Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bel Bambini Boutique–My Top Picks for New Baby

belBambini_exteriorshotI recently attended the grand opening event for Bel Bambini in Newport Beach, CA. Chip and Lulu participated in the fashion show and had a blast in their debut on the catwalk. This boutique, with a location in West Hollywood as well, is amazing! Spacious, bright and carries so many of my favorite products for ages 0-6. My top picks for New Baby are featured on their site. If you aren’t in So Cal, you can shop online!




1. Aden + Anais Bamboo Muslim Collection – Mela ($40.00); 2. Skip*Hop Zoo Bib – Zebra ($8.00); 3. Trumpette Socks – Maryjanes Pastel ($24.00); 4. ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier – Camel ($115.00); 5. Little Giraffe Luxe Blanket ($85.00); 6. Boon Catch Bowl ($6.99); 7. Skip*Hop Pronto! Changing Station – Nixon ($34.00); 8. Vulli Sophie The Giraffe ($23.00)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trash Cache - Scout by Bungalow

Bungalow - Trash Cache
I'm a big fan of Scout products. The Trash Cache is a really convenient collapsible bin that has many uses but is named for its primary use, as a cute, temporary trash container. It includes clips to keep the liner bag in place. Folds flat for storage. $43 at

Friday, March 16, 2012

American Idol Finalists Party & Coca Cola

AmericanIdol2I was invited as a guest of Coca Cola to attend The American Idol Finalists Party in Hollywood. It was a really great evening and I had a blast hanging with Caryn of Rockinmama and Tee of That’s IT Mommy. Coca Cola is one of the sponsors this season and has some fun cross-promotion going on with Idol. When you visit and click on the Coke Family Night program, you can vote for your favorite Music Cover Artwork as submitted by families from all over the US with the hopes of winning a trip to Hollywood for the AI finals. There is also the opportunity to use your Coke Rewards to get Idol gear and a whole section with activities and recipes tied into Family Night and American Idol themes. American Idol is one of the few shows that the whole family can watch together. It’s great that Coke recognizes that.
Everyone was at the party, Ryan Seacrest came into the VIP section to chat with us. The judges were all there too. I had hoped to catch up with my Boston homey, Steven Tyler, but didn’t get the chance. We loved meeting the finalists who were all really great sports and made the party for me. There was a very amusing photo booth that I took a few turns in. The main pic here shows from L to R: Me, Heejun Han and Tee. Check out my gallery for an inside view! I look forward to watching the rest of the season…I wonder who will be the next American Idol…

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shamrock Shakes 2012

IMAG0828As described in my Shamrock Shakes post from March 2009, I have had a decades long love affair with the Shamrock Shake. This year, for the first time, Shamrock Shakes are nationwide! They look different from the ones of my youth….Fancier and all McCafe’d out. But the heart and soul of this genius invention remains. I’m quite excited that I’m the recipient of 10 free Shamrock Shake coupons to give out. I handed one to Chip’sIMAG0829 Kindergarten teacher yesterday and her eyes lit up. “I’ve never had one!” she exclaimed. “I’m going right after to school to get one!” I gasped and replied, “Never had one? I won a St. Patrick’s Day contest in second grade for one…You must start holding the contest!”

Please follow me down memory lane and the mintcool goodness that is the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake:

Originally posted March 13, 2009
ShamrockShake_thumb[1]When I was in second grade, our class had a contest for St. Patrick's Day.  The student who wore the most green items would win lunch at McDonald's with the teacher and a Shamrock Shake.  I vividly recall planning my ensemble for days.  I carefully collected anything and everything that could be worn by me and was green.  I even secured green underwear.  I won--handily.  So off we went to McDonald's: Mrs. Mayo (my teacher), Cathy (the girl who won from the class next door) and her teacher.  I had my first Shamrock Shake, the year was 1977.  Jimmy Carter was the new President.  Today, 32 years later, I had my most recent Shamrock Shake.  Barack Obama is the new President.

