Lisa Allen wearing LoveShackFancy with Sam Edelman heels and Chloe glasses

How we ended up in California

Growing up in Arizona, both Jeff and I spent the majority of our summers vacationing in California. Some of my childhood memories include Sea World, throwing ice off the balconies at the San Diego Marriott with my sister, weekend trips to Newport, driving around downtown L.A, and back to school shopping with my sisters.

As a single mom I would bring my girls to the the Newport Coast Villa’s 2-3 weeks of the year. It was our favorite thing to do as a family. After a few of these trips, I decided one day I would move my family to California. The idea sat with me for another 2 years. I’d look for houses online, schools, etc and then talk myself out of it. The feeling always came back though.

I took it a step further and went to California to look at houses.

I saw about 12 homes that day and fell completely in love with one of them. It was this light blue cottage style, all wood floors, 3 bedrooms and in the most adorable neighborhood on a street called Bluff Cove. I filled out all the rental paperwork and was approved. Then I got nervous. Could a single mom of three really move her entire life to a state with no family and about 3 friends? I backed out. The house went to someone else. I felt sick like I had made the wrong choice and let fear get in the way of my decision making. Over the next 6 month’s I thought a lot about that perfect home. Nothing I found online compared. I came out 3 other times to look at rentals and couldn’t commit to any of them. They just didn’t feel right.

A couple weeks later I found myself searching online.

This time, looking for homes to buy in Arizona. I felt maybe my inability to find a home I felt comfortable with in California was Heavenly Father’s way of telling me I should stay in Arizona. I looked for hours. Before I logged off I had a feeling to check Zillow in Orange County one more time. At this point I knew every listing posted. There were two new listings that day and one of them was THE home on Bluff Cove!! I immediately called the owner and asked him why it was listed, I mean the previous renters had just rented it 6 month’s prior. He responded that they got a job offer and had to move and it would be available in 30 days. He still had all my original paperwork and told me if I signed that day he would remove the listing.

Moving to California

30 days later, on June 1st the kids and I along with the help of my best friends Maury and Rachael were unpacking the moving van in our Bluff Cove home. A fresh start. A new life. A choice I’ve never regretted, even for one minute. It was the first time in my life I felt totally free. I had the opportunity to design and create the life I wanted for my children. We had the best 3 years in that home before Jeff and I got married and bought our home in Encinitas. That little blue home on Bluff Cove holds a lot of special “firsts” for my family.

I’ve been thinking about my life here in California a lot lately. Not the actual state of being here. But how I got here. Had I let self doubt get the best of me, I would be living in a place of regret and maybe Jeff and I wouldn’t have met.

A couple days ago I asked all of you to ask us anything. I am planning a big Q&A, but there is one question that applies to this post. Keep in mind, I think the readers intention is good. Really, I do.

Here’s a snippet of her question:

Lisa! Can I just say how much I love your blog/kids/home and overall vibe?! I have a couple questions. My first is how do you afford living where you do?! And with 4 involved girls? Do you or Jeff have family money? Do you make enough with both of your jobs? Both? Do you have any tips? I don’t mean to sound insensitive or offensive I am just wondering because you have a more expensive lifestyle with your cost of living and it is my DREAM to live in a really nice part of SoCal one day and raise a big family. 

Here is my answer to this question:

First, you don’t have to be a millionaire to live in California. Even in a beach town. You do however have to be smart with your money and decide what’s important to you. So because we choose to raise our family in Encinitas we don’t vacation as much. Since living in California, we have gone to Yellowstone, Arizona to see family and this year we are taking the kids to Hawaii for Christmas and not doing a traditional Christmas with presents, etc. That’s 5 years of living here. Like I said above, California was our vacation spot when we lived in Arizona, so every day is fun here! Second, we don’t have family money. We come from really good supportive families, but we are adults. Adults that work really hard to provide a good life for our kids and don’t rely on family to support us. The way I see it, if I’m in my 30’s and have to ask my parents for money, I have no business living in California. I think it all comes down to what you value in life.

At this point for us, we value living in a place close to the water surrounded by incredible families and awesome weather while we continue to grow our businesses.

I get several emails each month from readers asking for advice on divorce, being a single mom, dating again, career, raising kids. I don’t pretend to know the right answer to ANY of their questions. My answer is usually the same and applies to all aspects of life: At some point the scale will tip and you will decide to live within your comfort zone or step outside and create something new for yourself. Believe you can do hard things, because you can! You can create any life you want. I honestly believe that.

Lisa Allen wearing LoveShackFancy with Sam Edelman heels and Chloe glasses

Lisa Allen wearing LoveShackFancy with Sam Edelman heels and Chloe glasses

FLORAL DRESS (more affordable, here) – HEELS, 40% off!SUNGLASSES 

Thanks for reading. I appreciate all of you.

Follow us on Bloglovin’ & Facebook 

I’ll be doing exclusive Facebook giveaways so make sure you are following our page!




  • Reply Makenzie Hardy November 9, 2017 at 4:48 PM

    So sweet, we love SoCal, my dad grew up there and we also spent every summer visiting for a couple of weeks. We’re on the east coast now but maybe someday we’ll find our way back west!

  • Reply Sheila November 9, 2017 at 5:55 PM

    Very nice response.

  • Reply Alyssa November 9, 2017 at 6:45 PM

    Love the honesty!

  • Reply Aubrey Fenton November 9, 2017 at 7:18 PM

    Love this post, all your honesty & advice Lisa.

  • Reply Sonia November 9, 2017 at 7:47 PM

    Love the reading your story. My dream is to live in Carlsbad or Encinitas one day. We currently live in Escondido about 30 min away from Encinitas. I visit Encinitas a lot. Love Sonia. Your instagram follower.

  • Reply Juliann November 9, 2017 at 7:59 PM

    Great post!

  • Reply KT November 9, 2017 at 8:23 PM

    As an esthetician, what skincare and beauty advice do you give to your teenage girls? What skincare/beauty products do they use? Also, your girls do their makeup better than I do… how do they always look so good?! Shouldn’t they be going through the awkward phase like I did 😉

  • Reply Miriana Zerpa November 9, 2017 at 8:26 PM

    Really nice response!!

  • Reply Weekly Update + Sales December 11, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    […] from THIS post) – SUNGLASSES – […]

  • Reply What is Salty Lashes? December 18, 2017 at 5:23 PM

    […] Jeff’s home design business, we have a lot of topics to cover. We can’t wait to share personal stories, tips, ideas, recipes, and a glimpse into our life raising four girls, ages 8 months – 14 […]

  • Reply lauren May 8, 2018 at 7:37 PM

    Loved reading this!

  • Reply Laura May 31, 2018 at 9:35 PM

    Your post really spoke to me. I feel like I have been at a crossroads for a while now. Thank you for sharing!

  • Leave a Reply