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

ATTENTION: Repelling all 2020 Joy-Stealers + How

1 global pandemic + 1 narcissist (disguised as a co-parent) + remote learning with 2 kids = my 2020 leading line up of legit hardcore joy-stealers. However, there is one that takes the cake and still has the nerve to demand more; pure gluttony (fitting). Wait. Before I continue, perhaps you too have a joy-stealer in your life, lurking behind and waiting for the moment to crush all of your micro, small, and big joys. They are made of “gossip, criticism, complaining, faultfinding, a negative judgmental attitude,” and nothing nice. They may also throw epithets better than the old Tyson. Enter said person; who thrives on deflating any ion of happiness that may exist in your space, but will never admit it. Nope, not a chance. Right? Sound familiar? But, how does the attempt to destroy another make you saintly? Insecurity and jealousy are two bone-deep, ugly, and hateful mother f***ers. Never invite them into your home and keep your ears peeled for the ones who are unwilling to claim the title that is rightfully theirs to own. Beware!

I could go on and on about the inner psyche of a narcissist, but that’s not really my jam. BUT, I am extremely proud to scream from the tip top of a mountain, “I survived a toxic marriage with a narcissist and still see the world in color.” Keep reading for tips on combatting your own joy stealer(s).

Joy-Stealer Repellent:

  1. Kill joys remain incapable of celebrating another’s happiness, because they are fueled by putting people down, which requires participation from their prey. Remove yourself from this relationship as it takes two for the dysfunction to exist and thrive. If needed, please read that one more time.
  2. If you can’t shake this person for 18 years, limit your time and set boundaries that work for YOU. They will still attempt to cross those lines, so be prepared for those fun-filled moments.
  3. Remember, everything is about them and not you. Their anger and negativity comes from a place of unresolved pain; not your issue. I repeat, not.your.issue. Wish them well even though they may be undeserving of you. Hanging on to negativity will only pull you down.
  4. Don’t let the apologies, gifts, and calculated kindness fool you…narcissist are repeat offenders and masters at manipulation. The cycle of toxicity always repeats itself.
  5. Seek help from a professional who may provide you with additional tips and methods to protect your private sphere aka proxemics.

Have you ever blocked someone and just breathed easier? Remember, your peace is always a non-negotiable.

Hang in there, Mama!

A much needed holiday gift for self, a friend, or both. Hurry while supplies last! 😉

Birthday Staycation

July 22nd, the day this queen was born, I went to bed completely stuffed with birthday joy, AND I woke up without a lick of guilt looming over my head. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is always another story (rolls eyes). 

Sunday, my Birthday Eve, was spent enjoying all things simple: friendship, belly laughs, flavorful food, mimosas, chauffeured rides, siestas, discovering a new fav place to dine, complimentary desserts, and being woken up to midnight birthday kisses all over my cheek from Lulu (aka best friend and soul sister). I guess that was my birthday theme this year, unelaborate and fulfilling. I wanted to soak it all in with positive people who love and support me. No club scene, no traditional sequin party dress, and definitely no 3-tier birthday cake. I was craving a 24-hour break from the word Mommy mixed in with some self-love, and that’s just what the universe delivered. In the words of June Osborne, praise be!

I floated into the 1 Hotel and let me tell you, what you see online is what you get, but much more (we all know this isn’t always the case). In the common areas there’s beautiful baskets of fresh fruit available, tons of white, beige, and green decor all over the place (ironically my wedding colors, go figure). It’s like being transported into an indoor magical forest of modern impeccable design and detail. A calmness and peace immediately covered my mind and body for the duration of my stay. And to top it off, my room was ready for an early check in at 1:00 pm…ayyyyyy! Birthday blessings and good karma make for unexpected and delightful surprises. 

Photo by 1Hotel

The room! It looked to be the work of Joanna Gaines, the goddess of HGTV. A sustainable art piece: plush white linen couch, textured white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, beautiful wooden headboard, chalkboard on the nightstand in place of the usual pad and paper, hangers recycled out of homework (the teacher in me was tickled but not pink), a yoga mat (definitely not for me, but I appreciated the gesture), and the sweater-like cozy robe that put me to sleep. It was just what I ordered. At one point, there was a random knock at my door. Turns out the hotel team curated a generous display of sweet treats along with a celebratory message. I felt like a princess! It’s really the little things that mean the most. 

The next morning, I woke up with such gratitude and wholeness, the clouds from the year parted and light was shining all around me. This must be what happiness feels like. So, I danced, entertained myself with a few rounds of karaoke, courtesy of Spotify, had a breakfast-in-bed date with my selfie, a soak in the tub, and enjoyed the company in the room with me, myself, and I.

Birthday takeways: Take time to really appreciate what is pleasurable, nurturing, and sustaining to your soul. Delete or cut (don’t paste) what is annoying, frustrating, and hurtful. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Be present. Live.