Costly Mistakes Women Make During Divorce

Costly Mistakes Women Make During Divorce

Deciding to file for divorce is only the beginning of the divorce process. Depending on whether the divorce is contested or not and if there are children involved, the average proceedings can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years.

With that said, there are a lot of things that can happen during that time frame, including making mistakes that can drain your bank account. Here are four expensive mistakes women make during divorce that should be avoided…at all costs.

Dating. Although the marriage may be over in all sense of the word, I recommend holding off on dating until your divorce is final.If you are in a contentious child custody cases, it is especially important that you don’t date, as essentially, whether fair or not, you will be under amicroscope by your ex and his legal team.

If that’s the case, spousal support and other monetary parts of the divorce could be affected. The best advice is to avoid dating until all the I’s have been dotted and all the T’s have been crossed.

Snooping. While it may be tempting to go undercover and snoop on your soon to-be ex-husband, it doesn’t usually go over well in divorce court. These days snooping has become high tech, and in some cases illegal. Some electronic snooping can include reading private e-mails or accessing password protected devices.

These types of actions are considered illegal and have consequences. If you’re going through a divorce and then get caught snooping like this, it can hinder your case. If you suspect some shady behavior on the part of your soon-to-be ex, ask your lawyer about legal ways to obtain information.

Spending too much money. We’ve all heard of retail therapy, but this is not the time to practice it. Increasing debt is frowned upon when going through a divorce; in fact you want to do just the opposite. Divorce can be expensive, especially when you’re uncertain about how long the process can take. Instead of spending any extra money, save it. You never know when you’re going to need it. Wait until the divorce is final and you know how much money you can rely on before going on a shopping spree.

Leaving a digital trail. Social media has added an entirely new element to the world of divorce, one that’s not necessarily welcomed. With so many people taking to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to document their every move, doing so in divorce could end up costing you, especially if those updates and tweets contradictyour actions or words in your divorce case.

Emails and texts can also be dangerous because they can be admissible in court. Many divorce lawyers advise clients not to email, text, or post anything that they wouldn’t want a judge to read. If you wouldn’t say it in person don’t leave it behind in a digital trail. Along those lines, don’t leave messages or post anything on social media that you might regret later.

In the end, we all know divorce can be costly. Don’t make mistakes that can run up that bill even more and leave your pocketbook empty.

Bankruptcy & Divorce: The Important Things You Need to Know

Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship or marriage, and for some, money issues can also be a contributing factor to divorce. When money problems become a major issue, some couples may decide to file bankruptcy to get a clean slate all around. But, before you take action there are a few things you should know.

Should I file for bankruptcy & divorce at the same time?

While all cases involve different circumstances, the short answer most people abide by is no. Many couples heading for divorce are often advised to file for bankruptcy before the divorce. During a divorce assets are divided. When affairs are in bankruptcy proceedings,a freeze is put on assets and property. This gives the bankruptcy court time to sort everything out. But, if you file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time, you’ll need to wait until the bankruptcy court is done with its job before the divorce can proceed. Doing both at the same time will only delay the divorce process.

What are other reasons couples file for bankruptcy before divorce?

Couples who are on good terms when they decide to divorce may lean towards filing for bankruptcy before divorce. This gives them the advantage of splitting attorney and filing fees. You can also wipe out your joint debts and may even be able to increase your exemption amounts. Don’t forget, any debts incurred while you were married are the responsibility of both parties. So, if your ex doesn’t pay up, you will have to. Also, if your ex files for bankruptcy and you do not, you will be liable for the debt. These are all things to keep in mind when dealing with divorce and bankruptcy.

Should I file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually a quicker process. Chapter 7 eliminates all dischargeable debt between 3 and 6 months, clearing the way for divorce proceedings. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not completely eliminate debt. Rather, it sets up a payment plan (usually 3-5 years). This can drag out divorce proceedings. Ultimately, you need to decide which route is better for your personal situation and I would recommend getting some professional advice on this as well from a bankruptcy attorney.

Will I get rid of all debt once I file for bankruptcy?

