Addicted to Coppertone

by Kathy Holmes

"My name is Sandy Brown and I'm addicted to Coppertone" is how the 20-something character in my novel, Real Women Wear Red, introduced herself. No wonder I wrote that into the book because I grew up in a southern California beach city, and nothing says southern California to me like the scent of Coppertone. And nobody captures the feeling of southern California beaches like Disney does in their Paradise Pier section of Disney's California Adventure (DCA) Park - pictured above.

It was Flip Flops and FABs all around at the opening weekend of DCA's Food & Wine Festival. We tasted California wine, Italian wine and beer from around the world. While I do enjoy a good microbrew now and then, I wouldn't call myself a beer drinker. But I am discovering that now is an exciting time to discover new beers. For me it all started with Blue Moon, which was introduced to me by Laura Caldwell's character Izzy McNeil in the Izzy McNeil mystery series. Have you ever done that - tried something new you discovered in a novel? Well, now I'm hooked on Blue Moon with its citrusy orange flavors and similar beers with a hint of the tropics like what the Kona Brewing Company is brewing.

But one thing led to another this past weekend, and we found ourselves traipsing down memory lane to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Balboa Island. These are the beaches of my childhood when we were on the cutting edge of pop culture wearing our flip flops, pedal pushers, and t-shirts, listening to the Beach Boys  on our transistor radios at the beach. Where VW Bugs carrying surfboards were the norm, before "bitchin" and "dude" were part of the common vocabulary, when you might wear a "grass skirt" and halter top with Hawaiian leis at Halloween and were asked, "Do you like surfers" and you'd better say "yes."

Fellow southern California beach girl and Pop Culture Diva Chiron O'Keefe knows what I'm talking about. So naturally when we returned home and I started catching up up on PCD posts, wondering what I should write about this week, I read Chiron's post about the Beatles and the wave of nostalgia I was already feeling practically drowned me. :) It was only natural I'd have to blog about that special time in a special place that will haunt me my entire life no matter where I live - from California to Florida and places in-between. Not only that, but after the trip, I was inspired to return to work on my manuscript in progress that's set in that place and time.

And because no PCD post would be complete (for me) without a youtube video or two, I thought I'd share some of my favorite nostalgic, pop culture memories (I can smell the Coppertone) from my childhood.

Surfin' USA

Little Deuce Coupe

My signature song - Fun, Fun, Fun

Surfer Girl - Beach Boys' first slow song

Don't Worry Baby

Kokomo - led this California girl to Florida and the Caribbean and the writing of Real Women Wear Red, set on a Caribbean cruise.

Please stop by my newly-launched Fiction, Flip Flops and FABs blog.


  1. Oh gosh! You're really making me homesick for southern Cali, Kathy! I so miss the beach culture there.

    Sounds like you had a complete blast this last weekend! I'm so glad you posted the Beach Boys videos (I love them) and my fave song by them, Don't Worry Baby. :-D

  2. Always fun to meet another SoCal beach girl. :)

  3. Ah, a food and wine festival sounds perfect about now. Thanks for bringing some sunshine and warmth to a dreary Pennsylvania day. :)

  4. Yay!! A music post from Kathy!!

    Boy, I so envy you the trip to SoCal and hitting all my old stomping grounds! And I wanna go to D-land too!! Wah!! *heh-heh* And boy, do I hear you. The smell of Coppertone brings me right back to those hot summer days and hot winter days now that I think about it. *laughs*

    I still remember the day before Christmas, seeing surfer boys with the perpetual tan and hair so bleached from the sun it was almost white, carrying their boards and wet suits, thumbs out, hitching a ride to catch the waves. What a crazy and fun place to grow up!! :-D

    Love this post and you picked ALL the perfect videos to celebrate the Beach Boys. Just AWESOME!!!

    Thanks for yet another cool article!


  5. Thank you, divas, for stopping by and making it more fun! Woo hoo!

    The funny thing about Coppertone is it's my SoCal potion only. When I hit the tropics, well, I must apply Hawaiian Tropic - lol!

  6. Kathy what a terrific post! I love your nostalgic trip down memory lane. And yes - I think that is so cool when we discover things from a novel. ;) What fun! Add a few more wine/foodie references and this piece could go in a food mag. ;) Cheers!

  7. A Beach Boys concert - thanks, Kathy! The beaches here in Atlantic Canada are cooler, even in summer, but they are a massive part of my growing-up years, as my dad and uncle were scuba divers and our two families spent a lot of time by the ocean.

    Really enjoyed your music clips - Fun, Fun, Fun is my favorite, too.


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