Author: Kendra

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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25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments

Happy Holidays! Create the most gorgeous coastal Christmas tree ever with this list of 25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments!

Not only are they the cutest, but they also make great gifts! There is something for everyone on this list, from mermaids to seahorses or starfish and sand dollars.

There are actually 26 items on this list! I kept finding so many gorgeous ornaments it was hard to choose, but I hope you love them all! Just click the link or image to find the item on Amazon.

Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament , A Day at The Beach Sea Shell Wreath

***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.***

I just can’t believe how fast the Holidays are approaching. I created this handy list because I’m all about saving time and money by shopping online. Every year, I get new ornaments for my Christmas trees to add to my coastal collection.

You can find the perfect last minute gift for your favorite beach lover that will remind them of their best beach day or summer vacation!

25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments


  1. C&F Home Coastal Blue Seahorse


2. Have A Very Beachy Christmas Tree Ornament

3. December Diamonds Blue Mermaid Holding a Pearl

4. Old World Christmas Sand Dollar Glass Blown Ornament

5. Beacon Design Coastal Lantern Ornament with Starfish Shell

6. Delton Beach Set of 3 Starfish, Clam Shell, Seahorse Ornaments

7. Old World Christmas House Ornament

8. Kurt Adler Mermaid with Blue Glitter Tail Christmas Ornament


9. Santa Sea Life Coastal Tropical Beach Glass Holiday Christmas Ornament

10. Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament 2022 Sunshiny Smiles Beach Vacation Picture Frame

11. Country Marketplaces Starfish On Disc Ornament

25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments


12. Midwest Sand Beach Christmas Tree Hanging Resin Christmas Ornament

13. Kurt Adler Starfish Couple Decorative Holiday Christmas Tree Ornament Set

14. Jellyfish Seashell Set of 4 Coastal Ornaments for Christmas Tree

15. Rengöra Blue Sea Turtle, Hand-Painted Ceramic Sea Turtle Christmas Ornament

16. Kurt Adler Set of 2 Blue Starfish and Sand Dollar Shells Christmas Holiday Ornaments


17. Kurt Adler Beach Snowman Ornament Pair

18. Old World Christmas Scallop Shell Glass Blown Ornament

19. Old World Christmas Golden Seashell Glass Blown Ornament

20. Midwest Beach Pail with Shells and Shovel Christmas Ornament

21. Cape Shore Tropical Beach Lifeguard Santa Claus Ornament

22. I Love The Beach Sandals Sunglasses Shells Christmas Ornament

23. Mermaid Christmas Ornament, Silver Tone Glitter Holiday Decoration

24. Old World Christmas Beach Bag Glass Blown Ornament

25. Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament 2022, Beach Bliss Adirondack Chair 

These are just some of my favorites but you can see all coastal style ornaments and decorations from Amazon here.

I hope you enjoyed this list! Happy Holidays & Have a very Beachy Christmas!

Also see: The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Beach Lovers

Cake Mix Peanut Butter Blossoms

Easy Peanut Butter Blossoms

Everyone loves chocolate and peanut butter together! So here is another deliciously easy cookie recipe using a box of yellow cake mix. The cake mix is used for the cookie dough base, so you don’t have to make them from scratch!

What I love about this recipe is that it’s quick and easy, and there is hardly no measuring which means anyone can make them. Best of all these cookies will be ready to eat in 20 minutes.

***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.***

Peanut Butter Blossoms are a holiday cookie staple. I can remember having these along with Sugar Cookies every year at Christmastime. Why not whip up a batch and give them as a gift?

If you prefer to make these from scratch instead you can use this Classic Peanut Butter Cookie recipe instead.

Easy Peanut Butter Blossoms Recipe



  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup softened Butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup creamy Peanut butter
  • 1 bag of Hershey kisses



  • Add 1 box yellow cake mix to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs, peanut butter and the softened butter.
  • Beat the ingredients together until completely mixed.
  • Scoop and shape the cookie dough into 1 inch balls.
  • Roll each dough ball into the granulated sugar.
  • Place the dough balls onto a an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately insert Hershey’s Kiss into the center.
  • Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to finish.
  • Enjoy!


This recipe yields about 30 cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about one week to remain fresh. You can also freeze cookies for up to 3 months and they will taste delicious once thawed.

I love to play around in the kitchen with boxed cake mix recipes. I’m not a professional baker, but every recipe in this blog is something that I have learned to perfect over the years so they will always taste amazing!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, thanks for stopping by! Peanut butter lovers also see: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies & Peanut Butter Brownies.


