Thursday, June 30, 2011

Embarrassing, But I Wrote It Anyway

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a birth control device removed because Kadin and I were sure about the sequel to Sabine even though she has been my most difficult career chapter to date, and even though the first year of caring for her felt a lot like climbing the Andes.

We told ourselves that it was now or never (he married an old lady); that it's better to not get too comfortable before having our freedom ripped away again; and that if two children are closer in age, it will pay off later when they're able to entertain each other and leave us alone for five minutes. So we psyched ourselves up and wer)e in agreement. Until the night after the doctor's appointment. We did what married people don't do as often after having children. And Kadin--unexpectedly and without warning--did what a guy does who is not wearing protection and doesn't want to get a girl pregnant. I laughed and told him it was impossible to conceive the day of having said device removed. And he told me that he didn't plan the gesture, that maybe, subconsciously, he just wants a little more time with his wife again before losing her to a little one, who at first, needs practically everything she has to give.

I loved hearing that he felt this way and want more of him, too. It was endearing and romantic, but still completely hilarious that he got all teenage boy on me. So I, of course, told my sisters and my closest friends the story (I got clearance before blabbing). And even though he was okay with my over sharing for humor's sake, he didn't really want to be the star of THAT story again. So the next time we did what married people with young children are usually too tired and busy to do, Kadin didn't do what he did the first time. And once I realized this, I immediately started sobbing.

It wasn't a happy sob. It was an oh-crap-I-could-be-pregnant sob. All of a sudden, the feelings of the first year with Sabine came flooding back--no sleep, no help, inconsolable, acid reflux, can't go anywhere, I miss my husband--and I was terrified at the thought of going through it again. I was also heartbroken at the thought of not being able to give my maternal everything to Sabine or having to take some of it away and give it to another person that I won't even know or will have just met. Nobody can be better than she is. And I don't want anything or anyone to come between us or that special bond that we so treacherously and lovingly built.

I guess we are ostensibly trying and officially not trying to have another baby. Clearly, our intellectual and emotional selves are on completely different pages. So I have no idea what is going to happen or what we will do in the end. But for now, I'm going to soak up as much alone time with Sabine as I can. And I am going to collect and hoard as much Kadin time as humanly possible. I'm thinking cocktails and movies and long conversations and maybe even a trip to some faraway place.

We're insane. It's a real cliff hanger of a situation. I'll keep you posted.

Image via Observando

Drugstore Cowgirl IV: Skin That Glows

Since Sabine came into the picture, my previously decent complexion has taken a turn for the worse. Is it the lack of time and care? Is it hormones? Is it age and fatigue? Is it the use of different, inexpensive products? Ugh. I have no idea, but it has tortured my reflection in the mirror--until now.

I made many visits to the drugstore and tried many different affordable products, but I've finally found the right, corrective combination. I have super sensitive and dry skin, but if I wash my face only once a day with Aveeno Positively Radiant facial cleanser ($7.49 at Rite Aid), and then apply Neutragena Healthy Defense daily moisturizer for sensitive skin ($12.99, also at Rite Aid), I have the smooth, dewy skin that I used to. No other steps or products are required. Hooray.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Really Real

If I told you that this blog sky rocketed from 175 page views per day to well over 3, 000 on Monday, would you lose your mind and accrue an onset heart condition as I have? Shine a light on me and I become even more neurotic than I already am. I like editing more than I like writing. I prefer taking the picture vs. being in the photograph.

All of a sudden, thousands of people are reading this blog and I don't know what to write about. I mean, that's what I wanted: to get some readers, make some dough and be able to take care of my 1.5 year-old instead of paying someone else to do it (that's NOT a bad thing if that's how you roll, but I'm neurotic, remember?).