No, you will not. Alimony, child support, student loans and any attorney fees related to child custody cases are among the most common nondischargeable debts. The best way to determine whether your debts are dischargeable is to meet with a bankruptcy attorney and go through all of your information.

Can my divorce attorney also represent us in our bankruptcy case?

No. You and your spouse cannot be represented by the same divorce attorney if you decide to file for bankruptcy; this is due to a conflict of interest.

Many people file bankruptcy before divorce to relieve some of the stress that goes along with both proceedings. By dealing with the financial aspects first, you can concentrate on other issues. Before deciding which route to take first, consult an attorney who can review all of your information and guide you towards the right path.

5 Tips for a Happier Life After Divorce

5 Tips for a Happier Life After Divorce

Divorce is a life-changing event. But, it doesn’t have to be one that changes your life for the worse. Studies show men and women are actually happier after their divorce. Makes sense really; the trick is to find your happy place and figure out how to get there.

Think about the challenge like climbing a mountain. You see the top and you know you want to get to it. You know you can get there. Through hard work and probably some trial and error you’ll reach the peak. Finding happiness after divorce is much like that. After divorce, you can reach your peak happiness. Take a look at these suggestions to get you on your way.

Give yourself time to grieve. Just as you grieve when someone dies, you need to grieve your marriage because in essence it has died too. According to Divorce Magazine.com, there are seven stages to grieving after divorce. They include denial, pain & fear, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and ultimately acceptance. Once you work through these stages at your own pace, your happy place will be that much closer.

Practice being grateful. At first, some people may find it impossible to feel grateful for getting a divorce. However, though your marriage didn’t work, there are things in your life that are working. Psychologists advise to focus on these things rather than the negative. By focusing on the positive things you’ll start feeling more energetic and happier.

Forget blame & regret. As you’re taking the time to be grateful, you need to forget the blame and regret that goes along with any divorce. The decision of divorce has been made and regretting it will only make things worse. Therapists suggest making a list of your regrets to help let them go. Once you’ve done this, they say the next step is to find a silver lining in each of those regrets. Finally, focus on your strengths so you can change and grow as a person.

Start dreaming & planning for the future. Part of moving on is to make plans for the future. Was there something in your marriage that was holding you back from your dream job or dream trip? If so, start making plans to dust off those dreams to make them a reality. It is never too late to follow your dreams or make new plans for the future.

Find something new to embrace. Part of planning for your new future may include finding a new hobby or activity to embrace; think of it as reinventing yourself. This is Act Two of your life — make it something worthwhile.

Part of finding something new to embrace may mean looking into your past. Was there a hobby you gave up once you got married? Go back to it. If you’re having trouble finding out what new thing you may want to try out, look at activities in your community or flip through some magazines for inspiration.

Look at your divorce with the cup half full rather than half empty. This will help you discover a new life… a new and happy life!

The Most Peaceful Spots Around Orange County

Peaceful Spots Around Orange County
Photo: Lake Shrine

From breathtaking beach towns to big name amusement parks, Orange County is bustling with activity. We’re not L.A. (that’s good!) but being just about an hour away means traffic, city noise, and all the stress that goes along with those things.

But, what tourists and locals may not realize is that there are also peaceful parts to Orange County. These spots can provide a calming oasis to the daily grind, so if you’re feeling like you need a peaceful place to get away from it all, here are my picks:

Oak Canyon Nature Center

Oak Canyon Nature Center
Photo: Yelp/Jessica S.

Located in the Anaheim hills, the Oak Canyon Nature Center offers 58 acres of natural park space to enjoy. Whether you want to take a short walk and sit and enjoy nature or are looking for a more invigorating hike, the Oak Canyon Nature Center is a great choice. No skateboards, bicycles or pets are allowed, so there is nothing to stand in your way of much-needed peace and tranquility. The park grounds and trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset.

Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades

Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades
Photo: Lake Shrine

Lake Shrine is part of the Self-Realization Fellowship that was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. The goal here is to find peace of heart and mind. When you visit, you can spend time in the lakeside Meditation Garden; this is a place people come to for reflection and quiet prayer.

