Great Places to Walk in the O.C.

The Orange County Register  ran a great article about the Best Places for Walking in Orange County. I love that the author distinguishes between a walk, and a hike. A hike, for me, is  on more rugged trails. More remote, less houses and restaurants, more hills, rocks and brush. I like both walks and hikes, most of the time, in the area where I live, a nice long walk is easier to do. So, how do they explain the difference?
-“What’s the difference between a walk and a hike? We pondered this question to help narrow our list of the county’s best walks. A walk, we realized, tends to be within or adjacent to civilization, as opposed to being in the wilderness. Walks often involve paved, or at least well-groomed, pathways. You won’t need a backpack or hiking boots for a walk, though a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water are a good idea. And keep an eye out for critters and snakes, even in urban settings. Walks are local by nature. People outside the immediate area don’t tend to know about them—which is why we’re sharing 10 of O.C.’s best with you.”

I think they had some great choices, but one of my favorite walks isn’t on the list! Here in South Orange County, from Laguna Beach, down towards San Clemente, there are several paved and semi-paved trails which lead from local neighborhoods, some go through golf courses, and they each end up down at a beach.

One of my favorite walking paths actually starts in the Marina Hills neighborhood of Laguna Niguel, and meanders on through Dana Point to end up at Salt Creek Beach. You can get on or off the walking trail at several different entrance points, or walk the entire path. I will warn you that it’s mostly down hill heading towards the beach, which also means it’s mostly UPHILL heading back. When you have already walked a few miles to get to the beach, taken off your shoes and walked in the ocean, that uphill trek back home can wear you out. So be careful to save some energy for the trip back home.

Check here for details on this route: DETAILS and to see more about local walking trails: – See more at:”

Enjoy your walk!!

Aileen BrazeauAileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Importance of Music

Music programs at Aileen Brazeua's San Clemente VillasFor some, economic recovery has begun, for others struggles remain. Our Orange County schools are among those who are dealing with cutbacks to sports and music programs. In much of South Orange County parents have stepped in to keep programs going in schools where there have been cutbacks. In other, poorer neighborhoods, where parents are working two and three jobs just to make ends meet, there was little to nothing left over for extracurricular activities.

Some schools are just this year beginning to plan for the reinstatement of music programs in their schools and more are feeling hopeful with the vigorous, healthy real estate market and some job recovery, they will be able to once again fund their music and sports programs.

As someone who works with people, I will tell you that being involved in music programs can literally change lives, no matter what age. It even makes a big difference in the lives of those you would not think would affect.

For children and teens, no matter what their economic status, music is a form of self expression, a way to get lost in something beautiful, and for many, a path to self esteem. Seniors love their music as well. It brings them together, for some, the songs bring back fond memories, and just the sheer joy of singing or playing an instrument lights people up and fills their souls. I know I sound dramatic, but if you watch people when they play an instrument or sing, you can see it. You can see their countenance change, their posture, and the looks of happiness on their faces. Our residents light up when local musicians come and play for them, and the musicians themselves are always thrilled at the appreciation and applause they receive after a performance at the Villas!!

Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Aileen Networking

As Co-Owner of San Clemente Villas part of my job is to be out in the community talking about our beautiful Villas by the Sea. We sponsor Chamber of Commerce mixers at San Clemente Villas, and whenever possible attend local charity and networking events. Back in July I attended a local business networking event. Not only was it enjoyable, I got to see some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, and to top it off, I made some new friends. Networking is an important and enjoyable part of being a business owner!!

If you are invited to local events in your community, take the time to go. Clear a little space in your busy day and get out, meet new people, connect with old friends.


Aileen Brazeau

Supporting families, supprting Camp Pendleton Marines and Navy, Charities, Sponsor, giving, Aileen Brazeau in Action

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Setting and Achieving Goals

Aileen & Paul Brazeau

Aileen & Paul Brazeau

My husband and I own two businesses, I work out regularly, exercise and watch how we eat. To keep things running smoothly and profitably, we both set goals. I set goals for my personal health, I set goals for San Clemente Villas, and Paul and I set goals for Brazeau Thoroughbred Farms. It is a process, and although it’s not always our favorite thing to do, we know that it is important to have goals, and to meet those goals.  The saying goes, “fail to plan and plan to fail.”

When I make a plan for San Clemente Villas or the Horse Farm, or my personal goals, I start at the beginning. What is our optimal occupancy rate for the Villas? What will it take for our horses to win races? How much working out should I do to achieve the desired level of fitness? Which weight loss plan best suits my temperment?

