The infuriating picayune of MDL

Published on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008


So I don’t know what makes me more furious – that my camera accidentally went to the beach with the Husband and the Critter, sabotaging my intended post about the new Luau Restaurant on Bedford, (I talked up the contractor and they let me take pics of it while it’s still under construction), OR that my cell phone wouldn’t let me twitter to y’all a picture of the worst hair extensions I’ve ever seen in my life, or Pat Boone in his giant old gold Rolls Royce cruising down Canon Drive in the triangle, or the (finally) fabulous new dress in the Neiman’s window on the corner of Roxbury. So I am surrendering to more MDL guilty pleasure which I can justify ONLY because it has houses that may show some interesting interiors. Seriously, you shouldn’t get me started…

Last we left the children of the corn that are the movers and shakers of high end real estate, Chad had asked his girlfriend to move in, Josh had worked a sale out of dust with a house that was seized by the feds, and Madison had a new assistant and a blind date. I was seriously concerned about the former, but fortunately the girlfriend nipped it in the bud, and later confessed to a friend that she was worried that she couldn’t live up to Chad’s obsessive compulsive need to organize and contain everything into ziploc storage bags. The evidence she displayed was an array of items from her fabulous enormous handbag that he had captured in plastic. Proven beyond a doubt that he had OCD was the clip of his packing for his business trip to Vegas, with three sizes of bags, he manages to zip up everything INDIVIDUALLY in a bag. Hairdryer in one. Hair brush in another. Hasn’t he heard that we’re trying not to consume so much plastic? He must go through a few boxes of each size a week!

Madison, to my mind, is the least neurotic of the three, but honestly, who’s he kidding by telling his ex-girlfriend that he still may hold a torch for her. He isn’t in the closet; he says that he can be with a man or a woman. The ex just looks at him blankly, as if to say “because, Dude, you’re gay”. Less gentle with her advice is his gal pal who visits him while he’s waiting for a house inspection in her neighborhood. She flat out tells him that he’s pretending he’s still straight by still wanting the ex girlfriend and in so many words does two snaps and stalks off to her house, done with that.

And there’s Josh. I really can’t fault him for jumping on listing the house of his grandmother’s friend who died. A seven million dollar house on Walden in the flats of Beverly Hills. I would never have had the gall to make a call to a family who hadn’t yet buried their dearly departed, but Josh did. And got the sale. And made a deal before it was ever shown in the Caravan. To the nicest people ever, who would write a counter offer on a scrap of yellow legal paper below the counter to their counter, etcetera. Josh dutifully stuck to this way of negotiation suggested by, of course, his grandmother. The sellers remained anonymous and sat across the hall. Josh backed out of each room, passed the paper on until an agreement was made. I really think he made this deal just by keeping his mouth shut. I could take a lesson.

So please – watch the show.

I guess I have to add the “Addiction” category to Million Dollar Listing. I would love to know your thoughts – again please add your comment! I really do want to know what you enjoy reading and clicking.

“Million Dollar Listing” vapid and transfixing at once

Published on Friday, August 22nd, 2008


I love reality shows. I know, I know, they’re the death of art and all that, but as cultural phenomenon, but I get a huge kick out them. Well, that, and sometimes they show my neighborhood and people I have met. It took me awhile to remember where I met Josh Flagg on MDL, but finally it came to me: He hosted a breakfast for my candidate and friend (sometimes client), the fabulous Nancy Krasne for Beverly Hills City Council last year. The breakfast was at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I think he’s about twenty two – mighty fancy when most guys that age are just trying to pony up rent.

The other principal interests of the show are Chad Rogers and Madison Hildebrand, both who claim to be experts with “ins” to Malibu. This is the stuff you get watching Million Dollar Listing. First, let me point out to the viewer that even if these places are over a million dollars, I didn’t see a house on the whole show (with the exception of two shown to the ever eccentric Suzan Hughes) that wasn’t a dump compared to the fabulous homes found in the Deep South, especially in New Orleans! The show follows three guys around Los Angeles as they sell real estate in the tony neighborhoods that make LA famous. It’s all about A View Of The Beach, as exemplified by Ms Hughes’ desperate search of a “Bu” house to rent for the summer that has “The View” at eye level, right on the beach, so that she can watch her teenagers learn to surf. Cost for rent for such a view? Seventy five grand, per month, payable up front.

It’s truly surreal to note that all of these guys are under thirty and have already achieved a level of success that many spend decades attaining. I am very interested to see what will happen as the show progresses, as Josh Flagg has recently been arrested for grand larceny, accused of stealing art from client’s homes. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence, but talk about a nail in the coffin of a lucrative career! And if you watch the show, you’ll see that whatever cash he has made is in great danger if he keeps up with the spending habits he has – almost $9000 in one hour long shopping trip.

