how this feels


I’ve given myself a few days to mourn. But now I am scared and energized.

I have been volunteering night and day for Hillary Clinton over the past few months, organizing local volunteers to phone bank or get on busses to Nevada and Arizona. I worked very hard and my work did not pay off.

To be honest, I did not plan for this. I did not imagine an America where we could elect a man who degrades women, muslims, latinos, the disabled and threatens our civil liberties.

Michelle Obama’s mandate, “When they go low, we go high” has been a constant reminder throughout this campaign which got very dark at times. Now it rings truer than ever but I never thought that we would have to go SO FUCKING HIGH. In the face of blatant xenophobia that we have seen from Trump and so many of his supporters, we have to be the good in this country. We may end up in uncomfortable situations. We may have to explain things to our children that we do not want to deal with even as adults. But we must help each other and be the good that we want to see.

I think back to my American History classes in high school, learning about the suffragettes, Harriet Tubman, Civil rights and Women’s rights leaders and what it must have felt like to be in their shoes. To be afraid, truly afraid. What would I have done if I had been  alive then? The girl I was then and the woman I was even a few months ago may have stayed home. I don’t think I can be that girl anymore. Hillary taught me more about being an American than any textbook or professor ever could. In the face of every obstacle imaginable she has never given up the fight for a better America.

I took a minute to process our loss but now as I look forward to Trump and his potential cabinet choices, I am truly afraid. The progressive America that seemed so tangible on Tuesday seem overwhelmingly out of reach today.

We were truly too comfortable in our pantsuits and our suffragette white on election day. My generation has been blessed with liberties that were earned on the backs of our elders… but it is our turn now.

Today I still cry, but tomorrow I fight. I fight for my children, my friends that are scared for their marriages and their children, immigrants, Muslim Americans… for anyone that needs me.

This may not be comfortable or safe, but it will be right. We are stronger together.


i’m with her… she’s with moms

So except for that one time that I got really mad at millennials, this is not a political blog.  It’s more like a mommy blog where I occasionally post a recipe.  But I just have to talk about Hillary Clinton and how much love her after her fabulous performance in the debate.

The truth is that most of the reasons that I support Hillary Clinton come from my experience as a mother.  Trying to raise children in this crazy time is hard.  We are experiencing big scary things like terrorism and school shootings.  But also smaller scary things for parents like the rising cost of raising children and higher education.  What I love about Hillary is that she gets all of this, and she has plans- carefully thought out plans- for how we are going to deal with these issues.

As a mom who sends a child to public school, I love that Hillary make this a priority. She has plans to improve our children’s K-12 education and even provide universal Pre-K, pay their teachers what they deserve, and get our kids caught up to the rest of the world when it comes to education and technology.

What mom doesn’t want their kid to go to college but realizes that the costs are going up every year? Hillary Clinton has plans to make public college more affordable and even free for the 83% of kids in America who would qualify under her plan. She wants to help people refinance their student loans so they aren’t paying insane amounts of interest.

She has plans to keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders so that maybe us moms can worry a little less when we drop our kids off at school.

Hillary also has inclusive plans to help working women.  She is fighting for paid family leave, better childcare options and equal pay. She has been fighting for these things her entire careers.

There are a million other reasons that I support Hillary in this election but these are the issues that matter to me as a mother.  I think about the changes that Hillary wants to make, and then I think about how different it could be for my daughter when she starts a family. I see how much better it could be for her and future generations of mothers.  That’s why I’m with her.

I have been volunteering for Hillary a ton and I am even making a trip to Nevada this weekend to register voters, if you are with her here click here to find opportunities near you. I promise you’ll meet a ton of awesome moms!

Hill Yes for Blog.jpg

not a cool mom…

I have always thought of myself as cool mom. I mean, I wear red lipstick every once in while and I went to a Beyoncé concert this week.  That’s cool right?

In actuality, I am not very cool at all. I have no idea what bands are trending or what kind of boots will be popular next season. I am still wearing “skinny” jeans even though multiple media sources have told me they over. I have no idea what happens at Fashion Week but I can tell you within days, perhaps even hours, if Trader Joe’s debuts a new snack.  Bottom line, I am not very cool.  But my kids think I am cool, right?

But you know what I just figured out, my kids don’t care about any of that stuff.  Fashion, music, trends, all of it. Doesn’t matter when you’re five. Your child’s definition of how cool you are is only dependent on one thing: how much stuff you let them get away with.

It’s all about screen time and sugar intake with the the kindergarten crowd and apparently in that area I am lacking.

