Author: Kendra

10 Most Beautiful California Beaches

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 Are you planning a vacation to California? If so here are 10 beautiful beaches you must see. California has some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. With over 420 public beaches and 840 miles of scenic coastline, no wonder it’s a top destination for nature lovers. Along the California Coast, you will find the tallest palm trees and Sherbert sunset skies that create the most dreamy ocean views.


***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

1. Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is home to McWay Falls located in Big Sur California. McWay Falls pictured below, is an 80-foot waterfall that flows year around. Unfortunately, there is no longer any access to the beach because of dangerous conditions due to trail erosion. You can still see McWay Falls from the west side of California Highway 1.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Art Urbo


2. Newport Beach

Newport Beach is a coastal city in Southern California known for its stunning coastline and beautiful sandy beaches.  Located in Orange County, it’s also known for its two piers, Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier. The most popular attractions are Newport Pier, Balboa Fun Zone, and The Ferry to Balboa Islands which takes you to local shops and restaurants.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Trace Rouda


3. Glass Beach

Glass Beach in Mendocino County is located in Fort Bragg California. Glass Beach is one of the most unique beaches in California because it was once abundant in layers of colorful sea glass.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Moni Hogue


4. Santa Monica

Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach is famous for the Santa Monica State Beach Pier. Santa Monica is known for its soft sandy beaches and has a variety of activities and attractions such as scenic bike trails, hotels, shops, and restaurants.


Image Credit: Getty Images-Ziga Plahutar


5. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is located in Orange County and is known as one of Southern California’s premier coastal destinations. Laguna Beach is known for its picturesque beaches, hiking trails and is nestled between seven miles of hidden coves and majestic canyons.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Mauinow1


New Love California Tee
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The California coastline is about 840 miles long and has about 420 public beaches.

10 Most Beautiful California Beaches

6. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is a city southeast of Los Angeles known as Surf City. Its famous attractions include the Huntington Beach Pier, International Surf Museum, and Huntington Central Park.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Mdesigner125


7. Malibu Coastline

Malibu is located west of Los Angeles known for its celebrity homes, beautiful beaches, and surfing. The Malibu Coastline stretches over 21 miles along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Some of the most beautiful beaches located in Malibu are Zuma, Matador, Leo Carillo State Beach, and the Malibu Pier.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Rachel Lodin


8. Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach located in Monterey County is known for its white sandy beach, cypress trees, and surfing. Known as Carmel By The Sea, it’s rated as one of America’s top iconic beach towns.

Image Credit: Getty Images-William Reagan


9. Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is famous for the beautiful Manhattan Beach Pier which stretches 928 feet. The pier is the perfect place to view spectacular colorful sunsets or enjoy drinking your morning coffee while viewing the most gorgeous sunrise.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Cody Spence


10. Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach is located in Montecito and is a favorite among the Santa Barbara locals. Known for its great views, small calm waves, and nice breezes it’s the perfect place to spend a nice lazy day seaside.

Image Credit: Getty Images-Joseph Tointon

I hope you found this post helpful in planning your trip to California! Be sure to add at least one of these beaches to your bucket list. Thanks for reading!

Visit the blogs shop to see the new Califonia Dreamin Tee Collection!

Also See: I Moved To Los Angeles for tips about moving to California!

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10 Bright & Beachy Coastal Fall Ideas

Welcome Fall! Get inspired with these ten coastal fall-themed decor ideas. If you are searching for the perfect coastal fall decor items, look no further. This season’s fall home decorating trends consist of using earth tones such as honey, natural wood, and woven elements such as soft textured throws and textiles.

Also mixing modern and vintage, and coastal grandmother styles.

 Fall is my favorite time of year! I am completely obsessed with aqua pumpkins! I have chosen items that have beautiful soft aqua and neutral hues that blend perfectly with your coastal-themed home. These fall finds are not only beautiful but affordable.

10 Bright & Beachy Coastal Fall Ideas

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***


1. Start with this Blue Painted Pumpkin with Starfish & Seashells

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2. Welcome friends and guests with this fall Aqua Pumpkin Wooden Sign

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3. Add Starfish or Seashells to this beautiful Boho Beachy Grass Wreath

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4. Use this Glass Candle Lantern with Rope Handle for your favorite fall candles

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5. Beach Mason Jars are a perfect Coastal Fall Centerpiece

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6. Add your favorite fall decor to this Farmhouse Wooden Tiered Tray in Coastal Aqua

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For More Ideas See: 15 of The Best Coastal Halloween & Fall Decor Ideas Trending on Pinterest


7. Add a New Pumpkin Throw Pillow To Your Fall Decor Collection

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8. Add a cozy Coastal Knit Thow Blanket to stay warm on those chilly nights

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9. Enjoy the glow of these cute Nautical Pumpkin Flameless Pillar Candles

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10. These Real Decorative Seashells with Blue & Green Starfish & Aqua & Blue Sea Glass can be added to your existing fall decor & be used all year around.

