I got to pretend this week. Pretend that I live in Malibu.
Robert Frank and I worked on stories comparing which billionaires have it better—those in the Hamptons or those in Malibu. Of course, some billionaires live in both.
To exemplify the Malibu lifestyle, I recreated a day in the life of someone living the dream in this playground along the Pacific. What surprised me was how little some things cost.
8:30AM—Tai Chi at Malibu Bluffs Park.
Start your day overlooking the ocean, as Instructor Yun leads you through this ancient Chinese form of exercise. Classes meet Tuesday and Friday mornings. OK, I actually didn't go the day we shot because I was off, and I just couldn't see getting up early, but after seeing the video...I wish I had.
Cost: $2. Two dollars! To get right with the world on a bluff above the Pacific!
This independent grocery store moved into the old Trancas Country Market in the spring, specializing in things like locally grown strawberries, bio-dynamic produce, local olive oils, wines, honey and more. The old local market has been transformed into something decidedly upscale. Farm to table ain't always cheap. I bought some bio-dynamic carrots (they're red!) and local raw honey.
This is the oldest surf shop in Malibu, owned by surfer, model, former mayor and actor Jefferson Wagner, aka Zuma Jay (a former stand-in for Clint Eastwood). This is old-school Malibu, where I rented a boogie board and wet suit for the day and threw in a traditional straw lifeguard hat.
A mile-and-a-half-long stretch known as Carbon Beach has been nicknamed "Billionaire's Beach" because of all the high-net-worth individuals who own at least one home here, from Larry Ellison to David Geffen. It is not a completely private beach. There are public access points, but you do have to search to find them. Luckily, there's an app for that!
Noon—Walking Rescue Dogs
The only acceptable dogs in Malibu now are rescue dogs, dogs saved from certain death at a shelter. In fact, if I owned a breeding operation, I would call it a rescue operation...with AKC papers for the right "donation." Walk the dogs through Malibu Country Mart, the retail heart of town. A little too retail for some. Actor Rob Reiner is pushing a ballot initiative in November to force any future large developments be put to a vote first, and to limit chain stores (defined as 10 stores worldwide) to only 30 percent of new retail. By the way, depending on timing, it could mean a Whole Foods planned for Malibu may be subject to a vote.
(Watch the clip to see the real story "behind the scenes" as I try to walk dogs, talk and pray at same time.)
Cost: Free! (Unless you're a retailer hoping to move in....)
1PM—Ollie's Duck & Dive
The wealthy may dine at Nobu, but the locals dine at the new Ollie's Duck & Dive up at Pt. Dume. Here, again, they favor local produce, especially berries grown nearby. (Can you imagine the value of farmland in Malibu? The tax incentives and write offs?) The most famous dish is the Duck Fries (french fries fried in duck fat) but I also tried the kale salad with berries and goat cheese ("We massage the kale").
2:30PM—Cure Spa Malibu
Time to work on your outer beauty. At Cure you get more than a facial, you fight time on a molecular level! Try vitamin facials, those which fight free radicals, or the Vampire Lift. And if you need a little Botox, well, they've got that, too.
Cost: Varies, but you can get a facial for around $125.
End of day—The Ashram
To check in to the Ashram, you actually have to stay for an entire week. It's a week of "leaving your ego at the door," as you head up into the mountains between Malibu and Calabasas to eat well, hike every day, get massages and meditate. You can bring your smartphone with you, but only to check it occasionally. This is a quiet compound where the rich and famous stay in rooms "smaller than their closets at home."
Cost: $5,000. That's a lot, but not by rich-and-famous standards. Of course, I hope you like eating vegetarian....
—By CNBC's Jane Wells.