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What is the fine line between Neighbourhood Watch and stalking ... or just plain nosey? | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

Neighbourhood watch or stalking?

 

When does Neighbourhood Watch get classified as stalking–or just plain nosey?

 

When did neighbourhood watch become stalking?  There’s stalking.  And then there’s stalking.  Right?  In my best Kim Kardashian voice: I feel like the term stalking is so overused these days.

These days stalking describes social media habits—you know the ones? Your Facebook friends who know exactly what you’ve been up to but don’t ever press the like button (you know who you are).  Then there’s the people that hop on your Instagram and browse your page and like all the photos they haven’t liked because, well, they like them.  In this day and age this is stalking.  The fear of the double-tap is real people.

Neighbourhood watch

What about when you have a neighbour who happens to be an actor and you glance over to see if there’s any activity in the front yard.  Is that stalking?  We all do it, don’t we? Glance over to see what the neighbours are up to?  Don’t we or is that just me?  In my day it was Neighborhood Watch—note the capitals to show it’s a genuine bona fide program.  These days (especially if you live next door to a person of interest) it’s called stalking.

Is it stalking when you follow them in the car because you both happen to leave your houses at the same time? That happened to me the other week.  He pulled out first (unbeknown to me) and I was on my way to tennis.  How was I supposed to know that he was traveling in my direction? For the longest time.  The longest time.  Suddenly I felt like a stalker yet all I was doing was doing what I always do on a Thursday morning.

It got so bad that I put my indicator on and moved into the right-hand lane ultra early so he’d know I had a purpose—and that purpose was not to follow him.  How was I supposed to know that he was turning right on that street too? Maybe he was stalking me? I’ve never been so relieved to see the tennis courts were up ahead and I was turning off thus ending the seemingly stalking-like behaviour.  (And, by the way, in case he was stalking me he now knows where I play tennis.)

There was the time Miss 14 and I were reversing out of house and we noticed his double doors that we hadn’t noticed before.  We were noticing how nice they looked. “Oh God mum, he’s caught us stalking him how embarrassing.”

“That’s not stalking, that’s admiring his doors,” I was quick to comment back.  Isn’t it?

Admiring our house

Maybe he’s a little paranoid of stalking us too.  He told me he loved our house and how pretty it is.  “If you catch me staring at your house it’s just because I think it’s so beautiful”.  (See, goes to argument of him stalking me.)

When we got our beautiful new gate put in, he fell in love with our house all over again.  My daughter was walking out the gates and caught him looking in.  “Just admiring your beautiful new gates,” he said.

When Mr 16 got his car and licence I saw him not long after and said, “Check it, I have my very own driver now.”

“I know,” he replied.

See?  See?  It’s not stalking to survey the scene, admire the renovations, goings on, check that everything is as it should be; look, notice and move on.  I think that’s healthy good neighbour behaviour.  And if he was anyone other that who he is then I wouldn’t even be having this conversation with you.

Mrs Mangle/Mrs Kravitz/Nosey neighbour

But at what point does “genuinely-interested-neighbourhood-watch-neighbour-who’s-not-a-stalker” turn into “nosey-neighbour”?

Nosey neighbours make great television.  Over the years there has been many a classic nosey neighbour (whom I hasten to add you love to hate).  They invented Neighbourhood Watch.

In conducting a little research I came across this post.

I get it—there are definitely those neighbours who gawk and spend hours out the window with curiosity at fever pitch.  But that’s not me.  Is it?

My 16-year old and I were out the front washing cars and he came out into his front yard.  We couldn’t see him, we could only hear him.  My first instinct was to yell over the fence, “Hi. Need your car washed?” But all I could think of was nosey Mrs Mangle from Neighbours or that Mrs Kravitz from Bewitched.

Remember this is the young lad that knocked on my door when he first bought the house?  I can say “hi” can’t I?

But instead we stayed quiet and pretended that we didn’t know he was there.  How lame is that?  I wanted to say hi, why shouldn’t I say hi but the kids’ paranoia coupled with my vision of Mrs Kravitz trying to catch her neighbours out stopped me dead in my tracks.

Instead of friendly neighbour saying hi all I could picture was that dreaded neighbour who comes out from out of the bushes every single time you head outside saying, “Yoohoo”.  Damn you stalkers and nosey neighbours.  You make it hard for us normal non-stalking stalkers to live.

Mrs Kravitz

Mrs Kravtiz from Bewitched (image copied from Michael in Madrid the Blog).

Bodyguards outside my house

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before that my daughter has a rather famous friend.  I think I may have but those of you who are new to the Blog might not know.  Anyway, this friend has been coming over to the house a bit lately.  His visit comes with a bodyguard.  Sometimes I know who the bodyguard will be, other times I don’t.

The first time I knew the bodyguard was going to be outside I thought I better text G to let him know the person sitting in the car outside my house is not paparazzi, nor a stalker but a bodyguard.

There’s quite a perk to having a bodyguard stationed outside your house.  Firstly, well it’s obvious, you feel safe.  And let’s face it in LA that’s as good as it gets.

Their very first “hang” I was told they’d be fine as the bodyguard would be there to watch over them.  I must admit my first thought was that’s all great but if something’s going to happen your bodyguard is paid to protect your son and my daughter might not be able to get the same level of protection.  I don’t know how this all works, it’s still new to me.

The second perk to having a bodyguard stationed out the front of your house is well … the couple I’ve met have been very easy on the eye.

Will the real nosey neighbour please stand up

The guy that lives opposite from us walks his dog 10 times a day.  He stops outside your house, looks in, lurks and lurks.  When we first moved in, he and his mates would sit in his garage talking for most of the day.  I thought this was fabulous: the best neighbourhood watch you can get.

Then when my gate and front fence were being put in my “gate guy” would report back on his chats through the day.  The real nosey neighbour was telling our gate guy about how the neighbours didn’t want our house built, how the lady on the corner asked everyone why they needed to tear down a perfectly good house to make way for a new one.  I’m pretty sure this guy knows everything that goes on at my place.  I warned G when he moved in.

We look straight into his place from ours so it’s actually much easier to stalk him than it is G next door.  We never really see anyone other than him.  Sometimes we see someone who may be his son, rarely see any females but there are three cars in their drive.  The one thing that strikes us though is the number of people who pull up, go into their garage and come out again.  Some come with packages, others don’t.  That’s what’s earnt him the nickname  “The Drug Dealer”.

In a further twist, one day I was at the kids school picking them up and there he was waiting in the carpark.  I have no idea who he was picking up.  I have no idea what he was doing there.

I’d know if someone from school lived near us as we have a carpool dating app.  The carpool dating app essentially allows us to hook up with our neighbours to arrange to carpool to and from school.  If you don’t carpool then you have to drop off ultra early and pick up ultra late so it’s in your best interests to hook up.  Plus it saves you driving the school every day.  And, in a very un-American twist they police it.

A real stalker would have stayed in the car to see just who he was picking up and work out exactly what he was doing there.  Was he making a drug delivery?

But alas, I’m a failure in the nosey neighbour/stalker department.

We haven’t seen the drug dealer at school since but the mind boggles.

Facebook stalking

I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to Facebook stalk.  I always forget to even when I think I should go into their page and see what’s been going on.  But, when I comment on someone’s post I get the notifications and occasionally one pops up and you think, “get out of town” or “that’s interesting”.

Over the weekend it was a friend’s birthday.  Birthday post notifications were coming in thick and fast.  One post caught my attention as I recognised the surname.  Yes, it was the wife of one of my fave actors, minding her own business commenting on a friend’s post just like I did, safe in obscurity.  Well from everyone that is but this alleged-not-so-good-at-being-nosey stalker.

Just another one of those, “Holy cow I do live in LA don’t I?” moments.

When good neighbours become good friends

Back to neighbours, or neighbourhood watch as the case might be.

When I was growing up one of my fondest memories was being outside painting with my Dad.  The neighbour dad comes out and says hi, two seconds later neighbour mum comes out saying come for a drink.  Next thing you know there were four neighbour families all having drinks, which turned to dinner and we didn’t leave til the wee hours in the morning. Fun times.

You tell me.  Be honest.  Pretend I’m still neighbours with Sue & Tony in Sydney, or Sue & John in Shanghai, or the neighbours I grew up with.  Do you think I’m nosey or a “stalker” or just a friendly neighbour?  I would think nothing of calling out to them, or inviting them over for a drink.  It would be rude if I didn’t.  Or they didn’t.

But they’re not actors whose every move are scrutinised in the tabloids I suppose.  Watch this space.

xx It Started in LA xx

Only in LA: The day a famous actor knocked on our door to introduce himself as our new neighbour | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

The day a famous actor moved in next door

Moving to The Valley

I’m not living in 90210 anymore, instead I’m a “Valley Girl”.  There is a whole backstory (and a half) that goes along with the move but for now let me tell you this: I didn’t want to move; I wanted to keep my 90210 postcode.  Who wouldn’t?

Apart from loving the area, having friends close; we were surrounded by “celebrities” new and old, famous and infamous.  I knew there were many celebrities in the Valley too but most likely not in my street or little neighbourhood.

That’s where I was wrong.

Yep, my life is not scripted or made more dramatic for the Blog, my life is just very LA.  The day a ‘famous’ actor moved in next door.

When your neighbour turns out to be “so so famous”

The day we moved in our neighbours put up a For Sale sign.  Nice welcome.  Thank God they did because they weren’t very nice and not at all friendly.

Fast forward six or so weeks (the house sold within 10 days of being on the market) and the house was abuzz with renovation.  That afternoon I got a knock at the door.

(The shitty thing about moving down into the suburbs of The Valley is that it’s too easy to walk up and down the streets so we get every man and his dog wanting to sell us their wares and convert us to ‘see the light”.)

So that afternoon I get a knock on my door.  And it’s not someone in black pants and a white shirt or someone selling LA Times subscriptions.

At my door is a rather groovily dressed guy in hipster pants, a T-Shirt, and a red baseball cap.

“Hi.  My name is Glenn and I’ve just moved in next door.”

1.  Glenn is not his real name so you can forget about switching over to Google ‘Celebrities with the name Glenn’.

2.  He had the most delightful British accent—music to my ears.

He continues, “I’m so sorry about the noise, I’m renovating my house and I asked the guys to start at 7am but I heard they started at 6am.”

“No problems,” I replied.  “We’re up anyway and we didn’t even notice the noise.”

Did I mention he had a plant in hand, handing it over as a “peace offering”?

What beautiful manners was my first reaction.  It’s not often I’ve seen anyone here with such consideration for the neighbours let alone coming in with a thoughtful gift.  Ah! That’s because he’s not from these parts.

It was a short encounter, he handed over the gift, we exchanged pleasantries and I got on with my afternoon.  Actually, truth be told, I wasn’t very warm—I should have invited him in but I was so fearful of our dog weeing all over him that I barely had the door open wide enough for him to feel the least bit welcome.  And why is it that whenever I get a random knock at the door I’m looking like shite?

Celebrity next door?

That night as everyone was coming home we talked about how exciting it was to have a non-American neighbour (sorry American friends) who was thoughtful and youthful.  (I’ve guessed his age as mid to late 20s).  We haven’t had a great trot with neighbours so I didn’t want to get too carried away.  For now I reserve my judgement, on a scale of 1 to 10, as 7.0—hopeful.

My daughter asked me what the neighbour did.

“I don’t know, we didn’t get that far,” I said.  “I assume he’s an actor.”

My daughter laughed at me.  “Mum, you just assume everyone in LA is an actor.  Or at least in Entertainment. They don’t have to be you know; you’re so weird.”

She was right of course.  He didn’t look like an actor, he was totally unassuming and he was incredibly nice and polite.

So we started talking about the assumptions you make when you live in a certain place.

“What would you assume he did if we were in Sydney?” my daughter asked. “Well most people in Sydney work traditional hours.  I guess he would be in IT (working from home).”

In Wales it’s easy as many people work shift work. In China … well I don’t think that would happen as everyone goes to an office–maybe work in hospitality but by that time of day they would already be at work.

So I saw Glenn a number of times as he set about renovating his house to move in.

He moved in and there was music coming from his backyard and a bit of life in what is otherwise a quiet neighbourhood.  it was good.  A week later, as he kids had friends over with the music going, there was a little gathering going on next door.

My son’s British friend noted, “your new neighbours are lit.”

“Yeah right”, I said, “He’s British.”  We laughed and thought nothing more of it.

Than we noticed our dream car—Audi R8—outside the front of our house.

He must totally be an actor.

Living next door to a celebrity

Another week goes by and one night my daughter sees “someone” coming and going from our neighbour’s house. She yells from her room.

“Mum, there’s a famous guy next door.  Is he visiting or is our neighbour famous?”

“I’m not sure honey, let’s see.”

By some stroke of a miracle the “famous guy” comes back down his drive.

“Oh honey, that’s Glenn.  That’s our neighbour.”

Squeals of delight and excitement ensue with a shrill only a 13 year-old can pull off.  In one Snapchat her entire friend network knows the news.

More screams.