Right around the time I started this blog, I watched the movie The Joneses (2009). It's the story of four people who are hired to pose as a family in an affluent American community. They are perfectly beautiful and supplied with the latest gadgets, cars, clothes and home design products. The idea is that their neighbors will want what they have because they're flawlessly, blissfully happy and successful. In the story, and I think in real life, it actually works. People buy all this crap that's being marketed to them so they will feel better about themselves. Spoiler alert: At the end of the movie, one family buys so much of what the Joneses have passively aggressively sold them that they go bankrupt, lose everything and the husband commits suicide. Sounds creepily familiar, right? Hello, American economy, Wall Street and mortgage crisis.

The movie made me think about the loads of blogs I'd been reading (to get a feel for what people want before I began mine). So many of the successful ones are like internet reality shows. They're displaying a lifestyle. They pimp products and beautiful photographs of themselves, their family members and their well-decorated homes. They're willowy women who wear everything you see in magazines and seemingly have enough money to buy all of it. They care for anywhere between 1 and 3 children and they still have time to craft, run a business and seemingly look smashing all the time. And all of that is wonderful and fun to read/see, however, it's just not me or what my life looks like.

I spent too many years trying to be willowy and perfect and directly from the pages of some magazine. But my dear people, what you see on most of those pages isn't real (I'm suggesting that magazine pages aren't real, not blog pages). A lot of the magazine women are hungry. And bored. And so young. And they don't look in real life the way they do in print. Their skin, bodies, hair and clothing are all Photoshopped. I know because I used to work in the production department of a beauty and fashion magazine and was one of the people who helped mark their to-be-fixed flaws with a red Sharpie.

As this blog hopefully continues to grow, I promise myself and the world that I will never publish products, pictures or ideas that are not real, accessible or don't make sense. I will only display items that I can afford and am honestly considering or using. I will only show photographs that genuinely depict our "mixed up" life.

And that life, so far, is an absolute trip. It includes, but is not limited to, a multiracial makeup, a rented two-bedroom apartment in Southern California (practically unheard of in these parts, where it's go house or go somewhere else), limited air conditioning in one of the hottest areas of L.A., bad carpet and wood paneling, one income and a tight budget, virtually no help with childcare, a mother and a wife of "advanced maternal age," who hates cooking, isn't crafty OR willowy, and has the mouth of a sailor. And hopefully, that quirky reality is just as interesting as the more glamorous kind.

I'm keeping it real. Really real. Because life is too f*cking short to spend it trying to be someone you're not.

Image by Minga

Love Letters

The most creative and inexpensive way to inject a little personal style into your living situation: vintage large black metal hanging letters. Each is $3.00, from Etsy.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday's Half Dozen

Yesterday Sabine spilled red wine on someone's white carpet, tore off her diaper and peed on our carpet, dumped another child's dinner onto the floor, ate a small rock, then drew all over a piece of living-room furniture with a ballpoint pen (she's well-supervised, but the kid is fast.). So I gave myself a wine-induced lobotomy and wondered the following:

1. Why wouldn't Evelyn Lozada (Basketball Wives) get veneers that actually fit in her mouth?

2. Why didn't the designers of Trader Joe's stores create wider aisles and bigger parking lots so that shopping there any day after 1 p.m. doesn't make me want to blow my brains out or run over the elderly with my shopping cart?

3. Why do people assume that if you're black, you don't need to wear sunscreen? Or that if you're white, you can't dance?

4. Why does New York have to beat California when it comes to, well, practically everything, i.e. same sex marriage?

5. How did Ice-T and Coco talk any television network into giving them a show and why did Coco have her brains removed and implanted in her buttocks?

6. Why can't Starbucks employees EVER get your name right on the cup (I'm not Laura, I'm Dora, Bora, Flora or Aurora)?

Image via Observando

Finally, Hats On

Sabine is finally interested in wearing a hat. Not hers, but mine. Maybe it's time to purchase a baby fedora?


Stella Maternity

Monday, June 27, 2011

Linda Wells Would Be Horrified

I first started working at Allure magazine in 1999. When I interviewed for the job, I wore a designer suit (the only designer anything in my closet at the time--magazine assistants make close to nothing). Once I actually got hired and started the job, I wore Puma sneakers, black pants, and usually a t-shirt beneath a sweater or jacket. It was a long commute from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so high heels were out of the question.

