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Author: The Mesa Maven

Cultivating Our Cultural Canvas

The well-known British sculptor, Antony Gormley, is often quoted as saying: “I believe in the city as a natural human environment, but we must humanize it. It’s art that will re-define public space in the 21st Century. We can make our cities diverse, inspirational places by putting art, dance and performance in all its forms into the matrix of street life.” He should know. He’s spent a lifetime creating sculpture designed to adorn public spaces.

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Lisa Albert: Art From The Heart

Hearting Costa Mesa is such an adventure! There’s a discovery behind every door, artwork down every alley and something truly notable tucked in every nook and cranny. No matter how much we cover Costa Mesa, we still make new discoveries on the daily. Today’s feature is a perfect example. We had no idea they existed, let alone for over 25 years. But now that we’ve become acquainted with Lisa Albert Art Studio, we can’t imagine 17th Street without this charming, makerspace oasis.

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Of Pets And Vets

Our local bipeds aren’t the only wonderful and important residents of beautiful Costa Mesa. This city also has a strong contingent of purrrr-fectly fabulous and furry Costa Mesans for whom life is enjoyed on all fours. We’re talking, of course, about local pets: pooches, mousers, fur babies! Those cuddly companions who make life worth living and are as much a part of the family as any human. But sometimes our domesticated darlings get sick, or require expert help to overcome life’s bumps and bruises.

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The State Of Gray

“What makes Costa Mesa different from other places in Orange County?” It’s the question we ask in every, single interview we do. And while the answers have varied from, “independent spirit,” to “lack of that cookie-cutter vibe,” to “blue-collar history,” to “the Segerstrom family” – one theme keeps coming up over and over again: passion. That thankless, penniless, knuckle-down, bootstrappy kind of passion that’s so much a part of who you are, it takes more effort to reign it in than it does to go out and act on it.

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Camp Lila: Behind The Garden Gate

It’s no secret we think Costa Mesa is a pretty magical place. There’s just something about this city – an energy, a scene, a gravitational pull – that inspires creativity, courage and independence. People want to be a part of it. Or as today’s featured Costa Mesan, Katie Sherouse, more eloquently puts it: “Our vibe attracts our tribe.”

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Thunderking: Taking Cold Brew By Storm

Nothing brings more joy to the I Heart Costa Mesa team than connecting with fellow Costa Mesa Superfans. So imagine our jubilation when we unearthed Costa Mesa brother-in-hearts, Rexford “Dean” Tompkins of Thunderking Brewing Company. Tompkins is a “local boy” who – since April 2015 – has been quietly (and then not-so-quietly) killing it in the cold-brewed coffee space. If you trip and fall anywhere in Costa Mesa, it will likely be straight into a keg of Thunderking cold brew.

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Farm It Out: SOCO Farmers’ Market

The beauty of living in a city as diverse and eclectic as Costa Mesa is the panoply of pastimes laid before us. From social clubs to health clubs, escape rooms to spring blooms – and everything in between – this town is truly replete with recreation. Lucky us! Luckier still every Saturday morning from 9am – 2pm, when the charming, community-minded SOCO Farmers’ Market comes to South Coast Collection, in the parking lot adjacent to The OC Mix.

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Go For Broke: Brokedown Clothing

We all know Costa Mesa as the “City of the Arts” – but it could just as easily be “The City of the Side Hustle” for all the scrappy creativity and bootstrapping going on behind the scenes. Costa Mesans have been side-hustling long before it was ever a meme. With so much “garage hobbying” going on, it’s no surprise some of our best-received, locally-born brands started out that way. This trajectory is one that’s all too familiar for Jodi Benavidez.

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The (Mexi)Cool Kids: Vient Studios

The summertime Costa Mesa Concerts In The Park series at Fairview Park, in Westside Costa Mesa, is one of the best annual events in our city. Live music from great bands, yummy food trucks, free activities for the kiddos (like face-painting and balloon animals), adult beverages for the 21-and-over crowd, dancing, singing, socializing – and a general coming together with thousands of Costa Mesans of every age and persuasion. It’s excellent in every way!

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Soirée Mainstay: Baker Party Rentals

Here at I Heart Costa Mesa, we think every day spent in our beautiful city is reason to celebrate – and we’re in good company! Today’s featured Costa Mesans are truly the life of the party… as in, you’d be hard-pressed to throw one without them. They are so interwoven into the festivity fabric of our city, chances are you’ve already attended at least one party (and likely many, many more) outfitted by Baker Party Rentals…

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Fall Into The Trap

One of the best things about Costa Mesa is there’s always something fun to do. Golfing, mushing, felting, sweating, rocking out – the list goes on and on! Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes to town and the thrill of discovery begins all over again. So we were thrilled to discover a fun, Costa Mesa first, recently, when we popped in on TrapZone Escape Rooms in the SoBeCa District.

