Thursday, February 23, 2017

We are all immigrants

I am going insane.

It started when the Orange Troll won the election and hit a breaking point yesterday when I read this story about an immigrant with a brain tumor detained by immigration.

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Both felt like an attack on who I am personally: the child of an immigrant who is now a mother and has tried to be a champion of LGBTQ youth.

I cried so much with my mother this morning. And I knew I had to write today. And so I came here to this space I created for myself almost ten years ago to process it, share and create something out of all this anger and fear I am feeling.  So here goes:

My mother came to this country legally in 1976, fleeing a country beginning to fall to what would turn out to be the longest and  bloodiest civil war in the Western Hemisphere. She was pregnant with me.

When she was deciding whether to leave – her country, her family, the father of her child, her language, her education, everything she had ever known – her paternal grandfather encouraged her. He said soon there would be nothing left for her, no real opportunity for her child or any child in Guatemala. Even though he knew he would never see her again or meet his great-grandchild, he said he'd never forgive himself if he didn't encourage her to go to the US and not look back.

It's what my mother did. She was 28.

Every day of my life since I could understand, I've felt grateful for that decision. I have visited Guatemala. They have been gut wrenching trips. It is a devastatingly beautiful country, irrevocably  devastated by political greed, violence, racism and foreign influences (sound familiar?)  It is a country where even educated, hard-working people like my family struggle to find stable careers and real security, forget about opportunity.

It has become what I once heard it called on NPR: "a failed state." The words felt like a dagger through my twentysomething chest. What happens to the people that remain in a failed state? Their hopes, their dreams?

In the 80s, my mother's visa expired.  When I was just a little older than my daughter is today, my mother witnessed the Regan-era immigration raids happening left and right around her in L.A.


By some miracle but more likely because of her Ladino appearance, she was never "caught." Never deported, ripped away from her child and sent back to the crumbling country she came from. She remembers seeing immigration officials come into stores and stop buses and descend on schools  and start asking brown faces for identification. She saw good people get shackled like criminals.  She doesn't know how but she slipped away every time.

She lived in fear for a couple of years, many Latinos did, many Latinos have. She took the first opportunity she got to become a permanent resident. She remained one for nearly 30 years.

In that time, she married and buried my stepfather, the great love of her life, a  self-made businessman who himself was the child of German immigrants fleeing the Nazis. Her only daughter graduated from high school then college then graduate school and became an independent some would even say successful professional. My mother worked hard, managed her money well, made more, paid off her home, bought a rental property, then another one.

Along the way she helped (conservatively) hundreds of other immigrants, get their footing in this country, paying her karmic luck forward. Since I was little, I can remember her counseling, loaning money, letting people sleep on a couch, helping find people jobs. That is who my mother is. She embodies the American dream.

But something happened after 9/11. I saw her fear return. She saw things during the Bush era that made her afraid that because she wasn't born in the US and wasn't a citizen, the life she had built could be ripped away from her. In October of 2008, she became an American citizen. The next month, she voted for the first time, for the first black president of the United States.

The following month, she had her second MRI after discovering she had a brain tumor. It showed the brain tumor was not growing. And tests continued to confirm that until two years later when it was growing. She had surgery to remove it, it was successful and my mother lived to see and love her granddaughter four years later.


I don't know Sara from El Salvador who now lives in Texas, has a brain tumor and was detained by immigration in the hospital. But I do know by a few twists of fate she could be my mother. I know every immigrant has a story. I know most immigrants are hard working, tax paying, morally rich people. I know this because of my personal experience and because this great country was built by them. I know this is an assault on who we are as a COUNTRY OF IMMIGRANTS.

I also know that what Trump is doing to the transgender community is a disgrace. I know that pandering to religious hatemongers when your approval ratings are the lowest in history at the expense of children in need of protection is disgraceful. I know my child could be transgender. I know when you become a mother, a real mother, EVERY CHILD becomes your child.

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I know if you roll in the mud you are a pig and I know when they get fat enough, pigs get slaughtered. I know his day is coming but the damage he is creating and being allowed to create by a Republican majority and cowardly Democrats is a disgrace.

And I would ask all of you who are not directly affected by the bullshit currently being perpetrated to STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, BE OUTRAGED for all of us who are affected.  What is happening is an affront to who we are as Americans. This isn't about some "other," this is about all of us.