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I hope you have enjoyed this post! For more fun ideas and inspiration see Simple Coastal Fall Decorating Ideas or Visit my Etsy Shop for fun coastal fall prints!

Happy Fall!!

15 Coastal Aqua Blue & Green Paint Colors You’ll Love

All About Aqua

Aqua is a serene color reminiscent of the beautiful blue-green waves of the sea. Aqua, Latin for water inspires a feeling of peace, and tranquility, and calms the senses. This breezy color is a great choice for decorating your home because it’s bright and cheery, and brings feelings of happiness and well-being.

Shades of aqua blues and greens are known to have a relaxing effect conjuring up tranquil ocean vibes that make any space feel instantly calm. No wonder this paint color is used in so many coastal-style homes.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Light and airy blues and greens are natural colors that are easy on the eyes. They remind us of the colors in nature such as sitting and looking up at the trees or looking out over the ocean on a beautiful day. There are many shades of aqua from light to deep that pair well with neutral tones such as whites, creams, greys, wheat, and yellow which make it a great choice for interior design.

15 Coastal Aqua Blue & Green Paint Colors You’ll Love

Aqua Blue



How To Use Aqua Throughout Your Home

Drawing inspiration from the sand, sea, and sky, coastal paint colors help you bring the serenity of the beach into your home. I have picked fifteen of my favorite timeless aqua blue and green paint colors from Sherwin Williams. It’s my favorite paint because I used it to transform my entire home.

See the Before & After Home Transformation here.

Did you know that choosing the right paint colors for your walls can have a positive effect on your mood and reduce stress and anxiety? Studies have shown that watery blues can slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Subtle shades of green are soothing and comforting. These shades are mostly used in bathrooms to create a spa-like feel and in bedrooms to create a cozy feeling of zen.

You want to choose interior paint colors that give your home a rich personality. Remember to create a color scheme that matches your home’s furniture. Use these bold, bright blues and soothing green colors to refresh your home.

Aqua Blue/Green

The key to using coastal aqua paint colors is that they should blend seamlessly from the outdoors to the interior. You can use aqua to paint the entire room. kitchen cabinets, or paint a feature wall to add a fresh pop of color to any room in your home. Remember to choose a color based on how the room will be used and the mood you want to establish.

For example, choose dreamy coastal colors for the bedroom to help you sleep and brighter aqua colors for accent walls, smaller rooms, or children’s play spaces. If you are going to use any of these colors to paint the entire room, I recommend using Sherwin Williams Extra White or Highly Reflective white on the ceiling, trim, and molding.


Aqua Green

Aqua has always been my favorite color ever since I was a child because it reminds me of the beach. It’s what inspired me to create this blog and it just makes me so happy! I hope you enjoyed this post and these colors do the same for you! For more coastal decor ideas see: How To Decorate With Aqua

Also see: Stylish Coastal Furniture Pieces You Must Own




Stylish Coastal Furniture Pieces You Must Own


Breezy, natural, light-colored furniture inspired by the sea.

Imagine an airy home inspired by the coastal lifestyle. A home filled with natural light, soft tones, and natural elements meant to evoke the breeziness of the beach. We travel to the coastline to relax, take in the breathtaking ocean views, and sink our toes into the warm sand. Even if you don’t live on the coast you may be wondering what are some of the most popular furniture pieces found in most beach homes.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***


One of the most critical aspects of creating a coastal-style home is selecting the right coastal furniture for the space. In this post, you will find traditional pieces like white slip-covered sofas, rattan bistro chairs, and modern coastal furniture. I have also added stylish accessories and beach decor that basically make it feel like summer all year round inside your house. There is no need to browse furniture stores because these items are all on Amazon.

White Slipcovered & Linen Sofas

People that live along the coast love white slipcovered sofas because they are bright, clean, and give the appearance of a relaxed coastal look. If you have children or animals, don’t worry because the covers are easy to care for.  They can be removed and tossed into the wash and then they are good as new.

  Buy on Amazon                                      Buy on Amazon

A Cozy Plush White Sectional

A plush white sectional is the perfect look for a modern coastal-style living room. It provides spacious seating and high-end details that deliver fashion and function.

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A Colorful Linen Loveseat

Add a fresh pop of color and additional seating to your favorite room with a colorful loveseat in beachy aqua hues.

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 Rattan Chairs, Seagrass & Linen Chairs

Rattan, seagrass and wicker chairs are timeless coastal pieces that naturally blend in with any furniture. They also work well in any room in the home from the living room to the bedroom.


   Buy on Amazon           Buy on Amazon            Buy on Amazon


Natural Wicker & Rattan Coffee Tables

Add these versatile pieces to your room to serve as additional storage and add character to the room giving it the perfect coastal vibe.

Buy on Amazon   Buy on Amazon   Buy on Amazon   Buy on Amazon

Modern Side Tables

These tables pair well next to any piece of furniture from slipcovered sofas to modern sectionals or wicker and rattan chairs.

