What It's Like to Live in Southern California

I don't know about you, but for me, before I lived in Southern California, there was a certain connotation that came with "LA". Back in the day I thought LA was like super fabulous, all the time, beautiful, it never rained, and fully of beautiful people. I was completely wrong, in the best and worst ways. So, in order to set the record straight (and to keep it fair), I've compiled a list of 5 good and 5 bad things about living in Southern California.


1. The ability to wear flip flops all year long. No joke, when I went back to Minnesota for Christmas last year, I realized that I had work shoes, gym shoes, leftover winter boots, and sandals/flip flops. That was it. No sneakers. That's because you never need them. It rarely goes below 60 degrees.

2. Disneyland gets a category of it's own. This is strictly a SoCal thing. You may be thinking, what about Disneyworld? I have family that live in Orlando and they refer to Mickey Mouse as an R-A-T and dislike the idea all together. In SoCal it's a complete 180. It's part of the culture. Most people here go at least once a year, or have annual passes. We did until last year when we got too busy to warrant the cost.

3. The fact that you can snowboard and surf in the same day. A lot of people who've never been here don't realize that during the winter months, you can actually drive 1 hour in either direction of Los Angeles and either surf or snowboard. This is due to the massive amounts of mountain ranges we have surrounding all of Southern California.

4. Anything you want to do is roughly 30 miles away. You want to go to the beach? No problem. You want to go to Hollywood? No problem. You want to go to NASCAR? No problem. Better yet, forget the milk? No problem, it's 1 block away. Where I grew up if you wanted to get a gallon of milk, you were driving 10 minutes one way to get it, which isn't bad when you consider in the Southern Missouri (where I lived two states ago) it was a 45 minute one way trip for that gallon of milk.

5. The Money. You can be rich out here. I mean really rich. If you're qualified, and are willing to work non-stop you can make buckets of money. The career lifestyle is that of the movies, where you're always on, never off, and do whatever it takes to make it work, but the money is so good you deal with the sacrifices. Is it ultimately worth it? I don't think so, but it's what we're making work for now.


1. The money. This is both good and bad. My house is worth 3-4 times as much as it would be worth elsewhere in the country due to it's location. Shanty's on the beach sell for $1.2M. Shanty's...I'm serious. Gas is always a dollar more than elsewhere in the country. And getting any where else in the US requires a plane flight. Except for Vegas, that's only 4 hours away.

2. The traffic. You don't know traffic until you've sat in Los Angeles traffic. Every person to ever come and visit me has made the mistake of flying into LAX. Even though I tell them, don't do it. It's not good. There have been a few that have made it out unscathed, but I'll never forget the last time a friend called me from the 405/605 split telling me there must be something wrong because the traffic is terrible. No dear, there was nothing wrong, it's just the way it is. Most local's avoid Downtown LA like the plague.

3. Hollywood is my least favorite part of the city and the part that everyone wants to see. I'm going to burst a bubble here. Hollywood is a poop-hole. There's about a 1 mile strip of Hollywood Boulevard where everything is that looks fantastic, but I assure you, it's dirty, full of hookers, and my least favorite place to go. 

4. Everyone sort of forgets that when you're living here, you're actually living in the desert. Complete with hot temperatures, scorpions, black widows, brown widows and tarantula's. Surprised? Me too. But, when you're not in a coastal climate (i.e. Orange County and San Diego County) you're in the desert. Scorpions have become more prominent in the last couple of years, and generally live in and around the hills. As for the spiders, those are for real. The tarantula's are only in the mountains until a certain elevation. But the brown windows and black widows, we deal with at home all the time. Also, I believed the world was ending the first time I ever saw a Potato Bug. Google it if you dare.

5. The air and water are terrible. Someone from not California told me that Los Angeles has some of the cleanest water in the country. I asked him if he'd be willing to take a drink from the tap....he didn't. It's not as bad as Mexico, but most people do not use the tap water for drinking, and I make sure that my guests never drink it. We've installed a very expensive filtration and reverse osmosis system to deal with this. The smog is a known issue, but you don't understand what it's like until you actually live it. Basically, depending on where your live, there's good days and bad days for breathing. More bad than good, unfortunately.

It's funny, after living here for a while, you noticed that most people absolutely love California, and absolutely hate it at the same time. There's not a gray area where people just think, okay. It's too much, too big for that...I mean it is California after all.

Linking up with Beloved Boston!

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High five!