A New Chapter by the Beach

It's the beginning of a new chapter for me and my family, in our new home by the beach. I plan to be doing a lot of writing (I'm working on a book and I will be blogging) and creating (livestreaming and launching a new podcast), and our new house is very conducive to that. Fresh ocean air, lots of sunshine, lots of room to stretch out and enjoy peace and quiet.

For the past month, my life has been consumed with moving. If you've moved recently, you know the drill. Boxes, boxes, and more boxes. You think you have enough boxes and you end up going back to the box store 5 more times.

Plus lots of dust and about a billion decisions you have to make each day. That's the thing about moving… it's not just physically exhausting, it's mentally exhausting.

I loved our old house. Both our babies were raised in that home, born 20 minutes away at UCLA Santa Monica.

Cheeseslave was also born in that home. Conceived in Venice Beach, in the front yard of my Craftsman apartment… but brought to life in the living room of that Culver-City-adjacent 3-bedroom.

Our house was right in the middle of Los Angeles, not far from where the 405 and the 10 meet. A 15 minute drive from Venice Beach.

But after Ollie was born, the house started feeling more and more cramped. It doesn't help that my husband and I both work at home.

More than anything, we needed room. Room to work, room for the kids to play and run around and have their friends over, room for quiet.

I also really wanted a kitchen remodel. We'd lived in the house for a decade and never remodeled the kitchen. I'm a food blogger and I've lived with 1990s brown grout tile for a decade.

So about 5 weeks ago, we invited a realtor just to get his opinion — should we remodel the kitchen or just try to sell as is? No point remodeling if we were going to be selling soon… and if he didn't think we needed the remodel, why go through with it?

His advice: you can sell without the remodel. And it's a seller's market right now.

So our decision was made. But if we wanted to sell this year, we'd best get on it immediately since most buyers are looking during the summer. We had about 6 weeks.

So we started packing, trying to get rid of all the clutter and prepare the house to be staged and photographed.

Two weeks ago, we went out to look at houses to rent (we want to rent for a year or two before we buy another house). And boom — we found the perfect house.

Right after that, the crew showed up to paint and sand the floors and we filled up a pod.

Unfortunately, when the pod people came to pick it up, they said it was 4,000 pounds too heavy and they couldn't take it. The limit is 8,000 pounds (who knew there was a weight limit on these things?).

I hired the crew to come back and help me unload some of the weight. They just guessed and removed what they thought was about 4,000 pounds.

And look at this:

If that's not evidence of God, I don't know what is.

My next concern with the move was the 2 freezers in the garage. I wasn't sure how we would move those. Was it necessary to unload them and defrost them?

I took a gamble and left them plugged in and totally full. On moving day, the movers said it was fine, they could move them as is. (Once again, thank you God.)

This was the first thing I set up… the coffee station.

Not only am I physically and mentally exhausted from the move, our toddler Ollie has been sleeping with us. He says, “I'm scared, Mom-Mom” — how can you say no to that?

I lift boxes all day, then get kicked all night. But I'm not complaining. I am so very grateful for this little guy.

The new house is amazing. About 30 minutes south of our old house, it's everything we wanted and more.

The new house is almost 3 times bigger than our old house. And did I mention we're only a 5-minute drive (and 15-minute bike ride) from the beach? I know where I'm going to be getting my 10,000 steps in the mornings.

These pictures don't do it justice since it's not decorated yet… I will do another post after we unpack.

There is a big entryway with a great room which we will use for our living room and dining room.

I'm big on entertaining and love throwing dinner parties in a proper dining room.

I got my remodeled kitchen.

Not only is the kitchen completely remodeled with brand new appliances, the entire house is completely remodeled. New hardwood floors and tile throughout, brand new bathrooms. Everything.

This is the eat-in area of the kitchen. We're going to put a nice wooden table there and some low bookshelves all around under the windows. This is where we will do homeschooling in the mornings.

I got my kitchen and my husband got the man cave to end all man caves.