And remember: Becoming a failed state is not outside the realm of possibility for the US.

More immigrant crisis reading

More LGBTQ crisis reading

And the fashion connection


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Baby Brand I Love: Freshly Picked

Thank goodness for Pinterest. It got me through the nights when I was pregnant and the baby kept me up kicking. And it entertained me through the first few weeks after she arrived when I'd stay up watching her sleep at night like an insane person.

One night I was pinning it up and discovered baby moccasins. My life would never be the same again.  I am obsessed with how they make chunky baby legs look even chunkier...all the better to nibble on them, this baby-eating witch says.

I saw super cute ones all over Etsy but then Freshly Picked caught my eye.

Remembered seeing the brand in US Weekly which naturally gave it a stamp of celebrity approval that meant Mini D had to have them. Why should Blue and Kardashian spawn have all the chunky legged fun?

I was initially thinking blush pink or gold dotted ones that could act as neutrals and match more of her wardrobe. And yet for two months, I didn't pull the trigger. Felt guilty that they were twice the price of some I saw on Etsy.

They are real leather while many of the Etsy ones are faux, the little fashion devil on my shoulder whispered. You really shouldn't go insane/broke buying baby girl clothes - think of her college fund, admonished the annoyingly fiscally responsible angel on my other shoulder. 

But then I saw the Picnic Pack limited edition moccasins from FP and had to get a pair for my doll. I mean how could I resist RIDICULOUS watermelon feets!!!!

Sizing is tricky with Freshly Picked since it goes by size of foot not age. But I emailed the company and they suggested I get a size 2 which generally fits 6 to 11 months. I picture my living doll wearing them with a white eyelet dress or a black top and leggings look next spring/summer.

When she outgrows that pair, she'll have gold ones to wear courtesy of my mom.

Might just have to get me a new gold pair of shoes to match.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mommy Outfits: Jeggings

So let's talk about ma baby pooch.

I gained exactly 26 pounds while I was pregnant. Designated a high risk pregnancy due to my "advanced maternal age," I was determined to stay on the lower end of the healthy weight gain range.

Plus, blech, I was already a good 10 lbs heavier than I like to be when I got pregnant. AND I heard over and over again that staying active would make my labor and recovery easier. A huge incentive to not pork out for someone terrified of birthing babies out of her lady parts.

And I do believe the months of healthy eating and particularly the exercise (walking and swimming) during the last weeks of my pregnancy paid off: I was *only* in active labor for 9ish hours and it took me less than 8 weeks to lose the weight I gained.

But even though the number on the scale is the same as before baby, my middle looks totally different. My stomach has never been my strong suit (Me gustan carbs too much) but now it's definitely the weakest link. And this old girl's formerly best feature, ma legs, are now thicker in a way that seems irreversibly motherly. Thanks Mini me!

Given these two delightful developments none of my pants fit quite right.  Enter jeggings to the rescue.  They were my go to when I was pregnant and they are again when I have a newborn. I am not ashamed. I figure they are like yoga pants but with a little bit more style...though I am starting to get into the athletic mom look...minus the working out part.

My fave new leggings are from Nordstrom.

They are SUPER comfortable, have some moto texture to make them look like jeans and a thick waistband to hold all my mess in.

I bought them in oxblood, black AND grey to see me thru the fall.  I'm going to pretend I look as good in leggings post baby as Gwen did preggo. Sigh.


Today I wore them with a long dark gray tank from Tarjay, a hippie dippy bed jacket from Hardwear to hide the muffin man middle and monochrome Loeffler Randall scalloped flats to lengthen the gams.


I give the outfit a solid B for Breastfeeding Badass. But my baby wins today in her panda top. 


Looks cuuuute from every angle.


She's worth the jelly belly...most days ;)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mom Jewelry: From Diamonds to Chewbeads to Flash Tattoos?

She may only be two months old but I can already tell Mini Diabolina is going to be an accessories kind of girl. Proof: She already hearts my Chewbeads.

(There is no joy like the nerd mom joy I feel when my babydoll enjoys some toy/blanket/you name it that I researched and researched when I was pregnant and only dreamt of her.)

