Living in Los Angeles (LA) comes with perks and challenges. Can anyone say, Paseo Miramar? Favorite. Hike. Ever. Definitely a perk. There’s nothing better than getting a tan, a workout and topping it off with a 180-degree view of the Pacific. That’s what you get when you hit the end of the hike. If you haven’t been, get there. Right away. Follow it up with breakfast at Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart or wait in line for a scooped everything bagel, extra toasted with low-fat cream cheese, tomatoes, and sprouts at Noah’s Bagels in the Palisades and you’re thinking, what challenges? This place rocks. Sprinkle in a few celebrity sitings, some of the fittest, prettiest people you’ve ever seen on Abbott Kinney and you’re truly getting some of the magic of the city.
When you’re young and single and renting it works. Most of your friends are broke or on their way to a glorious future. There are no worries of a mortgage just yet and kids are miles down the path. Push the fast forward button and you’ll have hit some highs, some lows, a bit of heartbreak and maybe even that perfect mate and this is where the pressure turns on.
I met my dream guy at twenty-seven, left NYC to build a life with him in downtown LA, then Santa Monica, then Playa Vista and the babies and dogs came soon after. We had four businesses between us, lots of acclaim in both our careers, a stylish life and a growing overhead. Our PV townhome with three floors, the garage made four. Don’t forget your keys! We had butts you could balance a phone book on, two babies and two barking chihuahuas and that’s when it all changed for us. Our once sexy patios, the bedroom patio even had a fireplace, were looking pretty tight for our littles to run and play. Yes, PV had seven or eight parks but not a lot of privacy and a halfway decent home ran upwards of 2M with no pool and a minimal yard.
Enter our friends Lyn Graft and Ingrid Vandervelt. At the time the two were building an entrepreneurial TV show, found us, interviewed us and told us about where they were from - Austin, TX. That's when the magic began. This was nine years ago and my business was on the rise and I was a "city" girl so didn’t want to go anywhere. But, we were thinking long term and raising kiddos in a city that kept us on a treadmill we could barely keep up with so we took a trip to Austin to see what all the hype was about.
I remember that first night in my hotel. I was pregnant so no big partying happening for us. I laid down, tired. We’d looked at houses all day. It was early, maybe nine and I could feel the pulse of the city and hear music wafting in from all over the town. We were downtown where all the action was. It’s spread since then. I remember smiling, feeling happy, the good vibes were contagious. We’d seen houses, that would have been millions in LA, in the 800’s. It was cool. Not pretentious. Friendly. Stylish but not flashy. People were fit and dressed well. Not brand focused. Still, current and hip.
We spent the next few days checking out more houses, eating in some really good spots. Downtown reminded me of Venice. Loads of healthy restaurants. Hipsters laughing at the bars. Interesting southern spins on sophisticated fare. I liked this town and so did my hubby.
Our friend Lyn, now the founder of Storytelling for Entrepreneurs and best selling author of Start with Story
, sent us a neighborhood guide that rings true to date. Here goes:
Neighborhood Vibes = (kinda like)
Santa Monica = Travis Heights
Venice Beach = SoCo
Brentwood = Tarrytown
Pacific Palisades = Rollingwood
Beverly Hills = Barton Creek
Malibu = Westlake Hills
Topanga = Dripping Springs
Cuernavaca (aka West Westlake) = A combo of Venice meets Topanga
Calabasas = Lakeway