From Los Angeles to Austin - Yes Please!

Today I sell real estate and develop properties in this flourishing city.

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
Five years ago we made the jump. We landed in Cuernavaca. Google image search Civil Goat Austin and you'll get the vibe. Yes, the goat is there most days, along with a bunch of over-caffeinated, friendly, business owners hunched over their laptops. I swear this town puts a smile on my face daily. What is it? It’s the multiple neighbors that brought us warm cookies when we first arrived. The door knocks inviting us to celebrate the holidays with them. They were concerned since we didn’t have family here. The carolers that came to our door that first Christmas morning. It’s the backyard we enjoy with a pool, treehouse for the kids, fire pit for the adults, and massive deck we get to sit on as the sun sets with streams of light beaming through the large oaks. All for half the price of the townhouse we sold in Playa Vista (before the reno anyway). It’s the depth of the friendships we've made. Just six months after moving here, I swear we had more profound relationships than the thirteen years we accumulated in LA. It’s the women in their 60’s and 70’s that motivate me at the gym. Dang, they’re fit! It’s the new restaurants that pop up regularly, the live music all over town, the 10 rated school district (6th in the country) my girls are blessed to attend. It’s the convenience. Everything just seems easier here. I ask myself what makes it easier and I honestly am not sure but it is.

Today I sell real estate and develop properties with my husband in this flourishing city that I adore. I love the diversity of architecture from ultra-modern to Magnolia-like farmhouses to the porch-wrapped homes with big old rockers overlooking green rolling hills. I love that I get to take my father-in-law’s advice during his wedding speech - whatever you do, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. 

We do that now. We live in a lakeside community of entrepreneurial types that never ask what you do for a living. They don’t give a damn. They’re more concerned with who we are, how our kids are, and when the next backyard barbecue or lakeside picnic is. We were blessed that special day when Ingrid Vandervelt, now the founder of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (aka EBW), walked into my Santa Monica hair salon and asked to meet the owner because she was obsessed with the design. Right then and there we should've known. She wanted to meet us because she was impressed with the concept and design and needed to tell the owners. Who does that? Austin folks do, that’s who.

Work With Natasha

For Natasha, residential real estate is more than just finding a house to live in, it’s about building a lifestyle in the right home and community for oneself and family.

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