Almost every other female at the magazine wore high heels and high fashion. I couldn't figure out for the longest time how they afforded it. I soon realized that most of them were trust fund babies or were still supported by their families. I remember being in an editorial meeting at some point and Linda Wells, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, was talking about beauty transformations and how everyone who came to work at Allure slowly but surely was made over or became Allure-ized.

She was right. I can think of a handful of girls who looked one way when they started but after a few months, they looked entirely different. And I was one of them. I went from doing my own hair to having it blown out twice a week. I regularly got highlights and facials. I had my teeth whitened. I wore makeup like you'd see it in the magazine--and I wore high heels (not every day). I started with a few pairs of Nine West, which a handful of people thought was hilarious. It was as if I'd worn a pair of Payless shoes to the Met Ball. But again, on an assistant editor's salary, how was I supposed to afford anything else? I eventually started trading books (I was moonlighting as a columnist for Bookforum magazine so I'd get review copies of new titles) for sample shoes from the fashion closet (One of the fashion assistants liked to read. Who knew? Most of the fashion editors just looked good and certainly could not write, let alone read.).

Suffice to say, not long after working at Allure, I had perfectly straight hair with the most expensive caramel highlights, skin that glowed and perfectly white teeth. And every other day, I had on a pair of Stuart Weitzman or Dolce&Gabbana heels that I tried my hardest not to topple over in while walking on the too-slippery floor of the infamous Frank Gehry-designed cafeteria (that's a different story entirely, but let's just say I channeled my inner Dawn Weiner on a daily basis during lunchtime.).

It took me about two years to realize that the whole thing was bullshit. I remember going to a totally boring party for the magazine one night and thinking nobody is dancing because their heels are too high. Nobody is eating because in order to look like the women in the magazine, you have to eat next to nothing. And no one is actually drinking the cocktail in their hand because those are fattening, too. Nobody was really even talking to each other because they were too self conscious and painfully busy standing in the corner trying to look beautiful and important. It was not long after that party that I decided to try and resurrect my soul and work for a magazine that focused on something other than beauty and fashion.

Since then, I've thought a lot about my time at Allure and Linda Wells. I eventually moved back to L.A. and wore high heels far less often. I still got my hair cut and blown out at great salons, but I stopped highlighting it. I stopped getting regular skin treatments and using the most expensive products. It was freeing to not have some beauty standard to live up to. Yet after hearing Wells talk about transformation as much as she did and after being one of the magazine's guinea pigs or before-and-after stories, I wondered how she might've reacted to my transformation back to something closer to the "before" version of myself.

However, since I've become a mother and my beauty maintenance habits have plummeted to subterranean depths, I don't wonder at all what Wells and her minions would think. I know they would be horrified. 

Horrified that I'm too tired to wash my face at night before I go to bed.

Horrified that often after I put on a shirt and discover it has a baby food stain, spit up or poop on it, I wear it anyway.

Horrified that I do not take a shower every day.

Horrified that I wear sneakers, not high heels.

Horrified that I rock my Chaka Khan afro.

Horrified that I wear the same outfit days in a row.

Horrified that I buy all of my skincare products and makeup at the drugstore.

Horrified that my version of shaving is two swipes of the razor to each leg so that I look hairless from a distance.

And you know what? I finally don't wonder or care in the least what any magazine editor or anyone else thinks. And that, for the first time in a long time, makes me feel really, really beautiful.

Image via Observando

Say Cheese. Or Don't.

Sabine is not a fan of being photographed. Honestly, I'm not either. I've discovered that the best pictures of tiny monster happen when she doesn't know somebody is pointing a camera at her. But I think that's true for all of us. Here are some images that I actually love...they were taken by Caren Kurlander, a close friend, a magazine expert (editor-in-chief of Form Magazine, thank you very much) and Lucy's momma. Doesn't she have an amazing eye? I think so, too.

Email me at if you're interested in having Caren shoot you. PS She is the only person who has been able to capture Sabine's notorious baby stink eye.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Rocks.

