Ria Rueda

Ria Rueda’s Midlife Move: Westport, CT to Orange County, CA

Ria Rueda, a social media influencer, is on a mission to help women embrace and feel good about getting older. With her popular Instagram account, ‘A Girl’s Guide to Midlife,’ Ria shares her insights and experiences with her followers. Recently, Ria moved from Westport, Connecticut to Costa Mesa in Southern California. In this interview, Ria gives us a glimpse into her life in Orange County and shares her thoughts on aging gracefully.

Ria Rueda A Girl's Guide to Midlife

Describe your Move to California. Why Did You Decide to Move to Orange County?

Last December, I moved from Westport, Connecticut to Costa Mesa in Orange County, California. Although I’m originally from Southern California, I decided to move back when I found a job that offered me the opportunity to return to my home state. 

At first, I thought I would move back to L.A. since I used to work in Los Angeles and owned a home in West Hollywood. 

However, my new job was based in Orange County, which is how I ended up moving to Costa Mesa. I’m minutes away from Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, and I’m happy to be back to warm weather. No humidity and no more snow! 

Back when I was living in Connecticut, I used to have to fly back to California at least once a year to see friends and get my L.A. fix, but now I’m enjoying the California lifestyle 365 days a year!

Ria Rueda A Girl's Guide to Midlife

10 Reasons to Move to Costa Mesa and South County

  1. Amazing weather
  2. Beautiful beaches
  3. Outdoor activities all year round
  4. Good public schools
  5. Quality healthcare
  6. Diverse housing stock
  7. Luxury shopping
  8. Great food scene
  9. Prime location (between Los Angeles and San Diego counties)
  10. Diverse housing stock

How Would You Describe Orange County Residents?

Orange County residents are passionate about their physical health. They love the outdoors and take full advantage of it, whether it’s running, walking, or surfing. Most people watch what they eat to maintain their health and appearance.

However, when a drop of rain hits the sand, people lose their minds and don’t know what to do. Ironically, they roll their eyes when the world beneath them shakes.

Additionally, people from O.C. are known for being hardcore dog lovers.

Ria Rueda A Girl's Guide to Midlife

Did you Know Anyone when you Moved to Orange County? Any Advice for Newcomers on the Best Way to Meet People?

When I moved to Orange County, I didn’t know anyone. The last time I had been there was in 1986 when I was heading off to college! 

Even now, I don’t know a lot of people, but it’s a work in progress. I meet people at work, in my building, and when I’m out and about.

What’s the Biggest Difference Between Living in Southern California versus Living in Westport, Connecticut?

The biggest differences between living in Southern California versus living in Westport, Connecticut are the weather and the pace of life. Compared to Connecticut, it’s a less fast-paced environment in Southern California. 

While the cost of living is not necessarily lower in Southern California, homebuyers in Westport, Connecticut tend to get more land for their money in Fairfield County.

How Old are Your Kids? What are Your Favorite Things to Do with Kids in Orange County? 

My daughter is 21 years old and she is a junior at San Diego State University. At this stage, we are all about dining out, shopping, and enjoying the outdoors.

Ria Rueda A Girl's Guide to Midlife

Any Favorite Restaurants in Orange County that You Can Recommend?

Although I’ve only scratched the surface of living in Orange County, I have SO much to explore. But right now, my favorite restaurants in Orange County are:

  • Din Tai Fung in Costa Mesa for dumplings
  • China Garden in Irvine for authentic Chinese food
  • ROL in Huntington Beach for sushi hand rolls
  • Ahba in Laguna Beach for Mediterranean fare and a delicious burger
  • Mayfield in San Clemente for New American
  • Super Antojitos in Costa Mesa for carne asada tacos
  • Gracias Madre in Newport Beach for vegetarian and vegan cuisine

What’s Your Commute to Work Like?

I’m fortunate to be able to walk to work, which is a rarity here in Costa Mesa. It only takes me seven minutes to get to my office!

Tell Me More about A Girl’s Guide to Midlife. What Inspired You to Start it? 

