Everything To Do In The Inland Empire

Everyone wants to go to LA or San Diego, and why wouldn’t they? The cities are vibrant, the beaches are stunning, and attractions like Disneyland and Sea World are internationally renowned. The thing about California’s two largest cities, though, is that they’re just 2 towns, and in between them there’s 120 miles of the state that all too few stop to see. That’s something of a pity, because this area, locally called the Inland Empire, is actually full of some of the most incredible California experiences you’ll find. So if you’re looking to do something a little different on your California trip, here’s a quick guide of everything to do in the IE.


Temecula Wine Country

You don’t have to go all the way up to Napa to find Cali’s best vintages. Roughly centered in between LA and San Diego, the Temecula Valley Wine Country is SoCal’s best kept secret – an oasis of rolling hills, ocean mists, and over 30 sprawling, green vineyards situated on the edge of the high desert. Take an afternoon and tour the wineries for a tasting of some of the local wines, enjoy a meal at one of the award-winning vineyard restaurants, and stay in plush accommodations set amongst hills full of grapevines and citrus trees. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a hot air balloon up to see the valley from above, then enjoy a few authentic tacos along the old western streets of historic Old Town. It’s the quintessential California wine country experience a little closer to the other things you actually want to see.


Head Up To The Mountains

Big Bear has been Southern California’s destination for a little wilderness and winter for decades, and it really should be everyone’s. Situated in the San Bernardino Mountains, lakeside mountain towns like Idyllwild, Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead bring the mountain life right into the heart of Southern California. Rest up lakeside in a log cabin, take in the views along hundreds of stunning hiking paths, or head into town for some old-time charm with country stores tucked into Bavarian style storefronts. Check out the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival for some local culture. If you’re there in the winter, don’t hesitate to take to the slopes, or just sip some cocoa at the ski lodge and watch the snow fall.


Route 66

Route 66 ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, and while large portions of it have been replaced by the Interstate, stretches of the historic highway and its quintessential roadside attractions remain. Check out the Mother Road Museum in Barstow before hitting up Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch, a desert installation of bottles posted on vertical posts that paints the surrounding desert with their reflections. Head over to the San Bernardino stretch to see the famous tepee shaped rooms at the Wigwam Motel, and grab some famous menudo at Mitla Café along the way.


The Mission Inn – A Destination Hotel

Riverside isn’t a town that’s typically considered a prime tourist destination, but with an up-and-coming arts scene, a host of local festivals, and the historic Mission Inn, that’s all changing. The Mission Inn has actually been a part of the scene in Southern California for a long time, and with good reason. The hotel is the largest Mission Revival Style building in the US, and features stunning Spanish architecture that includes wide arches, overhanging bridges and bell towers, and striking stucco and brick that’s unlike anything around it. It plays host to the Festival of Lights during the holiday season, and is part of the Riverside Ghost Walk that surrounds Halloween. It also houses the Inland Empire’s only AAA Four Diamond awarded restaurant, Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood Restaurant, along with authentic Mexican and Southern Italian eateries. It’s so well regarded that the hotel even has its own museum commemorating its history. Beyond all that, it’s positively stunning it its architecture and décor, and is a destination unto itself on your trek in between LA and San Diego.

Elba “Too Street” to Play Bond: On What Planet?

James Bond author Anthony Horowitz recently got major flack for his comments that actor Idris Elba “isn’t suave enough” and is “too street” to play James Bond. Earlier this year, former Bond actor Roger Moore put his foot in his mouth with the comment that Idris Elba wasn’t “English-English” enough to be Bond. Critics cried racism while both men issued apologies. We’re broaching a sensitive subject here, but what on earth does an “English-English” person look like? Clearly not like Idris Elba, in the antiquated opinion of Horowitz and Moore.

Luckily Mr. Horowitz is not involved in the casting decisions or we wouldn’t have the chance to enjoy Daniel Craig’s modern, gritty portrayal of Bond. Casting Craig as Bond may have been unpopular at first, but he’s played the role convincingly, starring in the two highest grossing movies in the history of the series: Casino Royale and Skyfall. If we measure Daniel by Mr. Hor-owitz’s opinion, he’d be out since Daniel Craig is arguably more “street” than handsome, smooth Idris Elba. And Horowitz should take note: a “street” Bond isn’t a bad thing and here’s why.

Craig as Bond looks uncomfortable in his bespoke tuxedo, but you know that the man can get down and dirty to take care of business. Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore are series classics with their slightly fussy, effeminate and blue blood “English-English” sensibilities but it was hard to take ascot-wearing Sir Roger Moore’s Bond snowboarding or his escapades in space seriously.

Craig’s decidedly un-suave Bond is brilliantly defiant during a torture session focused on his genital areas and asks his nemesis to scratch them for him because “he’s got a little itch down there.” If that isn’t street, then I don’t know what is. He’s anti-establishment—and necessary in a world where the bad guys are terrorists and insane mass murderers. Villains today don’t make speaker phone threats while petting a bald kitty. If anything, Bond needs to be more street to evolve with the times and save the day.