Those are all the starting points I use in order to begin building my list of things I must do, each and every day to meet those goals. If I want to keep all of the apartments at San Clemente Villas full, what is it that I must do to achieve that? I write down everything, and then build a plan. If part of the plan isn’t working, I replace it with something else until I get just the right balance. Sometimes the entire plan has to be scrapped and I start over. But I never, ever give up.

When something unexpected or unpleasant happens, I can get a little upset, but only for a short time. Then I sit back , analyze what went wrong, and try to take something from that experience that I can use to be successful going forward. Remember, I am in a people business. If  I  don’t believe, and show that I care just as much about the people in my business as I do about the business itself, it won’t work.

Last of all, in business, and in life, you have to be willing to take risks. Not foolish, reckless risk, but risks nonetheless. You cannot be afraid to fail. That fear will keep you from ever achieving any of your life’s goals. So do your research, make a best case scenario, then a worse case scenario, and go for it.

Aileen Brazeau

Co-Owner of Brazeau Thoroughbred Farms

Co-Owner of Brazeau Thoroughbred Farms

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Each Day Is a New Beginning.

Aileen Brazeau in ActionI have been in the Assisted Living Business for over 10 years now. Every day when I arrive at San Clemente Villas, I am reminded nothing that happened yesterday has to impact how I live this day. Granted, there are some exceptions to this but for the most part, if I let go of whatever happened yesterday, good or bad, and focus on the day ahead of me with a glad heart and a good attitude, I will have a good day.

Sometimes outside forces are at work which can turn a day from good to stressful, but if I just stay the course, hold my head up and do the very best that I can do, then I can end the day in a good state of mind. While that is important for everyone in this turbulent world, for me, as the leader of this operation, it is even more important. You see, I set the tone for everyone else on my staff. If my attitude is one of discouragement and stress, that will spread throughout the Villas, and ultimately on to my residents, and I never want that to happen.

I have surrounded myself with a great staff, and as a team we can handle anything that comes our way. We work together to bring music, laughter and adventure to our place. When friends and family come to visit their loved ones they see that something is always going on and they appreciate what we do for our people.

If you are having a stressful time in your own life, do your best to resolve the things that are causing you problems and challenges, and then instead of carrying a heavy burden of worry on your shoulders, put the worry aside, go out and look at the sky, or take a walk along the beach, and remember, no matter how tough a time we go through, there are always blessings each day that come our way.

Aileen Brazeau

co owner for San clemente villas, social acitivist, beneficent, community support, chamber member.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fun Has NO Age Limits !!

Aileen Xmas 2013 5Just because you are over 40,  doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. At San Clemente Villas our residents come here to live the good life. They aren’t just sitting around on their bottoms waiting for time to pass, they are active, young at heart and ready to enjoy life.

And you know what,  in life it’s the ones who feel the least sorry for themselves, who when something difficult occurs  still manage to find a reason to  smile, those are the people who stay younger longer. The people who are angry  they can’t do some of the activities they once did, who complain and whine, they are the ones who look and feel  older.

We don’t have many people like that in our Assisted Living Facility, our people are too busy having a good time. At San Clemente Villas we have a location that can’t be beat. There is a shopping plaza right across the street with a movie theater and restaurants. Very close by is another shopping center with a grocery store, a Starbucks, lovely little shops and more places to dine.

Within a few miles of us is the San Clemente Pier and the beach. Not to mention lovely Del Mar Avenue with all the shops and eateries. On a beautiful sunny day there is nothing better than grabbing a cup of coffee or an iced tea and window shopping on Del Mar. On any given weekend there could be a Car Show or a Festival of some sort somewhere close by.

In the neighboring towns on San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point the have musical events at the Libraries or the parks on the weekends, where you can listen to music and dance for FREE. There is a great Theater Group in San Juan with plays all year round.

At the Villas, we always have something going on. We hold Chamber of Commerce Mixers, Celebrations for the various holidays, and sometimes just for fun. There is always some kind of singing or musical event, and games, movies, crafts . Live your life fully and enjoy every day. Never let a bad day keep you down.

Aileen Brazeau

community involvement, chamber of commerce, assisted living, fashion , horses




Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Keeping Our Seniors Happy and Healthy During the Cooler Months

Karen Watson is a good friend of mine and she often contributes guest posts for my blogs. I hope you enjoy her writings!



Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologistpets for company


The chilly winter months may leave us all dreaming of spring, but for older people, there are extra concerns. Elders are a lot more sensitive to the cold and often neglect some essentials during the winter. You can help keep them healthy and happy by just paying attention to a few life essentials.

