7 years ago by

It’s been over two months since I moved to LA, and my New York armor is starting to slowly dissolve. I didn’t even realize how conditioned I was by New York because I was so conditioned… I arrived in LA like a smoking engine, full of ideas and projects (house, work, style, etc.) and LA forced me to relax, to take my time, and enjoy the scenery.

Here, not everything is like I imagined. To be honest, the experience is even better than what I had in my head. It’s deeper than the image of the sun shining all the time. It has to do with the cadence, the softness, the way people think about life here. I’m just getting started, but I feel everything starting to shift in me, from the smallest details to my deeper ideals.

So I’ve gotten a little lost, actually, in the blur of it all. It’s apparent in small things and also in bigger life topics. Details like my style, the way I exercise, and my lifestyle

It’s great here because seriously you can wear anything, and I mean ANYTHING YOU WANT. And honestly, deep down, nothing makes me happier than wearing WHATEVER I WANT.

First of all, it’s because there are no seasons. It’s cool in the morning, hot during the day, cold at night. So that leads to weird clothing configurations. For example, now, it’s 10am, and I’m at the café wearing jeans, flip flops, a light jacket and…a wool hat. Yes, flip flops and a wool hat. And recently I wore mules WITH SOCKS because a breeze made my feet cold.

Even Chris kind of looked at me funny, even though usually he never comments on my outfits (he doesn’t care at all)(to my great disappointment). I should mention my socks were electric blue.

The other day I was at a party in Malibu and before the sun went down, all the girls were wearing big flowy dresses and flowers in their hair, then they all ended up putting on puff jackets over their dresses once night fell.

It looked something like an editorial shot by Elaine Constantine in the 90s. I love it. So, what about me, what’s my look?

I have to add that:

1. All my clothes are in boxes in storage, still in transition.
2. All my clothes will probably not work at all with my new life anyway (my passion was coats hahaha :)
3. I live in Venice, the haven of chill, with surfers, nerds on skateboards, and hippies who are tired of all the fuss and look on with wide eyes.

The result is that the fashion requirements are really, really, really low. Nobody expects anything from you, in fact, and you can be in jean shorts all year long without it ever being a problem. It’s great, but it definitely doesn’t encourage consumerism or any desire to pursue style. So I’m going to have to find a balance, because just like Gwyneth I’ll never give up my quest for style, I swear.

[There are also the yoga pants girls, but that’s a species that flourishes everywhere in Los Angeles. And it scares me because I surprised myself going to Whole Foods more than once (oops, Erewhon actually, much hipper than Whole Foods) after my exercise class, in yoga pants in the nutritional supplements aisle looking for the best probiotic…Such a cliché, so embarrassing, ack!]

Which brings me to tell you about exercising in LA.

I’ve started getting into it again. In other words, I’m starting to come out of my January slump and I’m trying to find my exercise family. I don’t know what’s going on in LA, but it seems like people group together for classes by style/age/body type. I won’t name the classes because I don’t want to upset anyone, but I’ve tried:

1. A Pilates studio and dance class near me where it seems like only nice ladies in their 50s and up go (and the occasional very sweaty man looking strange and lost). The atmosphere is a little too relaxed, you don’t really push yourself because you ACCEPT YOURSELF, okay. You hear people talking about the farmers market or real estate (the favorite subject of LA since we can’t talk about the weather like in NYC) between crunches and it made me feel about as athletic as an oyster.

2. A yoga studio where they talk a lot about light and inner strength and turmeric (I admit, I love it when they talk about inner light) and there are a ton of different kinds of people. At my first class, I was sitting down waiting for class to begin trying to look busy without looking at my phone (sacrilege!) and a woman came in and said I was too cute and deserved a hug so our light could mix. I’m not against it, why not (especially since she said I was cute) but then again, the workout wasn’t challenging enough, I really want to be able to move.

3. Another Pilates studio, where unlike the first one, all the girls are wearing yoga pants AND they’ve had work done on their lips/breasts/butts (which makes for some very strange looking bodies). And the occasional lost man who’s come to get an eyeful. After that class, I can’t even walk for three days (those kinds of girls aren’t kidding around when it comes to fitness, they want RESULTS) so I feel good, but I have a hard time identifying with the ambiance there with my normal body and non-bulging butt.

As a result, I was feeling a little lost, when suddenly on Friday my friend Jen invited me to join her at a class called The Class, which I loved. It’s a mix of all of the above – you jump, dance, yell, talk about light, the people in the class don’t fall into any specific category and you really tone your muscles.

The problem? The times and places of the classes – super early and far from my house. Bummer.

Especially since here’s another thing I’ve totally lost: the structure of my days.