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Coastal Lamps With Silver & Aqua Hues

Bring the beach home with these stylish lamps, they pair well with any of the side tables shown and provide timeless coastal elegance.

Buy on Amazon    Buy on Amazon    Buy on Amazon   Buy on Amazon


Beautiful Coastal Wall Art

Relaxing seascape prints and ocean wall art create a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere in the home.

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A Bamboo Wall Mirror

This rattan natural wood finish mirror adds boho-beachy-inspired style to the room and looks great in an entryway or above a console table.

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A Large Natural Wood Console Table

A large console table not only provides additional storage but is perfect for displaying your seashell collection, large coral pieces, and nautical decor such as starfish and seahorse statues.

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Fun Coastal Decor

Use these fun decor pieces such as a seagrass planter, mini succulent plants, and nautical table displays to complete your beach-themed aesthetic.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon

Wicker & Rattan Bistro Chairs

French bistro chairs provide elegant indoor/outdoor seating. They add a fresh look to any space and are a perfect addition to your coastal furniture collection.


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I hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to share, save, or pin it to use for your future room designs! For the best coastal home color scheme, also see: Sherwin Williams Serenely Paint Color

The Driver Era Concert 6.11.23

I recently attended The Driver Era Concert at The Greek Theatre on June 11th. What I didn’t know at the time I purchased the tickets was that they were making a movie! This was the first concert I had ever attended since moving to LA and I have to say, I had the time of my life. Seeing The Driver Era live was surreal! I am a huge fan of the entire Lynch Family!

 There is that Ross Lynch can’t do, he is a multi-talented singer, actor, athlete, and pilot. What I love most about him is that although he has millions of screaming fans around the world, he remains humble.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The Driver Era

Image Credit: Ross & Rocky Lynch

Who Are The Driver Era?

If you don’t know who The Driver Era is, let me update you. The Driver Era was formed in 2018 by brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch. Both are former members of the Pop Rock sensation R5. Their music genre combines Alternative Rock, Alternative/Indie, and Contemporary R&B. Their music is produced in their garage which was turned into a studio at their home in LA.

The entire family is multi-talented! Ross is the lead singer with Rocky playing lead guitar. Their older brother Riker sings and plays bass guitar. The youngest brother Ryland is the DJ, manager and is also in charge of lighting and sets. Their sister Rydel Funk occasionally plays joins the band playing the keyboard. Garrison Jones also plays the keys with Dave Briggs on the drums.

Inside The Greek Theater

Excited fans stood in line for over an hour in anticipation of seeing the show! Just before the evening, the entire theater was packed with screaming fans, and the show was sold out! Mostly everyone bought lots of Driver Era Merch before the show.

Everyone’s Favorite Cowboy

Brothers Ross & Riker Lynch

Ross Lynch is everyone’s favorite cowboy! Some fans bought and wore cowboy hats to the show, just to throw them on stage! Before the show hearts were given out to the audience to hold up when in the air while singing their favorite songs.

Ryland Lynch and Ross’s close friend and co-star Calum Worthy from the show Austin & Ally introduced the opening band Almost Monday. Rainy Rodriguez was also in the crowd sitting only three rows just behind us! I was lucky enough to get third-row seats!

The show opened with the song “Feel You Now” with the audience screaming the whole time while flying camera drones hyped up the crowd even more. The audience was singing in unison under Ross’s direction while clapping, jumping up and down, and dancing for most of the night.

Ross Lynch Is A Force!

The Driver Era played nonstop for almost 95 minutes. This man is a force and his energy and stage presence is unmatched! Ross is very sexy, and he can dance! You can feel the energy from the stage. He will make you scream and dance! I was up dancing the whole time and by the end of the night, I lost my voice.

Ross cannot take off his shirt, jacket, or touch his hips without most of the audience gasping, or losing their minds! The funniest part of the night was the girl next to me almost passing out the moment Ross looked out into the crowd in our direction! He has that power! haha

There Was An R5 Reunion!

R5 Band Image Credit Disney Music

To everyone’s surprise, there was an R5 mini-reunion with former band member Ellington Ratliff joining the band on stage to perform the hit “All Night”. I was so excited to see this because they are no longer together as a band and I thought I would never get to see them play! Sadly I was not able to take a snapshot of the band on stage.

There was a very touching moment when Ross gave a shout-out to his parents with all five family members and the band on stage and you could feel the love between them! The night ended with an amazing light show as they sang their high-energy hit “A Kiss” while colors flashed across the screens.

The Driver Era is currently touring and performing at festivals in Europe. You can check their website for 2023 US tour dates @ If you get the chance,  go and see them live! I promise you will have a great time! I’m a fan for life, I can’t wait to see them live again, and especially to see the movie!!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Happy Summer!


I Moved To Los Angeles!

I Moved To Southern California!