I created A Girl’s Guide to Midlife (AGGTM) in response to a profound lack of women my age and midlife information across the media landscape. 

A Girl’s Guide to Midlife curates products, makes informed recommendations, and offers editorial meant to engage, inspire, and create community. 

A Girl’s Guide to Midlife is the go-to place for women of a certain age for what you need to know and maybe didn’t even know you needed to know. 

I feel so great about getting older. I decided to plant my flag not so much as an influencer but rather as a pro-ager. I’m grateful for the privilege of growing older and reject the narrative that women should stop wearing red lipstick or long hair or short dresses. 

Ria Rueda A Girl's Guide to Midlife

I don’t want people going through menopause, mental health issues, divorce, etc. to suffer in silence. 

I rejected the notion that we should fade into the background and knew instinctively that I wasn’t alone. 

It’s my hope to build a community of empowered women who embody style and substance, who have fierce options and the confidence to voice them, who have boundless creativity and also know when to rest; who have information about menopause and not feel like they’re going crazy; who desire to lift one another up and be lifted in return; who have a sense of humor to go with their great taste. 

A Girl’s Guide to Midlife is a place where women of any age – but particularly those with a few crows feet can come for camaraderie, validation, information, and style. 

Of course, style is about so much more than the clothes you put on your back:  it’s about who you are underneath. – about what you say, what you do, the company you keep, and how you move in the world. 

Style is a feeling…a feeling of being comfortable in your own skin, of living in alignment with your inner and outer worlds.

A Girl’s Guide to Midlife is a metaphor for what to let go of and what to hold onto. Empowerment is the message. 

I see A Girl’s Guide to Midlife as an emerging movement that inspires to unlock your creativity, connect your inner beauty to the outside world, and enables you to be the truest version of yourself and embrace exactly where you are in life. 

Read any Good Books Lately? Any Book Recommendations?

I wish I had the energy to read. It’s something I want to incorporate more of next year. I have a pile of books I need to read and most of them are suspense/mystery books.

How to Get in Touch with Ria Rueda

Instagram: @a_girlsguidetomidlife 

At Suburbs 101, we’re dedicated to building a library of first-hand perspectives and experiences for people moving to the suburbs. We rely on recommendations from the community to uncover hidden gems. If you know someone who deserves to be interviewed, please don’t hesitate to let us know here.

About Ria Rueda

Ria is a seasoned lifestyle public relations professional and is the Manager and Brand Ambassador of the Fisher & Paykel | DCS Experience Center at the Fisher & Paykel North America headquarters. In her 20+ years in the industry, she has handled the launch and the promotion of some of the world’s most well-respected luxury and consumer product brands. Her career began at the powerhouse Los Angeles public relations agency, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, supervising the publicity campaigns for luxury brands such as the Diamond Information Center, Salvatore Ferragamo, J.P Tod’s and Moet & Chandon to name a few.

She later transitioned into an in-house position at Mattel managing the national public relations campaigns for the Girls Division’s brands including the Barbie Brand.

Ria later relocated to the east coast and joined the Barteca Restaurant Group as Director of Public Relations and overseeing public relations efforts for their concepts Barcelona Wine Bar and bartaco. After several years, she founded Bread & Butter Marketing representing hospitality, non-profit, and real estate developer clients.

In 2018, she added luxury appliances to her consumer brand p.r. portfolio when Monogram Appliances moved their showroom to Fairfield County Connecticut and opened their first Monogram Design Center. Ria managed the showroom and conducted outreach programs to regional builders, architects, designers, and consumers to generate awareness about the Monogram Brand via training sessions, cooking demonstrations and industry events. In 2023, she returned to home state of California and brought her experience to Fisher & Paykel Appliances’ Experience Center in Orange County.

Ria is an active community member and has served on the Board of the Westport Young Women’s League, Westport Arts Center, and Westport Pride. She also served on the Ambassador Board of Make-A-Wish Connecticut. Her latest passion project is A Girl’s Guide to Midlife, a social media community that encourages conversation about aging gracefully, women’s health, style, and wellness.

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