Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Din Din a Go Go

Last night we hopped on over to Din Din a Go Go because I didn't feel like cooking. It's a weekly food truck fest in the parking lot where Figueroa meets York in Highland Park. It's become an event where hipsters, families and more than a few dog owners come to eat and look too cool.

The food trucks included Ahn-Joo, the popular Korean snack bar on wheels, Lomo Arigato, serving Peruvian-Japanese fusion, The Dim Sum Truck and the Filipino Tapa Boy. There was Vietnamese food, gourmet burgers and mac 'n cheese, waffles slathered in exotic ice cream flavors, vegan hot dogs, and even, a truck that sneakers.

Sabine got sliders atop Rosemary popcorn; I got a Vietnamese dish with tofu, peanuts, noodles and greens; and Kadin got a pork Bánh mì.

I wanted to stay and stare at all the fashion-wearing hipsters but I was freezing.

The food was quick, affordable and delicious. But the best part was the change of scenery, if only for a little while. We need to get out more.

via The East Sider LA

DVF for Gap

Diane von Furstenberg has designed a children's collection for Gap. The brightly colored graphic pieces will be available beginning March 15.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weekend Review

How was your weekend? I went away for the first time since I had Sabine, leaving tiny monster and husband alone together for an overnight. My friends planned a short getaway to Santa Barbara in honor of my birthday. It was incredible to be able to sit, talk, snack, walk, swim, sleep, eat, drive--do anything and everything--without a little one tugging at your pant leg or tagging along.

If you've ever been to Santa Barbara, then you know it's dream like. The Pacific sparkles a little more there because the light is so perfectly golden. The sky is more blue; the air is clean and smells like the sea wherever you go; the town is flanked by ocean and mountains; it's wonderfully cool and sunny at the same time; and every time you turn a corner, there are bursts of brilliant fuchsia Bougainvillea that hug Spanish-style buildings with bright white stucco walls and red tile roofs.

We stayed in a house on the mountain side of town. The patios had views of the ocean and the entire landscape. In the backyard, there was a hot tub tucked into the trees and surround by low, hand-stacked stone walls that looked like old-world sculpture. We sat and watched the sunset and talked and laughed and ate funky cheese and drank wine (only one glass for me). In a way, it felt like we were in college again and didn't have babies.

Until I woke up the next morning. I couldn't sleep in even though I had every opportunity to sleep. I looked at my watch and wondered if Sabine and Kadin were awake yet. I missed them. It was too early so I paced a little until I knew they'd be awake. When Sabine got on the phone, she sounded fine. She was excited about a birthday party she was going to that day. But when Kadin got on the phone, he sounded exhausted. He told me that when tiny monster woke up from her nap the day before, she sobbed for almost two hours straight and asked for me over and over again. He said it reminded him of her newborn days, when she was inconsolable. He walked around the apartment with her, holding her and rubbing her back. She finally stopped crying when he gave her a bath then took her to a friend's house for dinner. There were a handful of other children there and cats for her to play with so she was well distracted. But when they came home, she cried again. She refused to put her pajamas on or go to bed. She kept crying and telling him she was too scared. So he laid her in her clothes in our bed with her favorite TV show on until she fell asleep. It was close to midnight when he woke up and transferred her to her crib and then finally ate some dinner.

I felt heartbroken at the thought of Sabine being so distraught. But once I was home and playing with her, I saw that she kept picking up her stuffed animals, walking around the living room with them, rubbing their backs and saying, "shhh." I understood then that that's what her dad had done with her. And that they needed a chance to be alone together so that he could figure out how or be the one to comfort her. No matter how bumpy the road was without me, they needed to be on it together so they could learn to navigate it. And I needed to let go a little bit in order to give them that opportunity.

2012 Oscars Fashion

My three favorites.

Kristin Wiig in J. Mendel

Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood

Glenn Close in Zac Posen

Images via Harper's Bazaar

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Perfect Day

Cuddles and kisses in my bed with husband, Sabine and Sesame Street.

Sunny morning and watching Sabine play at the park.

Surprise visit from close friend, who brings adorable gift and the sweetest card I've ever read.

Tacos (from La Estrella taco truck) and mangos for lunch.

A long afternoon nap by myself while Sabine is fast asleep in her crib.

Take Sabine outside to play with neighborhood kids right when the sunlight is quieting down and casting the most perfect golden glow that makes everything shine and life seem idyllic.

Drive to pick up dada from work while watching Sabine close her eyes and sing along to Prince in the backseat.

The yummiest and most fun sushi dinner with husband and Sabine.

Cake, "happy birthday to you," blowing out candles and opening presents while Sabine jumps up and down and smiles so much you would think it was her birthday.

A surprise knock at the door from our favorite neighbors bearing more gifts and cards.

More family cuddles and kisses in mama and dada's bed before story time and sleep.

It was kind of like a day like any other, my fortieth birthday. Lucky, lucky me. I am so grateful.

via Observando


Have you seen this website? It's called Two Kools. Pretty cute.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good News

Whenever I write about being part of a mixed race or interracial family, it's usually detailing or exploring or discussing some negative experience or emotion. It's new to me and I never, ever thought twice about entering into my marriage or relationship or how others might perceive us--because I've never seen it as unusual or curious.

But today I thought I'd post something positive on the subject. It's a quick read. And a beautifully human, thoughtful and hopeful one, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Americans Say Interracial Marriage Is a Good Thing

. . .Why? Because a society that’s not just tolerant, but welcoming, of differences — differences between spouses, differences among children and parents, differences at work, at school and on the playground — is a society that’s easier for everyone to live in. Most of us will be in the minority at some point, whether it’s because of race, sex, gender or something else.
As we edge away from being a country that judges first and fast on physical characteristics alone, we become, I hope, a less judgmental culture overall. And less judgement could mean a lot of things for our children: less bullying, fewer assumptions about their interests and abilities based on their appearance and gender and less need to fit all the little round and square pegs into all the right holes.
I know, that’s a big leap to take from one report on intermarriages. We’re not yet a “post-racial” society. We’re not even “post” favoring-the-tall-over-the-short. But good news is good news, and good news about our inexplicable inclination, in these (mostly) post-tribal warfare times, to judge others based on the color of their skin is always welcome.
 *Click HERE to read the entire New York Times story (Style: Motherlode).

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm old. I don't know how it happened. Time just flew. I don't like it when time flies because I don't want to run out of it. And I don't want to age and feel tired or immobile or sick or incapable as time continues to fly by. I want to be awake and alive and filled with energy for as long as I possibly can so I can soak up as many days with my little family as I possibly can. I want my giggles and tickles and cuddles and long kisses and embraces and I love you's to last forever because I know what it's like to not have any. I wish I could freeze things right where they are right now. (Except I would rewind a little and bring back my mom--she's the one thing that's missing...and the person who gave me life some years ago on this day exactly.)

via Pinterest

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lord of the Flies

Okay so yesterday I took tiny monster to music class. This kid loves music class. And by "class" I mean a big circle in an auditorium filled with hippie moms and their babies or toddlers sitting on yoga mats and singing along to hippie songs--led by a tiny woman, with a big voice, who plays in a local L.A. band. Everyone sings along and plays drums, tambourines or shakes maracas.

The minute we enter the auditorium, Sabine turns into a little groupie. She's in love with the tiny teacher/singer and sits on her lap, clutches her leg and copies every move she makes. It's almost embarrassing (especially coming from little miss independent).

So during this particular class, the teacher is singing one of Sabine's favorite songs about mother earth or something. It's a song with lots of hand motions. My tiny monster-turned-stalker is sitting across the very large circle from me next to or practically on top of the teacher. She's totally concentrating and all into it, trying not to miss a single hand movement, when the toddler who is sitting in a mom's lap next to her starts throwing a writhing-on-the-floor kind of tantrum for one reason or another. Sabine keeps looking over at her and is clearly irritated by the fact that she's interrupting the song and her concentration. Before I know it, my tiny monster/groupie/stalker stands up and puts her tiny purple Adidas sneaker on the side of the head of the toddler, who is on her side on the floor, with her cheek resting on the hardwood. Sabine looked like she was about to put pressure on the kid's skull with her foot to shut her up, kinda like what a gangster does to make someone talk. But luckily, I flew my almost seven months pregnant ass across the room before any damage could be done.

It was totally punk rock--at a peaceful, hippie song circle. I almost died. When did Sabine go all mobster on me? I told you, she takes her music very seriously.


I don't care what you say, I kinda like it. Although, for me, it has to be displayed in shoes, a bag or jewelry only since my own personal style looks more LIKE THIS.

The Bright Stuff: Available at Bloomingdale's

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Breaking Up and Coming Together, Part III

You can read part I by clicking HERE, and part II by clicking HERE. Kadin, Silent Bob and I are sitting in the movie theater watching The Good Shepard, which was quite possibly the most boring movie I've ever seen. Now remember this, in my mind, it was a non-date since Kadin brought Silent Bob along. I mean, who does that? But Kadin kept leaning in to me so that we were shoulder to shoulder in a way that was not a non-date, but more of a date. And he kept smiling and touching me. And here's the other thing, he kept talking during the movie. Out loud. This is one of my pet peeves since I take my movie-going very seriously. To this day, Kadin still talks out loud during movies. I swear the man has no idea how to whisper.

So at this point I'm thinking, he brought this guy with him but is suddenly touchy feely. What exactly does he want from me? But more importantly, what do I want from him? The answer was still friendship because he was five years younger and way too conventionally good looking to have a heart and a brain.

The movie finally ended and Kadin and Silent Bob and I went our separate ways.

The next time I saw Kadin was when he called instead of emailing or texting to ask if I wanted to see a movie that was part of the Pan African film festival. Since I love a film festival and had never been to this one, I immediately accepted and thought about how nice it was to be hanging out with someone who wanted to explore all the different things L.A. has to offer vs. staying mostly in your own neighborhood. He mentioned the name of the movie during our conversation, so once we hung up, I Googled/researched (don't you love how these days you can say you laboriously researched something when in fact all you did was plug it into Google?) Turns out it was a documentary about African influence, culture and traditions in Mexico; how Africans and Mexicans came together and created a sort of combination culture.

I remember calling my best friend and asking her if I was crazy or reading too much into things by thinking Kadin was being suggestive by choosing this film specifically (since he's black and I'm half Mexican). And then Kadin called to insist that he pick me up even though the movie was showing at a half-way point between our two houses. I refused because driving in L.A. can be a nightmare and I didn't want him driving an entire hour out of his way. But the fact that he wanted to pick me up as well as the fact that he showed up to the movie theater all dressed up in a blazer and dress shoes as opposed to sneakers and a hoodie, made our meeting seem unquestionably date like.

As a result, I was less relaxed than the last few times we'd hung out. But after-movie drinks at a nearby bar took care of that. We sat and talked and drank and talked and drank some more. I remember a New Edition song came on and Kadin started dancing and singing (like Sabine, he does this whenever he hears a song he likes regardless of where he is or who is around). I self consciously stayed glued to my bar stool but smiled a lot and thought about how much I liked how unselfconscious or lost in the moment or fee he was to be himself.

The next time we went out, I asked him to go see an exhibit at LACMA. We pretty much just stuck to looking at art. There was a lot less interaction because the museum was packed and we kept separating and coming back together in different exhibit rooms. But when we left, he walked me to my car, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek before walking to his own car and driving away. This launched a thousand butterflies to overtake my belly and I became suddenly and profoundly aware that the non-dating was over and we were officially dating. This realization or line crossing felt like I had put on my oldest, most comfortable, softest t-shirt. It felt like home, but a really exciting one with all kinds of new but cozy rooms and things to see and learn and feel and explore and think about.