Hello and welcome back!  I’m so excited to share about my move to Los Angeles! It all happened so fast that I honestly can’t believe that I live here now! It’s been about two months and I’m all settled into my new place. As you know from the last post I sold my dream house, but I kept my plans to move across the country a secret. Only my realtor and my neighbors knew.

The reason is I have always dreamed of moving to the West Coast. This was the biggest and boldest move I have ever made, so I wanted to be sure that I was making the right decision. I didn’t want the opinions of others to affect my decision. I had never been to California, not even for vacation! I know it sounds crazy to up and move to a place you have never been, but I needed to be brave and believe that I could do it.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The main reason I moved here is the weather. I love it! I was tired of shoveling snow and winter storms altogether. Connecticut (famous for its Nor’easter storms) is beautiful but it’s generally cold and gloomy for most of the year. As a beach lover, the weather situation was no longer working for me. I could only enjoy the beach for about three to four months out of the year.

On many nights while I was snowed in, I watched countless YouTube videos about California and began planning my move. There is a lot of helpful information on there about how to find a place to live, how to choose the best neighborhood, the best beaches, and things to do.


My Journey Across The Country

Flying was not an option for me because of my anxiety and the possibility of being stuck in an airport forever. I wanted to go on an adventure and do some soul-searching. I considered driving, but after watching many videos about taking the Amtrak Scenic Trip Cross Country, I booked a ticket! My first train was from New London CT To New York’s Moynihan Train Station.


The next train was from New York to Chicago’s Union Station, but the best trip view was the scenic Amtrak Southwest Chief from Chicago to LAX’s Union Station. The sheer size of this train is breathtaking! The entire trip took three days, but I wanted to see the most beautiful parts of the Midwest such as the deserts, canyons, and stunning mountain views that you won’t see on interstate highways.


The ride was very peaceful because you could just sit back and take in the views. I was lucky that my train attendant spoiled me the whole time by bringing their amazing lunch and dinner to my room instead of having to go up to the crowded dining car. I really just wanted to enjoy my trip in solitude. Here are some pics that I snapped along the way from my Amtrak Roomette.


Finally Arriving In Los Angeles

The minute we arrived and I saw California’s stunning palm trees, I knew I had made the right decision! It was a long journey to make solo, but it was also really fun. I met so many nice people during our station stops along the way!

California Is Still Absolutely Beautiful

Despite the negative media attention, Southern California is absolutely beautiful. There is so much to do here and you will never get bored. There are so many natural sights, beaches, scenic destinations, and weekend getaways that will make you feel like you’re on a permanent vacation. I chose to live in the San Fernando Valley. “The Valley” has great weather and gorgeous mountain views.

Night View Of The Valley

I love waking up here! There are nice cool breezes in the mornings which is great for exercising but by the afternoon it gets pretty hot.


I Love The Beaches!

Weekends are for exploring different parts of California and I absolutely love the beaches. I’m slightly obsessed with Santa Monica because it’s the closest to me being only thirty minutes away. The PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) has some of the most stunning coastline views I have ever seen.

Santa Monica


8 Things You Should Know Before Moving To California


If you have never been to California, here are some things that may surprise you.

  1. The culture is different. People here are very relaxed and laid back. You don’t see many people rushing or walking fast like on the east coast. Most stores and restaurants open up around nine or ten am.
  2. The food is different. California is very strict when it comes to food regulations. Most of the food here is clean and minimally processed, even in fast-food restaurants. Everything even tastes better!
  3. You will naturally lose weight. The first month that I lived here, I magically lost twenty-one pounds. I’m not sure if it was the heat, the change in environment, or the fact that California’s food has fewer chemical additives. I swear I wasn’t dieting at all!
  4. People mostly eat outside. The weather and views are so amazing that you’ll want to eat outside! If it’s too hot there’s also plenty of air conditioning inside. On a chilly night, there are heaters outside to warm you up.
  5. People bring their dogs to restaurants. I was really surprised to find a dog sitting under the table at the restaurant but lots of places here allow this.
  6. The cost of living is high. You can expect to pay around $2000 for a very small but decent one-bedroom apartment. Also, most landlords are really strict and want you to make 3-4 times the rent and have a 700 credit score! Which probably explains why there is a housing problem.
  7. There is a huge homeless crisis. It’s hard to see people living on the streets in any state, but it’s more common here. There are dangerous areas that we are told to avoid by the news media. I rarely see any homeless people in my city, however when I do, I always try to help. This is frowned upon by Californians because of the safety risk, plus many have mental health issues. As someone who has been temporarily homeless before, I can’t just walk by and ignore someone asking for food or help. I always help, keeping my safety in mind. Besides, homelessness can happen to anyone! See: How The Beach Saved My Life
  8. The traffic is insane. I have never seen so many cars and lanes on one highway! It can become very overwhelming and the roads are sometimes confusing. Eventually, you will get used to it but be very careful driving here.

Follow Your Dreams!

If you are thinking of making a life-changing decision or moving to your favorite place, make a plan and do it! Life is too short to have any regrets!

