Category Archives: Santa Monica

How To Fall In Love with Los Angeles – Volume 1

Ilene Wendy Silk

West LA resident and expert/lover of Los Angeles!

Latest posts by Ilene Wendy Silk (see all)

I am in love.  It began before I moved here in 1995.  In fact, one could make a case that it started in Philadelphia when I was four years old.  It was then that I spun my fable to my Hollywoodneighborhood pals that my doll had been hired to play a baby in a Hollywood movie and I would have to move there to be with her.  I will save the genesis of that tall tale for another time (think prequel).  I didn’t actually get to visit Los Angeles until the mid 80’s and truthfully, my boyfriend and I were not really attuned to where it all happens in LA though we thought we were super-uber-cool.  We rented an oh-so-fab furnished condo in Marina Del Rey feeling like Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, when in actuality, we were more like Saturday Night Live versions of them.

Four Seasons Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Beverly Hills

In 1991, the full-on love affair with Los Angeles that has never waned began when I visited a close girlfriend who came here to follow her dreams. I spent the first six months of that year socking dollars away to visit Victoria in the summer of 1991.  No expense would be spared for our first girls-only trip together through LA.  I rented a shiny new convertible at the airport, then pulled up to the Four Seasons Hotel of Beverly Hills (though a rarely accepted truth, it’s on the LA side of Doheny and not in BH) and parked myself for 10 days of the summer.  We put glamour on steroids, turned nightlife outings here into Olympic sport and dined at the trendiest and (ouch) most expensive restaurant offerings the city had.  Then shampoo, rinse, repeat in 1992, 1993 and 1994.  When I said goodbye to Victoria at the end of the summer of ’94, I told her that my next visit would be to move here. And it was.

I told her I wanted my life there to replicate our visits, that if I could live at the Four Seasons, I would.  Unfortunately, my budget called for a monthly rent that was approximately 3-nights of staying there.  I did the next best thing and lived near the Four Seasons, where 18 years later I still reside.  And no one’s carrying my shopping bags in, no one’s parking my car, and I am my own concierge. So might one think that when reality hit, my love affair faded?  Think again.  This is a city that if you choose to, you can fall in love with every day, all over again.  I wake up 300 out of 365 days every year thinking, “Pinch Me!”  And the other 65, I’m well aware that I’ve found my soul’s home mate.

Los Angeles SunsetFor those of you contemplating a move or those of you living in Los Angeles who have a love/hate relationship with this complex city, or worse, an abusive one, help is on the way.  Ilene’s psychologically and spiritually sound guide to loving LA is on the way in several volumes. And since I’ve already alliterated with the “S” sound, I will leave you with our first volume’s tip: Sunset.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get in a car on a Saturday or Sunday at approximately 5:00 PM and ride west on Sunset Boulevard beginning at La Cienega Boulevard and not stopping until you hit the Pacific Coast Highway – and stay there until sunset.

Let’s talk about it in our next session.  Until then. . . .

About Santa Monica California

Ilene Wendy Silk

West LA resident and expert/lover of Los Angeles!

Latest posts by Ilene Wendy Silk (see all)

WHERE is Santa Monica?

Santa Monica View

If beach cities across America could gather and talk, my guess is that there would be lots of location envy when it comes to Santa Monica.  Few beach cities anywhere in the world feature such a proximity to a renowned city like Los Angeles.  New Yorkers trek two hours to the Hamptons.  Parisians find themselves over eight hours from the South of France.  Santa Monica, a seaside delight is 18 driving minutes due west from mid-city and within 30 minutes of Downtown Los Angeles (and no, not at 2 AM, but yes, presuming light traffic).

WHAT characterizes Santa Monica?

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica thrives as a small metropolis as well as a beach town.  For travelers, Santa Monica works wonders as a vacation getaway providing both city attractions (great dining, shopping, art galleries and nightlife) and the ample stretch of Pacific Ocean beach to walk, ride, sit or surf.  For residents, Santa Monica has the density of a city, minus overcrowding, replete with all conveniences of city living in a glorious ocean side setting.  From the fun attractions on Santa Monica Pier to the varietal restaurants on Ocean Avenue to the specialized shops on Montana or onto the

Third Street Promenade

Third Street Promenade

shopping/entertainment mecca of the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica offers something for everyone, even me, a die-hard city dweller! The choices for residences range from multi-million dollar homes set in the flats or the canyons to condos and apartments peppered throughout the city. (See below for additional info about living.) An ethos of protecting the environment has emerged as a central theme in Santa Monica reflected in the styles of homes, the variety of transportation options and the mindset of its population.

WHO is in Santa Monica?

Santa Monica Monkey BarsGiven the superfluity of outdoor activities, Santa Monica attracts the fitness-minded and health conscious.  In fact, for the farm to table cook, the Wednesday Farmers Market is arguably the best in Southern California.  With an impressive commitment to being green, Santa Monica appears to have as many bicyclists as drivers.  At night, you are more likely to find a preppy casual partygoer than a black-clad late night owl.  A lively college and just post-university crowd have found their S.M. haunts along Main St. or Wilshire Blvd. in which to get their flirt on.  As for the older set partaking in Santa Monica nightlife, don’t be surprised if Tom Hanks and his wife are dining near your table.  And you’re less likely to find me and my over the knee black boots on a Friday night in Santa Monica than you are Jack Black and his family.


Giorgio Baldi
Rustic Canyon


Border Grill
Hungry Cat
Tar and Roses


Bay Cities
The Counter
Father’s Office
Fritto Misto
Umami Burger


Bar Chloe
Copa d’Oro
The Misfit
The Penthouse


Fred Segal
Montana Ave.
Santa Monica Place
Shops on Main St.
Third Street Promenade

LIVE (and thrive) HERE:

Condos average $600,000

Single Family Residences average $800,000

A one-bedroom apartment averages $1200/month

Santa Monica Homes by BeachThe coastal city of Santa Monica with its picturesque beaches, ideal climate and dramatic cliffs has wide appeal for visiting and even grander appeal for staying! I feel like a little kid whenever I catch sight of the mammoth Pacific Ferris Wheel and the arcade below it.  And when tasting red wine in the intimacy of Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi, I might as well be an Italian princess on the Mediterranean.  Santa Monica – a California haven.