Because waking up in LA isn’t like waking up in Paris or even New York. In LA, when you wake up, even at 6am, you’re pretty much getting up after the rest of the world, which means you’ve got five texts waiting, 56 unread emails and phone meetings at dawn. You have breakfast, terrorized by the idea of looking at your computer and getting buried.

If I want to talk to my family, it’s better to do it before noon. But there’s a nine-hour time difference with France. Same for my team. If I really want to have a productive day, I need to start working at 7:30 and it’s completely insane until noon, then things calm down, then suddenly after 3:00pm, no one is around anymore and you’re just speaking into the void online.

I had imagined organizing my days like that: work like crazy in the morning then go to an exercise class in the late afternoon, but the truth is, my days always get overbooked, and I’ve never been able to exercise after 11am. Once I’m dressed and I’ve taken my shower and started my day, getting back into my exercise clothes feels like a superhuman feat.

And there’s always some last-minute plan, happy hour with super nice friends, errands to run, a sunset that’s too beautiful to miss.

So my days are just a total disorganized mess.

But you know what? Pfff, it doesn’t really even bother me.

I’m learning to be patient and accept that a new lifestyle doesn’t all fall into place in three minutes or even three months. I’m doing what I can, trying not to become too cliché but without going crazy resisting everything either. No big deal if I’m at Whole Foods in yoga pants and no big deal if I miss another 5:30am yoga class.

I’m waiting for things to fall into place naturally, from the details I’ve just told you about to the bigger life questions.

We’ll see, right?

Translated by Andrea Perdue


Add yours
  • I ran into a woman from my Pilates class and asked why she quit. It was too serious, she said. She wanted to joke around and laugh and have music. I don’t remember what she got into, but she found an alternative that fit.
    The most important thing about exercising is that you find what you like, so that you will keep doing it.
    LA sounds a lot like the south of France, but with less butter.

  • Hi Garance,
    There is a simple and very good yoga studio called Yoga Nest in Venice. It is upstairs above a surf shop. And across the street on the way to the beach is a funky Mexican restaurant that has the best shrimp ceviche tostadas. I can’t remember the name of it. I am writing from NYC. I did the opposite. I sold a place in Palm Springs and moved east. I am originally from Boston so am familiar with the east coast. I bought a studio in Inwood…the last stop north on the A train and Inwood Park (the last old growth forest in Manhattan) and Fort Tryon Park are right out my door. So I feel I have nature and then a subway ride gives me the energy and stimulation that NYC offers. Try yoga nest and let me know what you think!

  • Bonjour Garance ;) C’est bien dit le mot de la fin, tout ne se fait pas en trente seconde puis ça serait pas drôle sinon, par contre je trouve ça hyper tôt 5h30 pour aller faire du sport, moi par contre le soir ça me gêne pas, même 20 minutes -30 minutes de sport ça me va, puis tu peux te balader à vélo ça t’oxygène aussi. L’illustration est sublime, je salut aussi celle de la dernière fois avec le garçon. C’est toujours un plaisir de te lire j’aime trop ces articles.

    Gros bisous de Marseille <3

  • Much love in your transition! Great to hear how it’s settling in.

  • This is so great and makes me question my being in NYC very much when LA is more my style. I am very laid back.

    -Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com

  • Caroline March, 14 2017, 11:36 / Reply

    I grew up in LA and I remember finding the city quite stressful (those traffic jams!) and shallow, especially arriving from Europe… But maybe it has changed? Or I have changed and become more accepting of a shallow lifestyle?

  • Tanna Barker March, 14 2017, 12:00 / Reply

    You’ve described my life to a tee…welcome to LA.

  • I spent time in LA regularly when I was a buyer and it certainly has it’s own unique culture. I am from Oregon and always got interesting looks since I wasn’t always following the overwhelmingly strong fashion trends that seem to overtake the place. I have never been much of a class taker and prefer more solo sports or perhaps being outdoors with a friend. Perhaps you can still have your morning and forego your same-day replies to your email. Morning is my favorite time of day, I need at least a couple of hours of peace before switching gears. I make it work by rising before dawn and drinking tea/doing yoga(down dog app) in the darkness. The dark provides such wonderful sensory deprivation, it help me focus and ground myself for the day.

  • So true, but I am asking you: Shouldn’t it be possible to wear whatever you want whereever you live? Even in New York? I do understand that the LA-Lifestyle is contagious and that you feel good about it. But in my opinion nobody’s life should be ruled by a “lifestyle bible”. No matter where you live. Thank you very much for your post!