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The School Of Art

As another school year wraps up in The City Of The Arts – and Costa Mesa students count down the days until summer break – I Heart Costa Mesa headed down to the campus of Orange Coast College to learn more about their popular Visual & Performing Arts program.

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Hit The Trail

This city is made great by all the people “just quietly doing their thing.” By and large, Costa Mesans aren’t big on bragging or self-promotion. They don’t necessarily want or need praise…

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At The Chamber Door

Costa Mesans are a giving people. There’s a pulse of generosity that beats through this city, powered by neighbors as likely to give you the shirt off their back as a pat on yours. Groups, committees, associations, teams, volunteers…

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Contain Yourself

Every once in a while we stumble upon a “costamazing” little find with a “je ne said quoi” that really bates our breath. And this week’s feature brings the magic in the all the best, most-antiquey and frenchiest ways possible. We’re talking about the lovely, little-corner, quonset hut….

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The Nickel Tour

While people like Costa Mesa for her weather, her beach-close affordability, her big-city-with-a-small-town feel – they fall in love with her details. If anyone can embody an appreciation for the little details of life – like the whimsy of a welcome mat, the dazzle of a druzy or the chuckle from a really cheeky tee – it’s today’s featured Costa Mesan…

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Helping Little Hands

Photo: Brandy Young If Necessity is the mother of invention, then Love is certainly the father. Every parent can attest to both the flights of joy and the weights of responsibility that parenthood entails. But through all the ages and stages of childrearing, one universal truth remains: We want what is best for our kids. Love is a tremendous motivator that can easily compound both innovation and personal growth. And we’ve yet to meet a more shining example of the ingenuity born from a father’s love than local engineer and College Park resident, Abu Zubair. Zubair is the inventor of ZOTTZ,...

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A Friend In Bead

It’s another beautiful day, here on the Mesa; another beautiful opportunity to get out on the town, meet people, try things, and connect with a yet-undiscovered corner of The City Of The Arts. And if, like us, you’re uniquely interested in the very human, the very local and the very creative, we can’t think of a better way to while away the afternoon than over at The Studio in SoBeCa. It’s a welcoming, little, artisan alcove etched out at The Camp by jewelry designer (and occasional armchair therapist) Stacey Peterson.

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Local Recipe: Prime New York Steak For Two

“Our Prime New York Steak recipe is truly delicious. It’s our Spanish, tapas-style version of a classic, crowd-pleasing meal. We start with an Aleppo crème fraîche, then layer on crispy, fingerling potatoes and tender, juicy steak seared to perfection. We then add roasted, green-garlic bulbs and top it all with our feta salsa verde (which almost serves as a chimichurri sauce.) It’s a unique but satisfying, all-in-one dish that’s sure to impress even the most discerning guests. Enjoy!” – Chef Chun

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Airstream Spintrospective

We were cruising around our Mesa the other day – just walkin’ and soakin’ up those coastal, Costa Mesa vibes – when suddenly a most epic idea struck home: What Costa Mesa needs is a signature soundtrack! A mix-tape for the ages, a playlist to end all playlists – a curated collection of superbly-selected songs that, once masterfully melded, embody who we are, how we began, where we’re going. The “Costa Mesa condition” set to music. While the idea may be cool in theory, we personally couldn’t score a soundtrack to save our socks; it’s just not in our suite of skills. But...

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Splash And Learn

And today we mean “dive in” in the most-literal sense, because we’re happily highlighting the pool-based program that’s quickly become the pride of Newport-Mesa: the Costa Mesa Aquatics Club, or CMAC (pronounced: see-mac), for short. When it comes to harboring a deep and abiding love for Costa Mesa, we are hard-pressed to find people who wear it louder or prouder than the swimmers, polo players, coaches and staff at this popular, non-profit program.

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Art Under The Collar

Costa Mesa is “The City of the Arts“ and she wears that moniker well. Here at I Heart Costa Mesa we love waxing poetic about the ever-expanding enormity of our city’s collective talent. In our ongoing quest to further connect with fellow Costa Mesans, we’ve recently delved a bit more deeply into the idea of art itself: What is art? Where is art? How will we know it when we see it? Google ever-so-helpfully defines art as: “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination… producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” We love this open-ended definition...

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Member-Based Maker Space

When was the last time you crafted something from scratch? Built something by hand? In a world where “liking” or “sharing” or snapping a pic of other people’s work gives us the same zing as if we’d made it ourselves, are we losing what it means to create something all our own? Here at I Heart Costa Mesa, we’re big fans of “making” and anyone engaged in the courage, commitment and (let’s be honest) dedicated drudgery of it. So it’s no surprise we fell for Steve Trindade – and his Urban Workshop – after visiting the 18,500-square-foot makerspace on Clinton Street (by the airport). Urban Workshop bills...

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