I swear I skipped home that night. I was filled with that starry-eyed feeling; that feeling of feeling desired, confident, happy, not lonely and on the edge of some kind of beautiful fireworks display that could change my life, my perspective forever.

The next time I would see Kadin would be on a road trip from L.A. to San Francisco with the friend who had introduced us. Previously undisclosed information: This friend is someone Kadin went to college with and someone that I briefly--but very hotly and heavily dated--just before I moved back to L.A. from New York.

So picture this: a seven-hour drive in a four-door along the California coast with a close friend/sort-of ex-boyfriend and his college friend, who you've been dating. And the close friend/sort-of ex-boyfriend has no idea that there's any kind of romantic connection whatsoever between you and his college friend... be continued...

via Observando

London Fashion Week: Street Style

I'm not all that into fashion week (in any city) and think that the street style photos you find around the web during this time are twenty times more interesting than what you see on the runway.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Toddler and Her Tiara

So as I've written before, I'm not super into promoting the whole princess concept to Sabine. I don't want her waiting around for some guy to rescue her some day or feeling like she has to have big boobs, a tiny waist and sport fluffy dresses and high heels to feel good about herself.

But at this point, she likes the sparkle and the fluff that the princess gear offers. She has no idea about prettiness or having the right body or being rescued by anyone other than mama or dada. So I'm letting her get her princess on--as long as she doesn't really understand it and continues to love bugs, dragons, Iron Man, monsters and soccer as much as she likes the pink stuff.

Favorite Things

Right now, it's stripes and coffee (I know, I know, I'm pregnant but one cup a day is okay--can't wait til I can mainline it again.)

via The Beauty File

Friday, February 17, 2012

Change of Heart

Okay this is officially the last time I will talk about or refer to Valentine's Day, I swear.

The thing is, I've never even liked Valentine's Day. When I was endlessly and hopelessly single for so many years, I hated it because it high-lighted my lonely, cat-lady status.

And when I found myself in a relationship, it always felt so commercial, so forced, so cheesy. Shouldn't love and "I love you" and some show of affection be part of your daily life with your partner? Why get all pink and red and give roses and dine somewhere with a prixe fix menu just because society tells you to? Isn't every couple different? And what if you aren't feeling especially love-filled on this day, but did the day before or the day after?

But then I got married. And had Sabine.

Kadin, who also usually doesn't appreciate the commercial side of things or like to do what everyone else likes to do or says he should do, surprisingly likes to get his Valentine's Day on. I went along with it for the first few years that we were married. We did things like make and eat dinner by candlelight together at home. He would bring me flowers and I would buy him a cupcake or write something for him. Our V Days (we've had only four together) have always been understated, but never ignored.

But this year, I felt like ignoring the holiday completely because a)Kadin was so romantic, sweet and generous over Christmas that I really didn't want him to buy me anything else. His gifts were personal, thoughtful and abundant and I've been feeling plenty loved by him; b)my birthday is this month and it's a big one. He'll feel enough pressure to do something special in only two weeks.

So the day before Valentine's Day, I sent Kadin a text while he was at work that read "Let's not do any Valentine crap/stuff this year, okay?" He agreed and planned to play basketball on Valentine's Day after work like he does every Tuesday. But when he arrived home that night, he presented Sabine and I with a bunch of lilies and irises as well as my most favorite peanut butter cookies and said, "These are for the ladies in my life."

And for him, Sabine and I had spontaneously made a handcrafted Valentine that displayed abstract crayon scribbles and sparkly heart and star stickers that Sabine lovingly and carefully placed. I spelled out "Happy Valentine's Day" and We love you." Sabine was beside herself with pride and excitement. When Kadin walked through the door she exploded with joy and ran to give him the "picture" she'd made for him. She jumped on him and said, "Happy balentine you, dada!" It was pretty much the sweetest thing I'd ever seen.

