It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve given myself canker sores from eating too much candy before. I’m not sure if I will ever outgrow malt balls, Swedish Fish and root beer gummies.
Bumbling and Tindering in the Los Angeles area feels like a candy shop, making it possible to spend hours swiping away as if each cute new guy was a gummy bear or sugar lips at Sugarfina. As the matches pile up and messaging begins, it’s easy to be on a sugar high. But no matter the messaging, there is one question that is sure to come. Even with this guy.
Where do you live?
Um… like, right this moment? Or tomorrow? Or this weekend?
Confession: When I said that I was moving to L.A. it didn’t really mean that I was moving to L.A.
My Imagined Saturday
With a slight hangover from a fun Friday night, I would awake in my apartment in Santa Monica, California in a new Pottery Barn bed. All of my belongings would be neatly unpacked, and after a month the area feels like home. Yoga or Crossfit would be a quick beach cruiser ride away before returning home to work for a few hours in my cozy office space alongside a cup of coffee.
From there, I would Uber to the Renegade Craft Fair in Downtown LA dressed in a Nasty Gal romper and an I’m-overheating-but-pretending-like-I’m-not pair of booties. Stickers, candy and inappropriate stationery would be hoarded in my handbag as I push aside social anxiety and introduce myself to each LA blogger and brand in sight. Photographs from the event would be taken against bright backdrops attracting approximately 100 new Instagram followers.
Afterwards beach time would be enjoyed with SOML’s fave nutritionist before it was time for a Tinder date with a cute semi-nerdy, semi-edgy Silicon Beach boy. Named Travis. Or Blake. Or whatever name was most popular at UCLA circa 2005. We would be tipsy enough for me to embarrass myself but sober enough to return to the Pottery Barn bed solo.
My Actual Saturday
With a severe UTI, I awoke in an apartment in Santa Monica, California. However, it was not mine. It is a friend of a friend’s. We met only a few weeks ago, and he is kind enough to let me stay in his beachside studio while he is out of town.
Why? My permanent address is technically 1.5 hours North in Ventura, CA where all of my belongings are still unpacked in my friend Megan’s guest room. While I am forever grateful that this has helped facilitate my California move as a temporary home until we move to Santa Monica, the town’s barren beaches and strawberry fields give me anxiety in Megan’s absence. She’s been busy being a badass pilot with unexpected flights in Dallas, Hawaii and Florida.
And my only belonging that resides permanently in Drew’s apartment is a pair of orange exfoliating hand gloves draped on the towel rack. These have been hanging there since my car was impounded a few weeks ago from a Santa Monica coffee shop with my suitcase in it. While waiting to retrieve it the next day, I purchased clean clothes at Old Navy and life essentials at Whole Foods, including a toothbrush made our of recycled yogurt cups and a bamboo razor.
At least this Saturday morning I had my suitcase. But it was 8:55 a.m. Shit. I had slept through my alarms due to the UTI turned kidney infection thanks to dehydration from drinking .75 bottles of wine by myself on the couch. I needed to move my car before 9 a.m. and start work by 9:15. There was no time for Urgent Care. I rolled out of bed, grabbed my bag and prayed no Tinder matches would witness this trainwreck at the coffee shop.
Except I forgot my clutch containing credit cards. I could not pay for the parking meter. Returning back to Ocean Avenue, I was forced to circle the block 4 times before a spot opened up. Okay, I would work from the apartment.
Except the wifi was not working. My boss was IMing me. Where the F was the router? After some troubleshooting, I started work and sipped on bottled juice delivered from DoorDash for $12. Oh, and ran out to feed the meter every 2 hours.
5 hours later my parking meter was maxed, my boss was still IMing me, and I needed to go to Urgent Care before they closed. Again, I dashed to my car, circled the block 6 times until locating a parking spot 0.5 miles away. With each step I took back towards Drew’s, I could feel a throbbing pain in my side. Was it a kidney infection or an ulcer? It was hard to tell.
A shower worked wonders and, fortunately, the Santa Monica Urgent Care didn’t mess around. Sure, I had missed Malibu Wines with Elise, beach time with Jason and the art festival with Bailey, but all I wanted was to mail a letter to my friend and purchase popcorn for Netflix on the couch.
