If you've ever contemplated a move to sunny Southern California (and let's be real, who hasn't at one point or another?), this one's for you. Every year around this time new college graduates set their sights on the idyllic locale of Southern California, in search of new career opportunities, new cities to explore, and a new place to call home. But it seems that for every one person who actually makes the big move, there are about a hundred dreamers, stuck in limbo, not totally sure what to do, which area to settle down in, and how to make it actually happen. Which is why today, we're chatting with someone who DID IT, recent Orange Country transplant and fashion and lifestyle blogger, Danielle Wittig of the blog D's Moments. Though she's originally from Las Vegas, Danielle came to OC by way of the Midwest, and while a cross-country move like that is never easy, Danielle proves that taking the risk was absolutely worth it.
What was it that initially drew you to Southern California?
Being from Las Vegas, NV my family and I vacationed to SoCal every year twice a year and I loved it more and more each time we visited. First, the weather is literally amazing! The weather has so much to do with my lifestyle. I am such a sunshine and beach girl, so being able to be outside 365 days a year is heaven for me! Second, there is also SO much to do in Cali, always something new, fun and different going on! You can also jump in your car and be at a winery, the mountains, the snow, Vegas, Palm Springs, LA all within 2-4 hours. With all of that, Southern California fits my personality so well. My soul just feels the happiest here!
Coming from the Midwest, what's been the biggest difference so far?
The weather! I really couldn’t stand the weather. I love Chicago, it has so much culture which is such a beautiful thing to experience but the cold is just so not for me! Also the people. People in California are so laid back and chill…that “Cali vibe" is definitely felt!
There are so many great places to live, from LA to San Diego and all the cool beach towns in-between. How'd you decide where you wanted to be?
When I thought about where I wanted to be I made a mental list of the pros and cons of each different city in California and realized that I wanted to be close to the most beautiful beaches but in the middle of LA and SD. So Orange County was the perfect place.
Give it to us straight--how hard is house/apartment hunting in Southern California, really?
Since I knew what area I wanted to be in it really wasn't that hard for us personally. I have to have hard wood floors and white cabinets (I don’t like any brown in my house lol) so that eliminated like 85% of potential places to live. It really helps if you know what you want so you can cross out certain places immediately and not spend time looking at places you know you’re not going to be happy with.
What's your best piece of advice for someone wanting to make a major cross-country move?
DO IT! I think it is sooo good to move around and find what part of the county (or world) fits you best. And when you do move - be flexible. Don’t let the little things get to you. Stay positive. Make friends, talk to everyone. Be organized!!! Moving cross-country is hard, you guys! Not going to lie. But you just have to laugh and understand that you’re going to hit some bumps in the road. Give yourself time to adjust. So many people don’t understand that getting into a routine in a new place comes, it just takes a little bit of time! And its so worth it!
Your favorite thing about living in Orange County?
The beaches, I literally go to the beach 5 days a week! And the overall vibe. Everywhere you go its all so beautiful…the people, the nature, the restaurants! Orange County really makes you want to get out of your house + your routine and explore all that it has to offer. SoCal has this unique mix of excitement and relaxation, its such a neat thing!
How has living in Southern California changed/influenced your style?
I feel like my style is completely meant for Southern California! It's crazy, I feel so comfortable with my style here. Being able to wear sandals, floral dresses, cut off denim shorts, big sunnies and hats everyday is a dream for me! I use to take forever to figure out what I was going to wear each morning but in SoCal its just so easy for me to throw on my favorite pieces in different ways and love the look I create within minutes. I also feel like the bohemian side of me has really come out more and I'm kinda obsessed with it!
Must-see/do things in Southern California, for both tourists and/or new transplants?
My favorite thing to be is grab a drink on a rooftop in Laguna Beach and watch the sunset. It sounds simple but honestly it never gets old! My favorite spot for this is The Deck. Bike ride around Huntington Beach. Grab the best donut you will ever have at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee shop. Explore Balboa Island. Find a new beach spot every time you visit! There are so many gorgeous spots to not see them all. I love Thousand Steps Beach (Laguna) and The Wedge (Newport). Have breakfast at Beachcomber just steps from the sand at Crystal Cove. The OC Mix and Anaheim Packing House are cool places to grab some bites to eat. And don’t forget the shopping, everything from amazing malls (Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza) to boutiques on every corner!
Things to do in Southern California that are still on your bucket list?
Oh my gosh, there is so much! I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of this place! I am constantly looking up places to adventure too. I find most new places on Instagram through other locals and Pinterest. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @dwittig for new places to adventure to!