There are so many adventures on my bucket list. I’m so happy that I moved here because I’m having the time of my life seeing, exploring, and discovering new things. My chronic illness has taught me to live a fearless life and try new things.

I know God lead me here because I have a mission to complete. I’m pretty sure that it’s to help the homeless. Even if it’s one person at a time. That’s how we change the world! Visit my shop if would like to help, all proceeds go towards helping those in need.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that I have inspired you to follow your dreams! Thanks for reading!





I Sold My Dream House

Hello! It’s been a while since I have posted. That’s because I have been swamped. My last post shows the completed renovation of my home, but in May of this year, I sold it!

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Buying my first home was a dream come true. I always wanted to buy a fixer-upper and turn it into something of my very own.  I bought my home at a low-interest rate in April 2020 just before the pandemic home prices skyrocketed.

See the Before & After Renovation.

The first month I started working on the home immediately doing most of the painting and some demolition myself. Then I hired several contractors and left the hard work to the professionals. It took almost three years to completely transform my house into the dream I always wanted. I remember back then I was sure it would be my forever home.

The pandemic definitely affected my decision to buy and with a low-interest rate you must be wondering ‘Why would I ever sell?” The truth is that houses require lots of time, energy, maintenance, and money. Although money wasn’t an issue, the truth is it’s not easy to live through a renovation. If you are planning on buying a fixer-upper, just know that it takes lots of planning and patience. It’s much easier to dream of renovating a house than to actually live thru the stress, noise, and chaos of contractors.

Everyone has different experiences, and I don’t mean to be negative, my house was one of the best investments I have ever made! But I just want to share the reality of living in a home while renovating. Home improvement projects can be fun, and a little sweat equity goes a long way. There is no greater feeling of pride and achievement than seeing that special DIY project completed with great results! Plus the added value to your home.

The Cost Of Home Maintenance Skyrocketed

Although I had a low mortgage, the costs of maintaining my home skyrocketed due to climate change, frequent snow storms, and landscaping. Owning a home in the woods surrounded by hundreds of trees meant the constant worry of one falling down on your house.

I’m a city girl and although I loved the peace and quiet that comes with living in the woods, the location was just wrong. Many rain and wind storms would cause the trees to fall blocking the main roads and causing power outages for up to eight days. Having no power meant no heat or water, but also no access until the roads are cleared of fallen trees.

I Almost Froze To Death

In December of 2022, we had a deep freeze and the temperature dropped from sixty degrees to negative twenty-five degrees in one day. Dangerously cold weather caused the power to go out for two days. Everything literally froze including my house, car, and trees. My neighbors, whom I miss dearly saved my life.

My neighbors helped me get my car started and I went to check into a hotel. I spent two nights there and was able to return to my home on Christmas Eve when the power was restored. This was not how I planned to spend the holidays! The temperature in my home dropped to thirty-five degrees. I imagined myself in the future as a little old lady being trapped in my home and possibly freezing to death. That was my wake-up call!!

Without my neighbor’s help, I would have frozen to death in my home. I had no idea how to use a generator so I never bought one. (I know that’s not smart) but the truth is that I wasn’t willing to spend thousands of dollars on one either. Lesson Learned! The whole experience caused me to re-evaluate my home and my future. On Christmas morning, I woke up and decided that this would be my last winter in Connecticut and started packing!

Things To Consider Before Buying Your First Home

  • Location-Your home’s location is everything! Do you love the city, beach, desert, or the woods? Is the area prone to floods, frequent storms, or natural disasters? Are there frequent power outages?
  • Size- A bigger home means higher heating and cooling costs. Think about the size of the home you will buy and consider how much living space you will actually need. Will you and your family be comfortable in a larger or smaller home?
  • Money- Always be prepared for emergencies. Keep a huge cash reserve just for those types of expenses. It may prevent you from becoming house poor.
  • Health- If you suffer from any type of health challenges or disability, you may need to hire out for maintenance such as landscaping, housekeeping, and snow shoveling. I have RA, so my disability sometimes prevented me from being able to take care of such simple tasks that could easily be done by a healthy person. But this also makes owning more expensive.
  • Status- Are you a single man or woman, or a couple? I can tell you from experience that it’s much harder to hire contractors as a single woman. I don’t want to deter you, but the reality is that some contractors will think that you don’t know anything because you’re a woman. Those types will often try to overcharge, so be sure to get at least three estimates for your projects. In my experience, I was often asked if my husband was home because they would rather speak to him. (haha) It gets to be annoying pretty fast!
  • Resale- Should you decide that you may have chosen the wrong house, are you able to sell it in a year? If this is the case try to improve the home as much as possible and then sell it and make a profit!

See: 9 Reasons to Consider Selling Your Home

In March of 2023, I put the house on the market, and within three days I had twelve offers. I was stunned and very emotional. I thought that I had more time or that it would sell by the end of summer. Before I know it I was packing my Pod Rental and preparing to close.