After parking my car in the Whole Foods parking lot, I made my way across the street to Kinko’s.
“Excuse me, ma’am, where are you going?” Looking behind me I saw the Whole Foods Security Guard chasing after me as if I stole some granola.
“I just need to mail this,” I pleaded, pointing down at the card and gemstone-themed stickers. (Criminals smuggle gems; they don’t stick them on the back of greeting cards.) I promised it would only take me 10 minutes. I simply needed to print out a letter to include in the card.
Except Kinko’s Internet browsers haven’t been updated since 1995 making it impossible for me to access Google Docs. The clock was ticking, and my car was in jeopardy so I gave up and marched back to Whole Foods where Mr. Security Guard greeted me at the door.
“No luck thanks to janky PC’s.”
“Next time!” he said as I impulsively reached for the first thing I saw on the shelf. Freeze dried gluten free snap peas. Yum. Why did I feel like I needed to prove I was actually a shopper? A few minutes later I had two bags full of groceries, ready for a solo movie night.
Except I left my car keys at Kinkos. This was discovered while my groceries were perched on the top of my car trunk, and I desperately waded through the crap at the bottom of my purse.
FUCK. I should not be allowed to be an adult.
“I need to go back to Kinkos! I left my key.. they said they have it.. it’ll be two minutes.. I’m an idiot,” I said to the Security Guard who stood at the entrance chowing down on an organic macaroon as I darted out the door.
And this is the story of my life.
This is how most of my days have been as a California nomad. There are some that I cry like a psycho from these little hurdles plus work stress and start drinking beer far earlier in the day than I would like to admit. There are some when I’m in the heart of Santa Monica, riding on a high from the cute people and smiling at seaside views… until screaming swear words in my car, including the inevitable question: “How the fuck does traffic even happen?!”
Weekly spray tans have not been replaced with beach time. My swimsuit feels frightening due to a spotty workout routine. And my health is also probably suffering because I swapped out well-prepped meals for packs of Kind bars. Regrettably, the only part of my routine that has stayed intact is nightly wine.
And while the boys seem like an endless candy assembly line, I feel like a disheveled factory worker with a messy bun who can’t even keep up with her simple task alongside the conveyor belt, like Lucille Ball-status.
I surely do not feel like the type of Sugarfina consumer who is poised enough to walk through the doors of the Beverly Hills candy shop. In fact, when I attempted it, I entered wearing a romper I had bought that day for less than the price of a box of their chocolates.
Currently, I’m finishing this post from a bedroom in Scottsdale, Arizona. I lived in it 4 years ago, and it is now my friend Brittany’s guest room. When I moved into it I was freelancing. It was what I would call a sabbatical.
To some it seemed glamorous: Setting my own schedule, working some weeks from LA, some from Arizona. I was one of those obnoxious people riding her beach cruiser down the road at 3:30 pm in the afternoon. That girl you spot while running an errand on your afternoon break and wonder, “What the hell is she doing with her life? That must be nice.” But what people didn’t know is that I was saving money on gas because I didn’t know when my next paycheck was coming.
The not so glamorous side involved pulling Red Bull-fueled all nighters like a college kid, regrettable dating choices due to a lack of human interaction and camping out at the library where I didn’t feel pressure to buy coffee.
However, that was a critical part of my life. I needed it. When you are forced out of your comfort zone you start to question everything. What makes you comfortable? What is comfort? What makes you happy? What makes you feel at home?
Right now comfort is a fresh exfoliated face, functioning wifi and a favorite song. While I eagerly yearn for more stability, I am grateful for the little things. And I am reminded that home is not my closet or suitcase. It is friends and family – whether that’s my brother DD’ing my friends and I to our favorite Scottsdale bars or lying on a blowup mattress alongside my new Santa Monica friend, Drew, while we Bumble and Tinder together.
And happiness? It’s been taking the time to stop and enjoy the chaos. Because sometimes 30 minutes of traffic, $10 for Rodeo Drive parking and a mad, sweaty search for an ATM makes the treats from the candy shop that much sweeter.
Location: Drew’s awesome apartment and Sugarfina in Beverly Hills