Currently, Leo is woefully aware that he does not have an iPad.  And not only does he not have an iPad, but he doesn’t have an iPad with Minecraft. This is partly my fault because I signed him up for a Minecraft “class” after school one day a week. A class where they play the game in partners on vintage PC laptops and the main topic of discussion must revolve around who has an iPad and who plays Minecraft at home. And in an instant I have become that mom that says, “Just because little Johnny has an iPad and plays Minecraft at home doesn’t mean that you can.” And that mom is NOT COOL.

When it comes to parenting, I am starting to realize that I am not cool at all, I am actually sort of strict.  This is the exact opposite of how I thought I would be as a parent. I remember resenting family dinner growing up when I knew that so many of my friends ate dinner in front of the TV and here I am, twenty years later, making family dinner the rule in our house.

And it’s not just that! We have stickers charts, good behavior jars, ready-for-school checklists, early bed times, no television on school days… all of these things I thought were for crazy type-A parents before I had kids. Now I am totally one of those parents.  But I have to say, it works for us.

My kids do better with routine, they are nicer people when they have less screen time and they are getting old enough that occasionally family dinners can be pretty enjoyable. Every family has to do what works for them and if I have to take a little bit of the brunt and be the “mean Mommy” (Leo’s words, not mine), then so be it.

I am not a cool mom, and I own that.

Leo’s last day of preschool


His last day was a Knight themed dress up day, hence the crazy outfit.

I remember dropping Leo off for his first day of preschool almost three years ago, he seemed like such a baby.  The playground was filled with veteran preschool parents smiling and greeting teachers and friends after the week-long Summer break… and then there were the newbies like Lenny and myself, unsure of where to put our children’s lunch boxes and how to leave without causing a scene.

A kind pre-school teacher leaned over two children fighting over a toy in the sandbox and told them to “use their words.” I was so scared for Leo, just a few weeks into his second year he barely knew any words. When it was time for the parents to leave, Leo sobbed hysterically, for a second I considered taking him home. Maybe he wasn’t ready.

Then a teacher explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were leaving but would be back.  It turned out he was only sad because he thought he had to leave too!  He ran away from us into the sandbox, then it was my turn to cry in the parking lot. My baby was no longer a baby. That sadness and hesitation melted way quickly. Preschool has been wonderful experience for Leo and for us.

His school is play-based with monthly changing themes which have exploded Leo’s imagination. Without any direction or props Leo can play in space, in the ocean, in the jungle only using the power of his mind.

He has learned how to make friends and how to treat he peers. He has his own rich social life at school complete with “best friends,” bickering and the occasional bully- and he can handle it all with grace. He knows how to resolve conflict and recognizes when a friend is feeling sad or left out.

With Kindergarten around the corner, we know that Leo is well prepared.

Along with Leo, Lenny and I and I have also had a great experience.  We have made wonderful friends whom with we share play dates, dinners, holidays and vacations. Through lice scares, toddler tantrums and countless viruses we have had a great support team in the friends we have made through preschool. I have learned that having friends who share a same-age child is essential to dealing with the stresses and joys of parenting.

Above all, we trust our preschool.  We have been able to drop off our son and know that he is with teachers that truly care for him.  When he is there, I know he is happy and engaging in an awesome activities. That is priceless.

In September Lucy will be starting at the same school, I can’t guarantee that it will be a tear-free drop off that first day but I am so excited for her and the new friends she will make and the experiences she will have.

Another lovely vacation, mother-son trip to Oregon

Summers are made for vacations, the long sunshine-filled days are begging to be enjoyed. I am already starting to get weepy about the end of this summer which will bring Leo’s first day of Kindergarten. A mother-son trip was in order.

To be totally honest, it’s been a rough few months for me and Leo. He has tantrums, I yell, we both feel bad. Leo is finding his way in the world and testing us constantly, it’s part of growing up but also one of the hardest parts of parenting. I wanted to have a chance to spend some time with him one-on-one without the chaos of the million things that always need to get done around the house and without Lucy. I see that Leo feels that she gets more attention, he’s partly right about that. I trust Leo to dress himself, play in his room or the backyard alone… because he’s a big kid and for the most part he makes good decisions.  But I can see how leaving him alone to play while I hover over Lucy’s every move can seem to an almost five year-old… more like neglect and less like privilege.

We started our trip off by having a cookie for lunch at LAX because… why not right?Leo

The first part of our vacation was spent in a tipi at the awesome Tipi Village Retreat; about a thirty minute drive from Eugene, Oregon, this place was just awesome and the perfect place for Leo and I to relax and hang out… and I got some serious cool mom points for booking a vacation in a tipi. Nestled in a grouping of tall fir trees, each tipi has a stone floor, lights and electricity, bed (or beds), chairs, nightstand, and unique design. Leo and I were in the Calapooya tipi which was perfect for the two of us.