I was able to find solace and comfort in a childhood favorite, the minty, refreshing, creamy Shamrock Shake.  Back in '77 there was only one size shake and there was a character named Grimace who drank them.  Now McDonald's shakes come in 3 sizes, each one bigger than the '77 version and most Americans are as big as Grimace.  It used to be you could count on two things in March, the Shamrock Shake and the NCAA Tournament.  The former is no longer a given.  They are not available everywhere and are not available every year.  In 2007, they were not to be found anywhere in the Los Angeles basin.  Frustratingly.   I even recall pulling up to drive thrus and asking "Do you have Shamrock Shakes?"  The person would always respond "Yes."  Excited, I would pull up to the window only to meet someone who had only a passing command of English and was probably experiencing their first St. Patrick's Day in this country.  I would repeat "Shamrock Shake."  And they would respond, "Wha' kind o' eeee-shake, you want?"  I would ask them to get their manager, who luckily had been in the country at least a couple of years.  They would come to the window and explain that they didn't have them this year.

I'm always amazed when I meet people, fellow Americans, contemporaries, if you will, who do not know what a Shamrock Shake is.  I cannot be friends with them.  I. Just. Can't.  I don't care if you think they are disgusting.  Just that you KNOW of them.  That you are part of my tribe.  There is even a website dedicated to the Shamrock Shake.  They are only available for a limited time.  And oh-so-delicious.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chris Mann & NBC’s “The Voice”

ChrisMannSometimes you meet someone and you are convinced they are going places. It’s not like you can actually articulate it…Talent, charisma, work ethic, passion, determination, training…That they are nice? I don’t know. It was a small gathering in a home in LA about 3 years ago where several of us LA bloggers were in attendance. However, we were linked up with events all over the country via the web.  There was a really nice guy named Chris Mann who was there to perform live to be broadcast to all the events. The first thing that I got off of him was that he was really a musician. He played the piano while he performed as well as belted out tunes standing behind a microphone. I also recall his mom was there. We spoke a bit and I thought it was really cool that his mom was out from Kansas (where Chris grew up) and was running around town with Chris for a few days. My takeaway from the first meeting: Chris Mann was one to watch.

Since I live on the internet (yes, my bed is on the internet), I quickly got hooked up with Chris on Twitter and Facebook and I would tweet at him and he would always tweet back. A few months after the initial meeting in LA, I found out he was performing in Chicago at some events I would be attending. Again, Chris enforced my opinion that he had real talent. The other thing it enforced is that this guy shows up. I like people who show up. I pride myself in showing up. Success comes from showing up.  About a month after Chicago, I attended a party to support women entrepreneurs in Africa. Yeah, you figured it out. Chris was there. The hostess, another LA blogger friend of mine, had asked him to come. He brought in his own equipment, keyboards, etc and got to it. It was official. I was a Mann Fan. I kept tabs on Chris. I love his cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”. I love George Michael. I loved that Chris made that song his own. Watch the video here.

New York City. August 2010. It was after midnight. I was heading back to the hotel from my friend Bobby Flay’s restaurant with 3 good friends. As we walked into a side entrance of the New York Hilton, there’s Chris. Big hug! He’d been performing some shows in NYC. I introduce him to my friends and they ask about his music. I say, “He reminds me of Robin Thicke”. Chris lights up and thanks me for the comparison. Tells me of an upcoming show in LA. I assure him I’ll be there. Exhausted, I hug him bye. I glance back and his blue eyes are sparkling as he shows no signs of fatigue and continues to speak with more fans. Showing up and going places. Uh-huh. Next followed a blur of stuff Chris had cooking like being on Glee and working with Babyface. You should read his bio to see all he’s done…It’s impressive.

Then the tweet came: Chris tweeted he would be on NBC’s The Voice, premiering after this year’s Super Bowl. The time slot after the Super Bowl is coveted. NBC was positioning The Voice and Chris was on that show. Oh. Yeah. In that opening episode, Chris owned the stage. His opera training in full effect. To see the looks on the judges faces, the grinning. I knew he was in. If you missed it, here it is:
Chris Mann on The Voice, NBC
Tonight (in the show’s regular time slot, Mondays 8/7 Central) was the elimination round. Half of the contestants would be sent home. Chris was paired with someone who challenged him to change it up. I suddenly had a flash of him on Broadway. Yes, I am always right. But, before Broadway, the rest of this season’s The Voice and my friend, Chris Mann.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jamiel Andre Shaw II 12/22/1990 - 3/2/2008

I will keep posting this on the anniversary of Jamiel Shaw's death until Jamiel's Law is passed.

Jamiels 001Today I share with you a post I originally wrote for the now closed Los Angeles Moms Blog, exactly one year ago today. Even as I cut and paste and tweak something that “I’ve already done”. It’s as if I’m slammed backwards one year as I struggled to write this. If it weren’t for Jamiel’s aunt, Althea Shaw, patiently speaking with me over several phone calls, reliving her own tragedy with someone she didn’t know….I wouldn’t have gotten this piece done. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ms. Shaw on a scorching hot day this past August in Beverly Hills at a political rally.  I rolled Lulu in her stroller through the crowds looking for her. When we finally connected, we hugged like old friends.

My friend Althea Shaw is taking action, right now, right here in Los Angeles.  She is running for Los Angeles City Council for District 10 to unseat incumbent Herb Wesson who has done nothing to protect young black men from becoming victims of illegal alien gang members. It’s clear Herb Wesson has an agenda that does not include following the law and/or protecting US citizens. In fact, in April 2008, when the Shaw family was planning to go before the LA City Council to speak about Jamiel’s Law, Herb Wesson sent out one of his representatives in advance to offer Jamiel’s father, Jamiel Sr., a “position on a board”—a bribe to get them to back off. Then when the Shaws actually arrived at the City Council meeting, Herb Wesson escorted them into his chambers to keep them from being able to speak during the Public Comment section of the meeting. He warned the Shaws that, “They were messing with a hornet’s nest.” It was ONLY due to the crowd assembled chanting “let them speak, let them speak” that the City Council was embarrassed into re-opening the Public Comments. I urge everyone who votes or knows anyone who votes in District 10 to get the word out to vote for Althea Shaw for Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Let’s take back our city with honorable, ethical people who look out for what’s best and do what is right.

I now present Jamiel Andre Shaw II 12/22/1990 – 3/2/2008, originally posted on The Los Angeles Moms Blog, March 2, 2010

Jamiel “Jas” Shaw was on his was home from the Beverly Center exactly two years ago today.  He jumped off a city bus with a buddy a few blocks from his house near the 10 Freeway, said goodbye and started to walk the couple of blocks to his house.  His dad called him on the way to confirm their plans to head out and buy him a new pair of running shoes.  He was a standout member of the varsity track and football teams at Los Angeles High School.  That morning Jas had participated in an invitation only weekend football training program. A program that prepared top high school football players for college football and even the NFL.  Scouts from UCLA, Stanford and Rutgers had inquired about him.  It looked like Jas was really going places.  Sadly, he did not make it home that afternoon.
Three doors from his house, Jamiel Andre Shaw II was murdered.  Shot twice, although there were three entry wounds. The first bullet went through his hand and then entered his stomach. The second bullet hit Jamiel’s head.  Jamiel’s alleged murderer, Pedro Espinoza, an illegal alien gang member from Mexico, belongs to the 18th Street Gang.  Espinoza had been released from jail on a firearms charge the day before he murdered Jamiel.  The Shaw Family has been continually thwarted in its demands to know how this was allowed to happen.

Jamiel 003
Jamiel’s mom, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw was serving in Iraq at the time of her son’s murder.  This aspect has been the most painful for me in preparing this piece.  I cannot even put myself in her boots.  Fighting for freedom in Iraq and receiving the news that her son was killed on his way home from the mall.  Jas also left a little brother, Thomas, now ten.

Jamiel 002 You’d think that a young, promising black teenager, killed by an illegal alien gang member would get all kinds of attention from leaders of the black community.  The Shaw Family couldn’t even get a return call from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.  How about the elected officials representing the Shaw’s district?  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council member Herb Wesson, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas have done nothing but throw up roadblocks.  Their Congresswoman, Diane Watson has also ignored them.  Clearly, there’s a mighty, mighty big elephant in the living room.

Where can we place the blame for the circumstances that led to Jamiel’s murder?  One prime culprit is Special Order 40.  A law put in place by the Los Angeles City Council in 1979 that prevents Los Angeles Police from obtaining immigration status from detained suspects.  This law was upheld in 2006 when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised to make Los Angeles a “Sanctuary City for Illegal Aliens”.  Let’s take a look at Pedro Espinoza and his 18th Street Gang.  According to a 2005 report by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),  “an estimated 80 percent of [the 18th Street] gang's members [in California] are illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America." 

