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Amanda Thomas and Pat Monahan
Amanda Thomas and Pat Monahan
Photo by Katherine Rose and Luke Griffin

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LA Love Stories

How 12 Local Tastemakers Met Their Soulmates

Whether you're taken or happily single, Valentine's Day is hard to avoid, especially since your local drugstore has had those chocolates and teddy bears lined up since Christmas. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or jaded about this lovey-dovey holiday, why not embrace and view it as a time to give your ride-or-dies a sweet shout?


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To get us all in the warm and fuzzy spirit, we've rounded up a handful of our favorite Los Angeles fashion designers, bloggers, stylists, and creatives to hear about how they met the loves of their lives. From meeting online (don't knock it 'til you try it) to locking eyes from across the room, these are their very real love stories.

jenny-freddie

Jenny Bernheim and Fred Cipoletti

Who: Jenny Bernheim, Margo and Me blogger
Soulmate: Fred Cipoletti, film producer and photographer
Together: Seven years
How they met: It was half a decade ago and just one glance, a moment we shared amongst a sea of strangers. We were both out with our friends in Los Angeles when he approached me and introduced himself. I can still remember what he was wearing and his shaggy hair at the time. He says he knew he had to speak to me the moment he saw me and it wasn't until he did when I realized I was looking into the eyes of my future husband. A few weeks of texting and lengthy phone dates later he asked me on a proper date; dinner and a movie. It was the point of no return for both of us I think and we've been inseparable since. It was as if our souls spotted each other that night in January and both thought, "Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you."

"Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you."

Most romantic thing he's ever done: Last year, we went to Paris for the first time together. It's where he proposed. We had 14 days to explore, and explore we did! I always joke that it's a good thing we feel equally in love with the city; can you imagine if one of us hated it? The food, the culture, the architecture—I could go on and on about the things we love! On the fourth day of our trip, Freddie suggested a picnic in a park, Jardin du Palais Royal, which is known for its picturesque rows of trees and manicured rose gardens and that we hadn't yet visited. We grabbed two jambon beurres (ham and butter sandwiches, which are so French!) and a bottle of rosé and started our stroll in the direction of Le Marais. We took our time with lunch, nestled under the trees on a bench. I sensed he was excited, but I wasn't sure why. As we strolled around the park one last time before leaving, we stopped to take in our surroundings. He hugged and held me for a minute and then went down on his knee. I couldn't stand there, so I went to my knee just seconds after he went to his.

barrett

Barrett Prendergast and André Vippolis

Who: Barrett Prendergast, chef, gifter, and Valleybrink Road co-owner
Soulmate: André Vippolis, photographer and Valleybrink Road co-owner 
Together: Seven years
How they met: We met at a dinner party. We were friends for a few months and then, once we kissed, that was it.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: He makes me pasta...it's always been the way to my heart.

Who: Caroline Vreeland, model and muse
Soulmate: Tasya, artist and photographer 
Together: This is one point we differ on. I would say four months, she would say two. 
How they met: We met when she looked at me in a restaurant. I felt her eyes on me as I was leaving with my takeout. I will never forget the way she looked at me. In her white scarf and white hat. So pure and beautiful and curious. I knew who she was, of course, so I slid up in the DM on Instagram. The rest is history.
Most romantic thing she's ever done: I love her ability to exercise calm patience. She told me she loved me when I least expected it. In Paris, under the Eiffel Tower when I was half asleep.

tommy-lei

Tommy Lei and Joshua Alvarenga

Who: Tommy Lei, MyBelonging blogger
Soulmate: Joshua Alvarenga, senior major gifts officer at the LA Philharmonic 
Together: Seven months
How they met: Initially, we 'met' online, as with the majority of gay dates nowadays! For me, it wasn't an instant attraction upon first sight. (I've never been a firm believer in butterflies, sparks and the like). Rather our affection developed over eight consecutive dates that involved no touching, hand-holding or kissing (I really put him through the ringer) and continues to with time. We still joke about how I seemed very uninterested at first but kept agreeing to subsequent meetings. I am just too good at holding back and hiding my emotions.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: Josh would never openly admit to being a romantic; yet, he's surprised me in so many ways. Some key examples here are: Providence for my b-day dinner, box seats for Grace Jones, a custom frame for a portrait illustration of me and tickets for our recent trip to Mexico City. All of these surprises have led to unforgettable memories between the both of us.

stephanie-liu

Stephanie Liu and Kyle Hjelmeseth

Who: Stephanie Liu, Honey & Silk blogger
Soulmate: Kyle Hjelmeseth, director at a jewelry company
Together: Three years
How they met: Kyle was working on bringing a Spanish jewelry brand to LA and while putting together a LA blogger campaign, he found me in a newsprint and reached out to me. It was super platonic when we met; there were no romantic feelings whatsoever. But we really respected each other as friends for the first six months of knowing each other. It wasn't until one fateful night in Newport Beach when he asked me to come out with him and his friends (he even intended on hooking me up with his best friend!) that set the course of our romance. Kyle and I had so much fun together that night that we forgot about the rest of our group and we were swing dancing at a dive bar and being the silliest. Kyle says Cupid shot his arrows that night and here we are, three years later! 
Most romantic thing he's ever done: If you knew Kyle, you'd know this is one of the hardest questions to answer for me! Was it when I was away in Europe for a month, homesick and missing him, and he surprised me in Paris by actually walking into the restaurant I was dining in one night, and sitting across from me as I looked up from eating? Was it when I woke up to his endearing proposal and he whisked me away to a dreamy, surprise engagement-moon in Sedona for the week? Everything he does is so filled with love and that's what I find romantic. I'm the luckiest woman!

