An Arlington Love Story: Tara and Ryan

When I first met Tara in July, she was visiting her “friend” Ryan in Arlington. Like me, Tara is a Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty, except she works in Manhattan Beach, CA. We met through our mutual friend Margaret. When I met Tara for the first time, it was like we were old friends. We knew so many of the same people and had so much in common. We just clicked. But this story is not about my friendship with Tara. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this story is about the long road Tara and Ryan took to find each other. It took a pandemic and some good timing for Tara and Ryan to realize what is truly important – each other – and do what they should have done a long time ago – commit to each other and fall in love!


Tara & Ryan in July at Ryan’s place.


A Shared Background

Tara and Ryan grew up in the same part of Southern California. She attended the local all-girls high school, and he went to the local all-boys high school (two years later). The schools were so close that she was a cheerleader for his high school. They shared a lot of the same friends but never really knew each other very well.


Fast forward to 2016 and a Facebook friendship crossed over to a phone friendship when Ryan reached out with some commercial real estate question. A connection was there, and they found themselves talking for hours (never facetime, just voice to voice).

When Ryan came home to see his family for Thanksgiving, he suggested they meet for drinks the day before. While nervous to see him in person, Tara said yes. The chemistry was there and the next thing they knew, she was meeting the family for Thanksgiving dessert.

But then Ryan had to leave. He was needed back in D.C., where he worked for the Federal Government. It was not long before they saw each other again – Ryan had a two-hour layover in L.A. on his way to Hawaii for a work trip. They met at In-n-Out for a burger date.

Tara ended up joining him in Hawaii for Christmas that year. This was really starting to turn into something, until it didn’t. While in Hawaii, Ryan was told he was being transferred to New York. Once he moved to New York, they drifted apart and ended up dating other people.


Over the next few years, Ryan would come to Southern California for the holidays and they would end up bumping into each other while out with the friends they had in common. They started rebuilding that friendship they had formed over the phone in 2016. While in D.C. for a friend’s comedy show in 2018, Ryan took Tara on a tour of the White House. While the spark was there, they kept things platonic as they were dating other people.

When Ryan started having problems with his girlfriend, Tara was there to provide advice and support. Just like your favorite rom-com, the chemistry between these two was buried deep (but obvious) and when one was single, the other would be in a relationship. They went on like this for a while – a couple of years – until finally they found themselves both single in the middle of a pandemic.

True Love

By the time July rolled around, Tara was eager to get out of Southern California. At that time her town was shut down, and she was cooped up at home with nowhere to go. Ryan invited her to come to Virginia (he was living in Arlington at that time) for a visit, as friends (yeah, right!). She took all the necessary precautions to be able to travel and hopped on a plane.

When Tara arrived, she met my friend Margaret in the lobby of Ryan’s building. We all ended up having dinner that night. I was introduced to Ryan as Tara’s friend. I thought to myself, “Why would you travel all this way to see a friend?” It was also obvious to me – a stranger – that these two were destined to be together.

Since that trip, Tara has made her way back a few times and Ryan has made it out to California as well. They also squeezed in a trip to St. Thomas! Most recently, they were able to meet up in Dallas for Ryan’s daughter’s volleyball game. While he could not make it in person for Tara’s birthday, he did send the next best thing – he Fedex’d a gift with a card that said, “I love you. I have loved you for a long time.”


Ryan’s daughter, Ryan, and Tara in St. Thomas


A Great City to Fall in Love

When in Arlington, Tara and Ryan make the best of it and enjoy all the city has to offer. Tara loves that Arlington has the proximity to the city but access to nature. A perfect day off for Ryan and Tara would start with breakfast at Bob and Edith’s Diner on 23rd Street (close to Ryan’s apartment) followed by a bike ride along the Potomac or a long walk in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. A favorite Arlington spot for dinner is Lyon Hall.


First bike ride date in Arlington.


At the White House during Christmas.


Celebrating New Year’s Eve! 


Valentine’s Day Plans

Tara and Ryan had planned to spend this Valentine’s Day together (it will be their first as a couple, despite a flirtation spanning five years!) in Arlington. To make the day special, Tara was planning to hit up Total Party in the Crystal City Shops for Valentine’s decorations and Dazzle Salon for a blowout. She stumbled upon Total Party when she was planning an intimate New Year’s Eve for two and was impressed by their wide selection of fun decorations and their over-the-top customer service. And Dazzle did such an amazing job with her hair (for just $35!) when she was last here that she will always make an effort to stop by for all future special occasions.

Turns out, however, that they won’t be spending Valentine’s Day in Arlington after all. Ryan’s job will be taking him to Tara’s neck of the woods, so they will still get to share it together. My guess is that they will be having In-n-Out, as Tara only eats there when Ryan is in town.

Happily Ever After

Not only did Tara’s relationship evolve and grow since that trip in July, but she has built many friendships here. She makes an effort to see me, our mutual friends in common, and many others that she knows in our area. It is only a matter of time – I hope – that Tara will be making the move out here for their happily ever after!


Tara’s new Arlington friends, including me! 


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Jennifer Jo is a well-regarded and respected Northern Virginia Realtor based in the Arlington Office of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. She works closely with her business partner (and sister) Maggie Toole to guide buyers and sellers through the real estate process. Before devoting herself to a career in Real Estate, Jennifer spent fifteen years as an Attorney at the U.S. Department of State. She was also an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. As a Realtor, she draws on the skills developed as an attorney and professor to advocate for and advise her clients. With access to the vast resources of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and her own network of contacts, Jennifer focuses on bringing a luxury experience to her clients, regardless of price point. “I like to spoil my clients – I am so grateful to them because they allow me to do what I love!”

TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is regarded as one of the highest-performing real estate firms in the United States. With nine offices and over 450 sales associates across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, our commitment to professional service, integrity, and community leadership allowed us to capture more than $3.17 Billion in closed sales in 2018, while also serving as one of Washington D.C.’s foremost leaders in corporate philanthropy.


Jennifer Jo
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 200 
Arlington, Virginia 22201



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