B-A-C-K, kinda!

Mommy & Me photo
(postpartum graduation)

Soooo, I’m back from a l o n g hiatus. Welllllll, not back back officially, but half-way back. Little by little, piece by piece, day by day, step by step I am feeling closer to home i.e. self.

Since we last spoke, I did a thing x 2. We officially committed to doing life together (me and my love) AND we created a new life together (mind you, my body did ALL the heavy lifting–figuratively and literally). And, now that you have connected those dots, yes, we planned an intimate micro wedding and I grew and safely delivered a healthy nine pound baby boy; our R e i g n b e a u. Proof there is happiness after the storm. 

This time, I felt really inside out when I was expecting. That same feeling when your shirt is on inside out, but on steroids. There was major discomfort, my body signed up for every pregnancy symptom that you could Google, and there was no one around who could truly share in my experience (which was a lonely place to be). I am beyond grateful for a natural pregnancy AND it was a tough one. I am learning that it is acceptable to use “yes, and” language. I never took maternity photos, because I didn’t feel like myself, so far from home. Plus, I don’t believe in following rules and/or customs simply because everyone else did it or is doing it. This mommy and me photo is me clapping loudly f o r the place I am standing in now, f o r the nine months of unbearable growing pains, f o r withstanding natural labor pains at the hands of an voluntary past my due date induction, f o r the months and months of around the clock extreme dedication to breastfeeding, f o r reclaiming my old body and accepting the new, f o r giving up sleep for the last nine months; I am/we are the G.O.A.T.

There are so many branches to my growth in 2021; I am stuffed and overflowing with new experiences to reflect on and share. So, let’s see how this goes! I’m recommitting to this space and welcoming myself back. Back to doing more things that fill me up and make me more whole inside. 

So that’s the short version of how M Y S Y D N E Y J A M E S has expanded; my world now includes a new heartbeat and a forever partner. Before I run off to manage all the things and tiny humans, I’ll gift you (for now) with this clip that continues to resonate with me in this new chapter. 

Talk soon,

Amber (with a new last name)

My Top 10 Places to Dine in La La Land

My Top 10 Places to Dine in La La Land

One thing this mama looks forward to is spending one night a week away from it all. What is the “all” I’m referring to? I’ll highlight a few: the million times I’m expected to stop in my tracks when the word “mom” is echoed through the house to fix a problem, the no privacy clause I unknowingly signed in the delivery room, and the mere chaos of getting to and from after school activities—times two kids). By Friday, I am B-E-A-T– physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. So, I kindly force myself to get away (in close proximity) and spend time alone with my thoughts. No tiny humans around to crank me up. Just good vibes: a chill sassy ambiance, light snacks or a heavier meal, a refreshing adult beverage, my bestie (always a special treat), a smooth tennis-like conversation (broken up with feel good laugher) that has a 99.9% focus on adult (non-parental) topics, so I can crank back down and feel balanced…like me; back whole again.    

I always keep my ears and eyes peeled for fresh new spots while I remain loyal to my day 1’s. I enjoy being a tourist in my own city and exploring uncharted territory. If you are planning a visit and would appreciate the ease of having the research done for you (or if you’re a local and would still appreciate the ease of having the research done for you), here are my go-to gems for an evening of kid-free bliss in the Los Angeles area (in no particular order).

*FYI–This post was written B.C. (before Covid19). Let this serve as a reminder and tribute to all the businesses that were/are negatively impacted along with hope for a stronger future.

1. DELILAH. An oldie but a forever goodie. A present-day supper club with vintage ’20s vibes and American entrees. No photography allowed.

7969 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046

2. MEROIS. Wolfgang Puck’s curation of Asian + French cuisines. On a rooftop with brilliant views of Los Angeles. The menu is pricey, but this is self-care for the soul.

8430 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069

3. ACE HOTEL. Indoor restaurant + rooftop bar (my preference). Small bites. DJ spinning the god stuff on the weekends. All-day menu.

