I lived in Orange County long before The OC and The Real Housewives franchise put it in the spotlight. Often out-of-towners ask me if those shows accurately portray life there. Well, I shrug, they embellish a little, but it is as charming in real life as it is on television. Practically any time of year you can swim in the ocean, sail in the harbor, or hike along picturesque trails. Some people prefer seasons, but in Southern California the temperature stays mild all year long. This suits us just fine. Whether you live in Dana Point or Irvine, here are 20 telltale signs you are an OC native.

1. You get really, unnaturally excited when it rains since it means your plants may live to see another day. (Dear Drought, you suck!)
2. You find Santa Ana winds alarming since they go hand-in-hand with fire season and really bad hair days.
3. You have a collection of sandals for every occasion: fancy, casual, and athletic.
4. Earthquakes don’t scare you at all, except for the imminent “Big One” you have been hearing about since you entered grammar school.
5. Someone or everyone in your family is a Trojan or a Bruin.
6. Your home, state income tax, and water bill are shockingly expensive, but living in paradise justifies the costs.
7. The concept of wearing bug spray outdoors is foreign to you. (Bugs? What Bugs?)
8. You are cold if the temperature dips below 74 degrees and hot if it rises above 78 degrees.
9. You will not trade in your (949, 714) area code even if you move out of state.
10. At one point you had big dreams of becoming a child actor. Admit it: you have a few headshots tucked away somewhere.
11. You have a huge collection of designer, recycled grocery bags.
12. The amount of money you spend each month on pedicures, waxing, spray tans, and highlights exceeds your car payments.
13. You have no idea how to drive in the snow. In fact, if it ever snowed in the OC, there would be pandemonium in the streets.
14. When you travel out of state, you find it completely disorienting that you cannot buy liquor at a grocery store.
15. Many of your friends have had plastic surgery and a few started Botox injections in their early 20s.
16. You surf, skateboard, and/or snowboard, and you likely exaggerate your skill-level in each sport to out-of-towners.
17. You pride yourself on eating organic and/or locally grown produce.
18. You practice yoga, as do all of your friends. If you have children, you definitely plan on enrolling them in infant yoga classes.
19. You’ve tried every kind of cuisine–from Japanese to Persian, Indian to French–thanks to the wide array of hip restaurants located all over the OC.
20. No matter where you live, Southern California will always be your home base.

Lauren Lodder
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