If you’re not into meditation, you can enjoy the beauty of the lake and gardens as you walk the peaceful paths. There are benches where you can sit and rest; remember to silence your phone and leave loud conversations behind.

Oh, and if you happen to be farther south, there is also a Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas that has internationally renowned gardens offering a diversity of colorful plants, meditation nooks, koi ponds, and spectacular ocean vistas!

El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach

El Dorado Nature Center
Photo: El Dorado Nature Center/Facebook

Offering a natural habitat, the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach is located near the San Gabriel River and the 605 Freeway. It’s a little piece of nature in the middle of the city! Two miles of dirt trails and a ¼ mile paved trail wrap around two lakes and a stream. There are several great spots to just sit and take in all that nature has to offer. The 105 acres that the Nature Center is situated upon also offers a sanctuary for plant and animal life. If you want to learn more you can also check out the Visitor Center on site.

Fullerton Arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum
Photo: Fullerton Arboretum/Facebook

The Fullerton Arboretum boasts 26 acres of green space. Here you will find a museum and thousands of varieties of plant life, making it the largest botanical garden in Orange County. The Fullerton Arboretum is located on the California State University Fullerton campus.Stroll one of the many well-designed paths, and then take a break on a bench to take in all of the natural and beautiful sites. You can literally stop and smell the flowers!

With all the hustle and bustle that comes in everyday life, it’s nice to just give yourself a time out every now and again. Any one of these peaceful spots in Orange County will do the trick, giving your body and soul a mini-vacation.

The Role of Social Media in Divorce

Social Media in Divorce - Facebook on Smartphone

Marriage is difficult; add social media to the mix and it takes the issue to an entirely different level. While many of us turn to social media to stay connected to family and friends, social media can also serve as a third-party in many relationships, one that can lead to separation and divorce.

A study done by British law firm, Slater and Gordon, found that one in four married people would consider divorce because of how their spouses were acting on various social media sites. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is that another 17 percent said they argue on a daily basis over their spouse’s social media antics. This sounds more like anti-social media than anything else.

Finances

When enough bickering and disagreement eventually leads to divorce, the role of social media doesn’t end. In fact, social media shares can be used as evidence when it comes to alimony, child support, and other divorce-related issues. For example, you may tell your spouse you have no money to pay alimony or child support while posting a picture on Facebook of you on a fun (expensive!) vacation. Ouch!

Here’s something else to consider. Just because you may not be posting about your personal life, doesn’t mean your friends aren’t. If your friends post about the long weekend in the Hamptons you all had while you complain you’re broke, chances are you’ll end up in hot water. They may either tag you or have mutual friends with your ex meaning that those pictures will get back to him or her eventually.

Social Media as Evidence

If you think divorce lawyers aren’t using posts like those in their cases, think again. A study found 80% of lawyers in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers use evidence from Facebook in litigation. It makes you think twice about what you share and what is shared about you on social media.

It’s not just Facebook that is being used in divorce cases. Information from professional sites like LinkedIn can also influence a case. One divorce lawyer from Texas says a LinkedIn profile referenced a side business that was never noted in the case. This meant his client could ask for and get more child support than was previously requested.

Custody Issues

Besides the monetary aspects of divorce, social media can also play a role in custody issues. While custody issues are complicated at face value, posts and pictures that portray a parent in a negative light are never going to help a case. Partying and drunk pictures are not going to sit well with a judge who is ruling on whether a parent should have full custody of their child. Not taking and posting those pictures, better yet, not participating in such behavior is probably a better decision when going through divorce and custody battles.

Your Digital Footprint

While current posts may hurt your case, so may past posts. If you think deleting accounts with that information will solve your problems, think again. Deleting accounts is actually considered destroying evidence and may lead to a lawyer being sanctioned. You have to always remember once you share something on social media it’s out there for the whole world to see…today, tomorrow, and forever.

If you are going through a divorce or custody issue the best advice is to stay off of social media. Don’t add more fuel to the fire and don’t give your ex more evidence to use against you. In the end, social media is more your enemy than your friend during divorce. That’s a status update you can like and share.

