Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cal Mare at The Beverly Center

The Friday after Valentine's Day, Daddy Diabolina (the artist formerly known as Mr. Diabolina) had a date with Miss VV to see Aladdin at The Pantages.


Adorbs but downright terrifying because the show started at 8, miss thang's bedtime. We hemmed and hawed like only the parents of an only child do. We plotted all contingencies like a military exercise and packed the biggest bag of snacks ever.  Pro tip: A snacking toddler is a busy toddler whose mouth is too full to whine.


In the end, I knew she'd be fine because St. Jude's mini me would be there. VV lives for her big girl bff.


The whole night was the idea of her dad, the Brown Devil. It was actually a triple daddy/daughter date. Best (straight) uncle ever.

Since Daddy and daughter rarely leave me be for more than a damn second, I was ready to PARTAAAAAAAY!  Which meant booking dinner with my OG partner in crime, Abuelita Diabolina (the artist formerly known as Mama Diabolina).


Been wanting to try Michael Mina's Cal Mare since VV and I happened on it after egg slutting. Could only get a 6:15 reservation. Not a problem when your hot date is an actual bonafide senior citizen (albeit one in Dior and Phillip Lim.)


Loved the decor instantly. The sexy bar, velvety blue booths, architectural aquamarine chairs, under the sea tile framing the open kitchen. Very chic mediterranean a mall.

Untitled Untitled

Despite my advanced age, I still don't know very much about wine especially ones of the Italian variety. So had the waiter recommend a red by the glass. My mom demurred and said she didn't want one...until she tasted it. Excellent. I believe it was one of the first three reds on the by the glass list. Sorry, I am rusty at blogging and boozing so was too busy guzzling to note.

I do know exactly what we ate.  Started with the yellow fish tuna with blood orange, radish and chiles. Delicate, balanced perfection.


And my favorites: The pumpkin agnolotti with dungeness crab, truffle and sea urchin. Just the right amount of texture and richness. Seafood heaven. Plus the fried brussel sprouts with black garlic. VV is currently addicted to brussel sprouts so it was great to learn a new twist on them.


Um, but we were still hungry so we got the spicy shrimp and chickpea pancake with calabrian chile, saffron aŃ—oli and escarole. Delicious and interesting and unexpected - everything I miss about fine dining now that I cater to a tiny dictator when we go out to eat.


Incredible piglet dinner for two. The only two who had a better one was VV (see the intensity of her face in mid-bite!) and The Brown Devil (see his paw reaching for dem fries!!!) at Mel's pre-Pantages.


p.s. My mom loved Cal Mare so much that the next day, she begged to do happy hour there during the baby's nap. This time we sat on the patio (beautifully enclosed but still RIGHT on La Cienega), tried a different red and got the squash chips with ricotta, apple conserva and sage. So.much.flavor. A dream of a light bite.  (Look at that gorgeous guilty grubbing face!!!!)


Plus the wild mushroon ragu with pine nuts, farm egg and speck. Flavorful and again so light. 


We had the same waiter as the night before. When we were getting up to leave he deadpanned: "See you two tomorrow." I almost said, "Bitch you might!"

Full dinner menu to drool over here.

Verdict: A+

Add it to your list of new hot spots to try but save yourself the drama and wait until the parking saga is over at the mall. Or if you never want to retire, spring for valet. But if you have a child's college education to save for maybe park at the Beverly Connection.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Things to Do With Kids: Home Depot Kids Workshops

If you're going to have kids, I highly recommend doing it at the exact same time as your best girlfriend.


You can be scared shitless together while growing tiny aliens in your tummies. 


She can teach you how to hold a newborn properly.  


And really how to do everything properly.


Three years into this mommy thing, she is still teaching me things like the Home Depot Kids Workshops. Bless.

Now I love my kid but CHRIST, toddlers are like energizer bunnies on speed. Ms. VV goes NON-STOP from about 7 am until her 2:30 pm nap time. That means a mama who wants to stay sane needs to find new shit to do ALL THE TIME.

