BleachBlack Takes Us Inside The Real OC

If you've seen an episode of Laguna Beach or The Real Housewives of Orange County, you may think you know The OC. But unless you've checked out BleackBlack L.A. editor Valerie Killeen's must-stop spots, you have no idea what unlikely treasures await. Valerie, who along with Kristin Reitier share musings on fashion, art, and DIY projects on her super-popular site, knows that this beach town is filled with amazing surf spots, top-notch Mexican food, and fantastic shopping (South Coast Plaza Mall and independent boutiques that keep us coming back for more), so we were super-stoked to pick the brain of the OC's raddest native daughter.
Valerie's OC tour starts here:

1. Café Zinc and Market:
"This Laguna Beach Café is one of my loves. The chai tea and oat scones for breakfast or the chilled soups and marinated veggie salads rule for lunch. Don't forget to check out Anastasia (avant garde jewelry and clothing) or Havoc (for excellent designer consignment) while you wait for your grub, as both are just steps from this delish spot."

Café Zinc and Market, 350 Ocean Avenue (at Beach Street); 949-494-2791

2. A'marees:

"This classic boutique stocks an amazing arsenal of designer apparel...the staff is ridiculously nice, and their Pierre Hardy wedge collection is divine. It's definitely a higher-end boutique, so don't be afraid to join the mailing list for their twice-yearly blowout sales for Dries and Marni at 60% off."

A'marees, 1649 Westcliff Drive (at East 17th Street); 949-642-4423.

3. San Onofre State Beach:
"If you're into long boarding, be sure to check out San Onofre State Beach in San Clemente. It's an institution with dusty dirt roads and hidden bamboo showers. It's pretty quintessential Southern California."

4. The Noguchi Museum And Sculpture Garden:
This apocalyptic outdoor sculpture garden is just a few blocks from the famed South Coast Plaza Mall, and it's pretty incredible. Wedged between some towering office buildings and the 405 Freeway, the stone utopia features babbling brooks and succulent gardens. Don't forget your camera and for an especially romantic time, head over at sunset."

The Noguchi Garden,Two Town Center (at Sunflower Avenue); no phone.

5. Las Golondrinas:
"This dive-y Mexican takeout spot is home to some of the best mole and fish tacos, and at $2.65 you really can't go wrong. Don't forget the cinnamon and sugar chips as well! Yum."

Laguna Niguel, 27981 Greenfield Drive, suite G (at Rachel Niguel Road); 949-362-1913.