachos and I ordered the coconut elixir. I'm so hungry as I'm writing this and it was a bad idea to blog about delicious food. 

It was the first weekend of summer and with SPF 70, I still got sunburnt. I used to have this awful weird sensitive disorder where if I went in the sun at all, my skin would flare and get bumpy and bubbly. It was so gross but after pregnancy, it went away. Thank you, hormones. I look forward to spending my summer days comfortably outside. I also picked up a new set of Mickey ears. Pink, polka dots and sequins. It was a cherry on top of my sweet weekend. 

Opening Day at Anaheim Packing District

I went to the opening day at the Anaheim Packing House. I remember 2 years ago talking to a historical volunteer, standing in a city building, looking down on the balcony at an empty lot. He said they wanted to restore the packing house and hopefully in a year or two it would be full of shops and people. I had no idea two years later he would be right. Not only is there a restored historical building, but good food, a brewery, to name a couple things.

We tried Orange Tei, a ramen and sushi restaurant and the name "Orange" is a throwback to the packing house. The ramen has hints of citrus and so far, it's my favorite place to eat in the packing house.

We also picked up a popsicle from Pop Bar. Normally I wouldn't recommend a popsicle that costs $5 but this isn't just a regular watered down sugary treat. These are handmade with yogurt and gelato and they offer vegan options. I picked up the chocolate and it tastes like a crisp brownie on a stick- amazing! I would recommend this place and standing in line for a few minutes was worth it. 

My personal favorite place was Studio La Fleur. It's based out of Costa Mesa and they set up their own shop at the packing house. So far, I've been twice and loved it every time (see here and here). I tell them what my budget is and I tell them I want flowers that will last me the week. They not only get creative, but they've lasted me longer than a week the first time. It costs more than Trader Joe's but I get a one of a kind bouquet made and I'm supporting local. 

Anaheim Packing House

440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

Locals Only; Amazing Cakes

I was surprised with a birthday cake from my family. I came home from Disneyland and when I walked in, Scott asked me to get him a glass of water. Before giving him the sideye (I can't remember him asking him for a glass of water the 6 years I've been married to him), I opened the fridge and there it was, in all it's glory. It's so beautiful in real life, these photos don't do the details the merit it deserves. Also, please note I've never used "merit" for a cake. 

The flavor was chocolate and it was delicious. Our family uses Amazing Cakes whenever we need to celebrate something. I mean, you can't have the word "amazing" in your store name unless you meet expectations and beyond and they do! They were also voted Best Wedding Cake for 2012 Bride's Choice Award. You can check out the gallery here. UPDATE! I should point out this cake is large enough for 8-10 people and cost a little under $50. 

Amazing Cakes

524 N. Magnolia Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Phone: 714-995-3399

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here.

Locals Only; Harveys Original Seatbelt Bags

I love bags; I’m kind of a crazy bag lady. My favorites are Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Harveys. Wait. What?? Yes, Harveys! While the other designer brand names have status of luxury and style, Harvey’s status is happy, while still being stylish. I’ve mentioned Harveys before but they deserve their own highlight. Harveys resides in Santa Ana, where it began with Dana making his wife, Melanie, a purse handmade out of seat belts almost 20 years ago. That single bag gained an influx of other bag followers and this became Harveys. Harveys is a successful company that can go wherever they want- LA, even NYC, but they decided to stay in OC where their roots began. They’ve grown from popular bags to cult status when Disney licensed with them and following collaborations with artists and brands. You can’t have your Mickey ears without your Harveys bag! To make it even more fun, Harveys has First Fridays, a collection of bags (usually a limited edition) and they sell quick. Dana didn’t just think he could bank off a fun idea, he has background in sewing and designing. The original bag he designed is his favorite, and has become iconic to the brand. They've expanded from bags to accessories over the years. 

I love what Harveys represents-- they’re environmentally responsible, charitable, and have big plans to make a greener factory. Plus they’re 100% made in the USA. When I had a chance to tour the factory, I was blown away. They do everything in the building, from shipping, customer service call center, to their own screen printing for the lining of the bags. I know where my money was going when I buy from them. I support a local, conscientious company. They also stand by their product--so much, they offer a lifetime warranty...yes, a lifetime. I can’t remember the last time I read about an American company offering a lifetime of anything. I think my Marc Jacobs bag lasted me 4 years. At least Harveys has the bag spa-- drop your bag off or mail it in and let your bag have a day to be pampered come back to you as good as new.