I have no regrets, I absolutely loved my house and am proud of the hard work that went into it. I know that I was meant to transform that house, but not meant to stay forever. It was my starter home and In just three years I doubled the value after completing the renovation.

I’m very grateful for the experience of home ownership. Will I buy another home? Yes! This time I will put more time and thought into the next house and it will be in the right location. Somewhere warm and sunny. It will also be low maintenance and move-in ready.

Housing Needs May Change Over Time

As you age, your lifestyle and housing needs may change. I realized that I was only using three rooms in the home and that I didn’t need that much space. At times I felt as if the house owned me with all of the care that was required. Sure I could have invested in a generator, but that’s just one more thing I would need to maintain.

I also thought about my future and how I wanted to retire, and that’s when I realized I wanted my freedom.  The first night I moved out I was nervous and wondered if I had made the right decision. That night I checked into a hotel and got the best sleep ever! When I woke up the next morning I felt as if a heavy weight was lifted.

Do I miss my house? Absolutely! But I’m ready for the next big exciting chapter because I moved to California!


Helpful Tips To Consider When Selling Your Home

  1. Plan Ahead.
  2. Hire a trusted realtor.
  3. Make sure the market and timing are right.
  4. Prepare your home and start packing.
  5. Prepare for the home inspection by making necessary improvements beforehand.
  6. Set a realistic price.
  7. Consider the closing costs and taxes.

See: 21 Essential Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found something helpful. In my next post, I will share with you my experience of moving across the county three thousand miles away! I wish you the best!




Before & After Home Renovation

Welcome to The Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors borrowed from the sea!

Purchasing My First Fixer Upper

I purchased my first home in April 2020, a 1947 ranch that needed a huge renovation. I always knew I wanted a fixer-upper. After years of dreaming and watching my favorite HGTV home improvement shows, I was ready for the challenge. Fixer-uppers are not for everyone, but I loved the idea that I could transform my ugly house into something that I would love and be proud of. Keep in mind this was a three-year renovation project, so there will be lots of pictures.

As a single woman who battles chronic illness daily, (Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis) I am used to facing life’s challenges. My realtor showed me several move-in ready homes, but when I chose this one my realtor was shocked. I believe she was afraid, in fact, my neighbors admitted that they were also afraid for me! (HaHa)

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The Beach Inspires Me

I absolutely love coastal colors and anything that reminds me of the beach! It is my happy place and my favorite color is Aqua. Aqua is Latin for water, which reminds me of the water in the Caribbean sea. The color Aqua soothes your soul and creates an instant sense of home and belonging, so I knew I wanted to use several shades of Aqua throughout my home.

The biggest challenge of them all was staying on budget. I’m a dreamer who constantly compared myself to the gorgeous home renovations that you see on Instagram. I also wanted to prove that with the right paint colors, a little DIY, and a budget you can achieve creating the home of your dreams.

The Best Paint

I always recommend Sherwin Williams paint because My home has some older plaster walls and new drywall. Their paint and primer smooth the walls and hide tiny imperfections making the walls look cohesive so that you can’t see the difference between the two. It is a little more expensive, but totally worth it when you see the transformation of your walls, plus you won’t have to paint for another fifteen-twenty years.

Here Are The Colors I Chose For My Home

My Before & After Realistic Home Renovation With Photos

My First Project

The first thing I replaced was the front entry door. It was the original door from 1947 and had lead paint, so it absolutely had to be removed. Once the new door was installed I painted it in Sherwin Williams Festoon Aqua. See the full door renovation post here: New Front Door Makeover

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the first room you see when you walk through the front door, so I knew it had to be filled with bright & welcoming colors.


The hideous pink and brown colors made the kitchen feel dark, dirty, and cramped. As you can see in the before photos there was mold, so all of the walls and cabinets were ripped out down to the studs to create a fresh clean canvas. Then new mold-resistant drywall was installed along with new plumbing to prevent any leaks.

The ceiling fan was also too large and heavy for the beam to support it and it wobbled.  I replaced it with a compact white ceiling fan.

The upper kitchen cabinets are Pottery Barn beadboard cottage-style cabinets and the lower cabinets are from Home Depot. There were no upper white kitchen cabinets in stock within a one-hundred-mile radius in any home improvement store in my area so I needed to improvise. I also ordered nickel cabinet pulls from Amazon.


I purchased all new appliances and only used the refrigerator. The rest of the appliances remained in their boxes for one year because I could not get a decent contractor in my area thanks to the pandemic. I relied on my local Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Amazon for home improvement supplies. There were many shipping delays and many items were completely out of stock for months.

I hired a handyman, contractor, plumber, and electrician to do the scary work.  Then took my time and installed the kitchen cabinets myself to save money. Once the cabinets were in place I had granite countertops installed, and then new flooring. Unfortunately, I did not save those pictures.