 

Best Waterfront Restaurants in Orange County

Driftwood Kitchen Restaurant in Laguna Beach, CA
Photo: Driftwood Kitchen website

Sunny Orange County boasts miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy. Along the sand and surf, there are also waterfront restaurants that combine mouthwatering food with scenic views like none other. How do you sort out the best from the rest?

Here are five of the best to keep on your radar when you’re looking for a great meal with an amazing view:

The Deck

Burgers at The Deck Restaurant in Laguna Beach, CA
Photo: The Deck Facebook Page

Located in Laguna Beach, this waterfront restaurant is “decked out” when it comes to fresh seafood, refreshing cocktails, and of course, ocean views. What’s more relaxing than enjoying a cocktail and a meal by the water?

Besides fresh seafood plates like steamed clams and mussels, The Deck also offers meat dishes like The Mediterranean Branzino Filet. This meal is served with a celery root puree and a shaved fennel and arugula salad. Pair it with a signature cocktail like The California Cooler and you’ve got yourself a winner. The Deck is open Monday-Sunday from 11a.m. -10p.m.


Driftwood Kitchen

Just a few steps down from The Deck in Laguna Beach is Driftwood Kitchen. Breathtaking views of the Pacific are always on the menu here along with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites. Start your morning off right while you watch the waves crash and enjoy a Laguna Beach Omelet, made with crab, purple haze goat cheese, and avocado skillet potatoes. The breakfast menu is available daily from 9a.m. – 11a.m.

Stop by for dinner and choose one of the many fresh seafood dishes like the New Bedford Sea Scallops. Driftwood Kitchen is also open for lunch daily as well as Sunday Brunch. It’s always a relaxing time with great food and ocean views.


Watertable

Watertable Restaurant in Huntington Beach, CA
Photo: Watertable Facebook page

Whether you’re a guest at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort or are simply looking for a restaurant with a waterfront view and amazing food, Watertable is it. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are covered here with a menu full of “West coast comfort food with attitude.” What exactly does that include?

Start with a roasted tomato and spinach omelet for breakfast. For dinner, try the Chilean Sea Bass or Lobster Tail cooked the way you like with the sauce and side of your choice. The menu’s versatility is the best! Watertable is located right along the Pacific Coast Highway at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort.


Duke’s

Duke's Restaurant in Huntington Beach, CA
Photo: Duke’s Facebook Page

Here’s a fun fact about this Huntington Beach waterfront restaurant. Huntington Beach is best known for its surfing and beach lifestyle, and it was here that Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfing back in 1925. Shortly after that, Huntington Beach became known as Surf City USA. Fast forward a few decades, and the surf’s still up!

Add Duke’s waterfront restaurant to the mix with its Hawaiian style menu and it’s a win-win for everyone. Some of the unique menu items include a Miso Grilled King Salmon. This dish comes with sustainably raised jasmine rice, arugula and squash salad. Be sure to make this stop along the Pacific Coast Highway Tuesday-Sunday for lunch or dinner.


Beachcomber Cafe

Beachcomber Restaurant of Crystal Cove beach in California
Photo: Beachcomber Facebook page

The Beachcomber is located in the heart of Crystal Cove, one of the most beautiful beach areas in Southern California. In order to get to the restaurant, you’ll need to park in the Los Trancos parking lot located on the east side of the Pacific Coast Highway. From here you can either take the 10-minute walk or hop on a shuttle for a small fee.

Once you get to the Beachcomber look for items like the Real Deal Clam Chowder and Lobster Linguini Pasta; if you’re in the mood, try their fabulous Bloody Mary! Enjoy scenic beach views whether you visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner; you can’t get any closer to the beach than this!


Orange County is full of so many great restaurants that the hardest part is choosing just one! Take this list with you the next time you’re in the neighborhood and want a taste of Orange County.

New California Law Defines Date of Separation

Cute Dog Sitting by Front Door

A new California law went into effect on January 1st of this year that amended the Family Code to allow for a couple to be considered “living separate and apart” while still living under the same roof for purposes of establishing a date of separation as a precursor of divorce. This Senate bill also applies retroactively to all divorce cases that are still pending as of January 1st, 2017.

Specifically, Senate Bill 1255 adds new California Family Code Section 70. Section 70(a) maintains that date of separation means the date that a complete and final break in the marital relationship has occurred, as evidenced by the two following facts: (1) the spouse has expressed his or her intent to end the marriage to the other spouse; and (2) the conduct of the spouse is consistent with his or her intent to end the marriage.

The amended code also contains wording of SB 1255’s intent to revoke the decisions In re Marriage of Davis (2015) 61 Cal.4th 846 [which held that there is no date of separation where parties still live together] and In re Marriage of Norviel (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 1152 [which held that date of separation requires an intent to terminate the marriage and actual physical separation].

If all of that is too wordy for you, you’re not the only one! Basically the California Family Code used to say that spouses had to be “living separate and apart” in order to define a date of separation. Now, that requirement has been removed and the defining date of separation does not have to mean that one of the spouses has moved out of the house.

There are many reasons why couples who have decided to divorce choose to live under the same roof. Sometimes, they are arguing over who will stay in the home (and making a statement by not moving). Other times someone (usually the husband) is reluctant to move out before the custody arrangement and financial agreement is drawn up.

The most common reason why couples continue living under the same roof after separating, though, is because it is incredibly expensive to maintain two households – especially in California — and the divorcing couple simply cannot afford to do that. So, they consider themselves separated (by actions) and continue to live in the same house.

Back to the date of separation. Here are a few quick thoughts as to why the date of separation is important, especially when you are living under the same roof:

  • Your date of separation is used to determine each spouse’s community and separate property interests. Once you are separated, your community property rights stop.
  • The date of separation in California divorce is a key factor in deciding the award of long-term spousal support, as it determines the length of the marriage.

If you and your spouse are considering separating, or are separated and living in your home together, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

Fantastic New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Orange County

New Year's Eve Decorations for Party in Orange County, CA

There are so many options for celebrating New Year’s Eve in Orange County! Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for the whole family, a romantic dinner, or a place to party like it’s 1999 – we’ve got the best options for you in our list below:

Bring the family

NYE Dinner Buffet and Character Celebration at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

Kick off the New Year with Mickey and friends! This epic party begins at Disney’s PCH Grill, where you’ll enjoy a bountiful buffet of all-you-care-to-enjoy selections, followed by a momentous celebration hosted by Mickey and his pals inside the Pacific Ballroom.

Lively dance music sets the stage as you cut loose with a variety of Disney Characters who are available to take pictures and “Auld Lang Syne” your autograph book!

The party culminates with a midnight toast and breathtaking balloon drop.

When: Dinner 5:30 – 10 pm, Character Celebration 5:30 pm – 1 am

Where: Paradise Pier Hotel

Tickets: $75 adult, $25 kids 3-9

New Year’s Eve at Knott’s Berry Farm

The countdown to the New Year is on at Knott’s Berry Farm! Knott’s is the place to ring in 2017 with a night full of special family-friendly experiences, including live musical acts, exclusive stage shows, and Knott’s Merry Farm entertainment, culminating in a fantastic fireworks show.

As the final moments of 2016 countdown, the Knott’s Sky Cabin will dramatically rise over 200 ft. to the top of the “K” tower as special lighting effects countdown to midnight. When the cabin reaches the top at the stroke of midnight the “K” tower, the skies above Knott’s will light up with a spectacular fireworks show!

Knott’s Berry Farm is open from 10:00 am – 1:00 am and the New Year’s Eve Celebration is included with regular daytime admission.

First Night in Fullerton

This popular family-oriented, alcohol-free event will take place in Downtown Fullerton on Harbor Blvd., Pomona Ave., and Wilshire Ave. The event is free to the public and has an estimated attendance of over 15,000 guests every year.

This year’s festival will feature musical stage performances by a variety bands, roaming entertainment, games, food vendors, activities and more. The festival ends at midnight as the sky lights up with an incredible aerial display of fireworks to ring in the New Year.