  • Kristina March, 14 2017, 1:12 / Reply

    J’ai grandi ici à Venice Beach, et je suis toujours en train de chercher <> . En tout cas, je suis super fan du studio Light on Lotus. C’est près de toi (juste à l’est du Moving Joint). Les cours sont un mélange de yoga physique (de plusieurs niveaux), mythologie / philosophie et un peu de danse…very flowy and fun.

  • HAHAHAHA, your getting LA. Since your in Venice I would not toss any coats, after a year or two if temps drop below 60 you will be freezing!

  • Une amie qui vit à LA me résumais le style LA comme “du bab à paillettes”… je trouvais ça trop chouette!
    En tout cas, les descriptions que j’ai de la vie à LA me font rêver…et en même temps, j’adore les manteaux ;)

  • I hope people realize that this is just Venice which is a small pocket of LA, where people don’t have 9 to 5 jobs and just hang out and everyone seems happy, relaxed and ready to do yoga. Life in Los Angeles can be also very stressful, commute in traffic/work/ daily errands/ etc.

  • Stephanie March, 14 2017, 4:06 / Reply

    I felt very similar to you, Garance, when I moved from DC to Seattle. Certainly there are differences in culture between Seattle and LA, but that West Coast vibe still stands. And I love it. Glad to hear you’re settling in well.

  • Hi Garance,

    First of all, I love your drawings — almost as much as I love seeing photos of you on the site. I just came back from my first doctor visit since moving to Portland, Oregon last fall. Finding and seeing new doctors here has been the most stressful part of moving across the country. But, like you, I feel so much freer here on the West Coast. Yes, we have rain in Portland — and I definitely have to find a good raincoat — but I can dress any way that I like. And, unlike in Massachusetts, which is currently covered in snow, I have my choice of footwear. I can wear a different pair of shoes EVERY DAY if I want as opposed to lacing into my Sorels every morning so I can negotiate the snow and slush with warm, dry feet.
    And, frankly, Portland is a bit more free-wheeling than somewhat conservative Boston. My new doctor, who is 60-ish, sports a heart-shaped nose earring. So there!

  • J’ai demenage de nombreuses fois aux U.S. du nord au sud et de la cote ouest a la cote est. il nous a fallu une periode d’adaptation aux differents lifestyles et aussi aux decalages horaires ! Ma famille et mes amis en France ont eu du mal a se faire a tous ces changements alors que mon mari et moi avons adore.

  • Lagree method in Venice? Sounds like super intense pilates. I’ve recently started a traditional mysore-style ashtanga practice. Self-paced. I thought I would hate it; but 2 months in and I’m totally devoted… well at least 3 days per week ;)

  • Live Life Like It's Golden March, 14 2017, 5:19 / Reply

    LA is great! So much culture and beauty. Have u had a chance to visit San Francisco?

  • Garance! Je me suis sentie comme sa aussi juste passer deux semaines a LA, m’a mis en mode laid back! Cet endroit est juste trop charmant! Apres avoir demenage de Montreal a DC, je me suis sentie beaucoup plus remplie de cet “East-Coast’ vibe motivant et aussi un peu stressant. Visiter LA fait du bien, je le recommande a tout le monde maintenant!

  • Hi, I’m originally from the Bay Area in California and have lived for the past 7-8 years in New York City. I recently moved to Seattle a few months ago and I am having an unusual time adjusting to the culture and atmosphere as well. Although I miss very NY things like the subway, restaurants and bars staying open late, the proud aggressiveness of New Yorkers, etc., I like absorbing the attitude and culture of a new place. I’ve got the chill attitude of Californians, the confidence of New Yorkers and now, I don’t know what from Seattle yet, but I’m excited to find out.

  • Hi there! welcome to LaLaLand! I arrived from Paris 4y ago…(I am not French but I lived there for 16y, I am from Prague originally)
    Take your time with LA but I must say that since I am here, I am so in love!!! I am waiting when this dream will become some sort of reality but it just keeps being this perfect city….if you put love in it, you will get it back, feel home and get so much more… LA is very very unique and I can’t think about better place to live… this mix of nature, city, style, architecture, design, sunsets, ocean, hikes….spirituality and lightness…I am sure you have tons of amazing insider friends but anytime you come over to Silverlake side, happy to grab a coffe or margarita in Stella or Little Doms? Wish you smooth transition!

  • Jaredetmoi March, 15 2017, 3:31 / Reply

    Bonjour ou bonsoir??
    Encore un éditorial très sympathique
    J’adore vous lire, c’est simple, cool, sincère… et décomplexant en faite.
    Voilà décomplexant.
    “On fait de son mieux. ”
    Mais à chaque édito et sur tous les sujets. C’est votre signature ( entre autre, vous avez et votre style a bien d’autres qualités) ??

