California Girl

Wow! July promises to be a pretty exciting month for me! Let’s see…it’s my birthday and what better way to celebrate than to embrace my free spirit and addiction to adventure than to move to California! Yup! The hubs got a new job so we’re headed to LA for more empty nest fun (Santa Monica to be precise).

I’ve been an East Coast girl most of my life – or at least my adult life – so I’m ultra-excited to be a California girl. Of course I’ll need a new wardrobe!

Most people dread moving. I love it! I’ve lived in 12 different places – that explains my wanderlust. I get bored with the status quo. When I had my first apartment, my boyfriend (now husband) would come over to a completely rearranged setting every week. He didn’t get it (and still doesn’t). Moving around the furniture somehow makes it feel like a new place. I reorganize my pantry and kitchen cabinets way too often (after one year of living in this apartment, my husband still doesn’t know which drawer the forks are in so what difference does it make?).

Here’s why I love moving to new cities. I get energized exploring new places, trying new restaurants and decorating new spaces. I’m project girl, always needing something to get me up in the morning. I like starting with a clean slate whether it’s decorating a new space or meeting new people. I change colors, add new decorative accessories and totally change my home’s look. I’m working on a style board for our tiny temporary apartment so stay tuned to see what I’m planning.

I’m also an anti-hoarder. I hate clutter and moving gives me a reason to get rid of stuff. In these empty nest years, we’ve opted for urban living in small apartments so downsizing has become a necessity. It’s very cleansing for me. I mean, I can’t tell you how many expired bottles of cough medicine one can accumulate. And kitchen spices! When was the last time you cleaned out that old spice drawer.

I love learning my way around new cities. When we moved to Italy, I wanted my kids to learn the language and culture quickly so I created flashcards of places and stores – marcellaria (meat market), gelateria (ice cream store), libreria (book store) and enoteca (wine store – that one was for me!) – and each day, we’d walk through the city with our cards and locate the stores and practice pronouncing the names and pick up wine.

So here’s what I’m doing to become a quick California girl:

  1. I join Facebook and Instagram pages for restaurants, attractions, magazines, bloggers and local media and create a Facebook list that I can easily reference for things to do and local events. Don’t know how to create a Facebook list? Click here – it will be the best thing you learn this week.
  2. I Google local food/travel/lifestyle bloggers and read their stories. They often have the inside scoop on what to do. This is a great tactic I recommend to friends who are traveling abroad who ask for recommendations on what to do. For example, Google “American blogger in (your destination)” because it’s always great to hear how a fellow American perceives the city.
  3. I subscribe to local lifestyle magazines so I can start learning who’s who, what’s where and what’s happening, like Sunset and California Style.
  4. Yelp is my best friend when it comes to learning about the top restaurants in the area. I print out the list, follow the restaurants on Facebook and Instagram and try to hit at least one a week. The local lifestyle magazine also usually has an annual “Best of” list.
  5. Making friends is tough at this age. When we have young kids, we find ourselves chatting with other moms in the carpool line, at the pool and at birthday parties. It’s much harder to meet people when our kids are grown and our social connections are our own responsibility. I join foodie groups, connect with fellow bloggers and try to chat up people at the gym (on the rare occasions I go).

So I hope you’ll come visit and join me on this latest adventure! There’s so much fun to come!

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