We moved to Santa Monica in 2012. It wasn't a huge move distance-wise - from Pacific Palisades a few miles north on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).
But it may as well have been half a world away. Virtually everything is different here.
Instead of driving everywhere, today we ride bikes - with the exception of our twice-weekly grocery store runs. (My boys eat like there's no tomorrow so I could never pedal anywhere with all those groceries.)
We have the best of restaurants, beaches, shopping, and entertainment at our doorstep, without the hassles and expense of parking. And when it comes to our fellow Santa Monicans (I'm not sure that's actually a word) the mix of people here couldn't be more diverse, entertaining or fascinating.
It has been two years now, and I've only grown to love this funky, urban, beautiful city more. As a travel writer for more than a decade, I've covered dozens of cities in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean for major daily newspapers and magazines.
I know good stories when I see them. And here in Santa Monica, I was seeing them everyday. So why not combine the work I love with the city I love instead of leaving it to work?
I couldn't think of a single reason not to. So in June 2014, I created Santa Monica Beaches.com to share the unique stories and history of this beautiful, diverse, wacky, wonderful, never-a-dull-moment Southern California city.
I hear waves crashing outside as I write this. I feel so lucky to be able to live and work in a place that I love. I'm delighted to share it with you.