Name, age, occupation: Lauren Beth Silva, 35, stay-at-home mom. Previously, I was a creative director at Fox Studios.
How long did you live in LA? 10 years
Where did you move? Pflugerville, Texas
Why did you leave, and what city did you move to?
We had thought about leaving for a while, but when I became pregnant with my daughter, Chloe, we knew our time in LA was coming to an end. We looked into buying a condo and what you get for under a million dollars, zoned to a decent school and less than an hour commute from work, was abysmal at best. Even though we both had great salaries, we didn’t want to leave our daughter all day long, spend hours in traffic and have little money left for savings.
My husband was able to keep his job (which he loves) and transfer to an office in Austin, TX. We already had friends there and were pretty sure we would like it, so we went for it!
What’s the difference in your rent/mortgage payment in LA vs. your new city?
Our place in Santa Monica was an old, 800-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment. Our place in Pflugerville is a brand new, 2,900-square-foot, four-bedroom house. The payments on our home are almost exactly 1/2 of what our apartment was.
How did leaving LA affect your career/creative life?
I left work completely to be a stay-at-home mom. I went from being a busy creative director to trying to figuring out what I was doing caring for a baby and a new house! I thought I would take on tons of freelance work, but babies are way more demanding than I realized. I’m still hoping to jump back into graphic design when Chloe is a little more self-sufficient (she’s only 17 months old).
What’s something creative you’ve been able to do in Pflugerville that may not have happened in LA?
I never would have been able to be a stay-at-home mom in LA. Spending all day with my daughter has taught me how kids really learn and play. I’ve been able to design a few toys and games that Chloe (and a few kids in our family) love. We’ve had a busy few months with friends and family visiting us, but when it gets quiet, I want to look into getting some sturdier prototypes made and see if there is a market for them.
What do you miss about LA?
The food! I think about it almost every day.
Tell us something surprising about Pflugerville that people may not realize.
I was told that the Austin area was family-friendly, but I didn’t realize how much so. Kids really are welcome everywhere and nearly everyone will go out of their way to help you out with whatever you are trying to do.
Also, there’s an In-N-Out here that never has a line. Ever. That is unheard of in Los Angeles!