  • ah ah ……oui c’est exactement ça …..
    – yoga à 6 am
    – courses bio à 8 am
    – manucure à 9 am
    en uggs et bonnet ! Enjoy VB !

  • C’est super inspirant tout cela. Juste une ou deux questions honnêtes. Le culte du corps et des sport; ne serait-ce pas des dictats qui remplaçent celui des vêtements comme à New York (bien qu’étant une fana de yoga et de ski de fond moi-même) et deuxio, est-ce que la dépendance extrême à la bagnole ne va pas finir par peser un peu? Sinon, pour le reste, oui, cela a l’air super.

  • Bernadette March, 15 2017, 8:53 / Reply

    Oh Garance, I envy you so much!

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira March, 15 2017, 9:17 / Reply

    *_* !!!

  • It’s a bit further… but try Light on Lotus in Mar Vista. Take Kate’s 10:30 am Sunday class and hit the farmers market after. I promise you won’t regret it!!!

  • Ca fait vacances en continu, un peu comme à Marseille quand t’habite au bord de la mer avec cette lumière constante.
    Je n’avais jamais pensé à cette vie totalement à l’Ouest, où tu vis en décalage après l’excitation de l’Europe et de l’Amérique de l’est. Du coup tu es tranquille dès l’après-midi, c’est une chance aussi ! :D (ça m’éviterait de toujours pousser l’heure du coucher pour profiter de la tranquillité de la nuit) (et de manque chroniquement de sommeil !)

  • “and the occasional very sweaty man looking strange and lost”
    LOL so true

  • Lisa Walker March, 15 2017, 12:23 / Reply

    Welcome to Venice! Per usual, you have the best attitude. Sounds like you are embracing all of it; even its embarrassing quirks. High-five!

  • The New York to L.A. transition is HARD. You are doing amazingly well. I did it 19 years ago, but still sometimes think back on the first disorienting days. LA is nothing like London, Paris, New York. It takes a while to find your people and places, but you will. Keep looking and enjoy the openness that promotes creativity and lets so many things happen. I am second to none in my love of New York, but it can be parochial at times.

  • Hi!
    I love reading about your journey to adaption into the new environment. I am moving from Europe to Japan in two weeks, with family & friends staying here. Into a new job & new language & new world – time difference may become a problem as well ;)

  • charlotte March, 15 2017, 3:26 / Reply

    Bonsoir Garance,

    c´est avec si grand plaisir que j´ai lu et beaucoup ricané sur le message ci-dessus.
    Née a Paris, grandie à Londres, maintenant à Munich depuis 15 ans avec beaucoup d´escales a l´etranger, j´ai retrouvé l´amour de ma vie a Los Angeles il y a 15 mois – j´y étais pour le travail. Ce qui suit est le grand rom-com classic: mon dernier soir à LA, allés diner au resto Répubique pour rattraper sur les 20 dernières années … coup de foudre, mariage à NYC en Mai l´an dernier, re-mariage a Manhattan beach avec nos 4 enfants (deux chacuns de mariages précédents).
    Depuis, maintes visites à Santa Monica ou nous habitons (j´aime l´idée d´avoir deux «chez moi») – je peux complètement infiltrer ce que tu ressens, meme si Munich est loin d´etre une capitale comparable à NYC ou Paris.
    LA stands for Let´s Anticipate: it is very likely that something WILL happen, and if it´s light, I´ll take it!


    …qui espère très fort pouvoir vivre ce que tu expériences… quand je serais un beau jour à 100% en Californie avec mes filles…prochaine fois à Pacques… I clearly can´t wait for that warm sun & the big chill

  • Lucrecia March, 15 2017, 6:18 / Reply

    Love you Garance! Love you read you! It is fresh and deeply at the same time! Big hugs from Mendoza Argentina!

  • Juli Frankel March, 15 2017, 6:50 / Reply

    I swear by the Bar Method (Female owned!!) they are franchised, but tightly controlled workout-wise all over town. I know that Mimi Fleischman (boy does she have a back-story NYC/LA) owns the Marina, Brentwood, Sawtelle and West Hollywood so the memberships can be used in any of those places. Her proteges own other franchises around town.

    Yes LA defies having almost any style but HERE IS THE BIG HINT — READY — BE SURE ALL YOUR BEAUTIFUL SWEATERS ARE PROTECTED because we have MOTHS!!! I forgot to take care of mine when I moved and lost soooooo many and they munched my husbands KITON suits too – they had no mercy. We store so much stuff here for our brief seasons that you need a system.

    That is all….

    Oh…and…you can find fabulous cleaners and repair people here but you will have to trek all over town.

