Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pacific Palisades: Brush with Jennifer Garner

This week was all about brushing with fame during our stay with friends who live in the Pacific Palisades in LA.  Well, not even brushing really, more breathing the same air. One night we sat behind Hollywood powerhouse Brian Grazer at The Ivy in Santa Monica. Next day we walked past Elyse Walker, the red-carpet frock shop, just two seconds before actress Jennifer Garner. (Yes!)

Us at The Ivy, Santa Monica


Paparazzi pretending to take a piccy of me (while waiting for Jennifer Garner)

Kind of pathetic but I was absolutely thrilled. As you may remember, I am one of those people whose special skill is detailed recall of celebrity titbits (and not much else). And yes, I knew Jenn G was coming because I recognised her daughter walking with her nanny (bit embarrassed to admit that.)

We were a trio of Mums with our 15 year old sons - including my eldest, Harley - who have been friends for ten years. You might have read about the Palisades when I visited a year ago here, here and here.  You could pass through this relaxed enclave and not think too much about it: it has a few shops surrounded by quite modest houses with tiny yards. Everyone wears sweats walking around with their dogs and children. But in fact it's the home of many of the laid-back A-listers....you might see Tom Hanks, Sugar Ray Leonard or Stephen Spielberg in the coffee shop, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck with their kids in the park.

Our host, Cameron, is refreshingly un-starstruck. "Okay Cam" I'll say on the phone to her: "Who did you see this week?" She'll answer: "I was at yoga and through the window I saw a photo shoot...now who was it?....was it that one Angelina or Jennifer Aniston?" She took out a subscription to People so she could learn a bit more about the celebs.

My friend and host Cameron with Blue at home in the Palisades

Cameron is up on all the trends and history though. The last time I was here the big work-out craze was running up and down the sweaty secret stairs of Santa Monica. Well, now, people are walking on their hands down the stairs. Another fitness craze: paddle boarding into the middle of a harbour and doing yoga balancing on your paddle board.

Flying out of Swarthmore: studded, frayed, high-waisted shorts
...and cardigans made from five other pieces of clothing

It was so fun to see the City of glitz and broken dreams through the eyes of our three 15-year boys who basically spent the whole time razzing each other.

First we tried paddle boarding in Marina del Rey, a still and seemingly innocent harbour. The instructor warned us: stay away from the1000 stingrays on the left and leopard sharks are everywhere. And (even more scary) steer clear of the drunk boat owners. The boys took off for the stingray area, stood up, and promptly had a swordfight with their oars trying to push each other off.

Then we took off with the boys in our sweet ride, our 11-year-old battered, bird poop-encrusted Dodge minivan, which earned loads of horrific glances. On Amalfi Drive and Hollywood we braved the cavalcade of Ferraris, Maseratis and filthy stares of the security guards, drove right up to gates, said hi to the surveillance camera and took photos. We then scooted across roads to peek through high hedges.

Cruising the Sunset in the "Grey Ghost"


Nate, me and Harley "Release the hounds! Boil the oil! They're at the gates!"

"Run away! Run away!"

We breakfasted at the hipster The Griddle (mega-mansion pancakes, hella-noisy, eighties-style wall scraped away to reveal brick, filthy bathrooms, TVs, two blacked-out internal rooms, Muddy Waters tunes.) "Awesome" said the boys. Apparently Jay Z and Tommy Lee are regulars but that morning only the tattooed entourages were evident.

Harley with mega pancake stack

Outside Kodak Theatre we met "Marilyn Monroe". It's nearly 50 years since she died and the newspapers here are full of her incandescent beauty and messed-up vulnerability; our appetite for the minutiae of her life remains un-sated. Half a decade from now, which one of our current stars will take her place? It's hard to imagine....

Meeting Marilyn on Hollywood Blvd.


48 comments:

  1. Thanks for the funny story. I suspect the paparazzi did take your photo just in case they found out later you are famous. :)

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  2. What a fabulous place to visit. I have to admit that I'm a fan of Jennifer Garner. We were pregnant at the same time..two times, and I loved Alias. Do you really have a photographic memory? I have seen reports on that on 60 minutes. It was quite interesting.

    I would love to visit here.

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  3. Every time I visit my sister in L.A/Santa Monica for the past 15 years I'm looking for celebrities, and have yet to spot one!

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  4. I would love to come and release the hounds with you too!

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  5. Jody,
    Great fun with your boys. I just love that area and how nice to have a friend Pacific Palisaides! Isn't the Ivy the best? Love you guys thumbing your nose at the Ferarris with the minivan best of all!!

    xo
    Kim

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  6. I would have totally mistaken you and your boys for ones the paparazzi go after. Ah ... but the minivan gave it away, didn't it?

    I want my mega stack ...

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  7. I do love the fact that you are so mischievous and silly! Don't ever grow up!

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  8. Do your boys know how cool you are?? I'm sure if they don't now they will when they look back at the fab times you all have.

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  9. Haha..that's brilliant!! You look marvelous there :))) It's a great way to be :)) Hope you have a super week ahead doll xx

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  10. So funny! My head is so full of celebrity useless information I'm like a walking Hello magazine! I did once meet a very famous filmstar but sadly I completely lost my sense of speech & said something like "bleurgh"!