That girl loves a holiday. I think she told me she loved me eighty times that day and gave me about a million kisses.

Later that night, I got an email from my sister with an attachment. It was a Valentine that her six year old had made in his kindergarten class for her. It was in the shape of a heart and read: My favorite thing to eat is: wotrmeln (watermelon). My favorite place to visit is dizyneeland (Disneyland). I love my: family. And I love: mama.

She cried when she saw it. So did I. Then I thought about Sabine and Kadin and their sweetness. And I decided that I'm a Valentine grinch--a former Valentine grinch because how can you deny a day where the people you love most express exactly how much they love you because they really, honestly love you for exactly who you are and just because? You can't. Because something this simple and pure and beautiful should never be ignored. I waited for what felt like too long for it. And because anyone can lose something or everything in the blink of an eye, I never know how long I will have it.

The Red Balloon

The other day my niece had a red balloon that she accidentally let go of. We watched it float away over treetops and into endless blue sky. She was on the verge of tears as she watched it slip away. But then I remembered the story of The Red Balloon. So I told her that it was okay because the balloon was flying away to have its own adventures. It would meet all kinds of animals and new people and visit foreign countries and have the time of its life. It might fly over Disneyland and the zoo or maybe Japan or Africa. She just smiled at me, looked up at the sky and soon enough, she happily started climbing and digging in the dirt again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black & White and Read All Over

Have you guys heard/read this story? It was all over the news yesterday morning:
White Grandfather Detained While Walking With Black Granddaughter: Scott Henson Cuffed By Texas Police
A crime and politics blogger living in Austin, Texas, claims he was cuffed and detained by police for simply walking home with his five-year-old granddaughter.
The reason this happened, he says, is because he is white and she is HERE to read the rest of the Huffington Post story...

And here is Scott Henson's own telling of the story as it appears on his blog (about the criminal justice system), Grits for Breakfast:

Me, APD, and 'Babysitting While White,' Part Deux

A few years back Grits posed the question, "Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?" after my granddaughter and I were detained and questioned at length in my neighborhood on suspicion of some nefarious deed (it was never quite clear what). In that incident, the police were pretty clear I was stopped solely because Ty, like her mother (who came to live with my wife and me when she was a child) is black, while I'm an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck. At the time, Grits was amazed that three squad cars were dispatched to question me for walking down the street with a child of a different race, detaining me for no good reason and scaring the bejeezus out of then-two-year old HERE to read the entire post...

I'm not sure how I feel about the incident. On one hand, I can understand why the police approached the grandfather and his granddaughter (if an older Caucasian man kidnapped Sabine and every older white man with a young, black girl seen nearby was detained, I would not be disappointed). On the other hand, I think the police handled themselves and the situation ridiculously. But the police, in most cities it seems, aren't known for their finesse, fair-mindedness or appropriateness.

All I know is that it sucks to think that a five year old had to have this experience when she was simply walking down the street with her grandpa. I think the blog description Scott Henson (the grandfather) wrote detailing what happened is much more thorough and informative than the Huffington Post article. I promise you that this little girl will never forget the chaos and fear she experienced that day or the fact that her grandfather was painted and treated so negatively. Her grandfather, even though it was temporary, was assumed to be a criminal or a pervert simply because the police were looking for a difference in skin color.

Again, it makes some sense that the police approached the pair. It doesn't make sense that they handled it the way they did. And it doesn't make sense that no matter how close this girl and her grandpa are; no matter how much natural and unconditional love they have between the two of them, their difference in appearance--and therefore their relationship--will be the first thing people notice, a curiosity, and something that will be questioned for a longtime to come.

More Sweet Stuff

Okay, for some reason, I can't stop with the hearts (I know, Valentine's Day is over--it's a day, not a week).

Marc Jacobs heart earrings, from SHOPSTYLE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking Up and Coming Together, Part II

(You can read Part I by clicking HERE.)