Elba has shown a talent in this type of role in The Wire and the movie Luther. But his most bankable talents for Bond is his cool charisma. Google him and you’ll be hard up to find a bad picture of him. He wears a good suit enviably well, yet can pull out a tough, masculine edge when he needs to. His rugged charm is what the Bond role needs.

Daniel Craig once put Idris Elba’s name up to succeed him as Bond with good reason. He’s the man all men want to be and all women want to be with.

5 Places to Go Outside in SoCal That Have Nothing to Do with the Beach

Golden beaches, waves, tans, and palm trees.  It’s why people flock to California and some of them never go home.  If you lived here, wouldn’t you go to the beach all the time?

But if you live in California, you already know what going to the beach during the summer can be like.  The dream can quickly turn into a nightmare, but this is the reality:

  • Traffic on the freeway.
  • Traffic getting off the freeway.
  • Driving around looking for parking.
  • Getting into a verbal altercation while looking for parking.
  • Finally finding parking. It’s 10 blocks away, but you’ll take it.
  • Walking 10 blocks with all your gear.
  • The beach is packed. With tourists.

Nothing against tourists, by the way.  Locals just get sick of sharing all their beloved spots with out-of-towners, or worse—European men, who inevitably will wear Speedos and then call you a prude if you giggle about it.

Too bad there’s nothing else to do in SoCal but go to the beach, right?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  Skip all the drama and check out some of these amazing locations—probably within 2-3 hours (with traffic!) from you!


Do you ever miss trees?  Drive on out to the mountains just east of Hemet and find yourself rising above the smog.  You’ll love the forest-feel, the cute bed-and-breakfasts, and the cozy, down-home style restaurants.  Take a six mile out and back hike to Suicide Rock for breathtaking views of tree covered mountains.  Hiking not your thing?  There are plenty of little shops in town to explore.

Big Bear

While everyone else is headed west toward the ocean, just go the opposite way, get ready for some twisting, turning roads, and you’ll find yourself in another outdoor playland.  Big Bear is a great destination any time of year.  During the summer, you’ll see people out swimming, biking, hiking, and boating on Big Bear Lake.  It’s just as busy in the winter, since it’s one of the only skiing and snowboarding destinations in southern California that actually offers some decent runs.  Plan ahead with a group of friends and rent a house for a long weekend, relax, make some great memories, and then get ready to battle traffic on the way home.  Just keeping it real.

Salton Sea

Looking for a quirky destination to explore?  Located two and a half hours northeast of San Diego, the Salton Sea is a man-made lake accidently created by engineers in the early 1900s.  In the 1950s and 60s, the Salton Sea was a popular resort town, but the lake continued to become polluted and when the fish started to die off, so did the tourists.  What’s left is a wasteland of old, abandoned 1960s resorts and diners, dead fish, and eclectic residents.  Yes, residents.  People actually live there.  Sure, it’s not a town with great restaurants or a charming downtown, but as far as forgotten California history goes, this place can’t be beat.  Don’t forget to check out Salvation Mountain on the southeast side of the lake as a bonus to the weirdness.  Bring your camera.


When you’re living in big cities like Los Angeles or San Diego, you can forget that places like Julian can even exist in Southern California.  Two and a half hours southeast of Los Angeles, Julian is located in the mountains that straddle the coast and the desert.  Why go to Julian?  With their economy based mainly on agriculture—apples to be exact—Julian is the place to go to for quaint shops, charming cafes, and delicious, thick, slices of homemade apple pie.


Pack up the tents, load the cooler, and get ready to go camping.  Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a great resting-place for people who need to get out of the daily grind and want a slower pace for a few days.  Plan for some hikes or just hang out around the campground with a great book.  Because this location is further inland, it gets really hot during the summer, so you might want to visit during the early fall or even through the winter.  Cuyamaca is only one of many state parks located in SoCal, so if you’d like to do some camping closer to where you’re at, check out the state park website.

The secret to being a SoCal local is knowing that the beach isn’t the only great place to visit.  Just don’t tell that to all the tourists.

Are You The Entrepreneurial Type? Factors to Assess Yourself

So, you have a seemingly promising business idea. You’ve been working yourself off on an 8-6 job, and in some occasions pushing through double shifts just because the boss said so. Consequently, you’ve gradually grown tired of working for someone and think it’s time to drop the bomb on the HR department before moving out to chase your dreams.

You don’t have to be an extensive reader to learn about entrepreneurs who’ve been through the same experience, and subsequently went ahead to build impressively huge business empires. Strangely though, only a few stories are told about individuals who left their jobs and eventually failed at their business endeavors. So, are success stories possibly much higher than failure rates? If yes, could it mean that you have a higher chance of success than failure?

