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

Manifest That Sh**!

Photo credit: @msydneyjames

MANTRAS FOR CREATING THE LIFE YOU WANT.

  1. Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.
  2. Excellence does not = perfection.
  3. Don’t forget to play; adults are just kids with bigger fish to fry.
  4. Prioritize the relationship with yourself (a.k.a. self-care).
  5. Trust the timing of your life.
  6. The rules are fake. Do what brings you joy. We only get one ah-mazing life to live. Make it beautiful. Make it yours.
  7. Have gratitude for: epiphanies. nudges. reminders. signs. May you be in the space to continuously receive them.
  8. In the words of SZA, kill the urge to be chosen. CHOOSE YOURSELF.
  9. We often say “my failed marriage” or “my failed relationship.” Relationships don’t fail–they end. Someone taught us that endings were failures. –Mark Groves
  10. Your love is the highest honor. Remember that!

*B O N U S: Sometimes you just have to be done. Not mad, not upset. Just done.

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny.”

David McKay

In photo: China @versace; lip gloss @winkylux; flowers @traderjoes

Boarding Flight #2021

Taking off into the new year with lite baggage; a carry-on of all the good stuff from 2020. Within this bag a metallic silver lining of recovery, discovery, nourishment, readiness, and partnership. All the stitches necessary to catapult me into the next redesign of me. My inner self is flying into this new year feeling lighter, purposeful in every step I take, beaming with steadfast joy at the abundance of blessings I have been given this year, the lioness strength to tackle anything that sits in the way of my personal growth and fulfillment, and the realization that a global pandemic can’t stop the inevitable from forming; the greatest love I have ever known.

Self-Taught Lessons from #2020

I. We all must forge a timeless subscription to choiceful solitude. To both my single and coupled ladies, never stop spending quality time with yourself and never lose the talent of being alone; those vital moments of introspection. It is so easy to get lost in the 𝘄𝗲 that you  so easily forget to focus on 𝘆𝗼𝘂…and your individual path. There is something freeing about considering yourself and what makes you fulfilled. Wholeness. “Me time,” you are essential!

II. Luxurious and effective skincare does not have to cost your liver and the price of a Gucci bag. There are a new class of options, Versed and Cocokind, that will get the job done and bypass shoppers guilt.

III. Just because you are changing doesn’t mean everything and everyone around you is experiencing the same metamorphic and/or in the same way. Cut off the joy-stealers, but be patient with those you love. Specifically, blending a family is a unique process for every individual involved. If the adults don’t work together for the kids, nobody wins. 

IV. Don’t take for granted connection, family, your village. Showing up for others comes in many different facets,  but we all rely on our personal sphere of influence as medicine to the soul. The laughter, in-depth convos, and stress-free interactions keep us grounded and focused on living our truth with those who see us when we may be blind to our own growth.

Remember all the things we’ve done this year when the world froze. We stopped waiting for the weekend, that day off, that vacation, that opportunity, that relationship, and just made the best out of being present. We learned a new way of being. We kept growing (even when we didn’t realize it). We kept loving ourselves and others (even when we didn’t realize it). All done from home plate.

Let’s board this new trip around the sun with last year’s takeaways and the space to create more vim and vigor. #goodbaggage

The Real…#couchtalk01

Sooooooo, set your purse down, grab some soup of the day (champagne), and join me over here on my e-couch. It’s been waaay too long and we desperately need to catch UP!

As you know, my IG niche is lifestyle with a big emphasis on female empowerment, self-care, and motherhood. Why? Because I am THE person who easily neglects s e l f to care for others, i.e. family. IG is essentially a platform that functions as a stage to share, but also as my own self-reflective mini therapy sessions. Go figure…its free and fun…why not!? 

Recently, I stumbled upon an article, What To Do About Toxic Positivity—The Worst Type Of Advice We Give & Get by Jenn Selby. I must say the guilt immediately flooded my thoughts after reading the final sentence. So, let’s get real with each other. Let me fill you in with the nuts and bolts instead of a Bryant Gumbel play-by-play of Selby’s article. Bascially, Instagram is saturated with positivity: quotes, inspiring messages, motivational memes, cute cat videos, etc. While it’s lovely to know the sun will come out tomorrow, being so stinkin’ positive isn’t necessarily the most beneficial way to be of service to others. Sweeping negative emotions under life’s rug to focus on the good, stops people from expressing their truth. Selby calls it “toxic positivity.” I call it, my adult life. Probably, one of the main reasons I should see an actual therapist…but I digress.

The typical canned responses: “It could be worse,” “There’s something better on the way,” “But, what’s the silver lining here?” can make those cheerleaders sound unrealistic, disingenuous, and (insert any word that physically equates to an eye-roll). Hold on. I know what you’re over there thinking. Yes, these responses are all apart of my repertoire of friend language! (But, excuse me…let’s revisit our friendly reminder—this is a no judgment zone). Back to the recap. According to the experts, this type of harmless cheerleading makes people dread sharing their newest hiccups with you. Instead, they’d rather keep it to themselves, bottled up inside, which simply breeds all things bad for the mental health of human beings. 

Nobody can rid anybody of their problems with happy talk. Instead, offer folks a space to validate their feelings, normalize their problems, and just listen (zip.it.com). People are seeking help and support, they usually aren’t waiting for you to sprinkle positivity dust to rid them of their problems. We have to honor both our good and bad feelings and just sit with it. The bad ones give us vital information such as how to assess our safety, if we should challenge ourselves to accomplish something new, or if we should pause and focus on the now. Use those negative emotions to grow coping skills and resiliency for those future imminent low points that are an unavoidable part of daily life. 

What did I learn from Selby’s article? I will be adding more to my IG to acknowledge all feelings, be a resource, and communicate with more empathy. I can’t solve your problems, but I can offer similar experiences or feelings by highlighting my own and providing validation that your negative thoughts are OK.

When you know better, you do better. Stay tuned, IG tribe! #alwaysgrowing

*P.S. Check out this animated video by Brené Brown. Empathy goes a long way when someone is feeling “stuck in a hole.”