That's why it's invaluable when a friend shares a tip like Jean Bean did.  Months ago, she told me Home Depot does fun workshops for kids: They get to build something cool and take it home, all for the right price: FREE. Sign me up.

But I didn't because for some CRAY reason Home Depot doesn't tout it on its website.   I mean, this is the kind of warm fuzzy community building that brands usually shout from the rooftops. But you either have to know about it, stumble on one or figure it out on the site.

 Well, around the holidays, I tried, couldn't and promptly forget about it. Because mom brain.

Thankfully, I got an ad on Facebook with a reminder that it happens the first Saturday of the month. (Yes, I just thanked an ad on FB and yes, FB now knows I am now a slave to my child and not fashion.)  I registered on the site and showed up bright and early on a Saturday because KIDS. She was ready to work and werk it like Wonder Woman.


It was already packed by the time we got there so definitely register. In addition to the project kit, your tiny dictator will get a free kid-sized orange apron and commemorative pin for each project. They can collect pins. Super nerdy scout cute. 


YOU KNOW, my child loves a GRATIS accessory/gift bag/anything as much as mama. Also note what I gleaned from said apron and NOT from the company website: this program has been happening for 20 YEARS. I've since talked it up to half a dozen know-it-all moms who had NO idea. Hence this post. 


This month's project was a V-day bean bag toss.  Genius.


My love bug loved every hammering, painting, sticking, chucking minute of it.




I loved the creativity of it, the developmental appropriateness, playing with the toy SHE MADE at home and realizing I can get arts and crafts products for her at Home Depot. Never thought of that.


Best way to kill an hour that we've found in LONG TIME. The best part: thanking Jean Bean for the rec and finding out her love bug had done the same thing that morning. Thousands of miles away. And he had the Valentine's Day pin to prove it.


Almost as sweet as being together.

A post shared by Diabolina (@cheeriosandchanel) on

Friday, February 2, 2018

What to Wear to the Women's March

The Scene

The night of the 2016 election was one of the lowest lows I've felt since my daughter was born.  Ironically, it was her - beautiful, innocent, loving her - that helped me cope.

In the days after the election, like many, I sensed a revolution was coming.   After all, I knew at least 3 million people were pissed. 

On the stunning day of the Women's March last January, I became hopeful. Maybe this blow to women would actually help us come together, get shit done.


Leading up to the 2017 march, my mother disapproved of me going. She, who lived the first half of her life watching military coups, dictatorships and bloody civil war destroy her homeland, was afraid. Afraid of what a racist in the White House meant for this country. Afraid of the rage a protest by women would incite in an assaulter of women.

Your two year old needs you more than you need to protest, she stated plainly.  And I relented, mostly because I was also afraid. Afraid for her and me and my daughter. Afraid of a world seemingly turned upside down. That fear ruled me for most of  the dumpster fire that was 2017. Blech, good riddance. 

Fast forward to this January as the Women's March approached again, I knew I had to go. That women's revolution I had anticipated was in full swing, the winds of change were sweeping across industries and media and generations. 

Plus, the fear of the unknown last year had turned into rage over the known. This administration has assaulted everything I feared they would: immigrants, minorities, women, children, LGBT rights, the environment, affordable health care, science, education, fair elections, the justice system, and on and on. I had to make my voice heard with more than just my writing.

After a year of crying and feeling afraid every morning she woke up to another horrendous headline, my 68-year-old doll of a mother had changed her mind. Not only did she want to go to the march, this year, she NEEDED to. 


So we did.


Two things invariably strike me at protests/demonstrations/rallies. 


First, how creative human beings can be. I bow down. To the carefully crafted speeches that express outrage or hope...but usually some impassioned combination of both. To the genius - ACTUAL genius - signs they lovingly fashion to amuse AND inspire (some more favorites from Los Angeles Magazine here and Vogue here.) To the ways they dress and accessorize, the armor they choose for battle, the non-verbal ways they identify with a cause or a group or a shared enemy.








