Browsing Tag


We Will Rebuild

Just experienced my first big earthquake

It All Started in LA.  Ain’t that the truth.  I think that earthquake ticks everything off the LA list of experiences now.  Could’ve done without that one though I have to say.  I forgot about earthquakes when we accepted Mr H’s new company’s offer to move here.  Small point.  Oops.

I felt my first LA earthquake a month or so ago.  It was a violent jolt and my immediate reaction was to put my hands on my head.  That’s because it felt like something landed on the roof.  Fortunately that’s how long it lasted; it was a quickie.  I jumped onto Facebook to confirm it was what I thought it was and patted myself on the bag for having felt my first one.

Then there was this morning’s earthquake.  That was different.  For Mr H & I the alarm had already gone off and we were dozing unable to face the reality of getting up to start a new work week.  And then crash.  At this stage we weren’t really sure what was going on.  It’s fine when it’s one jolt but then there’s another one.  Then it shook.  And kept shaking.

Still in shock we sat up in bed sorting of expecting it to stop.  Then we heard crashing as the shaking caused things to fall and smash.  That’s when I screamed and we jumped into action.

I yelled, “You get him, I’ll get her.”  I ran into Miss C’s room and she looked terrified, on the verge of tears.  It stopped.  We hugged, I reassured her it was OK then we giggled, albeit a nervous giggle. We sat for a while then knowing it was safe to move again went to assess the damage.

I was surprised to find two frames had fallen off my bookshelf in my study area and one vase (in a set of seven) I got from Shanghai that sits on my mantelpiece had fallen and was broken.

Meanwhile Mr H got to Mr13 who was dead to the world.  The look on Mr H’s face said it all: WTF are we doing here?

Like me he’s been in an earthquake before; him in Wellington and me in the Philippines.  They were light shakes, these were violent jolts.  It was as if King Kong had jumped on our house and was shaking it until we fell out.  It’s different from a big crash nearby too because of the shaking.  You’re right in it.

The three of us went back to bed in shock discussing how we felt and what had just happened.  All the paintings on the walls were crooked.

We felt two more aftershocks and my legs felt like jelly for a long while after.  I’m now a little earthquake obsessed, Googling what I can but more importantly just goes to show we need a plan.

The verdict was a 4.7 earthquake hitting LA at 6:25am.  It was later downgraded to 4.4.  So you’re probably thinking, first it was the rain now it’s a 4.4 rated earthquake, they’re all whimps there.  When you live here and the earth is shaking–and keeps shaking–it’s scary.  Because you know that this could be the big one.  So you’re not thinking straight, it feels strong, it’s not stopping and you’re getting scared.

(An official news story here:,0,4535905.story#axzz2wFd1vfxI)

The location of the epicentre is pretty important in the scheme of earthquakes too.  This one is reported to be around Mulholland and Sepulveda which is VERY close to us here in 90210.

So, it’s off to read up on earthquake plans.  Here’s a link if you’re interested and/or visiting LA so want to know more.

You can also follow the Twitter hashtags too:


if you want to play along at home.

Also check out these (now funny) news broadcasts:

You could be a little right, we could love the drama here in LA but it is Hollywood HQ after all.  What do you expect?

Stay safe guys, thanks for your prayers: We Will Rebuild. LOL.

xx It Started in LA xx


Fact or Fiction, Posts

Fact or Fiction: Beverly Hills was named after the Beverly Hills Hotel

I’ve got an appointment to check out my much-visited Beverly Hills Hotel next week so in that vein here’s this week’s Fact or Fiction.


Meanwhile, the answer to last week’s Fact or Fiction.

I met Robbie Williams at our local Starbucks.

Clearly everyone is starting to get the hang of this game and is starting to get the picture that we’re being exposed to some crazy scenarios. Yesterday my daughter and I were on our way home from a doctors appointment and we witnessed a very “possessed” pap clearly with his eye on his prize.  It’s everywhere here you just have to know what you’re looking for and be out and about to see it.  (Actually I think it was the same pap who told me I looked like “someone” the other week at my favourite restaurant.)

I digress … again …

66.67% of you thought that I had met Robbie (my wildcard) at our local Starbucks and 33.33% of you thought it was made up.

Well… only 33% of you were right.  Sadly I didn’t meet Robbie at our local Starbucks.  I don’t think he lives in LA anymore.  Bugger because he only lived up he road and apparently was often spotted at my local Starbucks so there was a chance I could’ve very easily bumped into him.

In fact, what spurred this Fact or Fiction on was a very vivid dream I had where I was coerced (by Robbie himself) into ‘fessing up that he was my wildcard celebrity shag.  I woke up in a cold sweat.

Enough dreaming, happy weekend & happy voting!

xx It Started In LA xx


Furla handbags
Posts, Soapbox

Six months in: the darker side

I posted on my personal Facebook page last night that I’m feeling quite homesick.  No one could more shocked about this news than me.  It was here on this very blog that I shared my delight at reaching the six-month mark in LA with friends, fun and great experiences under our belts.  We were–are–living in the surreal world that is Beverly Hills/Hollywood and we live to tell the tale.

Only earlier that day we were having lunch at my favourite Cabana Cafe in the Beverly Hills Hotel where I missed seeing Harry Styles by a matter of minutes.  (We were already seated waiting for our friend who saw him leaving as he was coming in.  He even snapped a pic for his 11-year-old daughter.)

So why so glum?  I’m not really sure.  I miss my friends mainly.  It’s great to make new friends but it’s the good friends you leave behind that you are sad about–especially when they’re not here to share “the dream” with you.

Truth be told I think the whole “money” thing is wearing thin too.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re very comfortable and we’ve done well, we have a great little life in our corner of the world, we always try to make the most of every situation we’re put in and I don’t like to whinge about first-world (especially BH) problems.

So why’s the money thing getting me down? I think it’s because it’s hard to fight.  Just because our family doesn’t believe in designer handbags until our kids are at least 18 doesn’t mean everyone else shares our philosophy.  And not to say everyone needs to share our philosophy.  I value very much the concept that everyone is different because it makes the world go around and makes for a much more interesting place to be.  But seriously why do kids under 18 (or even 25 for that matter) have to have designer hand bags?  Will it make the world a better place and more importantly will it make the kids better people?

I say this also because my daughter and I were out shopping last weekend for a new dress for her to wear to a birthday party and to dinner when we go to Vegas next week.  She desperately needed some shoes and I said if we find a cute bag for a reasonable price I’d buy her one.  We got some cute shoes but no go on the bag.  It wasn’t a biggie because she’s only into bags sometimes and she knew she’d had enough bought for her that day and (for once!) was satisfied with her purchases.

So why am I going on about handbags?  Well because as we walked through the designer handbag section on our way to shoes at Bloomingdale’s we were looking at the new Furla handbags.  They were so cute and, with 30% off, this sweet little blue bag had Miss 11’s name on it.  We both looked at it longingly.  She wanted it.  I wanted her to have it.  But it was not going to happen and we both knew it.  I was cross with myself for considering its purchase and pleased with her at the same time for knowing she couldn’t even ask for it.  We mourned the bag’s departure never to come home with us.  We were doing what mothers and daughters should do: bond over a designer handbag.

But that’s where it ended.  Not in Beverly Hills it seems where my daughter can count on more than one hand girls she knows with designer hand bags.  Some her age, others older but none of them are over 18, or over 25.  I’m not here to judge.  Nor do I have a right to judge.  I suppose when you grow up with it you think nothing of it.

But as a family still “fresh off the boat” from Australia who comes from a(nother) corner of the world where girls don’t have designer handbags I feel sad.  I feel sad that I think my Miss 11 should wait until she has a designer handbag.  I feel sad that girls around her don’t have to wait.  And I feel sad for the girls around her because I wonder what they are going to want for their 18th birthday or 21st birthday (remembering they’ll most likely get cars for their 16th birthday).  And I feel sad because I actually contemplated buying her the handbag.  That’s not us; that’s not what we do.

They say you are influenced by nature AND nurture and there is no conclusive evidence that one outweighs the other.  One of our mottos before we came over was not to change and not to take life too seriously when we got here; to stay true to ourselves.  Easier said than done.  But we must stay true to ourselves because people will like us for who we are not what we have.  We have a lot to offer and I hope that’s what people are seeing and not the absence of a designer handbag, shoes or clothes.

Only in LA.  Watch this space …

xx It Started In LA xx

Style notes: If you’re not like me and wish to buy your Miss 11 a Furla handbag here’s the link (or of course you might like one for yourself):  Furla Candy Bag.

I’m pretty sure Bloomingdale’s ships worldwide.

My LA story, Posts, Soapbox

To get a housekeeper … or not?

I’m living in Beverly Hills surrounded by people with full-time housekeepers.  When we left Australia I had a cleaner come each week.  I was under the impression it was cheaper in the US so perhaps I’d get myself someone to come twice a week and perhaps (if she was Mexican) she could cook for us once a week and I’d learn a few new recipes.

I sent out some messages saying I’m looking for a cleaner (housekeeper as they’re known here).

The first call I got from a prospective “housekeeper”  didn’t show up.  I gather we were too far away.  The second couple of mates showed up unannounced one day and I thought it was a sign that this would be it.

They said they needed four hours for the two of them to clean my house from top to bottom (and of course they’d do a fabulous job).  Longer if I wanted them to iron.  My house isn’t that big.  It’s about the same size as (actually a bit smaller if anything) than my house in Australia and my cleaner did my whole house by herself in four hours.  And let me tell you she wasn’t the fastest mover.

I think the 90210 postcode automatically jacks up the price.  I explained that it was cheaper in Australia and they discounted their services by $10.  They would not iron saving me more money.  Could it really take these two ladies four hours a week to do what my one cleaner did in the same time?  I don’t think so.

So I got to thinking I may as well pocket that money and get my hair done once a week or lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel sitting by the pool rather than give them my money they were trying to fleece from me.  Memories of my time in Shanghai came flooding back when you were constantly wondering if that was the going rate or the expat rate.  It was decided, no housekeeper for me.

At around the same time I decided I’d start this blog.  It’s now my full-time job (albeit generating zero income–blatant plug sponsors wanted) so the housework is a bloody hassle to fit in.

Enter my family.  I know he was winding me up (which is not that hard most of the time) but my husband has this little bee in his bonnet that just because he’s Mr Hollywood and I don’t have a job that my job should be to perform the housecleaning duties.  You can imagine how elated he was when I decided against hiring the cleaners.  I’m sure he’d even prefer it if I donned a uniform so I knew my place was to clean the house daily and wash, cook and iron.  Ahhh moving to BH and relegated as the housekeeper, how all my dreams have finally come true.

I mentioned we lived in Shanghai.  That was a few years ago.  Ironically before we even moved there he had secured a live-in ayi (maid) to work six days a week.  It was the done thing and he saw no issue with that at the time.

Still on the family (not surprisingly) our house had never been cleaner or tidier.  Everyone would make their beds (because they didn’t want ayi to do it); clothes would be put away (same reason) and if toilets were “soiled” they’d quickly be cleaned.  OK, except my daughter.  She left a trail of destruction everywhere she went and still does.

Fast forward to 2014 in 90210 and I’m living with three sloths who absolutely don’t do any of the above.  How ironic they’re cleaner with a full-time live-in helper than with me as the full-time “help”.

Take this recent exchange between Mr H & me:

Mr H: “I see my dinner suit pants are still on the chair.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take you to put those away.”

Me: “Oh, really.  How funny.  I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take YOU to put them away.  Last time I looked I wasn’t an ayi.”

Mr H: “But it’s your job.”

Me: “Oh is it really?  I’ve moved to Beverly Hills to become a cleaner.  Lucky me.  I am moving up in the world.”

… and so the conversation went.

Maybe I need to rethink my logic and hire a full-time housekeeper if nothing but to teach everyone how to clean up after themselves again.

xx It Started in LA xx

Psst … if you would like to sponsor my full-time housekeeper I’m open to a deal.  Anything to avoid me donning the chamber-maid outfit.

Beverly Hills

A retrospective: six months in LA

Well I’ve made it.  We’ve made it.  I’ve been in LA six months and live to tell the tale.  Time has flown by (although not the first six weeks).  Sometimes I feel like we’ve been here forever and others I still feel like I’m finding my way around (not just geographically but socially).

I gave us 12 months to settle in given it’s not an Expat assignment and the kids are older so the school networks wouldn’t work the same.  Turns out I was wrong.

The school community especially have welcomed us with open arms.

Settling in can still be a roller coaster but when I consider all the things we’ve done in the last six months, it’s incredible.

So far we’ve:

  • Had seven lots of friends visit: either on-site at BH HQ or in LA
  • Met dozens of new friends
  • Been on the set of hit show, “Scandal”
  • Lent our foley talent to the show “Revenge”
  • Been to the Warner Bros/InStyle mag after-party of the Golden Globes
  • Spent an amazing 24 hours in Palm Springs
  • Been in the middle of several pap scenes at our favourite restaurants
  • Seen Josh Jackson & Diane Kruger escape through the kitchen of same favourite West Hollywood restaurant to avoid the paps
  • (I’ve) seen Joan Collins, Bette Middler, Gene Simmons, Jermaine Jackson Rod Stewart & too many to mention at the Golden Globes
  • Been to our first Lakers’ game at the Staples Centre
  • Been to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Cruised up the Californian Coast from LA to San Francisco crossing off a major bucket-list item
  • Been thrust into the heart of Hollywood and Beverly Hills (and live to tell the tale)
  • (Nathan’s) been to his first Oscars event at the Beverly Hills Hotel
  • Grown amazingly from the experience.

Oh, and I forgot the big one: started a Blog.  Sounds surreal doesn’t it?  I heart LA.

Have a great week.

xx It All Started in LA xx

Posts, Soapbox

Parties 90210 style

I started watching “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” the other day.  Seriously?  I don’t know what to think.  Apart from being hooked I don’t why on earth these kids would subject themselves to “starring” in this show.  I’m sure they think they’re so much better than everyone else and that people want to be them.  (No one is denying they’d like just a little bit of their money).  It’s really sad.  For me it always comes back to, “what do their parents think?”  Are they so far removed from the real world that they think the same way (after all the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?).

So it got me thinking about my kids growing up in Beverly Hills. Thankfully, we’re not in the flats so our worlds are vastly different and (it feels like) the only real thing we share is a postcode.  Having said that the kids have friends that live there and they seem normal too.

I’ve mentioned that my kids go to an exclusive private school and there are a large number of uber wealthy families there.  The school is a lovely nurturing community that has welcomed us with open arms, both as a family and for the kids.  Not for one minute does this warm welcome feel put on in any way either.  So, to me my reality doesn’t fit with the premise of the Show.

In the episode I watched they were planning a party (one that hardly anyone attended I might add!).  When planning their list they named people from outside their clique “groupers” (pronounced by them groopers–as in “groupies”) yet they were planning to invite them.  I guess they need the groupers as much as the groupers need them? (Groupers are bottom feeders in fish terms lowest on the list, when translated to #RKOBH speak means those who want to get invited to the “cool” parties .  I thought things like that finished in high school, no wonder these girls don’t have jobs.

Recently my son went to a birthday party at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  It was on Saturday night and the hosts had cordoned off an area for the party guests.

It was a pretty swank affair for Year 8 kids (same in Australia; Yr 9 in UK)–actually it’d be a pretty swank affair for me I have to say.

The party gave everyone lots to talk about and the girls had to decide what to wear: to get really dressed up or play it down a little and just look “nice”.  The party girl wore a designer frock and from all accounts the girls went all out to look glam.  I would’ve loved to have hosted that Red Carpet event for this blog now I think of it.

Luckily for my son “what to wear” wasn’t a big deal for him.  The big deal for us what what on earth do you buy a girl who has everything?  We decided on Pink (by Victoria’s Secret) Body lotion & matching scent plus threw in a packet of Tim Tams with instructions on how to eat them.

Maybe they’re a bit young but I’m sure none of the people at that party were thinking of whether they were an “it” crowd or “groupers” or whether their friends are uber wealthy, slightly wealthy or just rich (or heaven forbid normal!).  Sure, there’s some jockeying of positions and the size of people’s houses get talked about and where they holiday in the summer but I hope these kids don’t make it to future series of “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”.

Maybe I’m already localised but I’m hoping these kids ham it up for the cameras.  I’m sure they do.  It’s just like none of my friends are anything like the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.  I think they’re more like Brandon & Brenda, Dylan, Kelly, Donna & Steve.

xx It Started in LA xx

Postscript: I saved this article to draft and went to lunch at my favourite Cabana Cafe at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  Who should walk in but the two “stars” Morgan & Dorothy.  Get out of town.  Too funny.  Only in LA!

Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction: Kim Kardashian

Fact or Fiction???

updated February 6, 2014 LA time

Kim Kardashian lived just up the road from us (and a few doors down from a friend of mine). She moved out just as we moved in.

No cheating locals …

Answer on next Fact or Fiction post.

xx It Started In LA xx

Posts, Soapbox

Allowances: do we or don’t we & how much?

Every year around the beginning of the year we go through a similar scenario–rather scenarios, plural.  It’s the start of a brand new year and you have the best intentions to improve yourself.  Make a fresh start.  The kids are another year older and it’s time for them to “step up”.

One of the topics for discussion in my house this year revolves around an allowance.  I’ve played with both sides of the argument and have changed my stance several times.  This year we’re moving back towards the “allowance method”.

So what is an argument for and against?

In favour: it gives kids a budget and a sense of responsibility regarding how they’re going to spend their own money.  They earn money and that’s the money they have available to them to spend.  Then (of course) you don’t simply get money for nothing (earning suggests you’ve done something for that money) so there are jobs to be done in return.  This also means I’m not shelling out “mall money” or buying bits and pieces every week because there’s no “allowance pool”.

Against: kids live in your household and should help around the house, why pay them to help out?  (Frankly where I’m sitting now I can’t think of any other “againsts” but I’m sure you can help out on this one.

Clearly I’m in favour, thus adopting this approach this year.

How much is reasonable?

At the school my kids go to there are some uber wealthy families.  My son mentioned casually one day (before we started talking allowances in our family) that one of his soccer mates gets a weekly allowance of $750.  How did they arrive at that figure? I want to have been a fly on the wall the day they discussed that one.  Or didn’t they? Did the parents just go,

“Here son, it’s time we gave you an allowance. Will $750 cover your weekly expenses? Of course, we’re still going to send you to school, pay for your books & lunches but just in case there’s anything more you need we think $750 is reasonable.”

And what if they’re divorced and both of them go,

“Here son I think $750 per week is a fair allowance.”

Score.  (I don’t think that’s the case by the way).

I don’t even get $750 per week.  And I’d know how to spend it.  But actually if I was getting that–with everything else paid for–I’d be buying myself a house & using it for mortgage payments.  He’s probably not even saving up for a car like my kids will have to.

We’ve agreed on $10.  You get $1 taken off for each job you don’t do or if you failed to clean your room and there are credit dollars available for doing extra jobs.

And the situation in my house is we haven’t started yet.  I’ve drawn up parameters and they’re still on the computer waiting to be printed. 

My daughter (because she doesn’t want to do the jobs) has decided she “doesn’t want an allowance this week” like it’s optional.  That’ll be until she wants to hit the “Mall” on the weekend!

Stay tuned …

xx It Started in LA xx


Pinch me. Now. Before I wake up.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be living here. In Beverly Hills.  This time a year ago I was blissfully happy living life in Sydney (Australia) with the most fabulous friends and loving the Australian lifestyle.  Yet here I am. Still having fun but surrounded by all things surreal.

Welcome to my blog–It started in LA–where I’ll talk about everything from celebrity to fashion to style to movies to TV to life. (I’ll throw in shopping & restaurants in between).  I’ll poke some fun at myself (because I do some stupid things).  Plus it wouldn’t be me without a soapbox moment.  Please be prepared to join in!

Above all … I’ll share with you the sights, sounds and experiences Beverly Hills, Hollywood, LA and beyond … have to offer.

It all started right here … in LA. Lala land.

xx It Started in LA xx

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