“Oh my God, I’m pretty sure I just read he recently moved in with his girlfriend. And <screams> you know who it is? It’s Hannah Montana (clearly NOT a real person but I’m not going to divulge her real name and you get the idea that we’re actually talking about someone with HIGH name recognition amongst the tweens and teens).

More squeals … and lots of Googling.

“Oh my God, oh my God, I’m living next door to HANNAH MONTANA.”

And so, my fear of moving away from the celebrity action couldn’t be further from the truth.  Instead I have a bona fide ‘it’ couple living right next door to me.

Ah LA you never cease to amaze.

xx It Started in LA xx

A blog post looking at how kids in 90210 spend their free time--what do they do for fun? | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

What do Beverly Hills kids do for fun?

Such a good question: what do kids in Beverly Hills kids do for fun? Perhaps we need a branch-off reality series: the Real Kids of Beverly Hills.  (Dibbs: if that comes out I want a cut of the takings).

Of course, in all seriousness, this was one of my fears: how do I raise a “normal” child in LA.  It’s true I was focussed more on the safety of “living in America” (you know? guns, mass shootings and metal detectors) but also going into a private school with many celebrity kids and alumni alike I was worried about “keeping up with the 90210-ers”.

But it’s just about the money.  In some ways, that’s the easy bit.  (If you’re relatively new to the Blog you might have missed my post on handbags & designer clothes.  You can link back to read it here.  And it might be time to freshen it up as it’s a little too cryptic in hindsight).

No matter where you live you come across some parents who are prepared to let their kids do stuff and others not so much.  Then there are those “in-betweens”.  That’s me—somewhere in-between.  When we lived in Shanghai the teenagers grew up really quickly.  With no legal drinking age, a really safe City and these people called “drivers” and things called taxis, kids start going to Clubs when they’re 15.  I was happy not to have my kids growing up in that environment (despite doing something similar at that age).  But LA is a different kettle of fish again.

Cut back to present day LA …

My 13-year-old daughter wanted to go to The Grove shopping with her own with a friend.  I love the Grove but it’s often packed, filled with tourists and very, very exposed.  I didn’t want her going without a parent lurking somewhere close by.  She’s still only 13.  Right?  Plus, I didn’t let my son start going to the larger Malls until he was 14/15.  On top of that I don’t know about you but I hate the whole “Let’s-go-hang-out-at-the-mall-today” thing.  It’s just so … eek and unimaginative and, well, even I don’t like hanging out in Malls.

Thankfully her friend’s mum was of the same opinion as me and together we poo-pooed it.  Five minutes of incessant texts asking “Why?”, “The Grove is safe”, “Now we have nothing to do” and that was it.  Radio silence.

Beverly Hills kids

Then, no more than 10 minutes later all was good in the world again. She was at her friend’s place having a lovely time. I got sent pics of houses and locations all over her friend’s gated community.  They both have very 90210 Segways (you know the ones without the handles?) so they went riding around, exploring.  Happy as can be.  Beverly Hills kids indeed, with a touch of my normal.

“We’re at Gwen Stefani’s house” was the next text.  “It’s so cool.”  Then, “I can’t send you a photo because there’s security watching.”

Celebrity

It’s OK, there’s a bit of an unwritten rule anyway that if you go to a famous person’s house that you’re mindful of what you take photos of—and what you post.  Same if you’re going to live in the same community as Gwen Stefani there’s an unwritten good-neighbour policy that goes along with that.  We’ve also had the discussion about when she goes into famous friends’ parties.  Even if they’re really, really famous! (And it kills this Blogger that she can’t write about them).

Still on Gwen Stefani, my friend—her friend’s mum—drives the same car as Gwen (not me LA Gwen, Stefani Gwen).  One day, back when speculation was rife surrounding her relationship with whatsis-face-Blake-country-dude she was coming out of her community, was going to turn right, hesitated and instead turned right.  She thought nothing of the car following her except they were travelling at some speed.  When she got to the traffic lights she saw the driver with a long lens on their camera.  One solid look at her and the camera went down and it was back to see if they had missed the real Gwen coming out.  Poor Gwen.

I do love seeing the paparazzi, it makes me feel like I live in LA.  Remember when I hadn’t been here that long and I had my brush with the paps courtesy of JLo?

But the converse of that is feeling sorry for people like Gwen who, apart from the sanctity of her home, can’t escape the attention.  I wrote about how since I arrived in LA I’ve changed my opinion of celebrities and how I don’t believe we have a right to judge them I got a bit of heckling back.  The argument is when you put yourself out there and make money from being in the spotlight then you are asking to be scrutinised.

I don’t think so, I think it’s two very separate things.  You can be curious (like, let’s face it we were with Gwen Stefani) but you don’t have a right to be part of their lives and intrude in a sanctity that is their privacy.  My humble opinion.  (And don’t give me that shit about they became a singer or actor to get celebrity; very few people I know actually think like that and their “celebrity” often catches them off guard.)

Don’t be hating

I have a friend who is very successful, he has a great Instagram account and understands that his money is made from the people that support and buy his product.  What upsets me is when people start being nasty.  And do they ever let loose.  Being out there in the spotlight is like a target to the power target.  People feel fine commenting on someone’s social media accounts because they don’t have to say it to their face so they feel protected.  For some reason, if you’re a well-known identity or celebrity—or you put yourself out there like I and many other Bloggers do—then it’s OK to say whatever you like.  Like nasty comments won’t hurt them.  The more famous you are doesn’t automatically mean you get an extra layer of protection to stop getting hurt by what people say about you.  NO MATTER HOW FAMOUS.  And, by the way, sometimes you get even more sensitive.

So, yes, I felt for Gwen Stefani.  I love whenever I visit my friends seeing the tour buses stopping at the front—we often wave to them even when they get in our way!  It’s part of living where we do in LA.  And part of how this Blog started.  And it’s fun to get a glimpse of the paparazzi waiting for some action.  Again, it’s part of living in LA.  But, it’s also good to stop and reflect on the reality of those people being there means to some.

Oh, that also answers the question are they all looked after by Nannies.  Most of my kids friends aren’t; only a small handful are.  And even then their parents are very hands-on and connected.  And only a couple of them have Bodyguards.  (Just thought I’d throw that in there for you to see if you’re reading along).

But where was I?  Oh yes, what Beverly Hills kids do for fun.

Postmates

On the other side of town my son was hanging with a friend.  Collectively he and two friends are obsessed with Garlo’s Aussie Pies, an Australian pie shop here in LA.  On my way to dropping my son I needed to go to the ATM.  To get to the ATM I have to drive right past their shop so I suggested we pick up their pies.

“No, you can’t do that mum, we’re getting Postmates.”

“Oh, you’re not getting Garlo’s anymore, you’re getting something else.”

“No, we’re getting Garlo’s.”

“OK, well seeing as we’re here why don’t I get it.”

“But we’re getting Postmates.”

“Yes, but we’re here”.

Whatever. Seriously.

If you haven’t worked it out Postmates is “Uber for food.”

It’s the app of choice for 90210 kids who need something to eat and whose parents are happy to pay the $4.99++ delivery fee—plus tip.

When it first launched in LA kids were ordering $3.99 Frappuccino’s from Starbucks and paying $4.99 to have it delivered plus tip.

And my daughter wondered why I wouldn’t let her do it.

“$10 for a Frappuccino to be delivered?  Are you aware there are refugees trying to flee Syria right now and countries who still don’t believe girls should be educated?” is my catch-cry du jour.

“Fine. You’re so embarrassing.”

Fortunately, we’ve stopped having the Frappuccino battle and I think I’ve even relented once and paid the delivery fee for take-away (take-out) one night.  But I also don’t really need to when we still have old-fashioned take-away services where restaurants deliver for free.  And I still don’t have to resort to Domino’s or Pizza Hut.

Speaking of Uber

Yes, so speaking of Uber, that would be the main form of transport of the kids these days. Even for my kids. It’s actually really convenient and great value.  I still like getting in the car and driving them–let’s face it it’s how you get all the gossip–but when the LA traffic is going to get the better of you, I find it more than OK.

Taking it possibly a bit far is the kids who book an Uber to pick them up from school.  And, there are also those kids who Postmates themselves after school.  (Note to self: check if they do it at lunch time).  Oh the things money can buy; and here’s me thinking you can use money for good.

And, to answer the private jet question, yes a couple of our friends regularly travel in private jets. There could be more and others I know have done on an ad hoc basis.  My daughter has been invited more than once  (unfortunately for her she couldn’t join them) and I’m not sure I’ll ever score an invite but hey, it’s LA so you never, never know.

What’s going on in your part of town?  What do your kids do for fun?  Are you happy with what they do or do you have to step in and play bad cop?  Would love to hear all about it.

 

xx It Started in LA xx

PS: Sadly our favourite Aussie pie shop, Garlo’s, is now closed. We’re hoping it’s coming back in some way shape or form. We’re awaiting more news in that department. Please oh please come back.

Celebrity, My LA story

The Kevin Bacon Game

Do you know the Kevin Bacon Game? It’s basically where you can put any actor within six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

Well … I just found out at a dinner that I can put myself within two degrees of separation of Kevin Bacon.

We went to a “rigged” school event/dinner party at a friend’s house on Saturday night.  I say rigged because it was an Auction item at last year’s end-of-year Fair and we had to buy tickets to join.  But our hosts gave us the “heads-up” to get together a fun group of like-minded people.

At dinner we played the game, two truths and a lie.  As the name suggests we had to give three facts about ourselves, one of which was a lie.

As one of the facts one of our hosts said she walked down the aisle alongside Kevin Bacon.  Truth!  Wow, she was a bridesmaid alongside Kevin Bacon.  So, she’s linked to Kevin Bacon and everyone else at that dinner table are now two degrees of to the very same.  And now, as one of my loyal readers, you are three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.  See how easy this game is?  How much fun it is.

Uber

You know we love Uber here in LA.  I don’t know what the sticking point is getting it over the line in Australia but we are regular users–and lovers–of Uber.

In the last couple of weeks though we’ve hit a couple of snags.  Firstly I had a little incident a few weeks ago which clearly caused one of the drivers to rate us badly.  We thought we checked everything off with him to make sure we were all good.  He said we were but between late Friday night and early Sunday morning there became a problem.

Now every time we’ve tried to book an Uber X the drivers cancel us.  Now the simple job of getting an Uber is not so simple.

Then last weekend we came across some other unfamiliar Uber Ts&Cs.  One of our friends decided it was time to go home so ordered their Uber.  I managed to convince them to stay but the time I’d done that the Uber had arrived.  So out I go and chat to the driver and apologise and ask him if it’s OK with him to cancel.

“Sure,” he says, “no problems.  Do me a favour though and press cancel the job.  That will look better for me.”

“Will that affect his rating?” I cleverly ask.

“No, not at all,” was the reply.

“Well not a problem,” I replied while pressing cancel.  “Thanks so much,” I said.

About half an hour later my mate yells out to me, “Gwen, you owe me $10 Uber just charged me to cancel.”

And it was off, I was straight on the phone to Mr Uber driver and argued with him that perhaps he should have told me when he “innocently” asked me to cancel the trip as it will help him.

After going around in circles I told him I had a party to get back to but he wouldn’t hear the end of it from me.

Then a couple of hours later the same thing happened to us.  We got the call to say our Uber had arrived, we said our goodbyes then as we were walking out the door we saw the Uber driver driving off.  It was late so we weren’t lurking–we have been longer waiting to be picked up to go out as I finish getting ready or walk down our steep poorly paved drive.  We got charged a $5 no-show fee.

What the Uber?  We love you but it’s also possible for a love affair to go sour.  I’m putting you on notice.

Top 13 celebrity encounters in LA so far

All the talk of the last two years in LA, and my two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon has prompted me to list my top 10 celebrity encounters to date.  It’s still bizarre to me that one move as a result of one job offer puts me in LA writing a blog about some of my surreal experiences–experiences would just reply, “Get of out town” to a mere 25 months ago.

  1. Going to my kids’ first swim meet and seeing Rod Stewart sitting on the Bleachers. Then realising his son goes to our school.  After only a few weeks in LA…
  2. Saying about the son of a big-time pop star, “I would have picked him up and taken them [out], next time please feel free to ask me,” without thinking about what it means.  To me, they’re just normal people and we’re doing normal things.
  3. Looking up from my mobile phone at the Golden Globes after-party and realising I was following Rhianna.   Into a VIP section.  And being able to be there.
  4. Seeing J Lo and Mary J Blige out for dinner at one of my favourite WeHo restaurants.
  5. Seeing dozens of paparazzi waiting outside for JLo on that same night.  And posing for them.
  6. Having friends from Australia with us and apologising for the “dud” celeb-spotting night when JLo walks in. And gets sat across from us.  Then seeing the look on the face of the Maître D when he realised he’d sat her across from me!
  7. Sitting in front of Sandra Bullock at a school PA (Parents Association) meeting.
  8. Coming head-to-head with Beyonce and Jay Z on New Year’s Day night in a narrow LA street. Jay Z politely reversed up the hill to let us through.
  9. Sitting in a classroom with Warren Beatty.
  10. Telling Taylor Swift how I thought she was a fabulous role model for girls everywhere at the Golden Globes.
  11. Seeing Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves AND Hugh Grant eating together at my favourite hip WeHo restaurant.
  12. Seeing David Duchovny standing outside a sound stage at Mr H’s Studios. Then thinking it was a look-alike.
  13. Seeing Duff McKagan recently all rock-starred up (ie like he’s just finished filming a music video) rather than “conservativing-up” his look.

I’ve had to stop at 13 otherwise it will just end up being a list of all my celebrity encounters!  What’s worse is now my standards are much higher–how quickly you get acclimated (sorry climatised)!  I’m going to redo this in 6-12 months’ time and see if it changes.

Enjoy your week, go the Wallabies to beat the All-Blacks in a nail-biting but “good-for-rugby” World Cup Final.

xx It Started in LA xx

The history of the Red Carpet
Celebrity, Posts

The History of the Red Carpet

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Emmys 2015

I’ve still got my Emmys hangover and I came across a story about the history of the Red Carpet.  John from Ahdoot Oriental Rugs in New York was kind enough to share this with us.  I think you’ll agree it’s a fascinating story.

I hope you enjoy it.

xx It Started in LA xx

The History of the Red Carpet
By John Ahdoot, Ahdoot Oriental Rugs
Red Carpet

The Steps Leading up to the Cannes Film Festival – via Flickr

 

Of all the carpets and rugs known throughout history, few are as recognized and celebrated as the red carpet. In fact, the red carpet has become an almost indispensable symbol in American culture and the rest of the world, marking both the magnitude of certain special occasions as well as the renown of movie stars, political leaders and other elite figures whose careers have thrust them into the public eye.

Yet, while the red carpet has largely become an icon of notoriety, few know of its true origins or significance. Today, we explore the history of the red carpet, and its millennia-long influence on the culture of mankind.

Red Carpet 2

The red carpet inside of the Selby Abbey in Selby, Yorkshire, England – via Flickr

The Red Carpet’s Early History

 The first historical reference to the red carpet comes from a story written by Aeschylus, who penned the literary work known as Agamemnon in 458 B.C. In the story, when the narrative’s main character returns home from the city of Troy, he is greeted by none other than his wife Clytemnestra, who tells this King of Argos:

Now my beloved, step down from your chariot, and let not your foot, my lord, touch the Earth. Servants, let there be spread before the house he never expected to see, where Justice leads him in, a crimson path.

From there, the carpet was likely used over the subsequent centuries as a way of denoting royalty, though it doesn’t show up again in any great concentration until the European Renaissance period. It’s during this time that the red carpet undergoes a change of sorts, being identified in paintings and murals as a chief background color in rugs and carpets laying before the thrones of emperors, kings, sacred figures and significant holy dignitaries of the time.

Later, according to historical documents, the red carpet makes its first appearance in the United States as it is rolled out to receive President James Monroe upon his arrival to Georgetown, South Carolina, and could very well be where “rolling out the red carpet” was coined.

On the other hand, the term “red-carpet treatment” likely inserted itself into modern culture through the New York Central Railroad, who used “plush crimson carpets” to direct passengers aboard their 20th Century Limited train at the turn of the last century.

Red Carpet on Air Force 1

President Obama leaving Air Force One on stairs covered in a red carpet – via Wikipedia

 

The Red Carpet’s Modern History

 Probably the most common and most recognizable use of the red carpet has been almost solely for film premieres and film-related events, which includes the Academy Awards (and of course the recent Emmys–Ed!).

Anyone who has watched these events will immediately identify the awards show with the pre-event photography and celebrity/paparazzi socializing that takes place on the red carpet. It has even led to another term used by journalists and TV personalities to describe the apparel and accessories being worn by those attending, which are often referred to as “red carpet fashions.”

Outside the film industry and celebrity events, the red carpet is still being used in the modern political sphere, whether as a cover for the steps of the U.S. President’s Air Force One, or at special events where many of the world’s leaders are in attendance.

The reason for this? While red does signify power and respect, and has throughout history, it has also become recognized as a mark of hospitality among heads of state and religious organizations. And we expect its presence to be seen among society for many centuries to come.

My take on the 2015 Emmys Telecast
Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

My round up of the Emmys 2015 telecast

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Emmys 2015

I love the Emmys and I love TV. So it’s only fitting that I share my round up of the Emmys 2015 telecast. Last year I was lucky enough to go to the Creative Arts Emmys. As is the premise of my Blog, never in my wildest dreams as a very happy normal chick living the Sydney life expect to be strutting the Red Carpet amongst the cast of Orange is the New Black, Jon Voight and incredible talent that makes the TV industry go around. It’s crazy.

This year’s Emmys ceremony was great, I thoroughly enjoyed them and I love that it’s broken down over two separate ceremonies. It makes the main event go much quicker.

While I enjoyed most of Andy Sandberg as this year’s host can I am still mourning the loss of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It will take a few more years til we get to their standard—if we do at all. They’re some pretty talented and funny women.

Andy opened strongly but it was a bit stop/start. His opening monologue was fine but not great.

It took a while to hit cruising speed but he definitely got more comfortable and relaxed as time went on, which is good.

To me, cruising speed was hit when he did his little “Girls” love scene impersonation—which is pretty funny even if you didn’t know the scene in question.

ICYMI here it is.

Important role of TV

 

The Oscars last year got slammed for “snubbing people of colour” but the Emmys did the opposite. I’m not sure it’s that the Emmys addressed or acknowledged people of colour but had the opportunity to award talent where it was due.

No one put it better than Viola Davis herself:

“The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy (or an Oscar) for roles that are simply not there.”

There have been many people commenting on social media saying, You won, you’re good, you deserve it but enough about the colour factor. Sorry, you can’t say that! Clearly to say what she said, to speak as openly and emotionally as she did, Viola Davis has been on a ride. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so from-the-heart as it was.

I also understand why they say “it shouldn’t be about colour”. BUT. America is very into defining people—men, women, black, Asian, native American, gay, straight, transgender and talking about Diversity. By labelling people America is its own worst enemy. It struck me almost as soon as I got here and I penned (so to speak) this post.

(And I’m not saying Australia is not guilty, we’ve had our own racist issues, which also embarrass me, but it comes from a different angle).

Maybe it’s easy for me to say but at the end of the day—when you look really closely—I’m not white middle America, I just act like I am. “White” that is. Clearly I’m not American (although I do see myself as evolving into an Ausmerican).

I act like I am white because I don’t see myself any differently. And I think that’s largely because I grew up in Australia, not America. I’m probably not really making a lot of sense but here’s the bottom line:

Shonda Rhimes, is a creative genius. Beyond genius. She’s like the Steven Bochco of the 2000s (am I showing my age?). When I first saw Grey’s Anatomy in Australia, I knew it was created by Shonda Rhimes but I had no idea she was black. It didn’t matter, why should it? When I first saw the shorts (trailer) for How To Get Away with Murder I saw a powerful performance by Viola Davis but I didn’t take special notice of the fact that she was black, she was just bloody amazing.

That should be the point. And (I think) that was Viola Davis’s point.

TV should be at the cutting edge of setting change. TV Shows have a shorter incubation period, cost less to make, and there is a large talent pool to choose from. And that’s why we love it so much and that’s why it’s so much edgier than movie-making at the moment.

And, the fact that every single drama nominated could clearly be the winner exemplifies that point.  And that every single comedy nominated could clearly be the winner. No one drama or comedy would have won that category and you would have said, “I don’t think they deserved it”.

I was like, “oh yeah, Game of Thrones deserves it.” Then I remember House of Cards and what an amazing season it was.  Downton Abbey, Homeland, OISTNB … Yep, they’re all over-the-top phenomenally good.

Donald Trump

On a lighter note it was good to see the Trump jokes out in force last night. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her acceptance speech:

“What a great honour it must be for you to honour me tonight.

“Oh God, no! Donald Trump said that.”

On that note, shall we take a moment to say the women, to me, are rocking it as the stars of the show. The cast of Orange is the New Black, Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, JLD, Allison Janney, all the American Horror Story stars and guest stars. Good for them I say—now to get them all being paid the same as the blokes in the room ;-).

And, I wonder if we can now get Kanye to throw himself at Amy Schumer when he sees her on the Red Carpet.

 

All hail Amy Schumer.

For a full list of nominees and winners click here.

 

xx It Started in LA xx

 

Trends on the 2015 Red Carpet and who got my vote for Best Dressed | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

Who was my Best Dressed for the 2015 Emmys?

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Emmys 2015

Who was my Best Dressed for the 2015 Emmys? I’m glad you asked!

Did you tune in to the broadcast or hear about it? Were you thinking, “what is it about LA where all they talk about is the weather?” Well, let me just say that it was HOT. So hot that I was actually glad I wasn’t at the Emmys this year. Seriously. I don’t know how you can look so good on the red carpet so everyone should get special claps for getting dressed up and surviving the red carpet walk. I’ve seen how long it takes to get down the Red Carpet—it’s a long walk and the sun is beaming down on the area that’s essentially a mall (not of the shopping variety but of the convention variety) so despite having the Red Carpet out it’s hot.

The hot trends were definitely colour. And yellow seemed to be the “it” colour from Heidi Klum’s controversial dress to Taylor Schilling’s (OITNB) at-first-sight nice then oh-not-so-much frilly yellow number.

 

This was closely followed by pink/fushia/mauve in a fabulously stylish non 80s way.  Although the fashion to me was “80s inspired with a 2010s edge” with no sign of the embarrassing stuff.

Then there was that whole chain strap thing noticeably from Claire Danes and “Cookie” from Empire.

 

Who am I to judge? Well I think anyone who’s anyone can come up with a Best Dressed List and a Blog with the name “It Started in LA” definitely can.

Before I give you my winners, here’s what some of the “experts” came up with.

Vanity Fair
Harper’s Bazaar
Vogue

 

I’m trying really hard to list my Best Dressed list in order but I’m struggling. I guess that’s why I’m not an expert. I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’m starting to see that unless you have a pushy (or good!) publicist or are part of a nominated show—or you are yourself—you don’t make the lists.

Well this Blogger doesn’t let that get in the way and I try to study what everyone’s wearing and who’s doing what and award those I think deserve it.

So my winner is …

Yael Stone. Who? I hear you say. Well, she plays “Lorna Morello” from Orange is the New Black. She looks sublime in a light pink mesh dress, stitching along the bodice and skirt to give a rouging effect with a full and layered skirt. Better still, I’m searching for a pic of her I can include for my Blog without violating any copyright laws and I found an article that says she’s Australian. Get out of town! Even better.

 

I’m struggling with my “Number two” which is a toss up between the gorgeous Laverne Cox and the stunning Uzo Aduba.

My number two goes to “Crazy Eyes” who truly looks spectacular in the fushia dress with the halter top and the heavenly blue that makes the pink pop. Truly stunning and original.

Ready. #emmys

A post shared by Uzo Aduba (@uzoaduba) on

 

That means number three goes to the fabulous Laverne Cox who looked totally stunning in a teal figure-hugging dress with perfect cutouts through the back.

#NoFilter #TransIsBeautiful #Emmys2015

A post shared by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

 

Did you notice that means the top three are all from Orange is The New Black?

 

That brings me to number four. I can do this. I know I can. Oh no, I don’t know if I can. Help. I’m looking at my list and I’ve got another 11 names written down and six spots to round out my Top ten. They’re all so different and so good. Focus. Focussing. OK.

How good did Allison Janney look? Forever my idol CJ from the West Wing she is truly glamorously stunning.

Congratulations to the incredibly talented and glowing #AllisonJanney on your #emmys win! So well deserved.

A post shared by Dr. Harold Lancer (@drlancerrx) on

 

I love white so I have a bias. The next four are equal five—Viola Davis channelling Kerry Washington in white with black, Carrie Ann Inaba—a judge from Dancing With The Stars, Olivia Culpo and Gina Rodriguez. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

#WomenMakingHistory "The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity"

A post shared by Viola Davis Fans (@violadavisfans) on

 

 

#Emmys look today!! @tomford @yoko_london @jimmychoo @jennifermazurstyle

A post shared by Olivia Culpo (@oliviaculpo) on

 

Emmys. First for everything 😍 #LorenaSarbu #forevermarkDiamonds #forevermark

A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on

 

I’m not sure Gina Rodriguez was in white but it was a light pastelly number so for me it counts.  Regardless, it was gorgeous.

OK, positions eight, nine and 10. Three more places and I’ve got six chicks to choose from.

Number eight I’m going Lady Gaga. Who’s not going Gaga for Gaga at the moment? Seriously. She’s rocking it transforming herself into a complete siren. She’s come a long way from the infamous meat dress.

 

Number nine. Let’s see. I’m going with Maggie Gyllenhall. I love her mauve and (is it navy?) Oscar dela Renta number with the full flowing skirt. I’m sure it’s inspired but the 80s but there’s not a hint of bad taste in this dress (even if it looks like it’s made from taffeta–and I’m not saying it is—do they even make taffeta any more?!).

 

So, I’ve got one spot left and I’ve narrowed it down to three people. I’m giving it to Sarah Hyland who looked stunning in a figure-hugging floor-length wine red (there’s that 80s influence creeping back in again) off-the-shoulder number.

 

My runner-ups were Sarah Paulson and Julia Louise-Dreyfus–who always looks flawless.

 

The guys

Two guys that totally stood out were Rob Lowe (my heart skips a beat) and Liev Shreiber (who you might recall I had a brush with last summer at the Jonathan Club).

En route. #emmys #blacktie #redcarpet #sweatbox

A post shared by Rob Lowe (@robloweofficial) on

 

I love that navy is the new black this year as many men rocked the navy dinner suit. Changing it up for these guys is gooood.

I loved Alan Cummings’s tie and from all accounts he wore Crocs. Thank god the camera didn’t pan down to show them.

 

Not-so hits

I don’t want to get all negative. Looking good on the Red Carpet isn’t always about you rocking a look. Sometimes, as with life, business gets in the way. So, I feel sorry for the people who, let’s just say, didn’t quite get it as right as they could have. Too PC?  Still, it’s true.

Two winners:

Joanna Newsom

 

Need I say more?

And Laura Prepon. Sorry “Alex” but the whole bolero thing didn’t cut if for me.

 

A couple of other notables—Claire Danes featured on a few best dressed lists this year. I thought the dress was great but then you can’t help but get drawn into her (lack of) cleavage and it was all wrong. A little sad for her I thought (not not having a cleavage just that it was unflattering).

And, one of my fashionista goddesses favourites Kerry Washington didn’t cut it for me tonight. I’m still a Gladiator though.

 

And, finally Kernan Shipka. From the waist up she looked gorgeous. Then pan down and … what was that? Pants? Seriously? No, wear it short and proud. Besides it’s boiling so ditch the pants as a last-minute anyway.

The cast of #MadMen are taking over the #Emmys red carpet! @kiernanshipka #ElizabethMoss #ChristinaHendricks #TeyonahParris

A post shared by Emmys / Television Academy (@televisionacad) on

 

Like I said I’m glad it wasn’t me out there in the spotlight. All in all a good performance was put on by all. It hasn’t cooled down here in LA so there’ll be lots of sweaty bodies dancing on dance-floors at after-parties all over town.

Tomorrow I’ll post my run-down on the ceremony itself. It’s a school night and this is enough for you to absorb for now.

Speak to you tomorrow.

xx It Started in LA xx

 

PS: What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Did I leave someone out? Did I put someone in that didn’t deserve it?

Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

A normal end to the school year–with a twist of 90210

Like everyone in my neck of the woods, with school finishing in the middle of the year rather than the end, it’s busy, busy, busy. There are fairs, thank-you breakfasts, end-of-year events and of course big assignments and exams to study for.

Last weekend we had the Annual Fair, which was moved from the school grounds to a private party on Santa Monica Pier. Each school we’ve been to (with the kids) has had a Fair/Fiesta/Fete of some kind. They’ve all been good but last year we (I) was so shell-shocked laughing at the fact that my kids are having their fair on the Santa Monica Pier.

I never expected to be ever going back to LA let alone living here let alone having a private party on the blessed (pronounced bless-ed in place of a swear-word) Pier. This year we’re so LA that we’ve taken it all in our stride. Somewhat.

Cut back to my son’s school in Australia and the boys had to rock up to the Fiesta in full school uniform. While I can hear most of you that aren’t used to this thinking “WTF?” I can assure you it comes in very handy for three things:

  • Finding your son in a crowd
  • The girls finding a potential boyfriend in the crowd
  • Keeping the boys out of trouble—and if they choose to get into trouble they’re easily identified!

His Fair was fantastic. I love the excuse to hang out with my friends (may or may not sneak in a bottle of wine) and see the kids having a great time in the safety and security of the school grounds. Equally I love the scantily clothed girls hunting in packs checking out the talent—so easy to spot those strapping boys in their school uniforms. Such is the joy of single-sex schools and the lengths they’ll go to for the opportunity to meet someone of the opposite sex (yes, I am exaggerating).

My favourite thing about the Fair would have to be the silent auction. A lot of work would go into each class donating goods & services and we’d package them all up into enticing hampers. I would spend a considerable amount of time weighing up those hampers—what was in them, whether I was getting a bargain and whether or not I could use any of the contents as Christmas pressies. I was (not surprisingly) attracted by the alcohol hampers and scored many a bargain. At the end of the day I’d walk out with us all juggling a number of hampers trying to avoid doing more trips than we needed to.

I do love a 90210 silent auction though. On offer were things like Ellen tickets, tickets to the LA Kings, LA Lakers & Clippers, tickets to the American Idol final, Teen Choice Awards, lunch with Halle Berry and the opportunity to hang out with her on set and have lunch, and meet Steven Spielberg. By far the most popular prize was the chance for 12 kids to play basketball with legendary Clippers basketballer Chris Paul.  There were so many, many more amazing prizes it was hard for me to decide where to concentrate my focus.

I did very well this year. Instead of going home juggling several hampers I went home with an envelope with gift certificates and a Bass Guitar. Did I happen to mention that the guitar was Duff McKagan’s from Guns n Roses? No? Yes, as a matter of fact it’s true.

Proud owner of Duff McKagan's bass #myreality #itstartedinla #gunsnroses

A post shared by It Started in LA 🌴 Gwenny John (@itstartedinla) on

 

My gift certificates were for four tickets to see Rod Stewart in Vegas (as well as a photo opp & Meet & Greet—which seems really silly seeing as I’ve already met him and didn’t have to pay for the privilege but at least this way I get to take a few guilt-free selfies). That wasn’t all, four tickets to see Britney Spears and two night’s accommodation including F&B credit and Spa credit. Score. Yep, quite the haul indeed.

I say that we’re taking Fairs on Santa Monica Pier in our stride, we are, somewhat.  But we do have to stop and pinch ourselves and shrug our shoulders and think how on earth did we land here?  Seriously, the chance to bid on amazing experiences and events that simply aren’t available to everyone—especially for most people who live outside our bubble is not something we should ever take for granted.

“That” moment for us the other night was seeing the one and only Sandra Bullock just hanging out like a normal person (yep, new bestie material). For my son that moment was when he was on the Rollercoaster with her. Only in LA could you be riding a rollercoaster on Santa Monica Pier with Sandra Bullock. Hashtag Living the Dream.

The Californian High School Swim Season

I have to say I love how swimming is done here in the US. While I love, love, love the atmosphere, school spirit and passion that goes into swimming at my kids’ schools in Australia (especially the private boys schools) I’m forced to reflect that it’s somewhat elite. And in a strange way, it’s College level here.

Back home in Australia my son had to qualify to be in the swim team where they would compete in one bigger-than-Ben-Hur event. There are a lot of fast swimmers in my son’s school—most of whom qualify to compete at state level—and his times may or may not earn him a place on the team.

Here in the US my son had a swim meet each week, a tri-comp where three schools competed in individual events and relays. The events were broken up into girls and boys, Junior Varsity and Varsity. Everyone got to participate and compete on his or her level. They got to win, lose and get disqualified. They also got the opportunity to qualify for the CIF (which is basically all the private and public schools in California) for a mega meet to finish off the league season.

My son made it to CIF and his relay team made it to the finals.  I got a kick out of lots of things–nothing more than eavesdropping all day on other parents’ conversations–but the main one was them playing the national anthem before the finals.  The Amercians’ reverence and patriotism is certainly one to be admired.

Hats off & hands on your heart for the National Anthem

Hats off & hands on your heart for the National Anthem

 

The atmosphere and venue are second to none in Australia, the competition fierce but we’ll take swimming US High School style where regular, seasonal competition for your school is available.

Having said that I do wish the meets were bigger and had more of the ra-ra style cheerleaders that I expected to find when we moved here. I guess that proves you can’t have it all.

Exams v Assignments

Assignments are big in Australia, exams not so much. That’s what makes it harder the older you get when you actually have to start sitting exams and you’re not used to it.

Cut back here to the US and generally all grades (in our “College Prep” school) from 6-12 sit exams. But this year there’s been a little shift, a gentle shift but a shift nonetheless.

That’s right shock horror a couple of the departments opted for a major assignment rather than an exam. I’m on the fence about this. I thought that our American experience would have them so used to exams if and when the time came to head back to the HSC (Higher School Certificate—which it is in NSW) they’d be experts and it wouldn’t be so daunting.

Alas my son in 9th Grade (a “Freshman”) has an exam for every subject except for English and my daughter in 7th Grade (she’s a “Middle Schooler” so she doesn’t have a fancy title) seems to be in the grade that they keep changing the rules for, she’s missing English and History. Last year she was supposed to start exams but they opted for only a couple of the subjects having exams. In the middle of the year she was also supposed to start exams but they opted for only exams at the end of the year. Wonder if this is the start of a trend?

So you see the end of our school year isn’t that much different to yours but it does have a 90210 twist. And that 90210 twist is what makes life that little bit exciting here.  It’s what makes the mundane bearable and the move worth it. I’m sure when we’re home in a few years we’ll look back on this time and not believe it was us.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

xx It Started in LA xx

 

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Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

The Australian accent makes us cringe but the Americans love it

My daughter and I were at the hairdresser—she was getting her hair done and I was getting my brows done. There was a guy next to me talking about what he’d been up to. He had been shooting on the East Coast, jamming with some old band mates and had some stories about seeing Paul McCartney or Elton John or insert some other mega rock stars name.

Having a couple of rock star dads at our school I was listening but not as intently as I would have been a year ago (when I was all starry eyed and simply COULD NOT believe one move could me zero to one degrees of separation from my favourite rock acts.  Do I need to remind you–or skite–that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to two mega rock stars now?).

Then he got talking about his next project. Everyone in LA has a “project”. It’s the thing. Generally everyone’s working on a project, has one in the pipeline and is talking to someone else about making the third project closer to reality. These projects are also best discussed at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

So he says, “Yeah, I’m headed down to Australia and I’m shooting in BrisBANE (pronounce bain in this case not bun in a kiwi accent), going to Central Australia and down to Tasmania.”

“Dude. How do I talk to these people?” he asks his hairdresser (who he’s obviously known for a long time). “Do I say, like, G’day mate? Let’s put a shrimp on the Barbie. Will they even understand me?”

That seemed about the right time to pipe up and so I said, “Should I come clean now?”

“Oh no, wow, an Australian. Dude, how do I talk to you?”

“What do you mean how do you talk to me—to us? We speak English. OK, granted we don’t speak ‘merican but we speak English.”

“Yeah dude, that’s it, like, what words do you use?”

“For starters we don’t say shrimp, we call them prawns”.

“That’s what I’m talking about dude, will everyone laugh at me when I speak, like, American?”

“Mate, they’ll laugh at you more if you try to speak Australian.”

“Wow, far out.”

I could have been mean and set him up and told him Australians would love it if he did a bit of research in the different words we use and then localised his language accordingly. But I couldn’t do it—and I told him as much.

It’s true though, we can Americanise our speaking because we know what words Americans use instead of ours–like shrimps and prawns; or ride and lift.  There are moments when I could be speaking Mandarin my friends don’t understand a word I’m saying.

“Oh man, I’m terrified.”

“You’ll be fine.”

A really nice guy, but this is something that happens in America, not so much in Australia—you just strike up full-blown conversations with strangers. A hairdresser is one place but I’ve seen, heard (and had) conversations in the Post Office queue, at the supermarket and in the middle of the street.

I think that guy just wanted to show off his lousy Australian accent (let’s face it Americans just cannot do an Australian accent—remember Meryl Streep, “A dingo’s got my baby”?). I’m told we’re not that great either and that you can tell when you’re putting the accent on.

Lately I’ve been stopped and asked to talk so they could listen to my accent—a bit like seeing a cute dog in the street and asking them to sit???

But it’s all well-meaning, they’re naturally curious and friendly and despite being so Americentric they are interested in other parts of the world.  And they’re especially interested in Australia: “I’ve never been but I want to some day.  It’s just so far”.

When that crazy, loud American is in our part of the world, don’t take five giant steps to take a wide berth. They actually enjoy meeting people and talking to others about their lives. You might surprise yourself and find you have more in common than you think. Call it your good deed for the day.

Share your stories below and pics on Instagram with the hashtag #Amerifriend.

But if they’re the Jerry Seinfeld variety with bright white runners and jeans feel free to take the wide berth. We do here too.

xx It Started in LA xx

Celeb spotting
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts, Soapbox

Celebrity spotting a sport in LA

I’m getting back in the swing of LA life again—thank god!!! I guess that’s what happens once you’ve vented and you know there’s nothing else to do but get up & get on with it.

It’s also what happens when you get out and about. Last week started a “campaign” to get me out more. And with the right attitude comes results!

The other day I had coffee with a friend I possibly text more than anyone—and have done since we moved—my fellow carpool mum. We rarely see each other though so coffee was long overdue. Off to our latest “S” we went. In one and a half hours we saw Paul Stanley, Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall. OK not everyone is a “star f#@$er” (as one of my Australian girlfriends likes to call me) but there’s nothing that makes you feel you’re in LA more than the good old celebrity spot.

 

The interesting thing about celebrity “stalking” (I prefer to say watching with heightened interest) is that realisation that we’re all the same: they really are normal people. (OK I have to say most of the ones I’ve encountered over my nearly two years are …. Kanye West maybe not so much).

Paul Stanley for example was up and down from his table the whole time he was there—getting coffees, getting chairs, moving chairs, getting serviettes (or napkins), taking one kid here, taking another there. Sound familiar? (Remember BK—before kids—when you could just sit and enjoy your coffee before getting up & down the whole the time?).

Over the weekend at the Dance concert at school—well done to my gorgeous girl for her dance—out come the parents to watch their kids dance (best place to celeb watch). Every school function I’m at I see one of the original members of Guns n Roses. I love that he’s always there and actively involved. Just a normal dad (actually he may well be at more school functions than Mr H).

School in 2015

Speaking of school don’t you wish you went to school now? OK, maybe not to go back but to go now instead of when you were at school and with all you know now?

Being at that Dance concert made we wish I was at school now—even with the added pressure our poor kids have these days. Even though I went to an excellent school I didn’t make the most of all the opportunities I was given. I did ballet (outside school) and I think if I was at a school like my kids are at—where dance and drama are offered as electives—then I would have continued dancing a lot longer. Actually I might actually be a Hollywood star living in one of those nice big houses that sit alongside mine. You can call that either laziness (I didn’t have to go outside school to dance) or peer group “pressure” (supported by the fact others are doing it with me and I’m not “unique”) or a bit of both. I also think dancing has come a long way from the days of classical dancing at my ballet studio.

Diversity is a big topic at the kids’ school—as it is in America. So is LGBTQIA—and a big deal is made trying to inform and educate the kids on these issues. I find it both well-meaning but also a little condescending and so 2008 that they’re on this bandwagon.

Here’s why: We’re in LA, California in 2015. We support same sex marriage—yes Australia it’s legal and it didn’t hurt one bit—and we made Kanye West famous, in spite of the fact that he’s a bit of a knob.  We have openly gay students, we have many kids the product of gay marriages and we have a sprinkling of different nationalities and backgrounds (perhaps not so much socio-economic but that’s not the school’s fault per se).

(As a brief interlude don’t you love that Australia is generally far more liberal than here in the US yet there are more states that have legalised gay marriage?  Shame on you Australia letting a prudey minority conservatives control that line of thinking.)

Anyway …

Diversity is exemplified through the actions of the kids and administration and not by their words. Wait, isn’t there a cliché actions speak louder than words? Hmmm….

What I love is that two boys can get up and perform a dance and receive a rousing response—duh! because they were really good. There were another two boy dancers who were also very good. One boy—who was also a standout at the musical Godspell I blogged about late last year—was a more traditional dancer and he was so good and, alongside the talented girls, was applauded.

These boys are empowered (I hate that word) to get up and join in and perform in front of the school community. The other boys didn’t shoot them down and call them girls, they embraced them—they respected them and congratulated them. And by the way those boys are also on sports teams and participate freely in whatever activities are open to them that interests them–they’re not labelled and pidgeon-holed “dancers”.

You don’t need an assembly telling kids to embrace lots of different types of people you just need to show them. Shoving ideals down people’s throats—no matter how good they are—never worked and it’s not about to now.

Death by firing squad

My Facebook feed has been filled with opinions and tributes for two of the Bali nine guys sentenced to death (via firing squad) for trafficking drugs into Indonesia. This issue runs deep, there are many different opinions and no right or wrong answer (or opinion).

Seeing that footage in the link brought shivers up my spine.  Seeing the media contingent taking photos & live footage and the onlookers also brought shivers up my spine.  As did this news story detailing what goes on at such an execution.

As one of my Facebook & old (as in past not that we’re old!) school friends, Anne-Marie Hardy, put it … ”On a day where the whole country has an opinion, I’m reminded how important it is to listen to each other. Listening, without interrupting and constructing your next sentence takes practice and restraint, especially if we disagree. We are lucky to have free speech, let’s listen freely too.”

I think it’s wrong that in 2015 people can still be sentenced to death. No, no, please no haters or arguments for and against, I can see both sides so just let me finish… in general we were taught no “eye for an eye” and all that. The way some of these countries choose to punish people is so First Testament and being a “feeler” as opposed to a “thinker” I don’t like it.  Particularly if a heinous crime has been committed, like my 14 year-old son said, “don’t we want want to make them suffer through their life rather than ending it?” (He’d be perfect too if he wasn’t a teenage boy).

Anyway, don’t be yelling at me via your screen or device—this is a light-hearted blog it’s not a conversation—or debate—starter, it’s actually a segue.

Consequences and behaviour

I’ve talked a few times now about the kids’ school here in LA and how I mourn the Australian approach to teaching. Here in America (Hollywoodland) they refer many aspects of our education style and system as “Harry Potter style”. (If we’re going to talk condescending maybe we could take a look at that …?).

I mentioned last week about the uniforms and because the administration didn’t believe their role was to police the rules they changed the uniforms.

Well now it seems there’s a bit of good-old-fashioned cheating going on. So you think that would be nipped in the butt before it becomes an issue don’t you? Apparently once again “being strict police officers creates an environment opposite of what we want to create”. Oops. There go those brakes again, screeching to a halt.

Say what? I am picturing the looks on the faces of the headmaster at my son’s school and the principal at my daughter’s school wondering how long it will take for them to burst into fits of laughter.  Or at least die of shock.

Like parents, teachers are not in a popularity contest (did I say contest instead of competition?). Cut if off at the pass, take the bull by its horns, nip it in the butt, there are so many clichés to say stop it before it becomes an issue. How do you stop it? Consequences people consequences. You lay down the rules, you get caught you face the consequences. Can no one else see that?

Many of us back home (in Australia) are in awe of a Kiwi lady named Celia Lashle. She worked in prisons for many years and decided to look into how these men got to where they were. I highly recommend her books (especially if you’ve got boys at home and want/need to understand them better).  You can find them here on Amazon.

Basically one of the things she says is that boys—which we can expand to be we as a community wherever we may be—need to have clear boundaries set and we need to be aware of the consequences if we break the rules or veer outside (or push) those boundaries.

It’s a bloody hard lesson (no harder than those poor boys who faced the firing squad) but if we don’t start by showing our kids what consequences mean then you want to hope it’s not too late by the time they do actually have to learn.

In other words we’re not doing anyone any favours by not showing consequences for poor choices at school because by the time they get to the real world—and they think they don’t need to follow the rules because they can get away with it—those consequences might just be a hell of a lot more than detention. (And if the Breakfast Club is anything to go by detention can be quite fun).

And before you go reading more into what I’ve said I did not mean those two Australian boys deserved what they got, I’ve moved on from there–it was a segue remember?  That’s not a consequence that is strictly black or white, there are more than 50 shades of grey in that one.

I don’t know when exactly I grew up (or how I got so bloody perfect) but life’s not meant to be easy. The sooner we teach our kids that the better equipped they’ll be to deal with it. Otherwise, what does Edward Rooney say?, “I weep for the future.”

Bring me school according to Harry Potter anyday. (I guess I better watch those movies so I know what they’re talking about. Yes, yes, yes, I haven’t seen any of them. No, I haven’t read the books either. Don’t bully me or talk about me behind my back. I haven’t seen any of the Lord of the Rings or the Hunger Games either while we’re at it.  Yes my husband is in entertainment, whatever, move on.)

When I went to school—and every other school the kids have been to—you’re scared to get hauled into the principal’s office. You know you’re in big trouble. But guess what? You usually respected that principal and you knew unless you wanted to get in trouble you stay within the boundaries.  That’s all I’m saying.  Boundaries are actually a comfort zone & policing those boundaries is a community service.

Back out for more celeb watching, this grown up thinking and parenting stuff (and being perfect) is exhausting.

xx It Started in LA xx

oscars speech
Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Speech, speech … as awards season makes way for pilot season

What a great start to the year here in Hollywood. I wonder what clever person decided to make the beginning of the year Awards Season. In Australia January is the peak of the school (summer) holidays and February marks the big thud: back to reality. The reality and realisation that all that eating and drinking every day over summer has paid the price—on your butt, thighs, stomach or worse all three. That’s why FebFast was invented—a great cause to stop drinking for and help shed the excesses as an added bonus.

If you’re following me fervently (which I hope you are) then you’ll know I was in Sydney for January. One of my friends was talking about doing FebFast and another was trying to get me to start a 30-day cleanse in February. Not a chance! Not with awards season here there’s no time to give up drinking, it’s basically 4-6 weeks of parties.

I was lucky enough to go to two awards nights (depending on how you look at it): The ACE (American Cinema Editors) Eddie Awards and the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Awards. Like getting to know and understand the role of sound and colour in films I never really stopped to think about editors and cinematographers. One stat we were told at the ACE awards (if you remember) was one six-second car chase was edited from some 30 hours of raw footage. I always knew Cinematographers were clever but didn’t realise the importance of colouring to complement this process. I do now.

But with the number of different awards shows the big three are the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and the Oscars. This year Mr H’s company had two best picture nods: Whiplash (for which they did the sound–congratulations Ben Wilkins & Craig Mann) and Birdman (for which they did, among other things, the colouring–congratulations Steve Scott). And we were rewarded appropriately: with the big ‘O’! No, not Oprah… Oscar.  (Oh, and by the way, thanks Ben for sharing your Oscar & BAFTA with me even if it was just for a few precious minutes).

Let me tell you that Oscar is heavy; it’s pretty solid. Here’s a pic of me and Oscar:

 

Here’s one of me and the highly impressive (& heavy) BAFTA:

 

And here’s one with me, barely able to hold both of them for fear of breaking them:

 

I’m not weighing into the debate but obviously a lot was said about the shunning of the “African Americans” and in particular Selma (speaking of Oprah). Can’t any minority group say that? Big budget v small budget; black v white; haves v have-nots. This year the Academy definitely had its hat turned to those with not as much money as others yet made well-produced and engaging movies. It’s so nice that small budget films are being recognised.

Anyway, I posted my “brush with Osc and BAFT” pics on the regular channels and a few people called for my acceptance speech. What a great idea for a blog post. Absolutely I can do that.

My acceptance speech

Talk about pressure. Well I didn’t know where to start. For someone who’s somewhat opinionated I am lost for words. I’ve got the stage, my 50/60 seconds with the whole world watching (hopefully) but no idea where to start. How can this be? What are my options?

Well there’s the obvious one: thank God, mum & dad for all they did for me, my husband and kids and thanks to blah and blah for believing in me and helping me along this journey to get where I am today.

But I want more than that so what’s option two?

The statement speech or the watercooler speech. Perhaps that should be upgraded to the what-gets-social-media-talking speech. Well I’m not that politically minded, I’m not particularly passionate about anything in particular and I don’t really have any great pearls of wisdom to share (like JK Simmons this year–congrats–or Matthew McConaughey or Jared Leto last year) so I guess I won’t be one of those “talked about” speeches either.

So I thought I’d go for option three, tell a story.

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman. One grew up in a working class town in South Wales, the other in a small farming town in the Philippines—you couldn’t get more different people from such different walks of lives. Through fate they met and a year or so later they had a daughter. Then in another twist of fate they moved to Australia following an idea he had that they didn’t want to bring their kids up in Wales or the Philippines.

Fast forward a number of years (and moves) later and in a (not-at-all-sleazy) nightclub in Melbourne, this boy walks up to me who says he’s seen me around (haven’t they all?). After a tumultuous six years we married, moved to Sydney and had two amazing babies. We have pretty much always been happy: we’ve got great friends, generally have lots of fun, have had some great opportunities thrown our way and our parents set us up with some good values. We like to think we are aware of others and do the right thing by people but we’re not perfect (thank God!).

So imagine in the middle of your fun-filled life in one of the world’s most beautiful spots (Jervis Bay Australia), you get a call asking if you want to move to Hollywood. Seriously? What are you doing to me? I’m home and happy, the kids are happy and settled in fantastic schools with great friends and you want to uproot me?

It seems fate had a different plan to mine and if I’m up for the ride it’s mine for the taking.

{music starts playing}

Wait. Thankyou fate. Thank you for throwing me curve balls in my sometimes-over-planned life. Thanks for challenging me to put myself in different situations to see what I’ll do with them. And fate, without you, I wouldn’t be standing here today.

I believe in fate and all it has to serve up. Bring on more amazing Hollywood moments. And I welcome any offers now that pilot season has kicked off.

Thank you.

xx it Started in LA xx

 

%sos
Celebrity, Movies and TV, Posts, Sydney

Five seconds of summer

I’m back from a week in Sydney. I was working—which I miss more than I thought—and had arranged a fabuluxe couple of days of Sydney indulgence for my clients. To top it off their day on the Harbour coincided with Australia Day so it would be an amazing experience to remember.

As I prepared the incredible itinerary, had all my ducks lined up tightly I was packing for the trip and questioning my fee as there really wasn’t much for me to do but sit by the pool and make sure my guests had a good tie then knew where they had to be when next. Life couldn’t really get much better than that could it?

Well yes except for the fact that Sydney had not done her glorious self any justice and instead of turning on the sunshine she turned on the cold. And rain. And rain. And rain. Australia Day in Sydney 2015 was the coldest in 50 years.  The bottom line was I ended up working my tail off but all’s well that ends well.

It was interesting to be in Sydney for a (wet) Australia Day.  It didn’t dampen the spirits of many people who still went out to watch and join in the festivities on the Harbour but it did keep many people away. And prompted me to cancel my Water Taxi trips for the rest of the two days. It reminded me of the Fourth of July we spent in San Diego just six months ago but I have to say I think Sydney turns it on somewhat bigger and better (am I allowed to say that?).

What a Harbour Sydney is. It’s not until you move away that you really truly appreciate the City you call your hometown. For the five seconds I was there when the sun was shining it was gleaming—positively showing off. And even when the sun wasn’t shining the Harbour still looked majestic.

I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Americans (I haven’t bitched about my host country for a while). When I get asked where I’m from and I reply Sydney, Australia everyone—I mean everyone—says “Oh I love Australia, I really want to go but it’s so far.”

Even this morning on the radio as they were interviewing an Australian singer they said the same thing.  But it’s 10 hours to Europe and no one even stops to think about it. It’s only an extra couple of hours. Stop yearning a Sydney visit and jetsetting back to Europe each year, have a Nike moment: Just Do It.

In honour of Sydney I thought I’d share my two-day itinerary. I’ve added a third option in there if you’re not inclined to head to the Blue Mountains.

If you’ve only got a couple of days in Sydney here’s what I recommend:

  • A day on the Harbour. There are lots of things to do from catching a ferry to Manly or the Zoo or even Watson’s Bay and having lunch. But whatever you do, get amongst it on the Harbour. If the weather is kind to you it truly is magnificent. If you’re on a budget the ferries are an economical way to get on; there are many cruises but if you can hire a charter to take you wherever you like without having to share a boat with hundreds of other tourists.If you head to Manly think about ‘wasting’ the afternoon basking in the sunshine at Hugo’s.  Unlike LA you can sit and drink and snack all day and they won’t try and move you on and give you the ‘check’.
  • A trip to the Blue Mountains. Hiring a car in Australia isn’t as cheap as the US but it’s worth it rather than being forced to follow someone else’s itinerary. I recommend one of the numerous hikes around and also a trip to Scenic World—the Sky Railway, Skyway & Cableway—are great ways to get different aspects of the Three Sisters and natural wonders (provided of course there is visibility).High Tea is also popular thing to do in this region. The Hydro Majestic is one of the most glorious places for High Tea in the area so I highly recommend an afternoon there.
  • Hang out at Bondi. Or Bronte. And walk between the two. One of the most popular things to do—and be seen—in Sydney. It’s a coastal walk that links two of Sydney’s most popular Eastern suburbs beaches. Fortunately for foodies like me there are some fabulous restaurants at either side to reward the walk.

For dinners I sent them to Aqua Dining and Aria, both are popular spots with exceptional views. My favourite was by far Guillaume at Bennelong in the Opera House (and a must-do for foodies and view-chasers alike) but sadly it’s now closed down at the Opera House and moved to Paddington so if you’re not looking for a view it’s still an option.

Leaving my clients to dine alone I went with friends to the long-awaited new Billy Kwong (yum, yum, triple yum) in Potts Point and Felix (so good) at The Ivy. Neither disappointed and I can’t wait for my next Sydney gastronomic experience.

I have to also say that I don’t often get starstruck but I was so impressed to see Kylie Kwong at the helm at Billy Kwong.  She was too busy to ask for a selfie but I did applaud her on her work (yes, I’m sure she’s feeling much better now that I’ve told her that).

KK

Kylie Kwong in Action

Back in LA

It’s good to be back at home. I came back to the household in better order (apparently) then when I’m here and life with Dad is so much better than with mum at the helm. This begs the question why is it always so damn hard to get away? I’m storing that for next time I’m looking for some me-time.

On Friday night we attended the ACE Eddies. The ACE is the American Cinema Editors (http://americancinemaeditors.org/) who are those clever people that edit the movies to make sense and are riveting to watch. One of the stats about one of the ACE Honorees was that he put together a six-minute action sequence from 30 hours of raw footage. Wow. I’m flat out editing 1,200 word blogs. I have to say though, they might be good at editing other people’s work but there were some incredibly long speeches–no one cutting down their speeches. These awards aren’t televised so there’s no music timing them out. Note to organisers, you might like to time them just the same.

I got to come face-to-face with (or be at the same event as) Matt Damon and Chris Pratt and sit through my second Awards night. There were two stand-out presenters: MC for the night Mary Lynn Rajskub (best known for playing the annoyingly annoying Chloe O’Brian on 24) and The Goldbergs patriarch Jeff Garlin.

Never underestimate the importance of a good presenter—and one who can ad-lib ad infinitum providing a much-needed break from the night (not that you don’t want to honour those being awarded). The classic was when Jeff Garlin (who came out to present in a Beverly Hilton robe saying they’d dragged him down from his room to present) changed his story at the end saying he was driving past in his car and they dragged him in. “But I thought we dragged you down from your room?” asked his co-presenter. “Yes, you dragged me from my room sitting in a car,” he said, exaggerating the gaff. It just made it all funnier.

As for Mary Lynn Rajskub—who joked about people editing the spelling and pronunciation of her name—she was very funny. There were drug references, there was sexual innuendo and very good comedy. Who would know the insipid and extremely painful Chloe O’Brian comes from such good stock. How does spunky, funny and entertaining produce whiny, annoying and do-gooder? Character acting at its best no doubt.

Amongst the winners Lego Movie got its own back from its snub from the Oscars, Boyhood got the nod for dramatic feature film over the movies we were ‘rooting’ for American Sniper & Whiplash; and The Grand Budapest Hotel beat Birdman and Guardians of the Galaxy (we were ‘rooting’ for both movies) for best edited feature film (comedy or musical). Our other favourite show to take out an Eddie was Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Iran.

The winners in this four-hour marathon were:

65th annual ACE EDDIE Awards Winners:

BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DRAMATIC): Boyhood – Sandra Adair, ACE
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (COMEDY OR MUSICAL): The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
BEST EDITED ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Lego Movie – David Burrows & Chris McKay
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): Citizenfour – Mathilde Bonnefoy
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (TELEVISION): The Roosevelts: An Intimate History: Episode 3 / The Fire of Life – Erik Ewers
BEST EDITED HALF-HOUR SERIES FOR TELEVISION: Veep: “Special Relationship” – Anthony Boys
BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR COMMERCIAL TELEVISION: Sherlock: “His Last Vow”  – Yan Miles
BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TELEVISION: True Detective: “Who Goes There” – Affonso Gonçalves
BEST EDITED MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE FOR TELEVISION: The Normal Heart – Adam Penn
BEST EDITED NON-SCRIPTED SERIES: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Iran – Hunter Gross
BEST STUDENT EDITING: Johnny Sepulveda (Video Symphony)

Super Bowl

I’m not going to say much more about the Super Bowl except we went to a Super Bowl party and I still don’t really understand the game. Part of the tradition is to play Football Squares. When you don’t understand the game it’s a fun thing to play along with as the score changes.

Essentially, you have a grid with 10 rows across and 10 down (100 squares). You ask everyone to put their name in a square. Each square is a bet of your choosing (I think ours was $5).

Once the names are assigned the organiser randomly puts numbers on the top and to the side of the grid and also assigns each of the two teams to either the top or the side. Usually there’s a winner after each quarter and they win a percentage of the pot.

The winner is worked out by looking at the last number in each team’s score and then matching those numbers on the grid and seeing which square intersects those two numbers. Follow? Neither did I. But say the score was Seahawks 24 and Patriots 28. The final payout was determined by finding out which square intersected at 4 and 8 on the grid. I’ll give you the tip, it wasn’t me. We did, however, win the second & third quarters so we did OK.

(Source: for more info).

(BTW in case you missed it, the (Seattle) Seahawks got pipped at the post so to speak and lost to the (Boston) Patriots and the score in the eg above was the final score).

 

What about the entertainment?

I don’t know about you but I was disappointed in Katy Perry—until Firework anyway when I think she nailed it. I think the critics actually applauded her but the people I “interviewed” thought it was a bit ho-hum. It was to be the Super Bowl performance to knock out all other performances but I disagree. That’s the problem when you over-hype yourself. And what’s with bringing in the Special guests? See all that says to me is that you’re not backing yourself to pull off the performance on your own. And poor Katy until Firework you could hardly hear her. She’s got a good voice but no point if you can’t hear it. At least she finished on a good note.

Bruno Mars last year … now there was a performance. So maybe I just missed the hype last year but when the Red Hot Chilli Peppers came they didn’t take from Bruno Mars, they just made it somehow more brilliant. Bravo Bruno you’ve set the benchmark for me. Katy, or whoever is up next year, take a leaf out of his book. Yes, it was at the Super Bowl 2014 that I really and truly fell in love with Bruno Mars.  And realised what an amazing performer he actually is. (Wonder if he lives in LA?)

I missed the ads again this year. Except the Snickers Brady Bunch ad. Hysterical. If you didn’t see it make the round on social media last week here it is:

It’s worth watching I’ll give you the tip. Here are (according to two different people) the Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials 2015—they’re so different but they’ve both got some good ads in there.

 

I don’t know about you but I want to play Pacman—how fun.

That’s my second SuperBowl under my belt, hopefully next year I’ll actually know how to read the squares when I win ;-).

Five Seconds of Summer

You’re probably wondering why this week’s post is named after my five seconds of Sydney summer or the latest, hottest boy-band sensation to come out of Sydney? It is absolutely the latter. After delaying my flight by a day I got the joy of flying home with said band who are headed to LA to record their next album. I’ve invited them over for Sunday Roast—wonder if they’ll take me up on my offer? I doubt it but my daughter can dream.

5sos

Selfie with two of the boys from Five Seconds of Summer #5sos

 

Good luck boys, you were truly gracious participants in the Gwen selfie, success is yet to hit them so thumbs up. This is probably my best to date.  (BTW in case you don’t know pictured are Calum & Luke).

Problem with flying home with them was I couldn’t stop singing, “She looked so perfect standing there in her American Apparel underwear …” lucky I didn’t break into song for them.

Have a good week everyone,

xx It Started in LA xx

 

PS: What did you think of Katy Perry? Do you have mad 5sos fans at your place? Let me know what you think.

Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Who wore what: Golden Globes 2015

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Golden Globes 2015

Usually the fashion comes before the ceremony but in my case there’s only one of me and it’s important to have a good look at the pics before you make your final decision.

So, with my Golden Globes hangover here’s my verdict on this year’s Golden Globes fashion.

The thing that annoys me with most Red Carpet critics is the Best Dressed list comprises solely of the “it” actors and actresses. Rarely do partners get on the list or the older women—with the exception of Helen Mirren she always seems to get an honourable mention. No, not mine I choose from everyone I see—that’s what makes me different.

This year I’m loving the winter white and those who dared our un-typically LA tempting possible muddy conditions it paid off. Leading the winter white pack was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kate Hudson Felicity Huffman deserves a nod too.

I suppose you can count Sienna Millar in the winter white category but either way she looked good—better if she didn’t plunge that neckline all the way down to her waist but that’s really being picky. Unfortunately Tina Fey didn’t quite pull off her white and black look but who cares? she did such an amazing job presenting she can wear whatever she wants. And, to be fair, she killed it in her tux during the presentation.

Speaking of tuxes Jared Leto did it for me as best dressed for the blokes in his white tux with black highlights. Nice job Jared.

Silver was another common colour and it was great to see. Dakota Johnson sparkled in her silver number and Reese Witherspoon and Diane Kruger looked glamorous as ever. Kate Beckinsale looked radiant and OITNB star Uzo “crazy eyes” Aduba also looked stunning in shimmering silver. Emma Stone rocked it in the pants and silver bodice and Kayte Walsh (who came with Kelsey Grammar looked positively radiantly stunning).

The side cutout was another look this year and no one really managed to pull it off. Ryan Hawke (Ethan’s other half) Katie Cassidy and Rosamund Pike showed us how not to pull off the look. Stand out dress in the side cutout department was Kate Hudson (how on earth did she keep those puppies in her dress all night?

Red was a popular colour with Allison Williams, Taylor Schilling, Helen Mirren (love the Je Suis Charlie accessory), Jane Fonda (ooh la la) and Julianna Margulies (who always looks so stunning but the dress didn’t really sit right for me) going with the colour. But the best dressed in red would have to be Viola Davis—just loved the minimal jewellery, the cut and the silver sparkles—not too much not too little it was just right. And after a disaster look last year it was good to see Lena Dunham looking great in her Zac Posen red number.

In yellow Jenna Dewan-Tatum wins it for me along with Leslie Mann. Everyone picked Naomi Watts and I thought she looked good but the other two looked better.