When they expand, they’d like to give tours, and have customers design their own bags. I hung out a little bit with the design and social media team and they’re just as fun as the bags are. They’re funny, full of energy, and you can’t pick a favorite because you love them all.

You can follow them Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, read what they're blogging, see what they're pinning and shop online or both of their locations. 

Harveys Santa Ana (moved to The Factory & Co)
1918 E. Glenwood Place
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Harveys Chino Hills 
13865 City Center Dr, Ste 3055
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here.

Locals Only; RSSA Vintage

"Our name may be vintage, but we're brand spanking new" 

RSSA Vintage is a fairly new store that opened December 2012 in the Community retail row. They carry everything for your home from candles, books and working vintage rotary phones but their specialty is vintage-inspired new appliances. Going into their shop was like visiting a beautiful antique shop but without worrying if anything will work when you take it home- everything is new! Syna, the owner, has a great eye for decoration and she displays her shop beautifully. She's sweet, professional and will answer any questions you have about the coveted appliance. Her most popular item is the iconic Smeg Fridge. I've never seen one but only in photos and I'm blown away by the way they look in real life. If my fridge ever goes out, I know exactly what I'll be getting. My neighborhood loves historical and classic, and RSSA Vintage is a great addition to the area. You can even custom order with them if there's a color you want but don't see. They also take online sales and offer delivery and installation, you can contact them here

You can see more details of the shop here. 

RSSA VINTAGE Follow them on Instagram and Facebook
ANAHEIM, CA 92804 / Parking in front of store for easy pick up


(714) 225-8153
SYNA@RSSAVINTAGE.COM / They also offer delivery and installation

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here.

Locals Only; The Cheese Shop

I normally don't highlight two shops on the same street back to back, but I had to for The Cheese Shop (and not just because it's next to Ink and Bean

The Cheese Shop opened up late last year on Center Street in Downtown Anaheim. They're originally located in south county but this is a great addition to the area. They offer gourmet cheese, and as former vegan, I can appreciate dairy more than ever, and I love what they have to offer.

Every week they feature a new cheese to try. Whether or not you're a cheese connoisseur, the staff is helpful and offer samples before purchase. They also offer catering and will personalize a cheese plate to your party's needs. Click on the image to check out the full view below. 

They will soon be offering wine recommendations with cheeses purchased as well. The other bonus is they carry Apple Beer, a non-alcoholic drink (among others) that pair great with the freshly made cheese sandwiches they sell. The best part about the Cheese Shop is it feels more like a local artisan market that sells more than cheese. It's filled with honey jars, jellies, cheese boards, and pastas to name a few of the items carried. If you can't decide what to buy, they carry gift cards, too. I can't remember the names of the cheeses I've purchased, but if you ask them, they can keep a record of what you've purchased. Center Street is coming along nicely! 

Center Street Cheese Shop

149 W Center St Promenade

AnaheimCA 92805

(714) 520-0225

Follow them on Facebook for updates

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here.

Locals Only; Ink & Bean

A sexy coffee shop? That's weird, right? When you walk into Ink and Bean then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. This is the coffee shop Anaheim has been waiting for. We've put up with Starbucks over-roasted beans and over-sweetened lattes for too long. This is a dark, moody yet inviting shop that serves the iconic Stumptown coffee and it's delicious. The baristas are polite and chatty. Unlike other coffee shops around the corner, they offer almond milk, soy, organic milk, and they make their own half and half. They have fresh pastries daily and they offer free wifi with purchase. The seating is limited inside, but there is an outdoor patio. On top of the coffee, the store is sprinkled with cool gifts to buy. 

This is exactly what Center Street needed, a great coffee shop. I really really want Center Street to survive in Anaheim. It's small but I believe it will triumph. If not, I'm going to be yelling at everyone "THIS IS WHY YOU CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS, ANAHEIM!" 

Ink and Bean

155 W. Center Street

Anaheim, CA 92805

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Locals Only is a series on our.city.lights blog highlighting Anaheim and surrounding areas in the OC. If you're a small business and would like exposure on this blog, I love supporting local business'. Contact me here.