Sunlight – The golden rays of the sun are vital to us all, especially during the winter. Sunlight gives our bodies a boost of Vitamin D and helps elevate our moods. Research is now finding that strong light can help those with dementia sharpen their cognitive skills. For elders who don’t have dementia, it can help keep it at bay.

Tips –

  • Encourage your loved one to get outside for a few minutes, even if it’s just on a sunny porch.
  • Move their favorite sitting spot near the sunniest window.
  • For bed fast elders, invest in a strong sunlamp. Never leave them unattended while it’s on. Start with only a few minutes under the lamp. Elderly skin is also more sensitive to heat. What feels good on you, might burn them, so keep it at a safe distance. Read the directions carefully!

Fluids – Without the warmth of the sun, many elders will neglect to drink enough. Most of our heaters dry out the air in our homes, which makes it more necessary to replenish our bodies with extra fluids. Remind your elder to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can be deadly. Elders often suffer from kidney problems, so getting enough fluids can actually extend their lives. Here’s a few tips to get more fluids without much fuss.

  • Water, water, water – Invest in a good water bottle and make it your elders constant companion.
  • Add fluids to the menu – Juices, teas, soups, and low-sodium broths and bouillon.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine – they actually dehydrate the body.
  • Don’t forget about their skin! Make sure they apply a non-allergic skin lotion daily!

Clothing – Elders are a lot more sensitive to the cold. So make sure they dress warmly before going out.

  • Encourage them to dress in layers. This way they can take off their coat, but having a sweater underneath, can keep them from feeling drafts.
  • Have a throw blanket in their favorite sitting spot.
  • Put an extra blanket on their bed.
  • Close off unused rooms to keep the living areas warmer.

Exercise – No matter what your age or your physical ability, a body needs to move. Use it or lose it is even more true for elders. Here are few ways you can encourage them to keep on using that body.

  • Take them shopping.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Not mobile? – try some chair exercises.
  • Too cold to walk? – Walk around the house.
  • Bedfast? – Do leg stretches and lifts laying down and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Socializing – Winter time can be very lonely for elders. They aren’t as mobile as they were when they were younger. Cold weather can even hamper neighbors from visiting. Human contact is just as essential as food, shelter, and clothing.

  • Make sure your elder gets to go to their place of worship once a week.
  • Encourage family members and neighbors to call and drop by.
  • Sign your elder up for meals on wheels – even brief contact can make an elder’s day.
  • See what programs are offered at the local senior center. Many have adult day care.
  • Take them to lunch or drop by with one of the grandchildren.
  • Call them every day. Try to make it at the same time, so they can count on hearing your voice.
  • Get them an easy to use cell phone with all the family members’ numbers in it. Many of the new ones have a strap so they can put it around their neck. These are great in case they fall or have an emergency.
  • Does your loved one have a pet? If not, you might consider getting them one. Pets can offer so much to seniors. Having a dog, or cat gives all of us purpose each day to tend to their needs. In return, we get so much love and enjoyment!

I hope you found at least some of these suggestions helpful for you and your loved one. Even if you are far away from them, if you can provide gentle encouragement, that is still a start.





Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Go Solar: It’s Good For the Earth

Aileen and Paul Brazeau are both  strong believers that  corporations have a social responsibility to be good citizens too.  Aileen believes we have just one planet, and we must take care of it for our kids and their kids, whether we are individuals or corporations.  Aileen is going green-Solar-Electricity System at San Clemente VillasThis belief motivated her own corporation, to install extensive solar panels at their own San Clemente Villas Assisted Living Community.

Solar Electrical Systems of Westlake Village, CA, handled the install of the 288kW solar installation on San Clemente Villas by the Sea, making it the largest PV system on an assisted living resort in the United States.

San Clemente Villas by the Sea decided to install not one or two, but three complete solar electrical systems. One was installed on the rooftop, one on a solar carport, and one on a steep hillside.  The hillside system posed the biggest challenge  not only because of the steepness of the hillside, but also a lack of direct access.

Aileen and Paul Brazeau believe that their residents take pride in the fact that their home is involved in the green movement.   More and more people are looking to do business with companies who demonstrate that they are responsible social citizens.

Of course the economic aspects of the install do not hurt either.  Available rebates and tax incentives made the investment much more affordable.  San Clemente Villas estimates that the entire system will pay for itself within five years with the energy cost savings they will enjoy.

The hillside solar electrical system, visible to thousands of commuters on the 5 freeway, is an impressive sight and a powerful reminder that good corporate citizenship is on the rise.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather