Browsing Tag

lifestyles of the rich & the famous


School Charity events 90210 style

There are two trends starting to emerge in the titles of my posts: “90210 style” and “Hollywood”.  This one is definitely 90210 style.

I have to fess up. It’s Spring break & the kids and I are away for a week. So I thought I’d pull up an old story idea from our school’s Gala Event last month.

I posted a few pics on Instagram and references to the evening if you were following along at home.

The venue was stunning…Vibiana in Downtown LA.  A former catholic church the designers had captured its essence and re-purposed it without fail. While the venue was stunning not many people venture downtown and I see why; it was a bit of a trek.pp

It was a fun night though, always interested in meeting the families from school–especially when you hit a jackpot and meet someone you’ve heard a bit (ok a lot) about.

One of the highlights of my night was seeing–and being at the same event as a mega-star A-lister & her spunky hubby.  She looked truly stunning and was just “one of us”.  I was a little disappointed Our English rocker wasn’t there but at the same time I wasn’t really expecting to see him.  Of course part of the fun of the night for me was looking around the room to see who else you could spot that you didn’t already know were parents at the school (there were quite a few).

Apart from some of the jewels hanging off some of the very elegant women (yes I did look around for their bodyguards) the obvious thing to talk about was the amount of money raised.

As usual at many of these events when you’re trying to catch up with people it’s hard to hear what’s going on.  They didn’t give us long to chat before the proceedings were underway.  I don’t know how much the American Idol final tickets went for nor the Vegas package featuring tickets to Rod Stewart and Brittany Spears or the five-night New York “experience” featuring first-class accommodation donated by one of the families plus tickets to Dr Oz and Saturday Night Live and; The Late Show tickets.

They finally got my attention when a Golden Retriever puppy came out.  I have to say I was a little shocked that a puppy gets auctioned off.  Too often dogs are purchased by families giving no thought to the concept that a dog is for life.  It’s a pretty big gamble that a family is going to want a dog let alone pay big bucks for it.  But, it’s something they do every event so I guess the word spreads (but you still have to hope someone in the community is in the market for a dog). As it was there were rumours the highest bidders changed their mind and donated the money and the runners-up got the dog.

Anyway, the reason I bring up the auction is not really all about questioning the dog but to mention the biggest money spinner of them all: a private dinner with the headmaster.  That’s right (??!) One dinner was available catered by the owners behind the fabulous “Lemonade” but three were sold for the grand total of … (are you ready?)

$13,200 each.

They made $39,600 from auctioning dinner with the headmaster.  People were buzzing the week later with news of the money raised; people were questioning why on earth they’d need a private dinner with the headmaster or what they had to get off their chests to warrant the need to secure the winning bid.

Personally I think it was a donation–albeit a very large one.  Two of the three families are Hollywood celebrities and I can’t imagine them needing to get too much off their chest.  I think it was meant to be a nice gesture to make the headmaster feel popular and wanted.  Might I add he is an extremely charismatic guy so I’m sure the dinner wouldn’t be boring.

It’s funny how all the amazing prizes and opportunities are put before us but the biggest winner is the simplest prize of all.  A bit like life really; despite living among the rich and famous it’s the simple things that are still the best.

Apart from setting eyes on the big A-lister two surreal things happened to me that night that to make the night worthwhile. One was when a former Felicity co-star & I were waiting outside for our respective Ubers. I don’t know how the conversation started but it ended with me trying to get him to pronounce our surname with gusto in an Australian accent. It took at least 20 goes & we were cracking each other up (perhaps you had to be there).

The next was ending up at some actor’s house (I didn’t recognise him but I did get the ok to post a selfie & a pic of his view on Instagram) when we met up with Mr H’s workmates at an awards night after-party. Despite having no idea who he was like I said to him, who cares? he must’ve been doing all right thanks very much because his Hollywood Hills pad with views over Hollywood was pretty amazing. How do I land me that gig? I tried to see if he knew anyone who might sign up my Blog for a sitcom but I can’t remember what he said. (Besides I’m waiting for Chuck Lorre &/or some parents at school that are the creators of a mega-successful sitcom).

Yes I was smashed, yes we’d landed in Hollywood & yes we’d only just been to the Golden Globes after party but I never expected my simple normal life to have a chapter like this in it. So forgive me if I frequently have to re tell the story to make it seem real then pinch myself to make sure it isn’t a dream after all. I joked about stuff like that happening when we moved. It we never, ever expected half of those things to come true. Yet here we are.