Nosh

Back Bay Bistro

Celebrate the New Year with a gourmet dinner at Back Bay Bistro. The first seating offers a three-course menu from 5 – 7 p.m. for $68 per person and the second seating offers a five-course menu with dancing starting at 8 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight, all for $115 per person.

Both seatings start dinner with a Wild Mushroom Gougére, and a first course of Wild Mushroom Velouté or Main Lobster Bisque with Cognac Cream. From there, the menu varies, depending on whether you will enjoy the 3-course or 5-course meal. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Los Angeles based renowned jazz trumpet player and vocalist, Ilya Serov will entertain guests throughout the evening with his talented band.

Selanne Steak Tavern’s New Year’s Eve Gourmet Feast & Celebration

First Seating 5 to 7 p.m.; Second Seating 8:30 to 10 p.m.

At Selanne Steak Tavern, Executive Chef Joshua Severson will be creating a glorious repast for New Year’s Eve – a five-course prix fixe menu with amuse bouche offered at two seatings, as well as suggested “Platinum” wine pairings for each course for a supplemental price.

The celebratory menu looks incredible! The festive food and partying will be accompanied by live entertainment by Brazilian guitarist Marco Túlio and his Brazilian jazz musicians.

The five-course New Year’s Eve menu is $195 per person, which includes party favors and champagne toast of Veuve Clicquot.

Party

Yacht Party

Celebrate this New Year’s Eve in style on Newport’s most elegant oversized luxury yacht, The Royal Princess! The Royal Princess is 120 Feet, 2 levels, with outdoor decks, a lounge and a beautiful dance floor.

It will be a fun, intimate evening as this luxury yacht has a capacity of 150. This event has SOLD OUT 13 years in a row so get your tickets early!

Time:

Boat boards at 9:30pm, returns at 1:00am (be sure to arrive on time)

Cost: Starts at $159

Price Includes:

  • Four-hour cruise through Newport Harbor
  • Premium open bar all night
  • Champagne greeting
  • Appetizer buffet food court
  • New Year’s Party Favors
  • DJ and Dancing (Hip Hop, Dance & Top 40)


RESOLUTION 2017

One of the most anticipated New Year’s Eve party in Orange County, this elaborate event is the ultimate seaside extravaganza!  RESOLUTION NYE will be erecting a massive tent at Newport Beach Back Bay for two back-to-back New Year’s Eve Parties.

There’s a lot to look forward to at this event, including:

  • Headlining DJ SNBRN, who will be spinning everything from classic top 40 to the best dance tunes of 2016.
  • Massive NYE Balloon Drop
  • State of the Art Lighting and Production
  • Beautiful Heated Tent
  • NYE Party Favors
  • Holiday Light Show on the Water
  • Open Bar Options
  • VIP Tables
  • Food Trucks
  • Huge Dance Floor


Whatever you do, have fun and be safe! Remember, celebrate wisely, don’t drink and drive! If you don’t have a designated driver, choose Uber or a taxi. Happy New Year!

Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season

Young Girl with Cat on Stress Free Christmas

The holidays can be a wonderful time of celebrating, anticipation and love. If you’re dreading the holidays this year (or every year) then it’s time to make some changes! Start with the items on this list, and we think you’ll find more fun, more joy, and much less stress this holiday season.

Stick to a budget

Financial stress during the holidays is one of the top stressors of the season. Make your budget early, agree to it with your spouse (if you have one), and then stick to it. Contrary to what pop culture tells us, an avalanche of gifts does not buy happiness!

Consider a family gift exchange instead of individual gifts, draw names, or donate to someone’s favorite charity instead of buying a gift. Handmade gifts are also a good option, if you knit or sew or are crafty!

Plan ahead

Even if you’re not normally a planner, sit down at the beginning of the season and review your scheduled commitments. Then, set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and any holiday activities you do every year. Knowing what your schedule looks like in advance will help you see where you are overcommitted or which days/weekends you don’t want to schedule any more activities.

On a weekly basis, take it to the next level and plan your menus and then make your grocery shopping list. Doing so will help prevent that last-minute panic over forgotten ingredients.