...When Kadin came back the next day, it was for a summer BBQ we were having at some friends' house down the street from my apartment. I can remember that he made the most amazing prosciutto-stuffed clams and that he sat next to me. I remember having debates and discussions with everyone at the dinner party and that Kadin and I were on the same team or trying to make the same point almost every time. I remember thinking he was smart and intense (I'd been described as "too intense" by an ex-boyfriend before he walked out the door about a year prior). And by "intense," I mean he was thoughtful, expressive and spoke with conviction.

I remember that he leaned in close when he said goodbye that night and it terrified me because I was afraid of getting hurt again.

We didn't contact or see each other until the following winter. I remember being disappointed that I hadn't heard from him, even though I made it clear I was only interested in friendship. I wondered why he hadn't called to just hang out. In that time, his grandmother had died and he'd been involved with someone from his past. I traveled alone constantly for work and pleasure (Paris, London, Berlin, Bologna, Milan) and I planned a long-awaited trip to Peru, where I would volunteer at an orphanage for some two weeks and hike Machu Picchu. I stopped thinking about our obvious connection and instead connected to all of the places that I traveled to. I became steadfast in my resolve to be single, a single mother and perhaps a not so lonely old cat lady (even though I'm severely allergic to cats).

Sometime around Christmas, I got a call or an email from Kadin asking if I wanted to meet for a drink on Christmas eve. He was going to stay in L.A. for the holiday but I, of course, was spending it with my family since I was from L.A. I didn't feel comfortable inviting him to come with me to what might be another dramatic but never boring Mauk family holiday gathering, but asked him if he was willing to do it Christmas night instead.

We met at a bar called HMS Bounty in Koreatown. It was dark, wood-paneled and filled with geriatric regulars and hipsters drinking whiskey. I was nervous until we sat down and started talking. We told each other a ton of dating stories--we had comparable unbelievable and embarrassing stories. The   exchange of dating details definitely kept things in the friendship court on this night, but I was hyper aware, again, of how easy and comfortable and automatic it was to be with him.

When we'd had enough to drink, Kadin walked me to my car (he was also always opening doors for me--a totally foreign concept). There was no closeness or lean in or even a hug. He just sort of waved goodbye then asked me what I was doing for New Years Eve. We both had plans, but mentioned that we'd be doing nothing on New Year's Day. At this point, the fact that he was continuing to make plans with me, but wasn't acting romantic in any way or making any moves had me in a complete tailspin as to what his current motivations were. It also had me suddenly wanting him to want me even though I said I wanted only friendship.

He called me again on New Year's Day. It was about three or so in the afternoon and I was hung over, on the couch and makeup-free in my pajamas. In fact, he didn't call. He rang the buzzer at the front door of my apartment building. He'd decided to just show up. With a friend. A really weird friend who I still like to refer to as Silent Bob. He asked if they could come upstairs and I asked if I could meet them at the coffee shop down the street in ten so I could pull myself together.

I remember having butterflies as I approached and saw Kadin. He was wearing shorts, a hoodie, a scarf and flip-flops. It was freezing. Silent Bob was silent and did not make eye contact almost the whole time, making it awkward as well as seemingly obvious that this, again, was not a date. We chatted over tea for awhile and eventually decided to go see a movie... be continued...

Oh So Charming

Some ridiculously cute necklaces that remind me of vintage Carrie Bradshaw and New York's Lower East Side before the fancy restaurants and bars moved in, when the bodegas and Puerto Rican restaurants and clubs made it cool. 

I want one. A lot.

Bauble Bar, $62

Taigan, $840

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whole Lotta Love

Love Ever After, photographs by Lauren Fleishman, is a project that shares the love stories of couples married more than fifty years. So sweet.
Happy Valentine's Day.

via Rockstar Diaries

No Bake Valentine Treats

My favorite way to cook/bake: Not at all! If you're team low maintenance, too, but still want to do something fun that's not store bought, check out these no-bake recipes from Luxe Finds. Genius.


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