Image Map

What I Learned From Living in Southern California For One Year

Monday, September 25, 2017

Whoa. I can't believe Matt and I have lived in San Diego for a whole year now. We've experienced so many new things over the past 365 days of Southern California living. Somehow though, we both always say how we feel that we still have so much to see here. That makes me giddy because out of all the places I've lived (which prior to San Diego included Ohio, Florida, and Arizona) California offers the most in terms of things Matt and I like to do with our spare time. The best hiking, the prettiest beaches, the perfect year-round weather for said hiking and beaches, the most delicious vegan food, progressive politics, etc, etc, etc.

For a lifetime moving to Southern California was my Holy Grail and the fact that it has now been our home for one year (and hopefully many more to come) makes me so grateful for the way life pans out. Therefore in honor of my love for this fine state, for today's post I'm sharing some of what I've learned from the last year of living in The Golden State. (And yes, that does include some harsh realities of living here too; it can't always be sunshine and rainbows when taxes are this high... but it mainly can be - because, California.😍)

Olive green military jacket (also seen here, here & here): Old Navy

Gray "I just want to hang out with my dog" graphic t-shirt (also seen here): The Daily Tay via Etsy

Black active leggings: c/o PinkBlush
I am loving these leggings. They are perfect for hikes but are also great for walking to grab a coffee and stroll the farmers market on an easy Sunday morning. They've already become my go-to "athleisure wear"!

Perfectly mixed mutt named Kingsley: c/o The Humane Society ;)

- - - - -

If you are a "water sign person" then living close to the ocean never gets old.

Oddly enough, as much as I love the beach, I have never been the type to enjoy plopping my ass in the sand and just sitting there for hours on end. When I'm at the beach I need to be doing something. Whether it be taking a walk, cleaning up litter (Ha. I'm being serious.), or actually swimming in the freezing Pacific, I need to be active in some way. That said, I will never tire of the feeling of sand between my toes and the smell of saltwater surrounding me.

Street parking is never fun.

Growing up in Small Town, Ohio there was always a parking lot with plenty of spaces right out front of where we were going. Here in SoCal? That is not the case for the majority of places. Plus, aside from rarely getting a spot that's close to your desired location, you are usually going to be parking along the side of a street. That means you're forever worrying about getting a parking ticket and/or having someone hit your car. Matt and I have already gotten our first parking ticket here, and it was certainly a bummer to walk out to. There's no denying it - California takes its parking laws ser-i-ous-ly.

Perfect weather also does not get old (for some of us).

My mom and dad used to live by L.A. many decades ago. When I was growing up my mom told my sisters and me how much she loved it there, but every day was almost too perfectly warm, and sometimes ya just miss seasons. While I do agree that the change of seasons in other places is more extreme and lovable, I am totally fine with having ideal temperatures every week of the year. I can't speak for other cities but San Diego is a gem. We do have varying temperatures throughout the year, which feels a bit like changing seasons (especially compared to my years in Florida and Arizona, where it barely changes at all). We don't have to deal with snow though, which I can never do again after having lived through 18 years of it as a child.

People are not exaggerating when they say it is expensive to live in California.

Want to move to a big city or beach town somewhere in California? Buyer beware. (Like, seriously, beware, because it can get scary expensive, real quick.) Rent is most likely going to be more than double, gas will run you about 80 cents extra per gallon, average groceries will cost you a bit more... and those damn high taxes you always heard about. The taxes will make your soul hurt sometimes. But even with all of the additional costs Matt and I have still never once looked back and regretted our decision. And if taxes have to be taken (which I hear they do) it's also better to see our hard-earned money actually being used on things we care about, such as improving communities' environmental programs. It makes it sting a little less.

There are so many delicious restaurants.

Matt and I have always placed a lot of emphasis on eating. It's something we bonded over early on in our relationship. (We're just a guy and a gal who freaking. love. food.) With every place we've lived together, one of the first things we've done is walk the neighborhood to see which restaurants are nearby. This was no different when we moved to San Diego. Except it was. That's because we soon realized that the entire county (and state, actually) is filled with some of the best food we've ever had, and there's so much diversity to the types of places! Oh, and I know I've said it 400 times, but THE VEGAN FOOD SCENE HERE IS OUT OF THIS WORLD! It makes me so dang happy.

