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“You’re Not Going To Find A Better Place”

Hearts of Costa Mesa: Heather Deyden at Heller Park, Eastside Costa Mesa
Photo: Brandy Young

“I was born at Hoag and went to school at Kaiser, then Ensign, then Newport Harbor – so I’m definitely a local girl. Now I’m a mom and we’re raising our kids here, too. Costa Mesa’s a great place for families because even though we have all the Orange County amenities, we still have a small-town vibe and everyone’s really approachable.

“Going from being a child here – to now being a parent – I’ve seen a lot of changes happen over my lifetime. There was a while our city felt like it was in a slump. But now, everywhere you look, you’re seeing energy and rejuvenation. We’re even getting a bit of a hipster vibe! I think things like opening SoCo and revamping Triangle Square helped with that. It’s created a more eclectic atmosphere which keeps the community thriving and alive.

“Even though the changes to the city are fantastic, I worry if we do too much, too fast, it will push out some people who’ve been here a long time. I think we need to keep it at a steady tempo; not grow so quickly that the people of our city can’t weather it, financially. We have some amazing residents and they are a big part of what makes this city so great.

“I’m personally very happy we’ve managed to keep so many of our longstanding traditions alive. Events like the Orange County Fair and the Fish Fry, they’ve been a part of my life forever. I even won the Cutest Baby Contest at the Fish Fry when I was little and got to take home a giant trophy. Stuff like that is great and keeps our city feeling small-town and family-focused – it brings all the generations together.

“Or what about the summer concerts over at Fairview Park? I remember when they were teeny-tiny. But now you have to get there an hour early just to get a good seat. These days, it seems like more of the community is really embracing these events and looking for ways to support each other.

“My husband is a chef at Disneyland, so when he’s not working we love to eat out and support local restaurants. Our favorites in Costa Mesa are places like Mi Casa, Al Palace, Eon Sushi, Wild Goose – and Social is always fun. Oh, and La Vida! They have a fantastic Taco Tuesday. We’re lucky to have so many good options in town.

“Costa Mesa is definitely vacation-destination living. We have great weather year-round. We have the beaches right down the street. We’re central to so many fun things. People travel from all over the world to visit, so living here really is a privilege.

“Like most destination cities, it takes a higher income to afford it – which can be a struggle for some people. It’s something we have to work towards. I try to tell people, ‘Look at it like a goal. Make it your goal to live here because you’re not going to find a better place.’ It’s a fantastic way of life.” ♥

– Heather Deyden, Longtime Resident, Eastside Costa Mesa

About The Author

Hearts of Costa Mesa

Hearts of Costa Mesa is a curated journey through the rich diversity of Costa Mesa life. We'll be sharing vignettes and stories through the reflections of Costa Mesa's residents and regulars. This is an ongoing project, a tapestry we'll continue to weave over time. Please contact us through the website if you'd like to participate. Read all the Hearts of Costa Mesa vignettes here.

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