I think I first heard about Chewbeads at one of the countless baby showers I went to in my 30s. When it was finally my turn, I knew I wanted me some. As my belly grew, I quickly came to terms with the fact that my jewelry collection shouldn't. I knew I wasn't going to be able to wear much dainty or statement jewelry for a couple a years since duh babies love to yank anything remotely interesting off your neck and ears.

I have a ton of cheapie jewelry so no big loss.  But then Mr D gave me the loveliest little cross for my first Mother's Day.

Goes perfectly with the star earrings he got me in Europe for my last birthday. Wore the two to death during my pregnancy.

But the last time I wore the necklace was the day I gave birth. Boo. This was a selfie during a contraction, btw. I got an epidural but, lucky ducky me, it only worked on one side. Oh and my baby weighed 8 lbs 12 oz. Yeah....

Back to Chewbeads.  Ever the over eager fashion beaver, I got three necklaces. Picked purty colors that would be flattering and work with my existing wardrobe. I put them in the baby's closet before her arrival and figured I'd take them out around the holidays when she started teething.

But last week my mom suggested I bust them out. She said she thought they would catch the baby's eye as she's grasping things and already starting to try to put things in her mouth (joy!) And sure enough they are one of her fave toys.

Truth be told, I wish they were just a tad softener and longer. They are a bit stiff against her when I'm holding her.

And they hit me at an awkward boob level that cuts me off instead of elongating my short and now flabby torso.  But the baby loves 'em and they add some interest to my oh so dull outfits lately.

Lest you think I've completely lost all my mojo by blogging about rubber necklaces,  I'll have you know I also bought Flash Tattoos last month. I know, I know I'm not Bey or a festival going hot young chick. I'm an old narc who is now a mommy.

But I figured they don't get between me and the baby and I could still FEEL blingy and glam. They could be the perfect way to dress up a simple old outfit with a little something new.  Ideal for a night out even though I am pretty much down for the count by 9 pm lately. Sigh.

Hoping there's a sassy occasion to bust them out soon. Maybe Halloween like Popsugar suggests...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Baby Brand I Love: Mini Boden

It's a love affair that started in San Francisco...with duckies.

When I was in my third trimester, my mom joined me on my last work trip up north to Twitter's corporate headquarters. While I worked, she spent all her time shopping for her unborn grandbabydoll, naturally.

She bought, um, quite alot on that trip but her very first score (and Mr. Diabolina's fave): an adorbs Mini Boden dress at Nordstrom.

It's softer than soft and kiddie cute without being clowny. That's big for us. If we wouldn't wear it, we don't want mini me to.

We added the UK brand to our growing list of baby brands we heart (Mayoral, Kickee Pants, Oeuf, Freshly Picked - all of which I'll blog about...) And when I got home, I signed up for the Mini Boden catalogue. Big mistake - HUGE as Vivian the streetwalker on Rodeo would say. Five pairs of INSANE cute tights and onesies later I was hooked.

Great quality and true to size.  Nabbed them all on sale. Love that the site almost always has SOME promotion going on. I'm rarely buying the baby anything spendy full price.  No point since she's going to immediately outgrow it or poop on it.

Looking at the site now I think I liked their Spring/Summer stuff better than Fall/Winter.  Though these two are yum.

But I'm a sucker for their fruit motifs year-round.

I mean a little apple in apples is delish!!!

More recently, had to get her a fall vest (plus little Halloween SCALLOPED socks at Janie and Jack, another fave). Again super soft and well priced.

And my mom recently couldn't resist this casual, easy breezy beauty. Again at Nordie's.

This week, I saw the Boden women's catalogue at my mom's house for the first time and I realized SHIT, I like their stuff for me too. It's all fairly British and basic, Kate Middleton style. But there are some standout tops and knits in prints that feel like my Tucker favorites and even a little DVF meets Tory Burch. Full price it's a bit steep but again there's a special 20% off going on so...

Maybe I'll get something when mini Diabolina isn't watching.  Her side eye is terrifying.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mommy blogging

I started writing this blog post at 2:30 am. I'd just pumped a cow-riffic few ounces of milk for my baby girl.

I was exhausted...but the words dancing in my head wouldn't be quiet. They demanded to be heard, getting louder and louder, forcing me to listen. It's exactly how my adventure with this blog started years ago: that inner voice just wouldn't shut up ;)

Expressing myself is who I am. The only thing that's more "me" is loving fashion.  That's why this blog was so transformative for me for so long. It combined two fundamental parts of who I am.