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  11. Oh what fun! I wouldn't know what to do or say if I actually met a celeb! Love Di ♥

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  12. Jody! You are so funny. Love that top pic of you with the paparazzi .. and then there's you and Marilyn :) Yep, boys will be boys! Lucky girl to dine at the Ivy!

    xx
    leslie

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  13. hehe I loved this post. Too funny. Made me miss LA! Oh I am bad for celeb tidbits too, I have made no secret of my celeb and house stalking on my blog, and the "oh I saw so-and-so!" It's fun! lol

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  14. Just makes me want to visit California!

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  15. I always find here ideas to inspire me and tips to look better.

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  16. Awww.... you are making me homesick for LA! I lived walking distance from the Griddle (trust me- we brunched there more often than I would like to admit!).

    I was like your friend- I rarely noticed the celebs any longer. Would make those who visited me batty, because they would always want to check out the celebs and I would be completely uninterested!

    Looks like a fun getaway!

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  17. The second photo (with the paparazzi) is hilarious. I'm impressed you recognized Jennifer Garner's daughter :)
    xx
    maya

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  18. Sounds like you all had a ball! Lord, you get up to the same kind of antics that I would do - I have no shame when chasing a Good Time! You have the makings of a fine stalker !

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  19. Hey Love!!

    It looks like you are having a fun summer...I love that the boys took fun photos with you! How cool that you saw Jennifer Garner's daughter and got a photo with the paparazzi! Ive been to Santa Monica and drove around Beverly Hills...its pretty impressive...but didnt see anyone! This was a few yrs back though!

    BTW You look lovely!

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  20. I love the way your boys are so happy to indulge you (run away, run away) and you are the epitome of cali cool (to use one of your words)! You must have so much fun where you are!

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  21. I've learned that when I read your blog, it's VITAL that I don't have ANY food nor any form of liquid in my mouth. I've choked and spewed liquid all over the keyboard trying to contain my laughter.

    I think Kiwis are pretty laidback too. A few NZ celebs used to casually chat to me because we're going the same direction or arguing about the joys of motherhood. Lucy Lawless (love that woman) is so down to earth. A friend of mine who worked with her on the movie set used to rave about how sweet she was.

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  22. What a fun holiday but picture of the year is most definitely the paparazzi one just so funny should I call you jennifer from now on.

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  23. Hello, jealousy! It sounds like you had a totally awesome time.

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  24. being known to stalk a celeb or two myself, i love this post!! sounds like a fun escape. the paparazzi and mini van photos are my faves.

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  25. Somehow those film stars are all a little vapid.

    I saw a real star last week. I got Tana Umaga's autograph.

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  26. Often when I travel with my husband he'll point out a celebrity and I will argue that it's not that person to later find out it was indeed. I swear they look so different in real life that it's easy to not even notice them. What a fun visit you had:)

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  27. How fun! I love seeing celebs and get my fair share here in NY but it's always awesome being in LA. The paps are just crazy. Once they even started taking photos of me coming out of Katsuya. Once they realized I wasn't a celeb they quickly got bored. Quite a hysterical experience :)

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  28. This is so funny - love the pic of you and the boys fleeing across the street! I've never been to L.A., so I can only imagine life in LaLa Land. And don't feel bad for recognizing the celebrity child and nanny - I'm the same way. That's the type of odd info I gather throughout the year that helps me sweep the pop culture category in trivia contests. :)

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  29. the paparazzi pic is cute!

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  30. That is so neat! I love how you guys totally embraced Hollywood. Awesome awesome post!!!

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  31. Lovely photos and Harley looks way older all of a sudden!
    ~Anne

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  32. You always encounter the most thrilling (and starstruck) adventures. Loving these photographs!! :)

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  33. You do know how to have fun, Jody! Love the paparazzi photo! xo
    Ada

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  34. Last time I was in LA I couldn't believe all the stars at my spin class, they were all Oscar winners!

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  35. Sounds like you all had lots of fun and the paparazzi photo really made me smile as did the new fitness crazes!!.
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  36. Ohhh how I love this post,honey!;)
    xx
    B.
    http://www.beeswonderland.com/

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  37. Looks so fun! I'd probably be more like your friend - mainly because I'm clueless about the who's who in celebrity world. I'd need a people magazine too!

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  38. No-one can replace Marilyn. IMO she has the same deathless charisma as Vivien Leigh. Just realised they have the Laurence Olivier connection. Marilyn had to suffer his 'Be sexy Marilyn'! in the Prince and the Show girl and Vivien - who could knock him in a tin hat on the screen, had to live in his acting shadow for years.
    I loved this post too. You are the Queen of links:)

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    Replies
    1. Did you see "My Week With Marilyn" fascinating movie about Olivier and Marilyn making The Prince and The Showgirl (they had an affair during it). Vivien Leigh remained elegant throughout even though she knew something was up...

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    2. Sadly no I missed it. Must try to catch it.

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  39. Hilarious Jody! I love the paddle boarding story and you are a brave woman to eat at The Griddle, the smell alone made it impossible for me to enjoy when an ex-bf once dragged me there. Vile. Anyway, hope your trip was wonderful, it sounds very fun and so sorry we couldn't meet up--hoping that will happen in the coming months!
    xo Mary Jo

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  40. I love your joie de vivre!!! You come across as such a fun, stylish, intelligent woman--always love your blog posts and I especially love these when you're just having a great time.

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  41. So fun! You are an awesome mom! I paddle boat in our marina, but have only braved push-ups. A full yoga class would ensure I was drenched. And I don't think our marina water is all that clean. ; )

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