I have to say sleeping in a tipi is great, it was pretty cold the nights we were there and Leo and I snuggled in the bed with a warm duvet and wool blanket. Compared to Los Angeles it was so dark and quiet,  I had some of the best sleep I have had in years.  The first night we slept 11 uninterrupted hours! The food was so good, everything cooked by the owner in the outdoor kitchen and served buffet style.  We dined at communal tables and met some nice people at the retreat. Luckily for Leo, there were a lot of kids the two nights we were there. I happily put our bonding on hold so he could play with the other kids.


“Let’s take a selfie” said Leo. Note to self: wear make-up all the time.

There is a creek that runs next to the resort that Leo loved, as an L.A. kid he has only ever played in the man made creek at our Natural History Museum, he jumped in with his clothes on twice! He found snails and tadpoles in the creek and a tremendous amount of sticks in the forest. Of course we used the sticks to make s’mores at night around the communal campfire.

We had a very relaxing time at Tipi Village Retreat; we swung in the hammock, read The Jungle Book, told stories and just played in the sunshine.  The weather was perfect while we were there but it starting raining shortly after we left, we were very lucky.


Next we were off to my parents who were “camping” themselves in their fancy RV outside or Eugene, Oregon.  Eugene hosted the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and my Dad, or “Bubba” to Leo, was on the organizing committee.  We had a ton of fun there as well; I enjoyed watching the track meet and Leo enjoyed the Fan Festival which featured live music every night and all the free Chobani yogurt he could eat (it’s not allowed at home so there was a considerable amount of yogurt eating).


Leo coloring an “America Flag” at the Chobani booth


Leo literally levitating with excitement at the Fan Festival


Though it sounds like a weird thing to say about my kid- who I am with all the time– I definitely got to know and understand Leo more on this trip.  Leo still has his toddler tantrum moments, but more and more I see that he is growing into a kind a caring little boy. I’m really glad that we did this mother-son vacation and I hope to do more in the future. Leo is already taking about the next time we are going camping… I can’t wait!

a lovely family vacation…san miguel de allende

Our family was in need of a vacation, we all have had a lot going on the past few months and it has been hot and muggy in Los Angeles. It’s too hot to be outside and being cooped up in the house with little kids is no fun at all! It was time to escape summer in Los Angeles! Leo had a week off of preschool so we thought it would be the perfect time for a Mexican getaway.

I had read about San Miguel de Allende on travel sites recently and a few friends have been and raved about it, so we figured… why not?  After five nights there, I have to say I am absolutely in love with the town. San Miguel de Allende has a rich history, the Spanish colonial town has retained much of its old world charm with narrow cobble stone streets (don’t bother to bring a stroller if you go) and centuries old buildings in El Centro, or the historic core of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though it has a small village vibe and everything is essentially walkable, SMA also has big city amenities like fine dining and art galleries.


Lenny and Lucy walk down a cobble stone street in El Centro


Leo and Lucy pose in front of an 18th century door

I had read many times that the population of SMA is about twenty percent American and Canadian retirees who flock there because of the low cost of living, excellent medical care and low crime rates. Because of this I expected more of a tourist trap vibe in the town. While we certainly met a few of these retirees on our trip, the town does not have touristy feel of the other Mexican destinations. Unlike Cancun, Los Cabos or Sayulita, American dollars are not accepted and most people do not speak English. Luckily, my wonderful cousin Carla came with us who speaks Spanish and I was able recall a few basic verbs and numbers from high school.

The landmark of the town is the Parroquia, or Parish church, a beautiful tall Spanish Gothic revival church made of pink sandstone with the accompanying Jardin that serves as the main town square. San Miguel is known for its festivals and parades, I would love to experience Independence Day or Dia de Los Muertos there. Even without at major holiday happening, on the weekend we were there there the Jardin was filled with excitement; wedding marches, Mariachi bands, a blues festival and a military band competition. A lot going on and a ton of fun for the kids.


The Parroquia


Dancers in front of the Parroquia


Lucy and her new kitty in the Jardin

We were amazingly fortunate enough to use a friend’s home at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. The property is gorgeous with lush gardens, great restaurants, beautiful pools and most importantly, Rosebuds; a drop off kids clubs with activities for potty trained children that Leo LOVED.


Leo relaxing in the kid’s pool

The hotel is centrally located and right down the block from Parque Juarez, the largest park in the city with an amazing playground and gardens for the kids to explore.  Most mornings we would grab coffees and pastries and head to the park to play for an hour or two.  Our go to spot in the mornings was Cafe Rama. The art gallery and cafe has a wonderful vibe, amazing egg dishes and coffee and pastries to go.


