Moving Home

Our Decision

Nick and I recently made a huge decision that will change our lives forever. We moved back home to California! While we both LOVED our beach house, our lifestyle at Jax Beach and the cost of living, we realized that the distance posed a challenge with our families. There were a lot of different reasons that weighed into our ultimate decision, but the biggest one is that we’re pregnant!

This news changed how we looked at our lives and our priorities. We both realized that we didn’t want our children to grow up away from our families. We wanted his (yes HIS :-D) grandparents and extended family to be a part of his life as much as possible.

Our Beach House

This was so bittersweet. Once we decided that we were going home, we went on a renovation push that lasted for about 3 months. We ended up completely finishing the interior before we listed the house. In the end, everything turned out beautiful! Since I was pregnant at the time and sick as a dog, poor Nick was stuck with a lot of the legwork. Though I did help out where I could. Pregnancy is so restricting :-)! But it all worked out for the best in the end. We sold our house in less than a week at nearly list price and closed within 30 days. This allowed us to move back home quicker than we’d ever expected.

We both miss our home so much. We poured our souls into making it our dream house and really hope the new owners love it as much as we did. Below are some pictures of how it turned out. We hope you guys enjoy it!

The Move

Cross country moves are tough, especially when you DIY like Nick and I did. Our goal was to keep our move under $5K, which is a pretty big ask when you’re moving from Florida to Northern California. We’ve done it twice now and we learned a lot the first time around. For anyone looking for a cost effective way to move with animals, we’ve included a few tips.

Moving Tips & Tricks
  1. Animals Stay Free at All La Quinta Inns
  2. PODS are a GREAT and stress free way to move
  3. Roof Bags are an amazing way to save space in a smaller vehicle
  4. Don’t overdo the driving too soon
La Quinta Inn

No matter how many animals you have, you can stay at a La Quinta Inn at no additional charge. We booked solely at this chain along our entire trip and never had to claim our animals or sign a waiver. A lot of hotels have restrictions on animals or nightly fees in excess of $100/night. Thanks to La Quinta, we never had to worry about this extra cost or stress out about whether we’d be turned away due to our animals.

PODS

I truly cannot say enough good things about PODS. As long as you pack your POD effectively and tie off the sections as they recommend, your stuff will arrive just as you sent it. The best part is that the cost to transport cross country is $3,400 and you get 30 days to complete your move. It’s an incredible deal, especially when compared to what else is out there.

The only downside is that the biggest POD they have is for a 3-4 bedroom house. But that’s even a stretch, so you want to make sure you pack everything in tight. We sold a lot of our furniture before we left and really prioritized what was critical VS what we could repurchase or live without once we got to CA.

Roof Bags

We bought a waterproof roof bag that could be used without a rack and put it on top of our Hyundai Sonata. We put everything that we needed to travel in that bag. Two dog crates, two small suitcases, a backpack, the dog and cat food, I mean EVERYTHING we didn’t need while we were driving. They are a lot bigger than you’d expect, which really helped us maximize the space inside our car.

We needed all of the space we could get for a very good reason: 2 Dogs, 2 Cats and 2 Humans. Yikes, right?! While a bigger car would be have been great, we made due with a lot of Febreeze and a good attitude :-). We are also lucky enough that our animals love each other and could be confined in such close quarters without any major tiffs or issues.

Pace Your Drive

The first time we did our cross-country trip, we drove 16 hours on the first day and burnt out so badly that we had to rearrange all of our travel plans just to take a break. This time, we spaced everything out to make sure we never drove more than 9 hours in one single day. In general, we tried to keep our daily drives between 7.5 and 8.5 hours. It worked out beautifully and we really enjoyed our road trip as a result.

Final Thoughts

Our move was a long time in the works and we are both really happy to be back. However, when we left three years ago, coming back to California was definitely not part of the plan.

It’s funny the curve balls that life throws your way. We are now in the process of adjusting to life in a completely different place. A lot has changed since we left and we miss our old hometown at Jax Beach. But we are looking forward to re-making our home here and to creating new memories with it. As soon as we get our next fixer, potentially one with a bit of property, you guys will be the first to know! For right now, we are have decided to scale back and take on a much smaller project. A 1991 pop-up camper :-D.

Donuts Coffee Beach

Does it get any better than a great cup of coffee and sticky-sweet donuts shared with a beautiful view? If you said, “Nope”, then we definitely agree! A morning shared with great company, delicious food and the sound of waves crashing onshore is an amazing way to kick off the weekend.

This has become a bit of a tradition in the Torres household. One Saturday a month, we pack up our beach chairs and a couple of to-go coffees and head over to our favorite local bakery. Then we pick out our favorite donut spread and make our way over to Jax Beach Pier.

It’s a great place to spend your morning, watching surfers catch waves and fishing enthusiasts snag their daily catch. This time of day is also the quietest and most peaceful, as few have ventured out for their beach outtings yet. So you can just grab a donut, sip your coffee and relax to the peaceful soundtrack of the ocean.

Cinotti’s Bakery

Cinotti’s is our favorite bakery in Jax beach, specifically for their donuts. They are fresh baked and delicious every morning. They have plenty of selection and, during this time of year, seasonal flavors! I am crazy excited to try the pumpkin donut the next time we go. Nick says I’m going “basic”, but I don’t really know what that means so I choose to ignore it :-). I’m going to eat my pumpkin donut and love every minute of it, thank you very much!

Any Recommendations?

We are always looking for ways to broaden our horizons and try new things. If you have an awesome coffee and donuts location that we need to try, please comment and let us know what you think. We hope you enjoyed this post and we will definitely have more to come on our awesome hometown!