Hispanic Heritage Month = FUN

sporting my 2D Jump from Paper bag
Hispanic Heritage Month is always a party. Unlike the (understandable) austerity of  Black History Month, it's a blur of spinning dresses and spicy canapes. Latinos do stop to acknowledge struggles both past and present, such as migrant worker conditions and gang violence, but it's always followed up with a celebration of their warm, sun-drenched homelands.

auhor Glenn Llopis
SOMOS knows their way around a fiesta. Last year, this IPG Latino heritage group threw a soiree with high-concept cocktails and tacos galore at Playa on Beverly. This year, the Axis Marketing Agency lit up the Pacific Design Center, and invited KCRW DJ Raul Campos to attend. An elaborate spread of pan dulce, fruits, croquetas and sandwiches awaited us.

Author Glenn Llopis gave a motivational speech. He was refreshingly willing to urge Latinos to take responsibility for issues such as petty differences between, say, Mexicans and El Salvadorians. These rivalries take the focus off the more important struggle of getting a proper education and working hard to get ahead. Shameless plug and perfect example? My Mexican BFF/writer/teacher/double-major grad at USC extraordinaire Gina Valencia Ramsey!

chic space at the Pacific Design Center

Mexican hot chocolate dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg was passed around, The Axis Agency's social butterfly Dan Navarro worked the room and door prizes were awarded to attendees. One lucky girl walked away with the new iPhone 5. Top that


Life is good.

No really, it is. Taking in this view, I'm reminded of the love part of the love/hate relationship I have with Los Angeles.

But is it too much to ask to scoot the PCH further inland? Don't get me wrong, winding highways by the sea are excellent for car commercials, roadtrippers and celebrities dying for a DUI to boost publicity. But what about the beachgoers?

Back East, we crossed long bridges over bays to get to the secret, quiet beaches that awaited us. It was an escape from the world, a hideaway where we rejuvenated. Sure, we had boardwalks but that's only foot traffic. Who wouldn't want the smell of funnel cakes, places to score margaritas and nearby restrooms?

Beachgoers here in L.A. deal with the Pacific Coast Highway, which delivers screaming sirens, honking horns and semi-trucks spitting black smoke. Even in the placid photo above, you can see the glint of cars lined along the PCH.

Note: I will change my mind just in time for my coastal roadtrip to Santa Barbara.


One Night in Little Tokyo


What a huge difference a few years make! Back in the day, Little Tokyo was run down and sketchy. Nowadays, the two-block epicenter has morphed into a sprawling, well-lit, technologically blinking, sushi restaurant and Hello Kitty-heavy haven of their obligatory cultural cuteness.


Angela Kinsey hosts Citrus Lane party

Kim Burke-Connors, myself, Angela Kinsey and daughter Isabel

Hot moms were everywhere. Forget the frazzled caretakers of the days of yore, with tangled hair and shirts covered in spit-up. At the Chateau Marmont this Saturday, champagne glasses clinked, as well-groomed youngsters darted around us.

TV host Layla Kayleigh with daughter Melody and husband Steven Covino

Cougar Town star Busy Phillips rocked a flirty sun dress. TV host Layla Kayleigh smiled on as her daughter's face was painted and glittered. A live quartet belted out an MTV Unplugged version of Pachelbel's Canon in D. Gorgeous waiters passed around mini grilled cheese sandwiches and lamb chops.  At the center of it all was star Angela Kinsey, official Hot Mom Host. Gliding around this Mommy and Me Tea in a strapless summer dress and smooth blowout, I had to remind myself that she was a mom. Of course, my point of reference is my mom, with crusted applesauce on her face and always threatening to throw a dirty diaper at Victor. Victor never heard her because he was on The Young and the Restless.  

But I digress. The Office star hosted this splashy party with Citrus Lane, an innovative company that mails monthly care packages to parents. Inside each box are parent-recommended treats, such as organic juices, teething bracelets for moms to wear and children's books. The fresh Citrus Lane logo must come as a relief when it arrives at their doors, promising nourishment and entertainment.

Perhaps Citrus Lane is onto something, with sending help right to your front door. Is that the reason why Angela Kinsey was so fresh-faced and well-accessorized? If I ever have a kid, I'm signing up for Citrus Lane. That, and avoiding soap operas. Because that Victor is nothing but trouble


I Don't Practice Santeria

I heard of Santeria the way most people have; via the Sublime song. It wasn't until I met some self-proclaimed "cholos" in East LA that I got the dirty details. Old-school chicken sacrifices abound in some parts of Mexico, and the business of curse-giving and curse-lifting makes for some serious double agents in the Santeria hierarchy. They made it seem like a phenomenon in Mexico only. But the other night, on a darkened block in downtown LA, this lady was hawking the Santeria goods.

I enjoyed the irony of her selling Jesus and the Grim Reaper in the same window display. However, I didn't enjoy the smell of rotten eggs coming from the storefront. Someone more superstitious might say she emitted that smell to keep me and my skepticism away. I say that if Santeria really worked, homegirl would be successful enough to afford some air fresheners.

Downtown Los Angeles


Thank you Ripe Concepts!

The beauty of the Internet knows no bounds. You can use Facebook to convince acquaintances that your life is a blur of glamorous parties. You can use Yelp to take down shoddy massage parlors. You can also use your blog to spread happiness. But it's hard to spread happiness, or even effective malice, if your blog has the visual charm a Wal-Mart storefront. Too many blogs are rant centers, where scary people moan about coupons and the relationship status of Twilight actors.

This is why I thank you, Ripe Concepts! The creators of my all-new Viva Lost Angeles! logo (above) made my blog a lot more lively and a little more professional. The splashy colors are a  nod to the 80's, an era trapped in golden amber for me. The font a bit vintage, like my taste. Overall, it screams California and I am liking it. 

Here's to hoping this new look will help me spread both happiness and effective malice!

"Thank you, dahlings!"