Who: Grasie Mercedes, actress and Style Me Grasie blogger
Soulmate: Damien Fahey, writer for Family Guy
Together: Eight years; two and a half years married
How they met: We met when we were 22 and 24-years-old at MTV. I worked there as a producer and he was a VJ. Back then we flirted and even kissed once or twice, but never dated. We we're definitely attracted to each other but I think we both knew it wasn't a good fit at the time. It wasn't until we reconnected at age 27 and 29, when Damien sent me a message (on MySpace!) that we started dating. Within, six months we were living together and the rest is history. The reconnection felt like an instant match.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: The night of our first Valentine's Day together, we didn't really have plans (at least I didn't think we did). I left our apartment to walk my dog and when I got back 20 mins later, the place was transformed. He has surprised me with candles, chocolate-covered strawberries, flowers, champagne, my favorite movie playing, the works! It was kind of funny because neither of us are into romantic stuff like that, but it was also super sweet!

sophie-jaffe

Sophie and Adi Jaffe

Who: Sophie Jaffe, Philosophie founder
Soulmate: Adi Jaffe, Alternatives Addiction Treatment owner
Together: 10 years
How they met: We met at UCLA in a neuroscience class. It was my first year as a junior transfer student and his first year as a Ph.D. Student. We were instantly attracted to each other + felt a spark. I sat behind him in lecture, knowing the professor would tell us to get phone numbers of students around us. Sneaky! We started studying together and soon after we were falling in love. It was intense, fast and hasn't stopped being exciting. Definitely keeps us on our toes. (The two kids help that, too!)
Most romantic thing he's ever done: He surprised me last year with a trip to Vegas alongside one of my best friends, I had NO idea it was happening. They had been planning it for weeks- plane tix, buying me beautiful outfits, a new swim suit, all the details already handled. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and so nice to be taken care of instead of the typical me taking care of all.

A photo posted by Luv Aj (@luvaj) on

Who: Amanda Thomas, Luv AJ owner and designer
Soulmate: Pat Monahan, Owner/Designer of Private Party
Together: Three years
How they met: We met at a dinner party in Venice and immediately bonded over our love for rap music. It took a minute for the romantic vibes to start, but once they did, we were literally inseparable.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: Pat is a former music producer and singer/songwriter so every so often he sings to me and makes up songs about me on the guitar. It’s like having my very own Justin Bieber at home and I love it!

brigham

Brigham Yen and Lawrence Aldava

Who: Brigham Yen, realtor and DTLA Rising blogger
Soulmate: Lawrence Aldava
Together: Nine years
How they met: We met on a geeky online forum about urbanism and decided to actually meet in person, which we did at The Abbey in WeHo of all places. That first night, we drove around LA exploring different areas and discussing how much we loved architecture and urbanism. It was an instant connection.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: When we first met, he bought me a book about Wilshire Blvd because he knew how much I loved LA. To this day, we explore the city (and travels) together through life as a team.

brea

Brea Warner and Miles Michaud

Who: Brea Warner, Alliance Apparel director of brands
Soulmate: Miles Michaud, lead singer and guitarist in the Allah-Las
Together: Three years
How they met: Mutual friends; a big group of our friends went on a camping trip together that really sealed the deal. We've been going on adventures together ever since.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: It's all the little things that mean the most; it's impossible to choose just one!


Who: Beatrice Valenzuela, designer
Soulmate: Ramsey Conder, designer of jewelry, hardware, lighting and furniture
Together: 13 years
How they met: We met in Paris France where I lived at the time. He was visiting his younger sister who was studying abroad and was a friend of mine. Was there an instant connection? It was love at first sight! I was 21 and he was 24. We walked around Paris and looked at great art, ate delicious food and drank lots of wine. We then traveled to the Swiss Alps by train. After that we had a long distance relationship for about 8 months. Sometimes I traveled here or he would come visit me and we would go off to Italy and travel all over Sicily. It was extremely passionate and very romantic.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: When I turned 24, he made me a beautiful ring in rose gold that fit my finger perfectly. He's made me many, many more since.

ilaria

Ilaria Urbinati and Eric Ray Davidson

Who: Ilaria Urbinati, celebrity stylist
Soulmate: Eric Ray Davidson, photographer
Together: Eight years; five years married
How they met: On a job in NY, he was shooting one of my clients and I was styling. We went out that night and I decided I hated him. I went around and told everyone how much I hated him. A friend of mine was like, "You say that now, but in a year you'll tell me you're getting married." We moved in together a month later, and got engaged two years later.
Most romantic thing he's ever done: He's the most unbelievable, most hands-on dad I could have dreamed of. Nothing more romantic than that. Oh, and he makes me breakfast in bed every. single. day.