And there was a lot of rouging! From Amy Adams to Jessica Chastain, Lana Del Ray and Katie Holmes, they all wore it. I like a bit of rouging but I think only Katie Holmes managed to pull it off—yes, even my Red Carpet favourite Amy Adams gets a hmmm vote.

Heidi Klum actually pulled off the rougeing and she rocked it in red.

I have to go there … notable fails. Keira Knightly, what on earth were you thinking? Sack your stylist sweetie that look is not a look at all. I’m so sorry to say but there’s nothing about that dress I can say works. If I’d met you last night I’d have to be careful not to look down. I love you but not last night.

And Melissa McCarthy please please please stop playing the fat card. We love you, you’re funny, you’ve done well against the odds, it’s hard to dress when you’re overweight but plenty of big people can look nice. Embrace your size and set an example about how you can be big and still look smoking. Take a leaf out of OITNB’s Danielle Brooks book and work it! Stylists, please take her on.  It’s easy to make a Beyonce or a Kerry Washington hot show us you really have talent by making Melissa McCarthy look good.

And Amelia Warner (with Jamie Dornan) can you please give me a call?  That fur fringing really? Actually the whole dress was pretty blah. I hope someone paid you to wear that otherwise it would be totally humiliating.  I’m sorry sweetie.

Before I finish I can’t do my critique without mentioning boobies. It seems everyone was keen to show us all as much boob flesh as she could—JLo, Kate Hudson, Katie Cassidy, Sienna Miller had the waistline neckline.  There were boobs and plunging necklines all over the shop.

While we’re talking about plunging necklines my mate JLo. Everyone raved about how gorgeous she looked but really? I disagree. I don’t think she rocked it at all—way too much fabric, she didn’t look like she wanted to be there and her face was all scowly.  I think I need to send my mate Napoleon Perdis to soften her up and make her look good again.

And finally, cutest couple goes hands down to Ann Faris and Chris Pratt.  I love love love Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger too but I have a soft spot for them.

Hits—in order

GG Best Dressed

Golden Globes Hits as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Emma Stone (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  2. Viola Davis (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  3. Leslie Mann (Photo: DANNY MOLOSHOK via nydailynews.com)
  4. Uzo Aduba (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  6. Selma Hayek (Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP via nydailynews.com)
  7. Reece Witherspoon (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  8. Kate Beckinsale (Photo: John Shearer/AP via nydailynews.com)
  9. Danielle Brooks (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)

Who was on my list but then didn’t make the cut (there were simply too many to choose from)?

These aren’t in order–that would be too hard.

  • Camille Alves (aka Mrs McConaughey)
  • Kate Hudson
  • Dakota Johnson
  • Allison Janey
  • Emmanuelle Chriqui
  • Kerry Washington
  • Kayte Walsh

Honourable mentions

  • Katie Holmes
  • Jenna Dewan-Tatum
  • Sienna Miller
  • Gina Rodriguez
  • Allison Williams
  • Quvenzhane Wallis (the girl from Annie)
  • Miss Golden Globe 2015 Greer Grammer

The Blokes

Why are the blokes always last?  I love that the blokes are branching out from traditional tuxes. Well done boys.

GG Best Dressed Blokes

Golden Globes Best Dressed Blokes as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Jared Leto (Photo: Kevin Winter Getty Images via today.com)
  2. Matt Bomer (Photo: Getty Images via celebuzz.com)
  3. Adrien Brody (Image from thefashionisto.com)

Honourable mention to Entourage star Adrian Grenier who looked pretty sexy in a purple tux with black trimmings—those pants fit beautifully.

Misses

You think it was hard to choose the hits.  Let me tell you there were quite a few misses too.  Sadly.

GG Misses

Golden Globes Misses as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Zosia Mamet (Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP via nydailynews.com)
  2. Keira Knightley (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  3. Rosamund Pike (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  4. Melissa McCarthy (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  5. Claire Danes (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  6. Jemima Kirke (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  7. Amelia Warner  (Getty Images via celebuzz.com)
  8. Amanda Peet (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  9. JLo (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images vianydailynews.com)

If you want to check out some image galleries here you go.  These are the sites where I got some of my photos from.

Celebuzz

NY Daily News

GQ Best Dressed Blokes

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Anyone I missed out? Did you think JLo looked good?  Why?  Share here on the comments page or on my Facebook page.

Until next year but thankfully we’ve got a number of awards shows to go.  I’ll be at the ACE Awards at the end of the month.  Need to shed those kgs and find me a dress to wear.

xx It Started in LA xx

Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Golden Globes: my favourite awards kick off awards season

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Golden Globes 2015

Getting around the country I love that each place in the US has a different vibe and plays to a different tune. There is absolutely no questioning that LA’s tune is celebrity and Hollywood.

We define the year not by the seasons but by what’s going on in Hollywood—awards season, pilot season, hiatus (which is fast becoming obsolete with TV shooting longer and subscription shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black breaking traditions). And so it goes on.

Then there are the sub themes like the weather and rain (or lack thereof) and who’s spotted who (as in celebrity spotting) around town and who lives where.  (Ironically it rained again for the Golden Globes but unlike for the Oscars when that’s all we talked about for days it wasn’t mentioned at all—too much else to talk about).

The Golden Globes are by far my favourite awards. Firstly it covers both TV and movies, secondly there’s drinking going on at the tables and last but not least it was the first awards show I got to attend. OK technically I “only” went to the after-party (thank you Warner Bros and In Style can’t wait for my next invite).

Yep, this time last year I was standing in a queue to get into said after-party.  It all looks glamorous and fun but there’s a lot of standing around and waiting.  The celebs get into the parties first (naturally).  Each event you go into there’s a red carpet so at the Warner Bros after party you not only have to queue to get in but you have to queue to get your pic taken.

You’re feeling on top of the world: you’re holding a much-coveted ticket to the party, you’re in the door, your ticket is real (I don’t know why but it’s a little nerve-racking waiting for them to OK your ticket) and in front of you there are paps EVERYWHERE. They’re each yelling out at the celebs to look their way to get that winning photo. And then our group walks past.  In unison the paps put down their cameras and start talking amongst themselves.  Nothing says you’re a “nobody” more than that.  Deflate ego.

Me & Mr H at last year's Golden Globes

Me & Mr H at last year’s Golden Globes

I reckon we had to wait nearly an hour to get into the party. There was a lot of whining and whining and a lot of “do they know who I am?” whispering. Knowing I wasn’t anyone (and just so happy to be in that queue—hey at least it was inside) I realised I had the best “seat” in the house.

You see anyone who was anyone was walking past us. I was trying so hard to write down everyone I saw but there wasn’t enough time so I had to rely on my memory. Some of my highlight spots were Chris O’Donnell, Julianna Margulies, Sofia Vergara, Orlando Bloom and Jared Leto among so many, many more.  At one stage we couldn’t keep up with everyone it was out of control.  Cue utter excitement and a lot of pinching of self and husband.

My biggest highlights were 1) being at a party with the biggest A-listers in the business 2) meeting and chatting to a couple of stars of Downton Abbey and having a great chat to newly married couple Liam McIntyre and Erin Hasan 3) going to the toilets and getting my L’Oreal goody bag and Rollasoles then 4) finding the VIP lounge (which I was allowed into!) by accidentally following (not stalking there’s a subtle difference) Rhianna trying to sneak a pic of her (which I didn’t manage to get) and 5) having a two-second conversation with Taylor Swift and taking a pic with her and my mate (then wondering why tf I didn’t get in on that pic).

I’ve been here 17 months now and going to the Golden Globes is still up there in my top three experiences here in LA. God Bless LA and self-indulgent awards shows.

Hail Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

How good are they? They are so good. Between them and Ellen doing the Oscars women in comedy are absolutely rocking it. It’s not often you want more of the hosts at an awards show and I (and the rest of the Twittermunity) just wanted more. And trying to work out how we get them to come back next year. Let’s start with Bill Cosby. Yep, they went there.

“In Into the Woods, Cinderella runs from her prince, Rapunzel is thrown from a tower for her prince and Sleeping Beauty… just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.”

(Did you see Julianne Moore’s reaction when they went there?).

North Korea didn’t get off either. “Tonight we celebrate all the great television shows we know and love, as well as all the movies that North Korea was OK with.”

And then canning The Interview: “North Korea referred to The Interview as ‘absolutely intolerable’ and ‘a wanton act of terror.’ Even more amazing, not the worst review the movie got”.

This was also pretty funny: “Jennifer Aniston is here tonight, nominated for the film Cake. And we should explain to all the people in the room, the Hollywood people, cake is like a fluffy dessert that people eat on their birthdays.” Tina: “And birthdays are a thing people celebrate when they admit they have aged.”

And this was bloody funny when talking about Selma: “American Civil Rights movement. That totally worked and everything’s fine.”

But by far the best moment was this:

“George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an advisor to Kofi Annan regarding Syria and was selected for a three-person UN commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza strip. So tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”

Cue clapping. Bravo girls.

Highs and lows

There were more fine moments like when the girls dragged back “Kim Jong Un” who demanded they change the category for Orange is the New Black saying, “it should be in drama not comedy” Is funny but not funny haha funny. (For some reason known to absolutely nobody it was entered into the comedy category and not the drama comedy for the Emmys.)

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin looked amazing and were funny (they’d be perfect if they actually had a couple of signs of their age on their face).

And I’m wondering if there was an excuse (and if there was it better be good) but somehow the camera cut to Frances McDormand while Maggie Gyllenhaal was giving her thank you speech—which was so good—and she was fanning herself seemingly with her thank-you speech looking extremely unimpressed. Shame on you.

And hello?  George Clooney.  Could he get any more gorgeous/lovable/hot?  His speech when he received the Cecil B DeMille was too much.  He gushed.  To quote Top Gun, “He is 100% prime time in love with you.”

Themes

I love that celebs are using the event to take a political stance.  Among those wearing a “Je suis Charlie” badge or sign were George & Amal Clooney, Helen Mirren, the gorgeous Diane Kruger and many more.

It’s so mean to say but the usually boring speech from the head of whoever is the pres of the association.  But tonight Hollywood Foreign Press President Theo Kingma was a highlight with his words, “Together we will stand united against anyone that will repress free speech. Anywhere, from North Korea to Paris.”

Cue tears from yours truly and a standing ovation.

And George Clooney.  Oh George once again you did it for me:

“And one last thing: to reiterate what we’ve all been talking about, today was an extraordinary day. There were millions of people who marched not just in Paris, but around the world. And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims. They were leaders of countries all over the world.  And they didn’t march in protest; they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear.  We won’t do it.  So, Je Suis Charlie. Thank you.”

Je t’aime.

By the end of the telecast I had forgotten all about the TV awards. Then I remembered why: this year was one of those momentous years with new TV shows The Affair and Jane the Virgin getting nods.

And finally thanks to the movie Transparent transgender was another theme being embraced tonight. Looks like I’m off to see the movie.

For a full list of the winners click here.

Those dresses

I lost track of time this afternoon and was behind the eight ball in judging my Best Dressed. There were a huge number of standouts for me tonight and a few fails (or disappointments).  So stay tuned tomorrow for my hits and misses.

xx It Started in LA xx

Home sweet home
Celebrity, Expat tales, My LA story, Posts

Home sweet home. Or is it?

I’m back from my amazing Aussie holiday that went by so (too) quickly.

I had so many ideas for my first Blog post back and like I often do have written some great lines in my head.

But alas now that I sit down to write all I can think of is how amazing our holiday was and how Australian life suits us so well.  Not so long ago I would have used the phrase, “… how we love Australian life so much better.”

Is Australia better?

And I probably would have gone into a spiel to say how weird America is.  (Shoot me down now American friends).  But I’ve grown up now and I can use mature, experienced Expat words—I call that experience rather than being politically correct because let’s face it that’s exactly what it sounds like I’m being (politically correct).  (Oh, and I don’t really think Americans … ahem America … are/is weird!).

It was interesting going back and even more interesting that we all just stepped back into our lives like we had never left.  My daughter spent the day at school–including an early start for tennis training at 7am and my son competed in a swim meet for his old school.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

While we were in Australia we caught up with a teacher from the kids’ school who has recently moved from LA to Sydney.  She’s a good 10 months behind me in time so she’s in the hard stages of change.  I’m sure a good portion of the time we’d rather be in each other’s shoes.  It got me thinking of the concept of home:

  1. You love home and never really looked to move anywhere else no matter how divine your new destination is.
  2. Because you love home all the familiar sights, sounds and smells of home play a big part in making you who you are. Everything else—especially when it’s actually so different but there’s absolutely no reason it should be (like Australian and the US)—is “weird”.

Weird is a matter of perspective

It’s not about which city is better or that the new city you’re in is “weird” it’s just that home is home.  And your newly adopted city isn’t (quite yet).  And, by the way, neither of us should get defensive when we say weird because it’s weird as in different-to-us-and-I-don’t-get-it not weird as in you’re-a-freak weird.  There’s a difference.

I have many friends that live in Australia that wouldn’t move out of their suburb let alone move overseas.  I also have many friends that have spent—and enjoyed—their time overseas they almost think Australia is too small for them.  I fall into neither of those categories.