929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015

4. HARRIET’S. Panoramic sights. Chill above LA’s noise for an evening. The food is good, but the ambiance is even better.

1 Hotel West Hollywood, 88490 Sunset Boulevard

5. MAMA SHELTER. Homemade local food + live music + fun decor. Sign me up!

6500 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

6. E.P. & L.P. Another rooftop or restaurant, take your pick. Again, it’s the rooftop for me with the snack menu and cocktail by the glass or pitcher. “Where love lives.”

603 N. La Cienega Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069

7. THE BUTCHER, THE BAKER, THE CAPPUCCINO MAKER (a.k.a. BBCM). Seasonal and farm-fresh delights. European flare with a Hollywood crowd. The portions are generous and the specialty coffee beverages are memorable.

8653 West Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069

8. TOCA MADERA. A Modern Mexican menu. Beautifully designed space. Tuneful upbeat music to greet you at the door. Be sure to get dressed for the experience.

8450 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 900048

9. CECCIONI’S. Italian eats. When you are feeling fancy + free to drop those dollars. This gem is tucked away from the street and intimate for a night out with the girls or your love.

8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069

10. CARA HOTEL. Another seasonal, farm-to table dinning experience with a sparkling pool view, 100 year old olive trees, and California palms.

1730 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

*POPPY & ROSE. #blackowned. Food that comforts. Wholesome, southern roots, picnic-like brunch spot. Conveniently located across the street from the Flower Mart (making this an easy two-in- one outing).

765 Wall St., Los Angeles, CA 90014

*an added bonus

The Genesis

The Genesis

I am…an all-girl high school graduate, empowered to project my voice within a world of male dominance. “Aspire to be a doctor, lawyer, or entrepenuer,” they drilled into me. “Women can achieve the same success as men.” So, I became a feminist. Not a mis’andrist but simply a feminist. I am an advocate for social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

After escaping the bubble wrap I was enveloped in and heading off to college, ready to run the world, I decided to reinvent myself. Well, not so much of a reinvention but more like a remix. Why not? I was still exploring the depths of myself and there was so much more unclaimed territory. At this time, naive and I were the best of friends. I only saw the good in people and managed to dodge more dark clouds than most. I was a bubbly eighteen-year-old, floating down life’s runway.

Itching to express my creativity and passion for film, I strutted into Norris Theater with my coffee colored, vintage Gucci backpack and felt fitted. I studied the phenomenal works of Micheaux, Hitchcock, and Coppola, to name a few. Soon, I found myself entranced with the powers of a camera and a well-executed script. I would from that point on, proudly wear my appreciation and fascination with cinema-television, everywhere life would take me. Perhaps a doctor, lawyer or entrepenuer were better suited for my other cohorts. I preferred to project my voice through my analysis and self-expression of art, whether it be film, television, fashion, music, or beauty. I am a storyteller (through various outlets), lover of fashion not style, music is my therapist, and I fancy the thought of cutting edge makeup to enhance my personal canvas.

Three years later, upon commencement, I was soon forced to add more to this remix. I unexpectedly toddled into parenthood feeling concerned, young, and completely unprepared. Being a “mommy” just wasn’t mentioned in college, or any of my private high school classes and I’m pretty sure that agreement was written in the fine print below the price of tutition. With a great support system and thirteen years of experience under my multicolored leather Louis Vuitton belt, I am a proud mom of two of the sweetest mini people I have ever met.

So, what’s the next part of the remix? How do I combine who I am…an educated, creative, soul who my kids refer to as mom, and further explore the rest of who I am meant to be, without neglecting any of the above? At this point, I’m still working on an answer. However, having a place to voice my ideas, frustrations, concerns and daily rewards along the way, is one reason this blog was born. I’m not looking for approval from anyone; just a place to continue expressing who I am and where I am going. You coming?