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Home is Wherever…


So, Edward Sharpe may have been on to something…


To be honest, I sort of struggled with writing this post. I couldn’t figure out what to say. I knew that I wanted to share with you all the details of our new home and remodel, but, I couldn’t stop asking myself, who the f—k actually cares?


I mean, does anyone really want to chime in about the pros and cons of hardwood versus faux wood as it relates to beach town living? I didn’t think, so… (unless you’re my mother or my sister; in which case, not only do you care, you also have opinions).


Chances are, I’ll never have the pleasure of inviting you over for a dinner party so you can enjoy our splendid decision to go with the six burner range plus griddle (it’s still being fiercely debated, but I need the white 48-inch standing range with dual ovens and broiler). And I may never be able to pour you a cocktail at our super chic wet bar—that is absolutely a better use of space than a play area—with all brass hardware, including faucet (which, for the record, is not at all frivolous).


Unless, you happen to live nearby or find yourself passing through, in which case, come on over! (But please make sure to mention that rainfall showers may be passé, but they are still really enjoyable and it’s so wonderful that decided to go with one…).


Ok, so with all that said, I started thinking about this adventure and wondering what the common ground may be. I mean, it seems like a big fucking deal, so there has to be something about a new home that stirs up feelings bigger than the obvious…


To begin, I decided that, for me, much of the excitement and emotion generated from our new home has had less to do with the physical structure, and more to do with the journey getting here. Our move was a rather quick decision based on our current needs. Moving is never easy—particularly when you’re uprooting a family. We always toyed with the idea of moving to Orange County (which is where I grew up and where my husband and I met during college), but it was never in the immediate future.


And then…bam! Here I am now living in my own “Prodigal Son” story. While I’m not returning after a decade of total debauchery (I did, however, spend a handful of questionable evenings on the corner of 27th and 10th), I am still coming back to the place I call home for much of my life.


At first glance, moving back to a familiar place with built in support might seem to make for a smooth transition, but, trust me, I love nothing more than making seemingly simple things difficult, overanalyzed and entirely too complex.


I guess it comes down to this: If it were just me, I probably wouldn’t have moved.


I loved living in Los Angeles, but it no longer made sense for my little tribe. Moving was the best decision for all of us, but it was still hard to pull the trigger. Being a mother and having a family is a blessing and a tremendous privilege, but with every reward comes a sacrifice. For me, it’s not easy to always place my family’s needs before my own. Maybe that makes me an asshole, but it also makes me honest. It’s often the easy, more preferred choice, but sometimes it’s really freaking hard.


Look, I totally get that I’m bitching about having to move back to Laguna Beach, which in the category of “hometowns,” is pretty up there. But without getting too much into the twisted web that is the psychology of me, it’s forcing me to “go backwards.” Does that make sense?


Basically, I’m having to swallow my own ego…which sucks.


I place great value in my ability to recognize new challenges and conquer hurdles. I don’t “idle” very well. I bitch about wanting things to settle down, but, at the end of the day, I always need to be going, preferably with a red blinking timer racing towards zero.


Moving back didn’t necessarily feel like a forward step. Like, if my life was Super Mario Brothers 3, Laguna is a land I’ve already passed. I found the warp hole, got the feather and transformed into the flying fox guy. For the past 13 years, I’ve bounced from Chicago to New York to Los Angeles, and during that time I was able to see and experience things I never imagined possible. So when we thought about moving, I wanted to try some place I hadn’t yet conquered, like San Francisco, Washington D.C., Barcelona, or…Brentwood!


That said, I’m not always my “best self” in those conditions. As I told my husband last night, I’ve recently realized two really important things about myself.


  • I am good at pressure, deadlines and stress. I have laser focus. If it’s sink or swim, I’m Michael Fucking Phelps.
  • I am not always the best person under pressure, deadlines and stress. I am an emotional freight train begging to fly off the tracks.


And that’s sort of the crux of it. The new and shiny option wasn’t the best choice for myself or my family. We needed to set roots, not fly away. It was no longer about just me…and I’m ok with that.


So what I’m trying to keep in mind as I navigate this journey (hopefully with any lasting shred of grace) is that it’s all about perspective. I may not be traipsing through an unknown city or clawing my way to the top of an industry, but I am still on a pretty incredible adventure. From one angle, it may not look as though I’m continuing to grow, but all I need to do is view it from a different plane.


In part, coming back home represents my coming full circle and closing the loop on a really huge part of my life. I’m looking back on the past 13 years, and thinking about who I am today versus who I was when I left. I’m not the same person as I was in 2004. I watch Bill Maher on Friday nights…on east coast time. And, this might seem convenient, but there hasn’t been one city, one adventure, or one achievement that could possibly compare to my becoming a mother. Giving Tallulah a wonderful life in a beautiful home where she can grow is perhaps the most rewarding thing I could do with this stage of my life.