According to research done by University of Tennessee, Bradley University, Small business Development Centre and Entrepreneur Weekly, a little over 50% of new businesses survive after four years. The leading industry is Insurance and Real Estate at 58%, followed by Education and Health at 56%, Agriculture at 56%, and information coming in last at 37%. Of course there are a myriad of reasons which trigger their respective collapses. One particularly common reason however, is poor management – a significant number of businesses have failed due to unsystematic decision making and strategy implementation, mostly triggered by incompetent entrepreneurs.

So, what makes competent entrepreneurs? Which factors could you use to assess and determine if you really have what it takes to build a successful business empire?


Passion has always been a common trait among all successful entrepreneurs. It converts that early morning sulk to a smile as you wake up to embark on your regular business schedule. You’ll consequently commit long hours to your business, tirelessly rallying your team to achieve a predetermined set of organization goals.

One of the primary secrets of developing a passion for your business is focusing on things you’re already interested in. For instance, if you’re talented programmer and enjoy solving problems through software solutions, your best bet would be a software company.

And if you are serious about starting your own business but you don’t have the cash to get started, car title loans Fresno.

Risk Taking

Business is all about taking and managing risks. Every move is considered a potential risk, especially when there are no guaranteed results. By efficaciously managing them, entrepreneurs delve into the unknown and convert uncertainties into paying certainties. The eventual outcomes therefore, largely depend on your ability to spot risks worth taking and subsequent management measures.

In addition risk taking, aversion to losing is arguably one of the main triggers of startup entrepreneurs. In fact, researchers from UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business found the latter to be a more significant driver than the former- because most aspiring entrepreneurs are driven to kick-start their own businesses by the fear of losing their full-time job prestige and salary.

Willingness to Break Rules

Since the challenges in the business world require some finesse in tackling them, you’ll occasionally be forced to bend some rules. According to a study conducted by the London School of Economics and UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business, successful entrepreneurs have a history of getting into trouble as teenagers. A significant number of future business leaders are always willing to intelligently break rules especially when they stand in their way of achieving short and long term goals.

This however, shouldn’t be an excuse to begin breaking rules irresponsibly. Each challenge should be approached independently, analyzing possible mitigation measures and subsequent consequences. Through an experience-based accumulation of skills, you should be able to use common sense to discern situations that require you to break the rules and ones that don’t.

The Bottom Line

Your personal attributes and application of general practical/theoretical business knowledge will ultimately determine your subsequent failure or success rate. All success stories are made by uniquely talented individuals.

So, going by this list, do you believe you have what it takes to make you own success story?

Back to School Trends on California Campuses

It’s that time of year again when some sleepy California towns start to awaken. Some state college locations, like Chico, Humboldt, Davis, and Fresno, tend to slow down quite a bit in the summer when all the students flock either back to their parents’ homes, summer internships, or jobs. But according to the calendar and the amount of couches seen on lazy front porches again (at least in what feels like the couch-on-porch capital of California—Chico), summer’s over and it’s time to check out what trends are big on California campuses this year.

Wishing for Fall

The first thing we’ve noticed around town is tights. Yes, the temperatures are still blazing in the 90s, but apparently some college ladies long for those cool days and even cooler nights, as tights are being seen all over colleges towns. Not just neutral colors either, but bright pops of teal, cranberry, and even mustard. They’re being matched up with everything from clunky heeled clogs, to boots, and even sneakers.

Colored Hair

Colored hair is another big hit seen on California college campuses right now. Lavender, fuchsia, and blue seem like the most common colors, with that silvery gray shade still being seen now and again. Not sure if coloring your whole head of hair pink is going to work for you? You could try just doing a block of color hidden underneath—or try hair chalk—and get temporary color
that you can change daily depending on your mood.


Decades ago, bad guys and bikers were the ones with tattoos. Now it seems like a rite of passage for any college freshman to get their first tat. Calling this one a trend feels wrong, especially when it’s so permanent, but it’s hard not to notice the huge rise in the amount of people with ink these days. Not only has it become more accepted, but it’s almost mainstream. It’s no longer unusual to see teachers in middle or high schools baring ink and if employers refuse to hire people with visible tattoos, they might find their employment pool has shrunk considerably.

Cowboy Boots

It doesn’t matter if you’re attending college in Northern California or down in SoCal, it seems that cowboy boots aren’t just for cowgirls anymore. Seen paired with short shorts, dresses, skinny jeans, and skirts, these boots add a little country flavor even on the most metropolitan of campuses.


Not that Chuck Taylors ever really went out of style, but it seems like they’ve had a recent surge of popularity among college students. Maybe it’s because they’re comfortable, maybe it’s because they’re iconic, or maybe it’s because they just seem to go with everything, Converse high and low tops have been seen with their signature star emblem around college campuses up and down the Golden State. By the way, this is one trend that knows no gender boundaries, as they seem as popular with gals as they are with guys.

The beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time—catching up with friends after the long summer break, starting a new year of school with new possibilities and challenges, and getting to partake in the newest trends—be they fashion or otherwise—these are the things that make college memories for you to enjoy and look back on forever.