3x3: Cheers to Summertime!

Yana Paskova for The New York Times
 The New York Times did a story this week on summer cocktails that require only three ingredients. Naturally, I started twitching a little because I am the laziest, most cocktail-loving person you will ever meet. I firmly believe making meals and/or drinks should not take longer than it takes to eat/drink them. I mean, what's the fun in that? Isn't it a million times more enjoyable to sit and talk and laugh than it is to stand and mix and pour at the kitchen sink or behind a bar?

Happy Friday...and here's to lounging in the shade or by the to the ones you love...with a delicious summer drink...and lots of laughter and good conversation.

My 3 favorite recipes from the NYT story, Summer Cocktails Made Simpler, published Wednesday (June 22, 2011):

Sit On It, (little) Potsy

I'm dying to get a few of these kids' Adirondack chairs for Sabine. They're outdoor, but I would put them inside, too. So candy-colored and tiny, I can't stand it. What I can stand is the fact that they're on sale for $24.99 at Cost Plus World Market (adult-size chairs, loveseats and rockers are on sale, too).

Capri Breeze



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Stella,

I am writing to you to let you know that I no longer identify with you. I so appreciated bumping into you and the time we spent having adult conversation and using our brains in ways I hadn't used mine since B.S. (before Sabine). I think you are beautiful and wise and successful and so stylish. Your British accent really lent something to our exchanges, too. It made me feel like I'd gone somewhere other than just down the street.

We talked about how difficult having children was--even though you don't have any. It was nice to be able to be completely honest with you, someone who listened and liked that I said these things:

"I would've been just as happy had I not had any children at all."

"I think you can live a beautifully full and satisfying life without having children."

"Everybody tells you how wonderful it is and they don't tell you how awful it can be, too."

Making such statements made you comfortable enough to tell me about the children who ruin your lunch because they are loud or crying. Or about the mothers you see who are on the phone, seemingly ignoring their child. Here's the thing, Stella. The crying or the loud volume, they ruin my lunch, too. But kids cry. And sometimes they are loud, but so are adults. And those mothers on the phone? They are not ignoring their child. Or at least I'm not. I am with Sabine around the clock every single day, giving her practically everything I have. So if she gets upset when I am on the phone, or if I don't answer her right away, that's okay.

I still believe what I told you. You don't have to have children to be happy and satisfied with life. But I think that now I am a kind of happy I would've never been without having Sabine. I am patient with her in ways I never thought I'd be. I have a colossal capacity to soothe her emotionally and physically, and when I do, it feels better than anything I've ever felt. To know that I can give so enormously makes me realize that I was loved in gargantuan amounts (something I was rarely conscious of before becoming a mother).

And to receive the amount of unselfconscious, unconditional and unadulterated affection that Sabine floods me with almost every single day, well, it's a wondrous, warm, magnificent thing. It makes your nerve endings come alive again. I can feel things in ways I haven't felt for a long time.

And because she is so fearless and crashes head first, eyes and arms wide open, into EVERYTHING, life is bigger and blindingly brilliant. Things smell and taste better. Each day, I can't wait to run around with her until we are out of breath and laugh until our sides ache. Laying next to or holding Sabine in my arms feels better, more luxurious than any king-size goose down comforter, or even, two whole weeks at a Four Seasons in some mind-blowing tropical location.

Thank you, again, for the escape and for being a receptacle for my complaining. But I always knew I loved her and that I'd come out of the feels-impossible part and into the still-difficult-but-also-feels-like-dopamine part of parenthood. Well, I'm there now. And I think you are still where you were. So maybe our paths will meet again, but for now, I'm soaking in the splendor and your words and gripes are flying right over my head.

Take care. And don't call me; I'll call you.
Top image via Observando

On the Waterfront

Sabine starts swim lessons tomorrow. I'm so excited to help teach my little guppy to love the water. Here are three new swimsuits she will get to choose from for her big day. Don't you miss the days of not caring what you look like in your swimsuit? I hope Sabine's not-caring days last a lifetime. (I'm perfectly dreading shoving my body into a suit for the occasion. Why hasn't someone designed a neck-to-knee, baggy bathing suit that's totally chic? Sigh.)