So, while the details of my house remodel may not necessarily pique anyone’s interest (but I’ll still be sharing from time to time), I think we may find common ground in the journeys we all share in getting to where we are…especially as women who become mothers.

And, perhaps, the lengths to which we all will go to make our house a home.

Don’t leave me hanging….share your home journey with me! Leave comments below!

  1. Avatar
    Candace 4 years ago

    Ah congrats on the new (old?) environment for the little family. Having gone from NYC to a totally new environment in Florida, I am here to reassure you that going to the place that you grew up with your young child is a very good decision. I miss Cali and my family/childhood friends so much now that I’m in the thick of young mom life. You made a smart move. Oh and we bought and gut renovated a house too, so, ya know, totally blow me up if you want to debate the merits of tile, wood, and paint colors. That was my entire life last Spring. Rejuvenation is aces for hardware and Fireclay tile makes me orgasm basically every day. Circa lighting was amazing and shiplap walls make my day. I could drone on forever… especially about shades of white paint. So. Many. Paint. Samples. Kisses to you, Yash, and Lu. Xoxox

  2. Avatar
    Rachel 4 years ago

    Oh, me too! I’ve just moved almost-home after living where I lived and wanting my kids to have a beautiful home near their extended family. But I didn’t want to do it. My sister sent this to me and said it was just like me, but with more curse words. Good work, brave fellow mama, doing what we think might be best for the family at great cost.

  3. Avatar
    Leslie Bruce 4 years ago

    Ahh! Yes. We definitely need to connect on this! The conversations I’ve had about lighting options is mind numbing, and we only just started demo today. It’s going to be a looooong road, but I know in the end it’s going to be worth it. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself while I cry and drink wine in the corner. I want to hear all about your remodel though. Let me know your next trip back! Or maybe we can plan a group Disneyworld trip!?

  4. Avatar
    Leslie Bruce 4 years ago

    Hahah! I love that your sister sent this to you. And thank you for sharing your journey with me. I figured that if I was going to be honest about my experience, I may as well tell it as honestly as I feel it (which means, curse words… I live in a family of sailors. Ha.). It’s a hard transition. And it’s really hard sometimes to sacrifice, but you’re a great mom. I think that being honest is far more brave than pretending its not an issue, so BRAVO TO YOU. xo

  5. Avatar
    Bianca 4 years ago

    We just made a decision to leave San Diego for Denver on similar grounds. Roots and our kids being closer to a big family. If it was just my husband and I we would probably venture somewhere new, but with kiddos the family around is our best gift to them. Good luck

  6. Avatar
    KE 4 years ago

    We just moved from Corona Del Mar to West LA, and I’m struggling because I really miss our “old” home (while LA isn’t far, it is SO different!). We’re planning to start our family soon, and while I imagined motherhood in OC, I am utterly unprepared for what it might look like in LA. Any advice?

  7. Avatar
    Leslie Bruce 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, Bianca! I hear the most amazing things about Denver, but it’s all relative. And I agree! My daughter needs family and stability far more than I need a new adventure. It’s still hard, but totally worth it.

  8. Avatar
    Leslie Bruce 4 years ago

    Oh, wow! That’s so hard and so funny that we’re totally in a role reversal. I loved LA for all the opportunity it had. I thought that kids who were raised in a city were so cool, so thoughtful, so progressive. You’re going to be amazing as a mama no matter the city. My advice is this…give it a shot. Nothing is carved in stone. If you end up hating it, leave. It sounds like I’m oversimplifying but it’s the truth. I realized that the happiness of the family trumps anything else. West LA is really kid friendly, so you’re def in luck!

  9. Avatar
    Lisa 4 years ago

    I am feeling you here. We were military for 25 years. My hubs retired a year and a half ago and we made a move to Arizona. After a year and a half and missing California (San Francisco and Napa area) we are looking into moving..wait for it..Connecticut!! Simply because of the schools. Our youngest is 9 and has autism. The schools in Arizona suck..California is better but it’s super expensive there and my husband’s ideal and dream next life job is with a company in CT. We have lived in Alaska, England, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Definitely NOT Mid West people. So, we are going to uproot ourselves one more time and make a move to a place we have never been, know nobody (but we don’t know anyone in AZ either..) For me, I have grieved our old life in California and am terrified but ready to move on. Special needs kids are only required to have an OK education…I told the school district that my kid will have the best. So, jumping in, terrified but excited. But I will NEVER give up my beloved Disneyland!!!

  10. Avatar
    Leslie Bruce 4 years ago

    Lisa, can I just say this. BOW DOWN! You are not only making a sacrifice by moving once again, and heading to a place with REAL winters, you are doing it all for your family: your husband’s dreams and a wonderful little boy who is extra special and therefore DESERVES extra special. I think you’re a bada** for making sure he has the BEST education available, and I can’t imagine the sacrifices you’ve already made. You’re a rockstar and a true BOSS MOM. I so admire you!! xx

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