Home is my favorite place to be.  I would rather be here than any place else.  But a house is not a home.  It’s four walls and a roof.

A home is a reflection of those who live in it.  It is the big and small things collected throughout the journey of life and the things that make you smile.  It’s been quite a journey getting to the place that I affectionately call home.

I grew up in southern California and after college, landed a job in DC in radio and then in PR at a non-profit where I happily stayed for way longer than I expected.  I met my husband, got married, had a baby girl and bought a place in the city.  I kept a notebook where I would collect images of things that reminded me of home and the beach where I grew up.  I called the notebook “Dreams”.

But after 15 years living on the east coast, I convinced my husband to pack up and move our family of four back to my birthplace, just a few blocks from the beach.  It was a big change.  I had just given birth to my second child.  (A boy.  Yikes!)  I quit my job of 13 years in PR.  And now we were leaving all of our friends, our life in the city and the career that I had built back east.  It was a like ripping off a band-aid.  Do it quick and minimize the pain.

But moving out west was the best thing that has every happened to our family.  The weather is great.  People are happy.  You get a yard!  And I got to spend precious time with my mom diagnosed with cancer just two short years after our move.  Best of all my kids got to better know their amazing grandmother who took them to Toys R Us just because and served them Frosted Flakes at any point in the day and played Yahtzee and loved them more than anything else — before she slipped away in the spring of 2010.

We bought a little house.  I got out the old “dreams” notebook I had been holding onto for so many years and started making my house a home.

The laid back California lifestyle has had a big influence on me.  Warm weather and cool ocean breezes year-round lead to many outdoor dinners and parties in our backyard living room.  And the brilliant blues of the ocean and sky and vibrant hues of the flowers have found their way into my home.  Even certain smells and songs can bring me back to so many wonderful childhood memories of days at the beach or vacations in Hawaii.

Our home is always open to friends and family.  Any excuse for a gathering is just fine with us.  It makes me feel proud and humbled when people enjoy the surroundings of my home as much as I do.  So this seemed to be a good way to share my thoughts and inspirations on living the good life at the beach.  I hope I can help you find inspiration for making your house a home too.