J. Crew
Mini Boden

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kicking Down the Door

Sabine and I visit my sister and her little ones every week or so. She has a five-bedroom house and a huge yard so the kids--Sabine's cousins are William (5 years-old) and Isabel and Aubrey (3-year-old twins)--can run around Lord of the Flies style while my sister and I catch up.

I usually stay with the girls while my sister runs to pick William up from school. A few weeks ago while she was out, I was downstairs with Aubrey, while Sabine and Isabel (the naughtiest duo you will ever meet) were playing upstairs. Suddenly, I heard Sabine banging on a door. I ran upstairs and found Isabel sitting at the top of the stairs, her eyes glued to the ground. I asked her to open the door and let Sabine out. She shook her head no. I asked her two more times, explaining that Sabine is still too little to know how to twist the doorknob and open the door by herself. She continued to refuse eye contact and shake her head no. All the while, Sabine's banging on the door was getting more frantic and her "Maaa" was getting louder and more panicked by the second. Finally, I reached for the doorknob and discovered the door was locked. From the inside.

I whipped around and asked Isabel if she locked the door. She wouldn't answer me no matter how many times I asked her. I tried jiggling the doorknob, willing it to somehow pop open. I told Sabine through the door that it was okay, but her hysteria was growing which meant that I quickly became hysterical. Isabel just stood there. Sabine began screaming and crying (very unusual for the intrepid monster) and yelling my name over and over again. I felt my entire body get hot right before I lost it and told Isabel she was in the biggest trouble of her life. She began crying, which inspired Aubrey to start bawling, too.

I ran downstairs to get the phone and call my sister on her cell. I told her what happened and asked her for the key. She sort of casually told me she was pretty sure she'd given me a key a long time ago. I grabbed my keys and tried every one on the ring. None of them worked. Sabine's cry had crawled beneath my skin and was now inside of me. I had no idea what was on the other side of that door and if she was okay. I pictured sharp objects my sister had forgotten to put away or a wall size mirror that had fallen on top of her. My heart was pounding through my chest and I was shaking and considering kicking the door open.

Finally, I told her to come home RIGHT NOW and open the door with her keys. She agreed, but I had no idea how far away she was and Sabine's terror was more than I could bear. I told myself NOT to kick down the door. It was my sister's door...I'd ruin it...Sabine was on the other side of it...I didn't want to hurt her. But then something came over me and I had to get her out of that room and soothe her and know she was okay AT ANY COST. So I kicked down the door.

My sister walked through the front door about two minutes later to find the three girls--and me--exhausted and sitting on the sofa. She thought I was crazy and was m-a-d MAD about the fact that I'd gotten all Bruce Lee on her door, which she pictured to be in utter shambles. But she took lots of deep breaths--remember, she rarely gets rattled--and eventually told me not to worry about it.

When Kadin came home from work that day, I told him the story. He laughed his a$$ off then told me I was crazy and that he didn't understand why I kicked open the door instead of waiting for my sister to come home.

My mother-in-law called that night and Kadin told her the story. She asked how much it was going to cost me to fix or replace the door. I said I didn't need to fix/replace the door. My mother-in-law's response: "That's why Sabine has such an attitude. She gets it from her mother."

THEN this past Sunday, Kadin met my brother-in-law and his brother at a pub for a few beers. They were talking about their respective wives and somewhere in the conversation my brother-in-law noted he thought I was the "passionate" one in the family, that I analyzed things to a greater extent and was more emotional. His brother's response: "Well, she DID kick down the door."

I've always wanted to be a legend. But not really the crazy kind who hysterically kicks down doors.

PS In the end, the door wasn't destroyed. It only needed some glue and a new knob. But now I know my husband, my sister and my brother-in-law think I'm a total nutbar. Oh and that my mother-in-law thinks I have an attitude.