Just Say No

Saying no is difficult, we totally understand! But so many of us go overboard to please others during the holidays: we spend umpteen hours shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event that we get asked to go to.

Set your intentions early and tell yourself it’s okay to say no to some things. If it makes you feel better, plan alternative get-togethers or activities in January, when everyone typically needs a mood boost!

Play some mood lightening music

Research has confirmed the soothing power of music and the unique link it has to our emotions. It can be an extremely effective stress management tool that relaxes our minds and bodies.

Here are some great holiday soundtracks that everyone will enjoy:

  • My Holiday, by Mindy Smith
  • Rhythm & Blues Christmas
  • Christmas Through the Years, by Louis Armstrong
  • Christmas Songs by Sinatra, by Frank Sinatra

Schedule a break

When you’re planning your schedule at the beginning of the season (see above), try to schedule in a break from the hustle and bustle. Maybe it’s just an afternoon or a few hours, but do it! Use that time to unplug: head outdoors, settle down with a good book and cup of coffee or tea, or take a nighttime stroll or drive to view festive light displays.

It doesn’t matter as much what it is, as long as it’s relaxing to you!

Let go of stressful rituals

Lots of families thrive on tradition, and actually enjoy it. But if you are dragging the family to see the Nutcracker every year and nobody really wants to go, it’s time to let go of that tradition and replace it with a different one.

Ask your family what their favorite thing to do over the holidays is, and make that your new annual tradition. Think ice skating, chocolate chip pancakes on Christmas Eve, or volunteering to buy gifts for a family in need.

The 5 Best Restaurants in Huntington Beach to Eat at Now

Daytime at Huntington Beach Pier in California

Do you ever get in a dining rut and eat at the same places all the time? We do, too. With that in mind, we put together this list of our favorite places to eat in Huntington Beach right now. There’s a little something for everyone on this list, at multiple price ranges. From the swankier to the local surfer hangout, each restaurant has a different vibe, but all have choices that will tantalize your taste buds. So, read on, hungry friends. Let us know which one is your favorite!

Watertable

Source: Watertable Facebook Page

Located at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, Watertable has an amazing, unique blend of old and new, rustic and refined.  It’s calm and quiet, and you definitely won’t feel like you’re in a hotel! It’s a great place to watch the sunset, and has a great outdoor patio.

Favorite dishes include the House Butchered NY Steak or Filet with Bacon Jam, the Chilean Sea Bass and the Char-Cold Squid Steak. The Bar Jars are perpetually raved about as well!

North Shore Poke Company

Poke is having a moment here in OC, and dare we say North Shore Poke Company is one of the best? It’s a family-run business entirely dedicated to creating mind-blowing good Hawaiian poke. Every plate achieves that elusive, cuisine-defining balance of sweet, salty, and sour — even dessert. It’s not fancy, so don’t go there expecting that, but it has a hometown Hawaiian vibe that we really like.

For a real treat, get your poke to go and walk down to the beach for al fresco beach dining!

Sugar Shack

If you’re looking for amazing breakfast (or lunch), this is your place; it’s probably one of the most popular places in old town Huntington Beach. This local establishment has been family owned since 1967, and word has it that “…there is a tradition in Huntington Beach that says that no one is a true surfer unless they have been to the Sugar Shack.”

Most of the menu is standard breakfast fare, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, try the Keppler’s Special:  an English muffin topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and avocado all smothered in Hollandaise sauce.

Secret Spot

Another local favorite, this place is not on everyone’s radar because it’s a vegetarian and vegan friendly spot. Don’t let that deter you though – the food here is delicious (and they do serve meat)! The burritos are killer, and definitely one of the most popular items on the menu.

Other delicious eats you don’t want to miss: Blueberry Mango Pancakes, San O Salad, and the Fried Bananas.

Slapfish

Source: Slapfish Facebook page

Slapfish offers the best in seafood, with a strong focus on sustainability. People even drive from L.A. to eat here, so you know it must be good! Go hungry to this place and order some items to share. The Clobster Grilled Cheese is almost everyone’s favorite, the chowder fries are amazing, and the Lobster Role will make you drool.