The kitchen is painted Sherwin Willams Topsail, and then I built these cute wall shelves to display my favorite aqua coffee mug collection. I purchased the corbels online, then bought the shelves from Home Depot and had them cut to the right size.

My Dream Kitchen Completed


Living Room

The living room was dark, painted with a Pepto Bismol Pink color and brown trim. Even the baseboards were painted the same color!

I had lots of fun decorating the living room once painted. I added this decorative wrought iron metal wall plaque above the tv, then hung the lanterns on the side. The white table, lantern wall hooks,  beachy aqua lamp, and wicker storage trunk were all ordered on Amazon.

The first thing I did was prime the walls white and then paint them Sherwin William Watery. Next, I applied paintable Beadboard Wallpaper to the bottom half of the wall. Then I primed and painted the baseboard heaters with Rustoleum Enamel Paint in Gloss White.

The next project was to build the TV mantle. I purchased the same corbels online that I used in the kitchen but bigger. I wanted them to match. I had the shelf cut to 60 inches from wood purchased at Home Depot. Then I painted the shelf white and hung the TV by myself almost dropping it a couple of times!

I had new carpet installed recently in a sandy dark color to match the kitchen floor pattern.


My Before & After Realistic Home Renovation

Main Bedroom

The main bedroom almost made me run away from the house when I came to see it with my realtor! (HaHa)

Once the new walls and closet were built it wasn’t so scary, it was just a blank white canvas. I painted the bedroom Sherwin Williams Serenely and added carpet to make it feel warm and cozy. Then I removed the closet doors and added curtains instead for a dreamy feel. Read more on the amazing color here: Sherwin Williams Serenely Paint Color

Completed Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

This was the biggest challenge of them all because it took me more than three months to complete this room. It was lots of work because the baseboard heater was also painted the same purple-ish blue! You can see the full post here: Before & After Guest Bedroom Makeover



The bathroom color is painted also painted in Sherwin Williams Topsail same as the kitchen. I removed the hideous brown sink and luckily found the exact same one at Home Depot!

I added a new toilet, and all new plumbing. The old bathroom floors were ripped out and color flooring was added to match the kitchen. I bought this cute Cottage Style Bathroom Cabinet and hung it myself. I hot-glued starfish to the baskets for a beachy look.

I also replaced the original bathroom door with a new one that I hung myself.

Hallway Transformation

My amazing neighbors were also updating their home and gave me their old (real wood) closet doors.  I painted them Sherwin Williams Watery to match the living room and family room custom-painted table. Then added the same carpet from the bedroom to match. I am obsessed with everything matching because I wanted all of the colors in my home to flow well together.

Then I had this amazing Caged Lighting installed to brighten up the space replacing the old-fashioned boob-style lighting.

Family Room

The family room was a huge challenge because it was covered in old 70’s brown paneling. The walls took two days to clean, then I applied the paintable beadboard wallpaper over the panels which instantly brightened the space making it appear larger.

There were so many ideas on what to do with the fireplace and wood stove. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to paint the brick surface white and remove the wood stove, or have built-in shelves attached to the stand-alone Ikea shelves. My wonderful neighbor advised me not to remove it because it was a very valuable part of the home, and the next homeowner may want to use it.

The truth is I was afraid of it and never used it at all!

I took a total of three years to renovate my home and there are many more projects that I would love to complete. Much of my home is DIY from painting to installing the shelves. I left the scary things like plumbing, flooring, and electricity to the hired professionals. My home is also a labor of love because it taught me so much about myself and my capabilities.

I wanted to keep some of the home’s original features and flooring in neutral colors because I wanted to be able to sell it. There are lots of people who don’t like the beach theme, but this post isn’t for them!

I knew in my heart that this wasn’t my forever home, but more of an investment. I totally gave up on the fireplace as you can see! (lol)

Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes

There were many mistakes made along the way as this is my first home. For example, when I first purchased the new front door, I didn’t realize that the old door was two inches shorter despite measuring it several times. The good thing is that I had it installed in the garage and it fit perfectly so I didn’t completely waste the money spent on the door.

The garage only had one dull light fixture so I bought this industrial pendant light to brighten up the space. I added also matching semi-flush pendant lights all throughout the home.

Pin Me!

Ten Home Renovation Tips To Save Money

  • Create a vision board and make a list of items you will need.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. If you come in under budget, apply those finances to the next project.
  • Shop sales and clearance for big purchases.
  • Shop Habitat-Restore for materials if you have one in your area.
  • DIY as many simple projects as you can. There is tons of information on Youtube.
  • Hire experts for plumbing, electrical, and appliance installations.
  • Be smart about hiring help and always get at least three estimates. Also, make sure they are licensed.
  • Reuse some of the material of the home that can be cleaned, painted, and restored.
  • Pay cash when you can.
  • Take your time.

Also see: How To Save On Renovation Costs

 Would I buy another fixer-upper and do it all again? No way! Once is enough and my achy joints probably won’t allow it. (HaHa) I learned lots of information about home ownership and maintenance. My next home will be move-in ready.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading, you can find any of the items mentioned by clicking on the highlighted words & links. Have fun during your home improvement projects and remember that if you make mistakes, everything is fixable!





