At first I attempted to get this all out in one go, but there’s simply too much ground to cover. The final (Cali) leg of our mini book tour was eventful at least and terrifying at most. This post tells the story of our first 24 hours on the West Coast.

We arrived in la la land last Thursday afternoon and hit the ground running – intoxicated by the crisp warm air and the sight of back-lit palm trees against the crystal blue sky we barely had a chance to breathe before we ploughed right into work. Everyone’s got a dream in L.A. and we were no different.

For our first event with Monica and Andy at Santa Monica Place (that started 2 hours after we landed) we got ready like bats outta hell. As we were about to leave, we did the usual last minute Virgo check: cell phone, lipstick, wallet, passport.

That was the moment our beloved friend (slash Rebel Mama documentarian) Ariane realized that she was sans passport – it had been left behind in the seat pocket of row 22, seat F.

Mother. Fuck.

No time to panic – had to leave. Our event was set to start in 30 minutes. Ariane spent the ride over on the phone with anyone who would speak to her at Air Canada while we reached out to our families to tell them we’d arrived safely in Santa Monica.

Husband Text: “You know there was a mass shooting in California last night, right?”

For. Fuck’s. Sake. Where was it? What happened? How many casualties? For the rest of the 10 minute drive over to the store, we Googled – horrified. When we arrived at the mall, it was a ghost town (guess that’s what happens when a mass murder happens in your back yard).

At Monica and Andy we chatted with the shop girls and entertained our one awesome guest and her two awesome kids. Eventually we left, resigning ourself to the belief that tomorrow will be a better day. We endured.

Ariane went back to LAX to try to talk to someone who knew what the fuck they were doing and we headed to Brentwood where we awaited the start of event number 2: The Hatch Store opening.

It was so wonderful – filled with old friends and new, great wine, beautiful clothes and a well-warranted celebration. When it was over, we went home. Exhausted, but ready to sleep it off and start our Friday with our game faces on. After all, we still had two events, one photo shoot, one road trip, three conference calls, and one lost passport to account for – this was not the time to throw in the towel.

We woke up early with plans to head downtown to the Canadian Consulate to get our girl a fresh new passport. We were on the road before 8am and at the Consulate before 9am. We dropped Ariane off and made a pit stop at MedMen – L.A. was already testing our nerves and a little sativa was just what we needed to help us calm the fuck down.

Finally, we valet’d our car at The Nomad Hotel and set up our mobile office on the roof. If you’re going to have an unexpected detour, you may as well make the best of it, amirite?

After an eventful day DTLA, we headed back to the beach to start prepping for event #3 – an intimate reading at the new Hatch store in Brentwood.

But on the drive home, the air had changed. Everything had become darker. Then the local radio station relayed to us the horror that would only grow and unfold as time went by: the California wildfires. The smaller of the 2 main fires ravaging the state (smaller – but still massive in scale and destruction) was just a short drive from where we were staying in Santa Monica. People were fleeing their homes to stay with family and friends. Everyone was glued to their screens – watching closely and praying that the winds wouldn’t suddenly change and send the fire barreling through their homes. There was a steady stream of crying people in our hotel lobby.

A new trip had started – a trip that will go down in Rebel Mama history as the great test. We lost our minds a little in L.A., but we found something we value even more…

Part 2 coming tomorrow.

Photographed by Ariane Laezza


If you’d like to help the families of the victims of the Thousand Oaks, California shooting that happened on November 7, 2018, here’s a link to the Borderline Shooting Victims Fund page.

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