By Nicole Theodore
There's something so exciting about a distant best friend visiting you in your new city for the first time. It's especially thrilling when your best friend also happens to be your mom. I made the rather far trek from a small town in northeast Ohio to Los Angeles last summer after graduating college to pursue my dreams as a writer, and it was the first time my mom would be visiting me since my big move. It was also her first time visiting California ever. You could say I felt the pressure to be the ultimate West Coast tour guide, that's for sure.
I wanted her four-day stay in L.A. to feel like she never left home. It's obviously a must to do sight seeing and dine at impeccable restaurants around the city when a parent is visiting, but there's also something to be said about watching movies, cooking dinner and laughing over a glass of wine with your mom in your pajamas, too. That's why I rented a HomeAway apartment near Venice Beach for her visit, because I wanted the trip to feel like we hadn't been apart for a year. I wanted it to feel like we were just picking up right where we left off.
From the super chic embellishments of the second-story apartment to the homey kitchen which came with just about everything we needed, our rental became much more than just a place to sleep. The 1-bedroom apartment was perfect for two women who would be in-and-out of it at all times, but then needed quiet nights to recuperate after a hectic day exploring Venice and Malibu. It felt very large as well—I even had all my college and high school friends over on Sunday night for margaritas and home-cooked Mexican food to commemorate my mom's arrival. As you can tell, this weekend was just as much about my mom's first visit to L.A. as it was celebrating the one person in my life who has worked so hard to get me where I am today.
Besides the laid back atmosphere of the apartment with a perfect bedroom that comfortably slept two, it's located in the middle of every hot spot I wanted to show her. From early morning hiking at Will Roger's State Park to quickly jetting over to Venice for a beer on the boardwalk, everything was a short, beautiful drive away. Not to mention, if drinks were involved, an Uber to Venice or Santa Monica only cost us about $5-7 dollars each way.
When you're having someone so special in your life visit you in your new home, you want your space to make them feel comfortable inside and out. Our HomeAway rental not only made our travels around the city easier, but it also let all the amazing things about me and my mom's relationship flourish. We bonded just as much over sunny bike rides in Venice and hiking in the Topanga Mountains as we did cooking breakfast together and laughing over a movie on the couch. Thank you for an unforgettable weekend, HomeAway. Now I just need to finish convincing my mom to move out here for good.
Nicole Theodore is an editor and writer at Playboy.com who writes weekly travel and architecture features. She's a 2014 graduate of Miami University, and has been traveling the world ever since she was little. Follow her on Twitter.