Spiders are constantly looming near... and plenty of them. (Dun, dun, dunnnn.)

Something that shocked me when we moved to La Jolla -- which if you're unfamiliar with San Diego neighborhoods is considered a pretty "posh" area -- was just how many spider webs there are... and thus, spiders. (And no, for those inquiring minds, Matt and I do not fit in at all in La Jolla, seeing as we're about half the age of the average resident, and I can never imagine anyone uttering the words "That Matt and Allie - they're just so sophisticated!" But we love the views, ocean breeze, and plethora of vegan-friendly businesses that this little town offers. Plus we found the cutest rental close to the beach, so it's whatev. Despite being obvious outcasts, we absolutely adore La Jolla 😅) Anyway, I kind of assumed that since people here constantly have crews working on their gardens/deep cleaning/house rehabs/whatever else wealthy people hire others to do, that they would also never allow cobwebs to build up. How wrong I was. People do not seem to care in the slightest that active spider webs are all up in their lawns, houses, fences, parked cars, etc. I actually really admire their nonchalance. Personally, I suffer from Top Level Arachnophobia so this was (and still is, if I'm being honest) difficult for me to adjust to. Those damn creepy-crawlies just give me the heebie-jeebies. But I guess this is a fear I'm just gonna have to get over 😲

Being brave and following your dreams - despite that they may seem crazy to some - has the possibility of paying off more than you can imagine. (Yes, I do realize this is extra cheesy.)

When Matt and I decided to move to California a little over a year ago we didn't have a real plan laid out. We just knew the time was right, we were ready for a big change, and we would make it work however we could. So we both quit our good, stable jobs... and, understandably, some people immediately began shaking their heads at our Millennial I'm-Gonna-Chase-My-Dreams-No-Matter-What-It-Takes Insanity. (And yes, I do admit that quitting our jobs to move to a place that costs more than double to live without new positions lined up was actually insane.) But I am an idealist, always have been, and I won't stop until I reach my goals (even if that means playing the looooong game). And Matt is a go-getter in every sense of the term. He is logical and thorough in everything he does. Combined together I feel like it's been the perfect recipe for us just makin' shit happen. And sure, I realize that since we're still kinda young we can take some bigger risks. I'm grateful that we're at the phase in our lives where we can trust each other and our own seemingly crazy ideas and then figure out how to make it so we can live life on our own terms. I know this kind of talk is what makes some people roll their eyes at our generation, but I'm okay with that. We only get one life (maybe... I don't know, really) so sometimes you have to do things for yourself that outwardly seem kinda stupid, and make your own daydreams become reality. No one else is going to do that for you.

Okaaaaay. That last one got a teensy philosophical, which is probably annoying to read coming from a 28-year-old. So sorry if that is the case. It's just how I feel, and I'm so happy to live here!! Fulfilling the lifelong dream of moving here has filled me with so much gratitude. And I 100% have that seemingly insane dream-chasing and a partner who supports it to thank for that. And California. California deserves a chunk of that gratefulness percentage, for sure.

LOVE YA, CALI! Mean it 😘

- - - - -

Where is your dream place to live?

Bloglovin' Twitter | Facebook |  Pinterest


  1. congrats on a year in cali! we lived there (in LA) for nine years and I miss it desperately, despite any negatives. ;)

  2. My best friend lives there and she loves it too! I'm glad you find a state that you love and enjoy living there. <3

  3. I love Cali but it is definitely expensive! You guys have the best weather

  4. Aww yay for you two! My Bff lives in Ocean Beach ---its so pretty there

  5. My husband and I have wanted to move to NYC for the past several years, and the cost is always one of the things that offsets us and scares us. It's good to hear you still feel like being in Cali is worth it, despite those sacrifices! Congratulations on your first year there! <3

  6. Haha congrats to one-year! I love that jumping picture of you... #nailedit!
    Kat Fox


Thank you so much for reading LunaVida!

I love receiving your comments. I read and appreciate all of them. If you need to reach me quickly though, please email

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...