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How My Cali Pullover Made Up For Missing California


I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I enjoyed a vacation. We had made plans to travel as a family last year, but those plans, like many others, were ended by what 2020 turned out to be.

As it happened, we got the exact opposite of a vacation. We spent a lot more time together, which was brilliant, but we didn’t get a chance to explore a new part of our great country. Lockdown was exactly that; we played board games, worked from home, and pasted up pictures in the windows like everyone else. We looked at a few of them on our walks around the neighborhood and it always struck me how many of them included palm trees, rolling waves, or a bright sunny beach.

When everyone has to stay home, our imaginations head for the coast.

Featured: Navy Cali Pullover

This year, we’d hoped to head to California. We hadn’t taken the kids there before, so it made sense. Everyone had their favorite beach picked out, and we’d hoped to visit them all as we drove up and down the Golden Coast. Those plans were hit by further restrictions though, and when the recommendation came that we shouldn’t prioritize lengthy travel, we had to do the decent thing and stay local.

“It’s keeping everyone safe,” I told the children. It was the truth, but I didn’t like saying it, just like they didn’t want to hear it. My wife was planning local trips to some great places, including some inland beaches. But it wouldn’t be the same, would it? I could tell everyone was bummed that we wouldn’t be going to California, myself included.

Packing for our vacation, the kids dug out their suitcases and I pretty quickly realized that, just like my wife and I, clothes were of chief importance. A week before our trip, they already had a pile of tees lined up on their beds, and my daughter was agonizing between those last dozen or so pairs of shoes that might not make the cut to join the other three dozen.

That was when I had a thought. If I couldn’t take us to California, then why not bring the spirit of the West Coast to our suitcases? If you look like you’re in California, then you feel like it, right?

For the kids, I bought them each an item of clothing that suited their vacation selves. For my wife and me, I hopped on Fresh Clean Tees and went straight for the Cali Pullovers. The colors were perfect — Black, Heather Grey, Military, Navy, and, more recently, French Burgundy and Wedgewood. I got a Heather Grey Cali Pullover for my wife and a nice Navy Cali Pullover for myself.

Featured: Black Cali Pullover, Heather Grey Cali Pullover, Military Cali Pullover

So there was a faux California item for everybody, and I couldn’t wait to surprise the family with their bespoke vacation gifts. The Cali Pullovers arrived and looked great. Trying mine on, I could easily imagine we were heading to Santa Monica Boulevard in a few days. I laid the items out for each family member atop their respective suitcases, and the reactions were great!

The kids loved theirs and I could tell it had made the vacations eem a little bit extra special. It’s the little touches, they say, and it hadn’t cost much to put a smile on everyone’s face, including my wife, who loved her Cali Pullover.

“I’ll wear it on the drive,” she said (and she did). The journey was shorter and a little less sunny than it might’ve been if we’d been heading to Laguna Beach, but it sure felt like we could’ve been in California given our “Cali Fresh” apparel.

Featured: Heather Grey Cali Pullover

The best part is that we also helped the California coastline, since a percentage of each sale goes to the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting our oceans. Fresh Clean Tees for Fresh Clean Seas strikes me as especially cool, given that we all miss the coast so much. Even if we couldn’t enjoy its beauty, we could help ensure that others do.

We may not have traveled to Big Sur, but as we cruised along with the wind in our hair and the kids beaming with smiles as wide as the freeway, we really felt like we were on our way to our dream vacation. Next year, we’ll head to California for real, but after arriving at our destination this year, we felt like we brought a little bit of that “Cali Fresh” vibe with us.

— Paul Seaton

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