PPS I don't think I'm crazy. I'm pretty sure I'd kick down the door almost every single time--just in case. I hadn't gone into that room recently so I didn't know what was behind the door with Sabine. I would never have forgiven myself if she somehow got hurt and I hadn't kicked down that door. That  trumps fear of looking like the crazy person. Every time.

Tote-ally Cute

I'm super in love with this super adorable tote, otherwise known as Laura's new diaper bag. I like that the casual linen-and-cotton fabric is punctuated by fancy sequin straps. But I especially like the fact that you can just wipe it clean. Gap, $41.99.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Picture This

I've had a few readers tell me that they wish I posted more photographs of all of us (me, Kadin, Sabine). So here are two that you haven't seen. Just because. But also because I don't want to do a product post in tandem with today's other post, A Girl Named Alice. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right.

A Girl Named Alice

You guys, if you're beating yourself up about needing to lose a few pounds...or extra lines on your face...or silver strands popping up on your scalp...or even, for saying the wrong thing (which I do ALL the time) have to read Alice's blog. Here's her profile:

"Hi, I'm 15 years old and live with my parents and sister in Ulverston. I've been fighting cancer for almost 4 years and now I know that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn't look like I'm going to win this one :( I'm hoping to write in here as much as I can and I'm also going to show my bucket list which I'm trying to get done before I have to go. Hopefully, I'll update as I tick each one off the list :)"

Every day, I read a long list of blogs. So may of them revolve around new clothes, beauty, more stuff to decorate your house with. When I found Alice's blog, it completely rocked my world. She's fifteen years-old, dying of cancer and has made a list of things she wants to do before she dies. Her posts detail her experiences and getting to do these things. A few days ago, she wrote about wanting to swim with sharks and adding it to her list. Her post yesterday detailed her flying in a helicopter to Scotland and swimming with sharks!

I promise you that reading her posts will make you laugh and cry. It will make your heart grow two sizes bigger. It will make you want to rip a hole in your pocket and let go of all the petty stuff that eats you up every day for no good reason. And then it will make you want to hug your baby and your husband and every other family member you have because you never know how long you will have them--or they will have you.

Alice Pyne, you are my real-life superhero.

Image via Observando

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father Phenomenon

Another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious holiday is behind us. Father's Day.

I'm torn about the whole thing. On one hand, it's so early in Kadin's career as a dad that I felt I should do something maybe kind of a little bit special (the mister is NOT a fan of holidays). As a parent you are scared straight because you have no experience, no road map and are basically on the most important journey of your life: raising a teeny human being to be a functional, happy, healthy non-serial killer. So that deserves encouragement or some kind of good-job-so-far celebration, right?

Especially when the father we are talking about has his own unusual father story. Maybe said father's father is a Rastafarian who has at least 11 children by six different women and didn't parent but for an occasional phone call every few years. So maybe said father was raised--with plenty of time living in a third world country--by his single, kick-ass mother until the age of seven, when Mr. Wonderful Stepfather came into the picture. But still, seven years is a long time to be fatherless. And then, said father is here today taking care of Sabine in the most so-sweet-and-selfless-your-heart-can-barely-take-it ways (my favorite, and one of many: he gives her a bath and reads her bedtime stories every night). So said father definitely deserves props, no?

On the other hand, it's a Hallmark holiday. And I firmly believe that every day, or at least more than once a year, you should tell your husband or your father thank you, how much you love him and that he's incredible (unless he sucks, of course).

But then what about the rest of the fatherless world? How did Kadin feel on Father's Day before the age of seven, when he almost never heard from his father? I also wonder about everyone else, children and adults, who were or are fatherless. While people are presenting neck ties to, brunching or playing golf with their dads, there are a gazillion people sitting on their couches alone, flipping through bad television and mourning the loss of a father or the fact that they never really had one. Now that can actually break your heart. Well, it can break mine--and definitely theirs.

So I didn't get too crazy on Father's Day. I presented Kadin with his favorite meal (French mussels via takeout, thank you very much) and we ate it evening-picnic style on the sheet-cloaked living-room floor after tiny monster went to bed.