You know before I left for this holiday I was talking about settling down here and how good it would be to buy a house.  I thought it would settle us.  Now I’m not so sure.

The day after we arrived I went to the supermarket for milk, bread, fruit & vegetables.  I remember when we lived in Shanghai and I’d go to the supermarket after a holiday it would drive me mental.  With a capital M.  It was difficult to navigate around and everything is in Chinese so it would remind me how hard something so easy could be.  Then I’d get accosted in the supermarket isles by sales agents wanting to direct me to their washing powder or their mop that I’d run for cover, race home and text my friends to say wine o’clock is starting early today.

carrefour

The newspaper and magazine section of my local Carrefour, Shanghai, China, 2009

 

Thankfully grocery shopping isn’t that hard in America.  I was safely minding my own business when I got to the checkout and started unpacking my shopping trolley.  A lady came behind me and blurts out, “Is there another aisle open?”  I looked at her.  She says, almost to herself, “Well you have to ask”.  I looked at her again, careful not to stare and show exactly what I was thinking.

I bit my tongue.  There are very few people that would say that in Australia—and the queues are often much longer.  I felt like saying to her, “chill love, by the time you’ve unloaded your trolley they’ll be ready to check you out.”  Honestly, seriously, by the time someone opens another checkout, they log in and she moves she’d be better off staying where she is.  But she doesn’t want—like—to wait.  I find that weird.  Someone who’s moved to Australia from the US might find it weird that we wait.  In silence.

I get that the service is better in the US.  I love that the service is better in the US.  When we checked through Coles Burwood last week in Australia (stocking up on our Aussie treats) my husband and I looked at each other and said, “It’s not quite Ralph’s service with a smile and a chat is it?”  But seriously … still weird.  Chillax chick.

 

Top five questions I was asked when we were home

Not that I’m one to dwell but was good to get a home fix.  Especially when we were so acclimated that we were on such a high point here in LA we didn’t really need to go back to Australia for a visit. So aside from my close friends and the “how are you going?” question there are lot of different things people wanted to know about life in LA.  Here are my favourite questions (and answers).

1.Who has been the best celebrity you’ve seen and what were they doing?

I initially answered with JLo but my friend wasn’t interested in her.  Bette Midler? Joan Collins?  Yes, much better responses.  I saw Bette at my favourite West Hollywood restaurant and Joan Collins having lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel by the way.  Joan Collins is forever classy.  (Still think my favourite spot to date is the very yummy Joshua Jackson aka Pacey from Dawson’s Creek).

2. Have you seen any celebrities? Do you go to school with any celebrities?  What are they like?

Ummm, yes.  Lots.  It helps that (yes) there are plenty at school but they’re just normal people doing normal things like attending school functions and back-to-school nights.  Except the Kardashians but I haven’t seen them around (even though Kim & Kanye used to live just up the road from us).

3. What are the people like?

It’s pretty much the same as being at home: there are people you like and people not so much.  Like at home there are people who are extremely egocentric and others who are very kind and considerate.

There is a paranoia that exists here more than at home and I have to say that I feel like we should be more paranoid at home and the Americans (especially around here) less so.

Then: have they all had lots of work done?

We noticed it when we first arrived then we just got used to it.  Then we noticed it more when we got back to Australia (the lack of work) and again since we’ve come home.  Funny.  So … yes.

4. How long do we need in Disneyland?

As little as you can.  Seriously.  The happiest place on earth is wonderful … until it all starts to go pear shaped and then you need to exit stage left IMMEDIATELY.  The problem is it’s very hard to judge when the right time is to leave so be prepared for pear-shaped.

5. Are you ever coming home?

Good question.

Three funny things I noticed being back in Australia

It’s interesting being away for some 15 months then coming back again.  It’s more interesting the things you notice that you didn’t before.

1. We talk funny.

At least we use very different phrasing (non Australians might in fact say “weird”).  We were on the Virgin Australia flight up to Hamilton Island and the hostie was taking drinks orders.  “Too easy” was her response.  I laughed out loud.  I hadn’t heard that in a long time.  What does that even mean to an outsider?  Only in Australia.

2. We don’t stop drinking.

That’s right, hard to believe?  The day we arrived we got to my girlfriend’s house where we were staying and settled in with a few bottles of wine.  We had friends stop in and go and stop in and go; it was so lovely and informal.  By about 6:00 in the early evening we were still going and no one even considered we’d be stopping.  Ah love an Australian drinking afternoon.  So informal and I didn’t even have to stop.  How good is it to be home?

3. We walk everywhere.

It was our last day and I had a couple of jobs to do: drop some stuff off to an artist friend, deposit some cheques and a last-minute dash to the supermarket.  What struck me when we were driving around was the number of people walking everywhere.  Not parking and walking but actually walking; like from point A to point B.  (I know LA readers, I know; breathe).

Admittedly I live in the inner suburbs of Sydney and that essentially means our houses are in walking distance of the nearest pub/bank/post office/coffee shop and other conveniences that it’s really easy to walk.

My kids went to the corner shop more times than we could count just because they could–one there actually is a corner shop and two because they had the freedom to go that they’d missed so much here in LA.  They even cycled to get their fish & chips for dinner.  Love, love, love the freedom and independence Australia allows them.

Walking is a sport here in LA not a pastime so there are barely any footpaths let alone people walking.  It’s funny what you notice when you’ve been away.

It is good to be home

Alas I’m home.  I’m re-adjusting to LA life and I do love it here.  I went to the doctor this morning to follow up on my yearly checkup.  Sit down Australians he actually took my pulse and listened to me take deep breaths.  He actually spent some time with me and cared to follow up my results.

I said that I could neither think Australia is too small for me or could see myself living anywhere but Australia.  I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given first as an “Expat brat” living in the Philippines and now as a “trailing spouse” (revolting term but can’t be bothered coming up with something sexy at the moment) in Shanghai and LA.

The first-world problem that arises out of the scenario from my perspective though is that I will always want the best of all worlds.  Sadly there’s no such thing as a perfect world so I’ll just have to pull my head in and be thankful I’m getting the chance to experience life from many different angles.

Enjoy your weekends,

xx It Started in LA xx

PS:  Happy birthday to my gorgeous friend Kristen Long who was the reason for our return trip and thanks to all our friends (old & new) for making our trip ah-may-zing!

My reality
Celebrity, My LA story, Posts

JLo, David Duchovny & Forrest Gump

I’ve been neglectful again because I had friends in town last week then a busy weekend catching up.  But showing friends around LA is the very reason this Blog started–to share my surreal life–so I can’t abandon ship on that.

It was a full-on “Only-in-LA” week so I thought I should share it with you.

It started on Saturday when friends landed in LA.  We went out to catch some lunch at Urth Caffe on Melrose and do a bit of people watching.  It never disappoints and it’s always busy.

One of my favourite phrases when I’m out is “Oh,” said with great drama and excitement, “he (or she) is someone.”  It’s true many people have that look about them.  And I probably “see” lots of people out but just don’t recognise them.  But as useless as I am at identifying people, the paparazzi never fail to impress me.  One of my favourite things I look out for–maybe more than celebrities–is the paparazzi trying to snap that pic that might pull them in a small fortune.

Hiding behind the bushes was a pap doing his best to stay in cognito whilst trying to pap a pic.  I looked and looked but couldn’t see who he had his eye on.  Wonder if he got the pic he needed.  Welcome to LA Andrew & Chris!

The next night we had dinner planned at one of my favourite West Hollywood restaurants.  With one pap out the front I felt like I’d let the side down; this would be a quiet night.  We sat down at our table straight away (unheard of) and it was really quiet at the bar.  Given the request was a bit of “Celeb Spotting” I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t delivered–or didn’t look like delivering.

“Oh, it’s such a shame,” I started saying.  “A couple of weeks ago Chris Noth–Mr Big–was here.”

“Oh, love him,” said my friend.

“I know, me too.  I’d love to see him.” No sooner had I said it but there at the bar was the man himself.  “Mr Big” sitting at one of the bar tables.  Sigh.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” I said, “it’s him.”

How cool we all thought immediately giving him the once over like he was there for the sole purpose of giving us someone to dissect.

“He looks good.”

“He needs a shave.”

“He’s grayer than I imagined.”

“He’s still hot.”

Just getting into the running commentary and he was saved only by JLo walking in.  Yes.  JLo.

“Don’t look now guys but JLo has just walked in.”

“That’s not JLo,” says MR H.

“Is it Beyonce?” asks our mate.

“Oh no, you’re right,” I say, “It’s not JLo.  Bummer.”

Until common sense prevailed and my girlfriend announces, “Of course it’s JLo.  Who else looks that flawless and perfect?

“We’re not in Glen Iris (Melbourne) or Lilyfield (Sydney), we’re in West Hollywood and you’ve seen her here before so you know she comes here!  How can it be anyone BUT JLo?”

Well yes, now that you put it like that.  Good point.

As she’s escorted to her table it becomes clear that she’s going to be seated in the booth DIRECTLY OPPOSITE US.  We only had one way to look and that was straight at her.  Poor us.  Our poor boys.  There goes any decent conversation for the rest of the night.  (Actually, you’re right.  Poor boys nothing).

And yes, there were a few more paps waiting outside when we left.  I wonder who tips them off.

Cut forward a couple of days and we managed to arrange to get out to Paramount to have a quick look at the sound studios at Mr H’s work.  Even if we don’t get to see anything I at least know my way around the lot and can conduct a mini tour of my own.

Well there we are in the “ADR” room (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) and I look up at the talent who’s on a break and recording some lines.  I look again.  And again.  And again because I can’t quite work it out.  It looks like David Duchovny.  With make up on.  I look again.  He catches me (again) but I don’t care because it’s not him but I need to know WHO it is.

Meanwhile right next to me I’m completely oblivious to my friends–one apparently having heart palpitations, the other apparently trying to get my attention so we can make eye contact and telepathically give each other the thumbs up.  We’re.  Standing.  In.  The.  Same.  Room.  As.  David.  Duchovny.

Nope.  I’m too busy checking out the David Duchovny look-a-like, looking at him up and down and trying to work out who he is and how remarkably he has some of his mannerisms as David Duchovny.

Again, we’re in Hollywood, David Duchovny has started shooting a new series Aquarius on the Paramount lot (that one of my friends is producing) and he has make-up on but it doesn’t occur to me that that guy IS David Duchovny.  I don’t deserve to live in LA.

Later as we’re driving a cart around the lot who should follow us but the man himself.  My friends were sitting at the back of the cart (looking out) and had no choice but to look straight at him.  Lucky them.  I wonder what he was thinking: “who are these people I keep bumping into”.  Or of course there’s always the fact he didn’t notice us at all.  Nah … not possible.

Welcome to LA Andy & Jess.

Forrest bench

Forrest Gump’s bench now sits at the Paramount lot | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

Shanghighs and Shanghlows

I could end the story there.  But I won’t.  I’ve joined in an Instagram project called #myreality where we’re posting a pic a day on various topics.  It’s been fun to be part of and gets me thinking about what pics I can post and also what pics I’ve already taken that I can share.  (You can see my pics on my Facebook page in an album I’ve created of the same name).  And if you’re not already following me on Instagram I’m @itstartedinla.

So it got me thinking I must be giving the wrong impression about #myreality.  Yes of course I see amazing things (straight from movie sets) daily and get to do lots of fun things I never dreamt of only 15 months ago.  But.  And there is a but.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago about FOMO.  As settled as I am here in LA, I’m unsettled.  I like our house but it’s only supposed to be temporary.  I hate renting, I want to buy a nice house (not unlike the one I plan to build some day–one day–at home).

The kids and I have been chatting and if life is meant to be here for us for a while then we’re ready for it.  We’re prepared to embrace it and stay.  But Mr H doesn’t feel the same way.  I’m pretty sure he’s in denial.  He’s job is here, he’s happy here but he doesn’t want that lightbulb moment where he thinks he can lay down some roots here and settle for a while.

And so, life as an expat is about the highs and the lows.  There was a saying in Shanghai and it was exactly that: the Shanghighs and the Shanglows.  Some choose to dwell on the lows, we try to focus on the highs.  And I don’t really expect much (any) sympathy from you.  But when you read this in your house that you call your home think of me living in a sort of limbo land and count your lucky stars because with your life comes family, friends and security.

Fall

Not falling but “Fall”.  Because we always end on a positive note it’s starting to feel more like Fall here now: it’s getting a little cooler and the Halloween decorations are out.  Also, the air freshners and candles are scented for the “holidays” in a glorious combination of cinnamon, cloves and “apple pie”.  It reminds me of this time last year when we were newbies and were trying to navigate around town.  That smell reminds me of home and security and family. So I think we’re lucky the kids and I can picture ourselves staying here another few years and we can gently let go of the “smells of home” that lure us back.  I think we’ve come a long way.  As unsettling as that is it is somehow very settling.

And of course the start of Fall means Halloween, people have their decorations out and the “spirit” is out there.  It’s a fun time of the year.

Halloween

With Fall comes Halloween | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

Happy Fall–or in many of your cases happy Spring!

xx It Started in LA xx

 

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