The second thing that I find staggering EVERY TIME is how kind we can be to strangers when we choose to be. In a city like LA, where we can exist in the bubble of our cars or our often racially/economically/idealogically segregated neighborhoods, it is thrilling to feel unity amidst our diversity. 

To watch a sea of humanity instinctively part for a mother with a stroller, cheering her on for passing on the gift of activism. To smile at older men marching slowly but proudly in their pink pussy hats. To witness a spark ignite in a pre-teen's eyes reading your sign and see yourself reflected back, half a lifetime ago. It is all so intoxicating and affirms that we are more alike than we are different. 




The day was elating and exhausting in ways that I expected. The one difference: my mom was with me and it was her first time exercising this constitutional right. I watched emotionally as her eyes glimmered with alternating glee and fear. I loved that she was so moved by the speeches, that she got into the chants (This is what democracy looks like!) as we marched, that she roared with laughter at the most profane signs, that she pointed out every child she saw, marvelling at their freedom.


Ever since I was a Berkeley-bound, speech & debate teen nerd, I've taken this right to express my opinion and demonstrate for granted. Today, in my tiny wonderful immigrant mother's face, I saw it was something she never thought would be possible for her - despite being in this country for 40 years and a citizen for almost a decade. That's what living through an authoritarian state does to you.

As we were leaving today, her eyes lingered on some tween girls holding signs. She said, "This moment is going to change everything for women in this country. It's horrible that Hillary had to lose and we have to endure this idiot but it is going to change everything for Vivian."


I pray she's right. I pray the wonderful speaker today who quoted Neruda is right:"'You can kill all the flowers but you can't stop Spring from coming.' We are the Spring."

The Outfit
Liquid cashmere hot pink sweater
H&M sweatshirt
Gap girlfriend jeans

The Accessories
Marc by MJ purse
adidas shoes
Pussy hat
Black scarf
Women's March pin

The Grade

The Commentary
One of the great things about exercising your first amendment right to assemble is that it's all about function over fabulous. And since Vivian was born, function has become my middle name. Fabulous has been achieved once or twice in the last 3.5 years. Le sigh.

My priorities were staying warm and being able to move quickly if need be. So I layered a hot pink sweater that makes me HOT under an H&M sweatshirt that is a staple in my mommy wardrobe (also wore it to the Pride march lso maybe it is a staple in my resisting wardrobe! btw, resisting bitch face is my favorite new pun.) 


It's suffragette white and has lipstick, lips, fruit and "girl gang" all over it in that Barbie font. Vivian loves it. Made me feel like she was with me. Oh yeah and it was $8. Jeans were a no brainer. New (mom) sneakers were too. 


I heard counter-protestors would be out in some parts of the country so a dark scarf in case shit got real and I needed to cover my nose/face or bandage. 


The unexpected accessory/cherry on top of the day were the pussy hats. My childhood bestie Ms. May If You're Nasty knitted the three Molinas matching ones. 


I mean!!!!!!   As Peaches said: I feel like this photo is gonna be iconic...


I had read over the past year that some women of color and trans women felt alienated by the symbolism of the pink pussy hats. And I get it. Don't get me started on my issues with white conservative women.  I didn't want to offend anyone who already feels marginalized.  

But I was going to the march after all to honor sisterhood, especially with my own dear thoughtful friend who is also a woman of color, my mother and my child. Ultimately, I know my heart as a minority who has fought for trans kids rights for years.  At the march, I'd say about a fourth of attendees were wearing one. 

Ultimately, I wish I had more time to put in effort like these Voguettes. Or be original like these ladies who won my vote for best dressed! Love a witch. 



Next year, maybe V can let me borrow this look! It most closely resembles how I felt marching next to my own superhero, my mama.  


I'm already set to copy her leak below for the March for Science on April 14, Princess Elena scepter and all.


Who's in?


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