And I thought and thought and had a beautiful breakfast with my own father, who had a father and a stepfather who both left him. Despite this, my father worked and put four children through college; took care of my dying mother by himself for an entire year without a single complaint or show of fatigue; has listened to every one my broken-heart stories and career tribulations; rode me on the bar of his ten-speed bike even though my mother told him not to; has given me endless amounts of encouragement, advice and support; forgave me too quickly when I crashed his car; and anonymously sent roses to me at high school on my eighteenth birthday.

To my father and Kadin, thank you for giving so much of what you never got. This makes you extraordinary and the most tender of superheroes.

And to everyone out there whose father is somewhere else, I thought about you yesterday, which ultimately, is just another day.


My most favorite summertime treat is a mixture of fruit from stands or carts found all over Los Angeles (we love the one in Highland Park on the corner of York and Figueroa). For $5, you get a huge bag filled with fresh, sweet pieces of pineapple, watermelon, mango and coconut seasoned with salt, lime and chile. It is seriously the most delicious, refreshing thing in the entire world.

If you don't live in L.A., you can buy just watermelon (or your favorite fruit), cut it into spears and add salt and fresh lime juice. I do this and call it dessert anytime we have guests over to BBQ (salt and lime on cucumber, or even broccoli, is also a great way to get your little ones to eat veggies).

Images via KCRW

Friday, June 17, 2011

Best in Show

Favorite finds from around the web this week:

The sweetest thing: a homemade cherry-blossom chandelier.

 The most perfect video for Father's Day.

Pretty in pink.

From Brazil With Love: Bebel Gilberto and Tropicalia.

A most beautiful bag with vibrant embroidery.

The best coffee is Cuban (and available at your local grocery for under $6).

Samuel L. Jackson + Go The F*ck to Sleep = a genius combination.

The Sartorialist: the most tender photographs just in time for dad's day.

Lilac + Sparkle = the coolest nail polish look.

An old GQ magazine article--Will You Be My Black Friend?--that is worth resurrecting for the purposes of this blog (also, it was published in November 2008, when Kadin and I got married).

Photograph by Plamen Petkov via GQ

Making Out At The Mall

The other day I saw two grade schoolers making out at an outdoor mall. They were on a bench, behind a planter and every time someone passed by, they'd stop. So I hid behind the mall directory and watched, not because I am a creep, but because they were so little and I couldn't believe my eyes. There was too much tongue. And groping. And the boy even grabbed the back of the girls' head, tugging on her long brown hair a bit. They finally stopped and he hugged her while she lay her head on his shoulder.

All I could think was thank god I am not twelve (they were not older than twelve) and looking down a long road filled with heartache and self doubt and being so sure I am right when I am so embarrassingly wrong every single time.

They actually looked like they meant it. All of the gestures were there. And when they stopped kissing, they didn't fidget awkwardly. Or laugh or snicker. Or babble uncomfortably. Or even, get up and walk away. They embraced--gently, and way too passionately.

And then I thought about Sabine, who not long after, watched three girls (also about twelve years-old) sitting on a bench. She marched away from where she was sitting with me, leaned against the bench and folded her arms. Then she turned around and climbed onto the bench and sat next to the girls, as if she was one of them and with the most satisfied look I've ever seen on her face. She folded her arms again, swung her legs back and forth and smiled a deliciously huge smile.

I tried to retrieve her and she refused. It scared the hell out of me. I may never take her to a mall ever again. Even if it is hot and there's a pop-up water fountain. Because I want the unselfconsciousness that she still has to last forever. I don't want to watch her collect bruises on her ego and on her heart. Even though I most definitely will. Because bump-filled life has many rocky parts that will make her even more beautiful than she already is.

Image via Observando

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby-G Time

B.S. (before Sabine), I never wore a watch. The idea was to live in the moment or not be so caught up with the fact that time is ticking away. 

