Some will chalk it up to fate. Others to serendipity. I think it’s the luck of the Irish.
This was my sentiment as I learned about the Rileys: Matt and Tara, parents of Isla (7), Harlow (5), Sloane (3), Callahan “Cal” (1).
But, let’s start in the beginning.
Tara was raised in SoCal, in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys. She was a child actress for years (during her junior high and high school days) and then enrolled at USC to major in cinema/television. The plan was to meld her love for the entertainment industry into a career in entertainment law.
And that is what she did. Tara worked as an entertainment/intellectual property attorney for 10 years. She spent half of that time working at a top international law firm representing some of the largest entertainment and tech companies in the world. She spent the remaining years at NBC/Universal, managing trademarks and copyrights for the conglomerate’s huge film, television, and theme park portfolio.
Matt, on the other hand, was raised up north in Oakland. He chose to come south and attended UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. With a less clear career path, he considered law school and took the LSAT. Well, he achieved a near-perfect score. And while many might try to parlay that score into the law school of his dreams, he decided to take a less conventional route. He figured he’d teach his test-taking skills to others preparing for the LSATs.
Whether you chalk it up to pure instinct, chance, or divine intervention, all I know is Matt is forever grateful he took that detour. Because during his very first year of teaching, enter stage right, student and future bride, Tara … let’s have them explain:
“We met during Matt’s first year teaching the LSAT.” The summer after they both graduated college, Matt taught an LSAT prep course at USC, and Tara walked into Matt’s classroom eager to start her law school journey. “It was love at first sight. After a few awkward classes and a few personal tutoring sessions, we started dating.” Over the next six years, while Tara went to law school (at Southwestern) and grew her legal career and Matt started and grew his own test prep company (Blueprint), the two took some time apart for years here and there, but “eventually the stars aligned and we got married.”
So, if Matt would have chosen the conventional path of someone who crushes the LSAT and gone straight to law school, he may have never even met Tara. There wouldn’t be Blueprint, which has grown into one of the largest test prep companies in the country. So, thousands and thousands of would-be law and med school students would have continued underachieving (his company guarantees an LSAT improvement, and the average increase is 11 points. They also guarantee an MCAT score increase and see an average improvement of 13 points). And, if Matt doesn’t meet Tara, we wouldn’t be talking about Isla, Harlow, Sloane, and Cal.
But, since Matt and Tara did meet and ultimately married in 2012, let’s talk about those kids.
Isla goes to Robinson Elementary, Harlow and Sloane are in preschool at Circle of Love, and Cal won’t start preschool until 2023. “All our girls love playing outside, whether that be swimming, cartwheels, or exploring at the beach. Cal loves playing with cars and anything his sisters will involve him in.”
“All our girls love gymnastics classes. Isla also plays soccer, and Harlow and Sloane love dance class. Cal loves his music class and playing with every type of ball he can get his hands or feet on.”
Matt and Tara are both passionate about family time, and “if you hear loud music coming from our yard, it’s just a family dance party. Come on in and join!” On Sundays, they usually spend the day playing games in the backyard. Then, “we always fire up the grill for something yummy and have a fun family dinner. We like to start with an Irish blessing and a cheers – Slainte! All the kids take turns saying the toast for the night.”
Their volunteer work and philanthropy revolve around their kids as well. They are both members of the Robinson Elementary PTSA, and Tara is a frequent volunteer at the school. (When she was pregnant with Sloane, she put her legal career on hold). Matt is a member of the Adventure Guides through the YMCA and organizes trips for Isla’s class at Robinson.
When it comes to financial giving, “we are passionate about fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well as the March of Dimes. After Harlow was diagnosed with leukemia at 3 years old, we have been strong supporters of this organization. We also love supporting the March of Dimes since losing our first son, after spending a few weeks in the NICU.”
The Rileys have only been here in the Hill Section since 2018, but they are leaving quite an imprint. Sometimes that imprint is through the aforementioned giving back, and sometimes it’s just through fun hanging out in the community. Whether it’s hanging out at the beach, the girls donning their fancy dresses for a Sunday morning stroll on the pier, a golf cart ride around town, or simply enjoying the local restaurants (Fishing with Dynamite, Pitfire, and Tacolicious are a few of their favorites), the Rileys “love this community, and we would love to meet more of our neighbors!”