It's actually a whole wing of the upstairs.

Two large bedrooms with lots of windows and light and a balcony, plus a walk in closet and a full bathroom with a shower. All he needs is a mini-fridge and he could live up there.

I also got an office.

My office is downstairs, between the kitchen and the living room, overlooking the pool.

One of my favorite things about this house is all the doors. Every room, even the living room, has doors that close. Hello, peace and quiet. No more blogging on the couch.

I love that I can have privacy and at the same time, I am in the middle of everything, close to the kids and whatever I'm cooking in the kitchen, able to easily flip a load of laundry… but I can close the doors so I can concentrate.

There is a laundry room next to the kitchen, and once again, Thank God, the washer and dryer fit!

I am going to set up my lights in my office, so anytime I cook something, I can just carry the plate in and take photos.

There is also a walk-in closet in my office I can use for my livestreaming/podcasting (in the photo below, to the right of the sink area).

I think I need to order this for when I'm livestreaming and podcasting:

Not sure what I will use the sink for… maybe that will be my laboratory where I can do my fluoride testing… I got all my equipment — just need to get set up. I'll be testing fluoride levels in kombucha, iced tea, and pretty much anything you can think of. Stay tuned for that!

We also have this giant tub in the master bath…

Since I started the Real Food Healing Club this summer, a support group for people with food allergies and fluoride sensitivity, I heard from one of our members that she was reacting to fluoride (acne, fatigue and migraines).

She had just moved into a new house and they were using spring water for drinking and cooking, and eating 90% organic… so she couldn't figure out what was causing it. Turns out she was taking detox baths. The water in her new city is fluoridated (she had well water in her house prior).

Anyway, I used to think we didn't absorb much from the water we bathe in… now I realize, based on this new information, that we probably do. So I plan on getting a whole house fluoride filter for our new house. They are surprisingly affordable. I'll post an update when we get it installed.

There is also a cabana by the pool… which is where I set up my treadmill desk and a sleeper sofa. There's even a bathroom and mini-kitchen out there, so it's perfect for guests.

Our landlord is so kind… he was worried about little Ollie falling in the pool so he paid to have a safety fence installed.

My 10-year-old daughter, Kate, slept with me on the couch in the living room the first night in the new house.

Kate's sleeping in her room now… I wish I could say the same for Ollie.

Alas, his room stays empty at night. Any ideas for how to get him back into his own bed? Please share in the comments.

And… it's back to unpacking boxes. See you when I come up for air again…

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

5 thoughts on “A New Chapter by the Beach

  1. Very excited for you and for all the upcoming food blogs! Love the pictures, too! 💖 Beautiful home, Ann Marie.

  2. Most parents I'm sure will have an issue with this (because they always have), but this system worked for us. When my daughter was 2, I put a TV and VCR (this was 20 yrs ago) in her room that she could see while being in bed. I made a big deal out of it with her and told her this was a special treat that most other kids don't have this, and how lucky she was, etc. Then nightly before bed she would pick a movie, I would pop it in the machine, get her all tucked in, and then hit play. Our deal was that if she came out of her room, I would take the TV away. Now granted she was just 2, but she understood the deal. It only took one time of coming out of her room, and me acting like I was going to unplug the TV, and she understood the deal immediately. She never came out of her room again unless it was a true emergency, and we talked over what those were. I would put her to bed at 8, and typically by 8:30, I could tip-toe back in, and she'd be fast asleep, so I'd just shut off the movie and leave the glow of her nightlight. She would stay put until 7 the next morning. Sometimes even later if the day before had been particularly active with swimming or running.

    Now, on occasion, she would still sneak into our room in the middle of the night, but for the most part we had a 95% success rate with this technique. Everyone judged me for allowing her to have a TV in her room, but while they all complained about not getting sleep, my husband and I just smiled because we had quiet evenings alone to watch TV together, and quiet sleep time, too.

    BTW, all the damage everyone said I was doing to her never came to fruition. She just graduated cum laude from a top university.

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