2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Image credit: Pottery Barn


Season’s Greetings! Are you looking for the perfect gift for beach lovers? Finding the perfect present is never easy no matter who you are shopping for. Year after year, you’re shopping for the same people and it get’s harder but it doesn’t have to be. Use this hand gift guide before you start your holiday shopping.

While making this list, I only chose the best items from Amazon. Everything is either a best seller, a five star item, or some of my personal favorites. There are thoughtful, yet affordable and unique gifts for everyone on this list. Just click on the image to find the item.

***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.***

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Find unique gifts for beach lovers that will impress everyone on your list!

  1. This beautiful handmade sea glass earrings and necklace set is the perfect gift for jewelry lovers! Check out the Sea Stamped Store to see all beach glass designs. You can also create your own gift set.


2. These set of 2 stemless wine glasses are hand painted and the perfect unique gift for both wine and mermaid lovers!


3. This hand blown glass conch sea shell figurine is the perfect gift for your loved ones that collect seashells.


4. Here is a great gift for those that love sea turtles! This cute collectible statue has a beautiful crushed glass mosaic shell.


5. This set of 3 nautical aromatherapy candle set is the perfect gift for candle and beach lovers alike. Once the candles are burned, the jars can be re-used and home decor.


6. This beautiful mother of pearl photo frame also comes in pink and natural white. Present this gift with your favorite beach photo memories.


7. Seahorse candle holders are a great gift for beach lovers! This set o 2 beautiful pillar candle holders also comes in gold.


8. Lanterns are the perfect gift for beach lovers! This gorgeous set of 2 silver lantern set can also be filled with candles or seashells for the perfect beachy look!

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

9. Yankee candles are always a great gift idea! Give this Christmas at The Beach scented candle as a reminder of your favorite beach vacation! See all scents from the Yankee Candle Store here.


10.  Another great gift idea for mermaid lovers! This warm and cozy mermaids tail crochet blanket comes in 4 colors, perfect for teens!


11. Nautical iron anchor candle holders are the perfect rustic decor gift. It comes as a set of 2 for pillar candles.


12. Here is another great nautical anchor gift idea. Give this warm cozy beach style throw to anyone who loves a nautical theme!


13. These set of 4 coastal mugs are the perfect beachy gift for coffee lovers!


14. Here is a gorgeous starfish serving platter for your favorite hostess who enjoys the finer things in life.


15. Everyone loves beach Gnomes! These set of 3 cuties are a perfect year around decoration for beach lovers!


16. Bella Wind Chimes are the Boho-Beachy gift! They are made of sea glass and come in several colors.


17. This beautiful resin starfish bowl comes in 2 beachy blue colors and is the perfect accent piece for any room in the home.


18. Remind your favorite beach lover to take a moment and just Breathe with this beautiful framed ocean art print!


I hope you found something you love on this list. Why not get a little something for yourself while you’re browsing. You can get any of these items shipped within 2 days if you have a Prime Membership!

Give this membership as a gift or try it free for 30 days, plus you can cancel at anytime. I have been a Prime Member for 3 years and I absolutely love the convenience!

Thank you for stopping by, Happy Holidays! Also see Buttery Soft Christmas Cookies

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Savory Cabbage Soup With Rosemary & Red Potatoes

 This savory vegetable soup recipe is perfect for chilly fall nights and so delicious.

Fall is just a few short days away here in New England and we are starting to get those cold nights in September. Last night I was craving vegetable soup so I whipped up a big pot for dinner. It’s so yummy and it will make your house smell amazing, so I thought I would share this recipe.

Nothing beats a pot of fresh homemade soup served with warm bread or croutons. It warms you up and it’s a good way to get those veggies in. This soup is easy to make and very filling. The fresh rosemary adds lovely flavor to the red potatoes.

***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.***

Savory Cabbage Soup


  • One Head Of Cabbage chopped
  • 2 Cups cut Red Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Baby Carrots
  • 1 cup of Corn
  • 1/2 Small Red or Purple Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Celery chopped
  • 1/2 sprig of Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of Red Pepper sliced
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Herbs


Cooking Directions:

  • In a large pot add olive oil, chopped onions, celery, garlic cloves and sauté on medium heat.
  • Next add carrots, corn, red pepper, cabbage and potatoes then stir.
  • Next add 4 cups of vegetable broth, Italian herbs, salt and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until potatoes are done.
  • This recipe serves 4.
  • Enjoy!

I hope you love this recipe! Thanks for stopping by.


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