A SheTrusts Tale of Two Houses
As lived by Jennifer Holmes:
I live in West Hollywood, and he lives in Echo Park.
Come to my neck of the woods, and you can walk within five minutes to some of the best high-end shopping and beauty care in the country with some of the finest dining establishments to be found anywhere. West Hollywood is pretty and gentile without being snoozy or dull. It's a great place to live if you like relaxed alfresco dining and lighthearted pretty-people-watching, or if you want to be able to bring your little doggie on flower-filled walks everywhere you go.
Go his way and its where low-budget necessity meets high-end creativity. You can stroll down to a quaint local farmers market storefront, a wonderfully stocked Mexican-Salvadorian grocery, one of the best craft beer shops in town, a vegan health-food mecca, a south american pizza place, a huge southeast asian grocery, a great old school taco truck, and the city's best urban lake park, all close enough to walk to in very high heels should the urge hit. Echo Park is a neighborhood in the throes of transition, and despite numerous write-ups decrying its unavoidable gentrification, when I walk around I see an astonishing array of people from all walks of life. To me, it represents a truly Angeleno neighborhood.
Dating in Los Angeles is notoriously difficult in the first place, and even once you've found your man the size of this city doesn't make it any easier to keep a relationship going. For example, if you live in North Hollywood and you meet a Prince Charming who happens to be set up in Venice, you effectively have to decide if you are ready and willing to embark on a long-distance relationship. And even with a mere eight driving miles separating our two homes, I've found that it takes a lot of planning to look feel put-together for work and evening when you're not sure which home you'll be waking up in the next day.
Most days I feel extremely lucky to live part-time between two of LA's greatest neighborhoods. They compliment one another so wonderfully, and in a way I feel as if I have a vacation home right here in the city. But it took a little while to figure it out so that I didn't have to wonder where on earth that specific sweater was, run my phone out of battery, or panic if I realized mid-day that I didn't have a dress outfit or that one pair of perfect heels I'd need to change into for a high-profile event that evening or the next. For a long time, I compensated by always having too many things with me, moving them around like a sherpa. "Ugh!" and "Oh crap! I forgot ____ !" soon became my most commonly uttered phrases.
Being comfortable evolved slowly, but eighteen months in I feel relaxed and prepared no matter where I am. I'm able to gracefully move from day to evening no matter what I have booked, and to always show up at work or for play in the right attire.
Knowing that I'm not the lone girl in this City of Angeles to be dealing with this dating dilemma, I've decided to share my words of wisdom in living between two houses. So here goes: some of what I figured out so far. Its taken some extra time and money to figure it out, but these habits and investments have become my Ten Commandments of staying sane and well-dressed while dating and working full-time in Los Angeles:
I still often wonder how all the other thousands (millions) of ladies out there have evolved into graceful, grown-up urban dating. But for me, this is what works, and it's finally easy and fun.
Good luck and happy dating!