Breakfast at Cafe Rama

One of our favorite activities was visiting La Esquina, the Mexican folk toy museum in town. They have three floors of the coolest hand crafted toys. There was really so much to take in at the museum which is filled with new and vintage toys, dolls, rocking horses and the coolest moving toys that were so fancy I would probably never let my children play with them.


Lucy takes in La Lucha Libre at La Esquina


Leo plays with a very cool dinosaur racing toy I wanted to take home


Handmade dolls and our little doll

San Miguel is known for it’s food scene. We didn’t get to partake in many of the highly reviewed restaurants because our children are pretty terribly behaved around dinner time. We did have a lovely meal on the terrace at La Posadita, which has a a beautiful view of La Parroquia.  They also had a spinach and cheese burrito appetizer which was the perfect dinner for the kids, likely the only vegetables they ate the entire trip.


Carla and Lucy at La Posadita

Lenny and I were able to sneak away for a little shopping and lunch one afternoon and we tried Jacinto 1930 which we really enjoyed. The menu is sort of a Mexican fusion concept, or at least I think it was… I thought I knew a lot of food words in Spanish until I looked at their menu. We both ordered yummy spicy tequila cocktails and shared a composed salad and their version of chilaquiles with burrata which was exceptionally tasty.

The design of the space is beautiful,  I love the contrast of the bold ceramic tiles and modern copper fixtures set in a the historic building which was designed to look stripped down to its supporting walls. Jacinto 1930 is part of a larger complex which holds a food hall, pastry shop, clothing store, book shop, art gallery, and wine and cocktail tasting rooms. One of the more upscale complexes in San Miguel.


Jacinto 1930 Entrance

We took the kids to Hecho in Mexico for dinner the first night. The casual restaurant has an outdoor courtyard and a diner-esque menu, i.e. a little bit of everything from Mexican to burgers and all in HUGE portions.  Leo and Lucy were squirming in their seats so I didn’t have a chance to take any photos but I stayed and got the check while Lenny and Carla took the kids down the street for ice cream and it was 600 pesos! That’s about 33 dollars for for three adults and two kids to have dinner and drinks- and yes, some of the drinks were beers. No wonder expats love this place.

We ate a lot of meals (and by meals I mean chips and guacamole) at the Rosewood where the food was excellent but I really wish that we were able to try more places in SMA.

Other than the occasional (or frequent, depending on how to you look at it…) toddler tantrum, it was a great vacation. There is so much to do (and eat) in SMA that I am sure we missed a ton of things in the five days that we were there. I can’t wait to go back and explore more.

xo, Lisa




a perfect storm…



These past few months have been a very busy, and not the busy having fun kind of busy… but the busy with actual things to do busy. Things that I have actually be accountable for to other people kind of things. Taking on more than I can handle is a perpetual flaw of mine. This spring I decided to take an extra class in my design program and organize a fundraiser, phone banks and canvass events for a certain Presidential candidate that I am extremely fond of… maybe a little too much.

And then there are the things that you can’t plan for…even just trying to write this blog post has been a four day affair. Between taking our dog to the emergency room for a cut, Leo “borrowing” some of my homework for my drafting class and ripping it, finding a lost neighborhood dog and tracking down her owner, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, being on lock down from the Los Angeles Police Department and freaking out (yes, that’s really how I spent an hour Tuesday afternoon)… I really am not sure where the days go.

My children have responded to this busy time in my life with great resistance. Leo has  upped his tantrum game to a new level, combining toddler-like fist swinging and biting with teenage-like rhetoric such as, “I want a new mom” and “I’m running away.” And Lucy is at a point in her life where a lack of constant supervision results in things like pouring a container of goldfish on the floor and stomping on them like Michael Flatley on meth, splashing in the toilet water or eating dog food.  Needless to say the TV is on a lot in our house.

Then there are the things I am supposed to be doing but are just not getting done.  Washing the sheets and towels, grocery shopping and cooking dinners (that aren’t spaghetti and pasta sauce from a jar), daily sand removal from the playroom, remembering to buy more toilet paper… who has time for these things? Certainly not me.

In the past three weeks I wrapped up a ton of events for the California Primary, turned in my final paper for my design history class, completed a MASSIVE drafting project and took a quick trip to Mexico with my family (more on that later), so hopefully this storm cloud of stress and over-commitment will pass soon. Next up I have a mother-son camping trip, potty training Lucy, more volunteer commitments and (eeks!) kindergarten for Leo. When one storm passes, in rolls another.

What are some strategies that have worked for you in balancing commitments? How do you know when you are putting too much on your plate?

xo, Lisa