Now, I have a watch and look at it about a thousand times a day. Because there's feeding time, juice time, nap time, cranky time and all kinds of times that I have to keep track of. The easiest way to do that is with my Baby-G digital watch (sadly, a clock with hands makes me flustered and dyslexic). It's tough, old-school and totally rad.

Mine is black, but I would love to have these colors.

I Don't Speak Spanish

But I understand enough of it.

Today at the park, there were two Mexican nannies, each with one child, and me (with Sabine). They obviously knew each other and were sitting on a nearby low wall in the shade so I sat there, too. One of them looked at me and then at Sabine, and promptly started a conversation. Here's how it went:

Woman (in Spanish): You speak Spanish?

Me: No. My mother did a little, but I don't.

Woman (looking VERY confused): Oh.

Me (feeling a need to explain): My mother is Mexican, my father is Caucasian.

Woman: And you don't speak Spanish?

Me: No

Woman (pointing to Sabine): She is beautiful. Her father is African?

Me: Yes, but he's from the Caribbean. He's West Indian.

Later, the two women had a conversation in Spanish. I understood more than I thought I would. The woman, who had been speaking with me, told the other woman that I was Mexican and that my father was "blanco" but that I didn't speak Spanish and they started laughing. Then she said that my husband was "moreno," which means dark-skinned or black.

I don't know why they were laughing and I was awkward and uneasy listening to them talk about me while sitting next to them. I think they were fascinated and amused by my "mixed up" qualities and habits, but neither of them assumed Sabine was adopted. And they offered her food and drink from their diaper bags and they basked in her abundantly affectionate gestures (she randomly hugs, kisses and holds hands with strangers), which causes most people obvious discomfort.

I asked the woman I'd been talking to if she was Mexican. She said yes and told me she was from Guanajuato. I was suddenly excited and told her that's where my grandfather was from. She perked up and asked if he was from the city or outside of it. I told her I didn't know, that he'd died and my mother, too. She deflated as quickly as she'd enlivened. We left pretty soon after that and I floated home because I felt root-less. Like my Mexican roots were buried before I took the time to really know them. And now I can't unearth them in the way that I'd like to.

When you're ethnically "all mixed up," you identify so broadly. Or at least I do. I've always felt comfortable with all things Caucasian and Mexican, for the most part. I never identified with one and not the other. But when I'm around some people who identify so definitively with one thing, they are inclined to organize or label me and don't know how.

It can be tricky to be a combination of things. I see people who are purely Mexican and purely African American or West Indian or Italian or French and there are steadfast traditions and a purity of culture and confidence and clear or singular identification that comes with that purity. And there's something so simple, so streamlined, so rich about that.

I wish I spoke Spanish and that I knew more about Guanajuato.

But I'm now extra excited about Father's Day so I can ask my dad every question I can think of about being Danish and Scottish and the adventures of my paternal grandparents.

Dreaming of Guanajuato, Mexico
Photograph by j@ni-que via flicker

Photograph via Trek Earth
Photograph via Fine Art America

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mexican Wrestler Masks

In love with, so cool and only $5.95.
Lucha key toppers
at CB2.

The robots are cute, too.

New York State of Mind, A Visual Adventure

How I fell in love with New York:

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum
Photograph (1959) by Ezra Stoller via Architecture Week

Subway Stories
Photograph by Diego

 The Williamsburg Bridge

Photograph via Wikipedia

Photograph via This Recording


Photograph via Wikipedia

Photograph via Sandy Sutherland

The Lower East Side

Photograph by agi500

Katz's Deli

Photograph via Toasted Special

The Brooklyn Bridge

Photograph via hdtd

Double Happiness (closed)

Photograph via New York Magazine

Stinger Club, Brooklyn (closed)

Photograph by Runs with Scissors

Magnolia Bakery
Photograph via Recipe Link

Film Forum

Photograph via IMDB

Central Park

Photograph by Walter Bibikow
Photograph via Red Bubble
Image via Janet Ternoff


Empire State of Mind,  Alicia Keys & Jay Z


New York, New York,  Ryan Adams


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