I have a feeling I’ll post about this one again, because I’m dying to go off about how blank and wierd the guys are, how sexually ambivalent they seem, and how unnaturally they interact with other people. Stay tuned…

HOT in the hood…

Published on Monday, May 5th, 2008


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I know we all are incredibly spoiled by the weather, yet the last few years there have been some unusually high temperatures for a spate of time here and there. My dear Husband goes around like a big bear with a thorn in his paw during these seasons, as we forget too soon once the pleasant temperatures resume that we really must do something about the air conditioning. His birthday was last weekend and I thought a little respite from the heat could be found in Marina del Rey. The Grandmother insisted that she treat us to dinner, so why not brunch? Sometimes it can be ten degrees cooler on the water – it’s amazing what a difference a twenty minute drive can make.

I figured that the Ritz Carlton could provide a nice brunch for the occasion. They have an immense, very artfully arranged champagne brunch on sundays in their fine dining restaurant by the name of Jer-ne (pronounced “journey” – I know, huh?). The food was voluminous – they had everything you would ever dream of eating from a buffet. Some glamourous choices were that a sushi bar, a caviar bar and a custom eggs benedict station. I got a little dizzy from the quantity of choices, frankly. My favorite things I sampled? The bacon, the boiled shrimp, and the chocolate pralines. Some things are just fine wherever you get them.

The Critter fell in love with a beautiful Russian five year old. She was mesmerized by him as well. They held hands and patted one another for a good thirty minutes before her father came to have a talk with us about Critter’s intentions. It was all very pleasant and we eventually explained that Critter hadn’t yet decided on preschool, so he wasn’t yet ready to date. The Husband must’ve been pleased, as he cooled down enough to smile again – he even had a cup of hot coffee with his dessert.

After nosing around the hotel for a bit which included but was not limited to having a look at a nice limited edition of drawings by Picasso rendered as woodblock engravings by Georges Aubert. In addition to viewing of the collection throughout the first floor of the hotel, The folio and wood tools used in the works were exhibited. After absorbing every last design aspect that we wished, we took a leisurely stroll down the Marina Promenade.

We then did hour long Sunday drive and picked our favorite (and least favorite) houses in Beverly Hills before getting home just as the sun went down and the weather became civilized again.

New Orleans not in the top ten?

Published on Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Accoutrements of imbibing My old place on Carondelet in the Garden District
This top ten has got to be incorrect! I lived in New Orleans for years before I came to Beverly Hills. I managed to get a design degree and run two different businesses during that time. Being on time and reliant is truly not an asset in that place. It’s a way to go crazy if you have an efficient bone in your body.

All I know is people make entire careers of being drunk down there, and can’t imagine more alcohol is consumed anywhere else. I mean for real – the bars never close. Cocktails can cost a dollar all night if you drink the promo drink du jour and no one cared if you didn’t wake up until three in the afternoon. I lived in a really nice section of the city, and had two separate occasions where I had to step over my neighbor who was sleeping in the hall – she had a PhD and was a kindergarten teacher. She could not make it all the way to her own door. Thank God we had a secure building, so she was able to sleep peacefully.

About the Beverly Hills Mom

Published on Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

My name is Alexandra, and I am a Beverly Hills Mom.

I came to Beverly Hills in 1997 to have a grand career in interior design. While reaching that goal, I found the man of my dreams and we have a precious child and live together in one of the style capitals of the world. I love living in Beverly Hills not just for the beautiful weather, homes and lawns, terrific police, fire department, world class services, and great public schools, where competent people run things and stand guard of the village. I see it through the eyes of a Southern girl who grew up seeing movie stars and the iconic Beverly Hills, and love the nostalgic and campy side of Beverly Hills. As an interior designer with happy, satisfied clients from the West Hills to the Platinum Triangle, I have seen a thing or two. I have a few stories.

And now my own Critter is going to grow up in the neighborhood that I used to wonder about watching it in the movies … will life imitate art? Or will art imitate life? Join us on our own version of the Beverly Hillbillies, as we embark upon:

* new things I think are fabulous
* stories from my funny and talented friends
* updates on Louis XIV of Beverly Hills
* progress reports on my latest creative endeavors
* kid stuff that the Critter and I try for fun
* odd occurrences that probably wouldn’t happen if I didn’t live in the “Cannes of The United States”
* current events that strike me as noteworthy

Thank you for reading – I welcome your comments and hope you’ll share this blog with others who are curious to know what it’s like to go from the Sex and the City life to Real Housewife and to still keep it real.