Introducing The New California Dreamin Tee Collection!

Shop the new collection of Men’s Women’s and Kids California Dreamin Tee Shirts!

Are you planning a beach vacation to California? These tee-shirt designs are inspired by California’s colorful sunsets and picture-perfect palm trees. Whether surfing in Malibu or relaxing on the white sandy beaches, these cool tees are perfect for those who love the beach, sand, and surf!

There are many styles, colors, and sizes available for purchase via the blog Shop on Amazon! Pick any of your favorite cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco!


These tees aren’t just for travelers! Take pride in your city or get one as a gift for friends and loved ones! Just click on the Buy on Amazon icon under the images in the Shop. It will take you straight to Amazon where you can choose your Tee style, size, Popsockets, iPhone covers, Raglan Tees, Long-sleeve Tees, Tank Tops, Sweatshirts & Hoodies.





How To Survive The Holidays

Seas & Greetings! The Holidays are fast approaching so I thought I would create this handy “survival guide” to help you cope with everything from dealing with toxic family, loss, or money problems.

Do you love the holiday season but not the stress that may come along with it? Does family drama seem to be the theme at every family gathering? If so then this article is for you.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

My Personal Experience

As a child who grew up in a dysfunctional family system, I dreaded the holidays. My mother suffered from depression that was never acknowledged. So every holiday began with stories about how she missed her mom, and how we were so lucky to have her as a mother.

Then she began to berate and control us by reminding us that we didn’t deserve anything, including her love or affection. We learned how to play loving family by showing fake affection when company would come over for the holidays. Yet there was always tension and anxiety underneath our fake smiles.

If we didn’t perform well, later on, she would scold us for the tension and sad looks on our faces noticed by other family members. I learned very early on not only to hide my true feelings but that there would be consequences if anyone found out just how unhappy we were.

How To Survive The Holidays With Toxic Family

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a child. As a kid, I often dreamed of what it would be like to spend the holidays as a loving family. I often wondered what it was like to have hugs filled with love, not a cold rehearsed hug that was scheduled once all of the family that didn’t live with us arrived.

As an adult, I made the decision that I would no longer be attending any family gatherings period. I decided that my peace of mind and sanity were more important. Besides, I just wanted to be happy and enjoy myself instead of dealing with someone else’s depression.


I have had no contact with my family for almost 5 years. The years of narcissistic control, fighting, and insults has taken it’s toll on my body. I now have to protect my health and sanity due to auto-immune disease. I have the right to remove their access to me, but they don’t think so.

Besides, holidays should be fun! The truth is that you don’t have to attend these dysfunctional family gatherings either. Now I am not telling you to go and cut off your entire family as I did. My reasons for doing so are much more than I can say. I simply choose to love myself and have peace. Something I NEVER had growing up.

No family is perfect, and this is article is not for those who have a loving family.

How To Survive The Holidays

Should you choose to spend the holidays with toxic family remember:

  1. Set boundaries.
  2. Practice mindfulness.
  3. People don’t change.
  4. Set realistic expectations.
  5. Limit your time together.
  6. Have an escape plan.

Should you choose not to attend the family gathering remember:

  1. Find your own meaning for the holiday.
  2. Do something that you really enjoy.
  3. You don’t need to give an explanation.
  4. You are allowed to set boundaries.
  5. You are allowed to walk away.
  6. Surround yourself with those who love you.

If you are hosting a family gathering, you can also uninvite toxic family members. Think of it this way. You spend your time and hard-earned money planning a wonderful holiday, and then someone miserable may come along to ruin it. This is unacceptable!

Life is too short to accept less than you deserve and the truth is, you deserve to have a happy and peaceful holiday celebration. Spend your time with those who really love you instead!

Are you an introvert? If so you may prefer to spend the holidays alone, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I personally do not have children so If I don’t attend get-togethers with friends, I spend the holidays baking and watching my favorite movies.

You may have loved ones that live far away or could be dealing with loss. If so remember to allow yourself to grieve. Don’t cancel the holiday, surround yourself with loved ones and do something special to honor those who are gone.

If you are dealing with money problems, take a good hard look at your finances. You don’t need to impress everyone with expensive gifts if it’s going to hurt your wallet. Stick to your budget, and you’ll be happier plus you can start the new year off with peace of mind instead of debt.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts instead of how much your gift costs. Give your time instead, or do something helpful for someone. You can save tons of money by giving baked goods as gifts. Bake a cake or batch of cookies and give those as a gift instead. People love getting food gifts!

See my easy recipes for Peanut Butter Blossoms & Christmas Sugar Cookies.

I love to spend Christmas Eve baking for my friends and neighbors! I hope you find this article helpful. Thanks for stopping by and remember… You can always escape to the beach!

Happy Holidays!


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