  • Bonjour chère Garance,

    Je te lis très souvent en prenant mon petit déj et trouve ton blog très rafraîchissant.

    Trop comique ce dernier post sur le sport et le style à L.A., je me reconnais dans certains de tes commentaires)! je me réjouis de découvrir cette ville et Venice en avril (je ne connais que la côte est et j’habite à Zürich) et j’ai déjà l’impression de la connaître un peu à travers tes petits billets.

    Peut-être se croisera t’on un matin au Gratitude Café, qui sait, l’occasion de partager un peu! je n’ai ni bouche, ni seins, ni fesses refaits, je porterai un bonnet à pompon et des Birkenstocks (les chaussettes, à voir, faut pas exagérer quand même…).

    Belle journée sous le soleil!

  • Garance March, 16 2017, 1:51 / Reply

    Essaie Pop Physique, c’est super ;)

  • Jessica March, 16 2017, 2:49 / Reply

    Suggestion: Get up super early and work in your pajamas… oops! I mean “lounge wear.” Use “breakfast and exercise” at around 9/10 am as the new lunch hour. Get dressed. Work like hell until 3:30 feeling professional and put together, then go out and take meetings for a couple of hours in your nice work clothes (how smart you are! You left Venice before it was *impossible* to cross the 405 because of all that traffic!), then reward yourself with a quasi-work/social happy hour.

    Come home (it’s 7 pm, the traffic is getting better!), make dinner, lounge with man, sleep early, repeat.

    It’s just a suggestion.

  • Michelle March, 16 2017, 6:28 / Reply

    BLQuestion…..could children be on your mind!!! As for waiting for life to fall into place,I hear my younger self in your questioning and the answer is I’ve discovered in my early fifties,it never does!!! It just keeps moving on organically,accommodating lots of shifts and turns.

  • berenice March, 17 2017, 3:19 / Reply

    Hi Garance, take your time and enjoy every moment..Settling in a new place, country will take you at least one year to start with. Just moved in with my Family from Toulouse to outside Milan and so far so good but with an new ectic job I still haven’t found and try a good yoga or pilates class.But no stress it will comes ..you are already doing so much…Contacts, relashionships and work pleasure is important but as you eat heathy foods now sport will come afterwards!!!!!xb

  • Kimberly March, 17 2017, 8:56 / Reply

    Ahh..I felt the sme way about the people in LA when i was there. Never fet like I could find my niche people-or they were all scattered throughout the metropolis. I miss the weather, for sure. In regards to the exercise? I am now in the Detroit area and weather is a HUGE issue and time to go to a class. I found a GREAT app for yoga. Its called Down Dawg. Yo can cater to your needs and sill level and every session is different. Is perfect for my erratic schedule and leaves me with no excuses due to the weather to get a workout in. Please send some warmth our way…..

  • You summed up my feelings exactly, moved to LA 3 years ago. The Sunshne is the best! As well as excellent produce and restaurants. I tried several gyms, classes, etc., I didn’t like it or the driving, I have happily settled on working out at home.
    LA style and fashion inspiration is all about who is dressing fun! Colorful, mixed up textures, old and new, there are amazing finds at thrift shops as well as walking Melrose. Welcome!

  • Gillian March, 17 2017, 4:38 / Reply

    Have you tried Bryan Kest power yoga? I think it’s great!! Great workout, talks about inner light, diversity in students – checks all the boxes.

  • Welcome to Venice! I’m wondering if the super-intense Pilates class you went to was at Pilates Platinum on Lincoln. I think the vibe really depends on the teacher — Stephanie is my absolute favorite; her class is fun and challenging and (most of) the students look human :)

  • Layla Katz March, 28 2017, 6:50 / Reply

    Garance, Try LEK Fit! It’s the most fun, effective and sexy workout. Fully empowering! I live in SF and stream her workouts online which is amazing and the interface is chic and clean. But you can check out her classes at Hancock Park

  • Carolyn April, 16 2017, 1:55 / Reply

    This is a lovely and honest post, Garance. I’m originally from the midwest, and I’ve lived in LA now for 30(!) years. I still cling to my midwestern ideals and values, but LA is home. Your reflections really are refreshing to read and reinforced my love for this city. I live on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and work in Hollywood. The commute is tough, but my LA life is pretty amazing. Thanks for helping me appreciate it just a little bit more :)

  • “ça pousse pas du tout à la conso” et c’est un problème … ?
    Tant mieux si ça ne pousse pas à la conso !! C’est plutôt une bonne chose, ça ! Et ça en dit long sur LA et sur le mode de vie qu’il semble y avoir à New York…

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