Meet local mom and I Heart Costa Mesa’s very own Mesa Maven. Having launched I Heart Costa Mesa (a digital magazine and podcast) 5 years ago, she’s amassed a devoted fan base and helped instill pride and love for the city.
Where are you from originally?
Fountain Valley, California.
How long have you lived in Costa Mesa? How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I’ve lived in the area for 17 years. My husband and I have two girls: 13-years-old and almost-11.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
We love to take advantage of all the beautiful, local parks in Costa Mesa. Of course, we also love the beach. My kids are obsessed with Halloween, and it’s an annual tradition to go trick-or-treating on Balboa Island with a big group of friends. At the holidays, you’ll find us Christmas caroling at The Snoopy House at Costa Mesa City Hall.
Name 3 things in town you can’t live without.
- Trail-running through Canyon Park, Talbert Nature Preserve and the Santa Ana River Trail in Westside Costa Mesa.
- Starlight Theatre OC off Fairview and Baker – my girls are obsessed with this theater. The owner, Brynn Wagner, is a local gem!
- Housemade kombucha from Fermentation Farm – yummy!
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? A night out with friends? Why?
Favorite with kids: El Ranchito off Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa. What’s not to love? The food is delicious. The service is amazing. The restaurant is walkable from our house.
Favorite night out with mom friends: La Vida Cantina at Triangle Square. Great margaritas. Love the vegetarian enchiladas. The patio vibe and grass umbrellas make you feel like you’re vacationing in Cabo!
Favorite date night: 2145 Pizza on Victoria St. and Placentia. Cute patio. Best pizzas. Also walkable from our house, so it’s nice to stroll home through our neighborhood, afterward.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
Williams-Sonoma’s kid-friendly lasagna recipe! I use no-boil noodles to make it even easier. Make a big batch and you can eat off it all week long. Here is the link.
What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes? Yourself? Furniture?
We don’t shop often, we’re kind of minimalist. But when we do…
Clothes for kids: Target or GAP Kids
Clothes for me: J. Crew or Anthropologie
Furniture: IKEA or Crate + Barrel
What are your favorite events in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach?
Definitely the Costa Mesa Concerts In The Park at Fairview Park each July. Great crowd. Local bands. Food trucks. Beer and wine garden. So fun!
Do you have a favorite destination for family trips? Why?
Every year, my extended family rents a beach house in Cayucos, California. Cayucos is like the surf town that time forgot – very simple pleasures like fish tacos, beaches, antique shops, and not much else. We love it!
Name a favorite book? What’s it about/brief description?
I just read – and loved – Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday. It’s about the importance of fostering stillness and thoughtfulness in an increasingly busy, over-stimulating world.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
The toddler years were the biggest challenge, to date. (Although we are just entering the teen years, so check back in a few! Lol.) Just the relentlessness of diapers, naptimes, meal prep, tantrums… all on very little sleep. Joining a local moms group is what saved me. Just having a community of friends going through similar challenges – and people to hit the playground with me – was a life-changer!
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
I feel like a lot of moms I know – myself included – can get mired in either mom-guilt (fretting about past mistakes) or mom-worry (fretting about future choices and outcomes.) My advice is: Seek to center yourself in the present as often as possible, and find your own strategies for recalibrating when you get too stuck in guilt or worry.
What do you most value in your friends?
I value creativity, loyalty, honesty, and a sense of adventure.
What was your career before having children? If it’s the same, how do you balance career & motherhood?
Before kids, I had my own copywriting consulting business – basically, I was a writer-for-hire. I wrote TV commercials, children’s books, press releases, articles… you name it. Then, I took a break and did the stay-at-home mom thing when my kids were small. Five years ago, my friend Brandy Young and I started I Heart Costa Mesa – a digital magazine and podcast, celebrating the city of Costa Mesa. My job has a lot of flexibility – and I can work anywhere my laptop can go – so it’s been easy to blend work with family life.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you.
I am a gamer! I don’t play a lot of video games, but I occasionally get hooked. A couple years ago, I was totally obsessed with Zelda: Breath Of The Wild for a whole winter. Recently, I have been loving to unwind with the Don’t Starve app on my iPad. So challenging and fun – and it keeps my strategic-thinking fresh!
I don’t have a sweet-tooth, but my kids say I have a salty-tooth. I have to stay away from nachos because I can easily eat the whole plate. And if you go to Mexican food with me, watch your fingers around the chips and salsa.
Thank you Erin! And I highly recommend you all head over to iheartcostamesa.com and check out the local articles and podcast episodes up there. Erin and Brandy are always adding new Costa Mesa stories (and they know everyone!). It’s also the home of their online store, where you can find shirts, hats, stickers, heart-shaped sunnies, and other Costa Mesa fan swag. You can also follow along with I Heart Costa Mesa at @iheartcostamesa on Instagram.