But today, ten weeks into my daughter's life, who I am feels like a nebulous thing.  I no longer feel like this multifaceted person: daughter, friend, partner, professional, pig, clown, fashionista, writer.  For the last two months, I've been pretty singularly defined as Mini Diabolina's mother.

She is gorgeous baby - strong, funny, sweet, a great sleeper and an even better eater.  In quiet moments when it's just the two of us, I am overwhelmed by my love for her. I cry and cry and cry because she is mine and I am hers and the love we share is like nothing I could have imagined.

I adore my child but motherhood is grueling. It's challenging down to your core. It's also fundamentally disorienting, at 37 years old, to feel like your very sense of self, your identity, who you are is in complete flux. In some ways, I feel like a child myself: unsure, tentative, experimenting.

After all, I had finally just gotten to know and love me in my 30s.  And now that person is changing deep down in parts of my being I'd never truly mined before. All while my postpartum hormones rage.  It's supes fun, let me tell you...

So I'm going to try to come back to writing, to a part of me I know and don't want to lose.  I'm also coming back to the blog because I need to get my fashion mojo back.  I am in danger of becoming a normcore, leggings and top wearing, basic bitch, the horror!  My daughter deserves better.

Also I need to play into my vanity and lose my baby tummy. Although I may be back to my pre-preggo weight (thanks, breastfeeding and good genes!) my stomach looks like a butt. Not a nice J Lo/Kardashian boo-tay.  More like a flabby, saggy tush that would be on the cover of the National Inquirer issue of "worst beach bodies" with a black bar over the star's face. Sad but true.

I'm going to keep the posts short. I always say that and have such a hard time doing it but now I have a baby to keep me honest.

I'll blog about mommy and baby fashion, deep motherhood thoughts and my adventures with my little girl, my mother aka grandma extraordinare and Mr. Diabolina.  All while keeping it real how I've always done.

Here's to a new beginning.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A big anniversary and an even bigger announcement

On March 10, 2012, my mother’s mother who helped raise me died. And I felt like a fundamental part of me changed forever.

Two years later, as I write this, I'm pregnant with a daughter of my own. And I feel like a piece of my grandmother has made its way back to me and my mother...  

I still cried today. But they were tears of loss and gratitude. Pain and joy. Regret and hope. Because, well, life can be so heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  

Over the past few months, there have been several moments when my (ecstatic!) mom and I will be chattering happily about the baby and one of us will break down suddenly. We’ll tell the other one what she already knows: I wish Olga was with us, to see this, to meet the baby and to be known by her.

And yet, I’m not sure I’d be having a child if I hadn’t lost my grandma. I struggled with the decision for most of my 30s. But ultimately the biggest lesson in my grandmother's death was that I needed to live.  Stop overanalyzing and worrying and planning and instead, for the first time, truly allow for my life to unfold. 

That’s also what I’m trying to do with this post and the blog in general.  After months of hemming and hawing about recommitting to blogging  and then fretting over how to write about the baby, I’m finally just putting  words on a page: I'm pregnant and thrilled and terrified. And I want to document this incredible moment in my life with Mr. Diabolina, my mom and our loved ones. 

I’ll share all the fashion soon (I don't think you're ready for this jelly/belly or the baby's similarly expanding wardrobe!) But first I wanted to share the emotion – what I hope was at the heart of this "fashion" blog when it was a *thing*. 

Here are the first words I wrote about my baby girl several months ago. Today they feel like the perfect ode to my grandmother. May they make her smile...wherever she is  ;)


She has always been a part of me. We are intertwined. Inextricable.

She's danced in the corners of my mind and at the edges of my soul for as long as I can remember.

I've never clearly seen her face or heard her voice. I've only caught glimpses of her in sun-drenched dreams – blinding flashes of her smile, how she moves in the world, the way she makes me feel.

I've never met her and yet I've always known she is smart and beautiful and strong and funny. I've always known she will drive me crazy and make me proud.

In the stillness, she has come to me, shown me that she is my destiny, my muse, my daughter.

She will teach me and heal me. She will humble me and save me.
She will unlock the woman I am meant to last.


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