Moving Recap: Greetings from San Diego, California!

An overdue post about our big cross-country move, settling in our new home in California, and more! 

Oceanside CA Lauren Anne

Moving Recap: Greetings from San Diego, California!

Hi from California! I feel as if this post is long overdue but then I look at the calendar and realize we’ve only been in our new home for just over a month. Honestly it feels like we’ve been here for at least 3 months. Maybe it’s because for the last few months, James’ and my life has been in a near-constant state of “go go go!”

In case you missed it, James, Riley, and I moved from DC to San Diego, California!

Although we knew a move was likely approaching this year because of James’ military service, it still felt surreal when he finally received his orders and we found out we would be leaving the monuments of DC for the palm trees of California.

This move was a big moment for me. I lived in Washington, DC for 16 years and built a significant life chapter in our nation’s capital. After all, my blog was called “DC Girl in Pearls” up until just last year!

I had my routines and James and I had our spots filled with memories and happy moments as a newly married couple. Long, winding walks on early mornings with Riley, sniffing to her heart’s content on the Capitol grounds (The Supreme Court is another a top favorite for our hound). Tunnicliffs for onion rings and the best Bloody Marys. Picking up fresh produce from the farmer’s market at Eastern Market on weekends.

It was going to be emotional closing this chapter in our life and yes, I absolutely did cry when we drove out of the city to begin our move. Luckily, we had a couple of months to soak up everything we love in our city with the people we love 💙

Packing Up Our DC Apartment

Discovering how much you’ve accumulated and acquired over the years is always a surprise. I’m a person who keeps a “Donate” box in their closet and regularly goes through my closet. It was still quite a shock when James and I were going over our items and determining what we could donate, what we would box up for the move, and what would go with us in our car.

We had pretty limited capacity in our car and we really had to prioritize what went in there. Ultimately, we kept family heirlooms, my top favorite ginger jars, and important documents in the car. Although I did wiggle in two of my smaller plants! Sadly, the movers weren’t able to take the rest of my plants so I made sure they went to loving homes. Since we were going to be in DC for nearly two weeks after our boxes were moved, we squirreled everything that was coming with us in our guest bathroom and told the movers to ignore that space.

Because we moved due to James’ military career, we had military movers who packed up our items for us. While you would think it would be less stressful to take the monumental packing task off your to do list, for a person who likes to be in control it took away a stressor and added a different type of stressor. Honestly, it just felt awkward sitting on the couch while people packed up all our items and put them into boxes.

A few days later, the movers arrived and took away our boxes. Our apartment sounded like a cave the way our voices echoed and we had to be pretty bare bones for our last days in DC.

Driving Across The U.S.A.

Our cross-country drive was a part of the adventure I simultaneously was excited about and positively dreading. I moved to DC when I was 18 for college and stayed in the city. I have never owned a car. Take into account a lack of mileage on my driving experience and how crazy traffic in DC can be, I would not call myself a confident driver in any way. A reluctant driver, but not a confident one. I had to get very comfortable very quickly with this trip.

James and I did several practice drives in the weeks leading up to our move so that did help ease me into things. I knew I had to conquer this fear and I did not want to put the entire drive on James. Our trip felt like immersion therapy because while I still wouldn’t fully say I’m a confident driver, I am feeling far more comfortable than I did when we started the drive.

We planned out our trip ahead of time to visit with family and friends and when mapping our route, we each picked a city (within reason) we wanted to stop and visit. For James, that was the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For me, it was New Orleans – a city I truly feel is magical and I wanted to introduce to James.

New Orleans

We were lucky to spend about a day-and-a-half in New Orleans and boy did we pack a whole lot into those hours. We arrived in the evening and after a very quick outfit change and refresh, we headed off to dinner and drinks with James’ sister and her husband.

The next day, we had beignets for breakfast at Cafe Du Monde and then used our sugar rushes to power walk all over the French Quarter while James indulged me in sharing all of the ghost stories with him. At my insistence, we each cooled off with a daiquiri at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar (Pat O’Brien’s was closed). Then, at James’ insistence, we visited the World War II Museum. I had never been in my three prior visits to the Big Easy and I’m so glad we did. The museum is incredibly well-done and thorough and was especially significant to visit just before the 85th anniversary of D-Day.

We had a quick lunch at Acme Oyster (a repeat from my previous visit) and met up with one of James’ groomsman and his wife for another delicious dinner.

Our somewhat leisurely drive to California hit a bit of a road bump at this point. Our movers called us in New Orleans to let us know they were making good time and would now be arriving in San Diego almost 3 days ahead of schedule. If we weren’t able to make it to San Diego by that weekend, our boxes would go into a warehouse and it could be weeks until we received our items. Pretty excellent motivation to put the pedal to the metal, needless to say.

Fort Worth

We arrived in Fort Worth in the evening with this mindset. James’ big request was to go to a steakhouse. He last visited in Fort Worth in college and had the “best steak he’d ever had.” Luckily, there was a steakhouse within walking distance of our hotel and after a long day on the road sitting down to a steak dinner sounded perfect. We headed to Del Frisco’s and I can honestly say it was the best steak I’d ever had. I selected an incredibly rich filet mignon and only made it about halfway through before I had to call it quits. My eyes were bigger than my stomach!

The next day, we did our longest day of driving. We went from Fort Worth all the way to my parents’ home in Phoenix. After a quick visit there, we hit the road for our final leg of the trip to our new home in San Diego. Thankfully, we beat our movers by a day and were able to receive our boxes!

Oceanside CA By Lauren Anne Blog

Settling Into Our New San Diego Home

I will say it was quite surreal to drive up to our San Diego home considering we purchased it sight unseen (well, except via FaceTime and videos and photos from our amazing realtor). Both James and I were excited to walk through the door of our home as first-time homeowners!

We had an amazing group of packers and all of our items arrived in one piece! This was a huge relief after hearing some horror stories. Riley was quite enthusiastic to be reunited with her beloved couch.

It took us a month but we are now about 95% organized and ready to start taking action on updates for our home. Our big projects are repainting the downstairs (every room is painted a medium shade of gray), updating the light fixture over the dining area, and getting new curtains/window treatments for the downstairs windows. I’m excited to share more about our home updates here and over on Instagram!

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