I heart LA.

xx It Started In LA xx

PS: A little “where are they now?” Felicity trivia for you:

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.

Celebrity, Posts

Which one’s Craig?

We’ve got a few more friends coming in to town so I called one of my favourite restaurants–our go-to when we have friends come to LA–to secure a couple of reservations.

The guy on the phone took my details, you know? When, what time etc.  Then he said, “Name?”

“Gwen,” I replied.

“Oh Gwen, how are you sweetheart?” I knew immediately who it was on the other end of the phone.  One of my first LA girlfriends had recommended I go to this popular restaurant and was instrumental in getting my 9:30 booking changed to the more civilised time of 8:00.  She’s a regular and knows Craig well.

From that time the Matre D’ acknowledged me telling everyone I was Renee’s friend.  Then I had moved on from being Renee’s friend to being “Gwen”. I was in.

So, you can imagine how chuffed I was that even on the phone I was recognised.  I’ve made it and to no less than one of the restaurants to be seen at in LA.  I posted it straight to Facebook and was happy our transition to LA was looking very good.  I’m doing my job well: give yourself a pat on the back Gwen.

Fast forward one week to yesterday.  I looked up the website to call to see if I could get a last-minute dinner booking for my hot date with my son.  I knew it was a long shot but it was worth the try.  I clicked through to an article in the New York Times on the birth of the restaurant and how Craig had gone from being Matre D’ at one of LA’s finest to running his own restaurant.

I knew that so of course I assumed the Matre D’ was “Craig”.  That’s a pretty fair assumption, right?  Exactly what I thought.

Well that’s not what the pic on said article showed.  No, it’s the guy who schmoozes around half working, half chatting up the guests.  Well it makes sense now I say it that way–and I know who the real Craig is doesn’t it?  Duh!  Really, how could I have been so amateur?!

One of my friends I’ve taken there recently described him as the classiest pimp in town–sitting at the booths with the gorgeous chicks and hot celebs, being one of the guests.  I suppose he has one of the best jobs in the world.  He lets his (very professional and gorgeous) Matre D’ do all the hard work while he does what he does best–keep the celebs (and me) happy!

Looking forward to dinner there tomorrow night.  I’ll be careful who I call Craig.

Only in LA.

xx It Started in LA xx

West Gate, Bel Air
Celebrity, Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction: Bel Air

Fact or Fiction?????

Welcome back to this week’s Fact or Fiction.  It’s good to see voting increased by more than 15% this week.  Get on board, it’s a bit of fun.

This week’s item drifts away from me being centre stage to an LA Trivia question.  And the statement is …

Bel Air is a suburb of LA with its own postcode.


Thanks to the people who responded to last week’s Fact or Fiction.  The answer to:

Rod Stewart’s son is in my kids’ swim team.

was: Fact.

66.67% thought it was Fiction
33.33% thought it was Fact.

I am unashamedly a Rod Stewart fan.  I remember when I was younger we were on holidays staying at my uncle’s house in Wales.  He used to get The Sun daily and one week it had a Rod Stewart spotlight–a series about him, his life, his loves, his career etc.  Well I was hooked from that minute on.

So, when we turned up at the end of last year to one of the kids’ swimming finals and I glance up at the bleachers and see Rod Stewart–complete with hair and pastels–I did little to stay cool.  I couldn’t take a photo, I wouldn’t go talk to him and I was a mess.  (So much for the motto of staying cool).  I couldn’t get my words out–I was standing a few metres away from the one and only Rod Stewart. Ahhhhhhhhh indeed!

His wife, BTW, is gorgeous.  We did talk to her.  That was surreal in its own way because (apart from being a former famous model herself) she was talking about the upcoming holidays and their plans like they were normal people.  Of course they were–are–but it was totally surreal.

I heart LA.  And that’s how this blog started with simple everyday, surreal stories like that.  I can’t wait for the swimming season to start.  I just hope he’s not in Vegas for most of it!

Answer to this week’s post will come next week as usual.  Happy Friday Australia (and Asia).  UK and Europe you’re somewhere in between so happy weekend eve!

I’ll keep the link up to his Vegas concerts (and others for that matter) in case you want to fly over and see Rod Stewart live in Vegas.  I’m certainly going to try to get there.

xx It Started in LA xx


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.

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

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