When Pedro Espinoza was arrested, among the tattoos recorded on his body were “BK” on his neck representing “Black Killer.” On October 30, 2007, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles announced he had indicted members of "The Florencia 13, a street gang," for "shootings of African-Americans in neighborhoods the gang claimed to control."  Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) is another large gang founded in LA and now operating in other parts of the US and Central America.  It is clear that these gangs, moreover, do not limit their “code” to "traditional" crimes like extortion and drug-running: they endorse ethnic cleansing.

Some may ask: Well, is Jamiel’s murder an isolated case?  I’m afraid not.  Just last month, Ronald Barron, a black anti-gang activist with Ameri-I-Can was killed by a Latino gang member when he tried to stop him from tagging in the 5500 block of Pico.  On April 17, 2009, Marquis LeBlanc, an 18 year old black man was chased down a Pomona street by a group of Latinos, suspected gang members as reported by witnesses, and murdered.  Here I ask, what of the numerous unsolved murders in Los Angeles?  I don’t want to stir controversy unnecessarily, but can we get some answers?  How many unsolved murders of young black men are there in Los Angeles?  In a phone conversation with Jamiel’s Aunt, Althea Shaw, she stated that when Sheriff Lee Baca was asked this question in a news conference, he evaded answering.

We have a class of US citizens, young black men, who are being targeted by illegal alien criminal gangs and our politicians and law enforcement officials are unwilling to do anything about it.  The sad irony is that just a few months after Jamiel’s murder, our country elected our first black president.  President Obama, what say you about protecting our young black men?

For the past two years, the Shaw Family has been working very hard to get information, answers and to get Jamiel’s Law on the ballot.  The ballot initiative has been spearheaded by 2009 mayoral candidate Walter Moore, who gave Villaraigosa legitimate competition last year.  Jamiel’s Law, if passed, would permit Los Angeles police officers to arrest gang members for breaking U.S. immigration law. It would supersede Special Order 40.  To get information about The Shaw Family’s fight, please visit and follow them on
The Shaw Family invites the community to a Candlelight Vigil to remember Jas, tonight at the site of Jamiel’s murder, 2136 5th Ave. Los Angeles 90018
Photos courtesy of the Shaw Family
An original post for The Los Angeles Moms Blog
After Elizabeth takes a deep breath, she can be found over at her personal blog, Traded My BMW for a Minivan.
Comments (These are the original comments from the post on the LA Moms Blog)
Kirsten said...
Thank you for posting this. It's very well written and I'm glad to know about it. It's very sad. Best wishes to the family and for their efforts to stop this horrible violence, too.
Reply March 02, 2010 at 08:52 AM
Kim Tracy Prince said...
I'm feeling physical pain in my chest as I read this. I remember when this happened and I cried and cried for the lost life, the lost big brother, the lost son, the lost friend. You ask tough questions. I have no faith at all in our city or state elected officials to legislate the purchase of office supplies for schools, much less pass meaningful laws, so it seems to me there is less hope in that direction and more in community activism on the ground. Nonetheless, I hope this post gets some local attention and I will promote it myself.
Damn you. Now I'm sad.
Reply March 02, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Eunice C. said...
Once again, I find myself in support of vigilante justice. So sad.
Reply March 02, 2010 at 01:52 PM
erin m said...
so horrifying. really makes me sick.
i am disgusted by our mayor.
my hubby's cousin was able to make a bit of a difference in Orange
Reply March 02, 2010 at 06:16 PM
Sarah Auerswald said...
This is so frightening and sad for so many reasons: the injustice and the lack of compassion at all levels of government. Thanks for telling the story.
Reply March 02, 2010 at 06:48 PM
carrie meadows said...
Is there a petition for the ballot, or an online donation site set up?
Reply March 02, 2010 at 07:39 PM
Elizabeth Peterson said in reply to carrie meadows...
Hi Carrie, thanks for your interest. This info is on the home page of
To donate financially and/or mail funds directly to the Jamiel's Law Committee account.
The mailing address for the account is:
The Committee to Pass Jamiel's Law
USC Federal Credit Union
1025 W. 34th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
for further info:
Reply March 02, 2010 at 09:01 PM
Jamiel's Law said in reply to carrie meadows...
Official Website
Twitter Page -
Reply May 16, 2010 at 08:27 PM
Yvonne Condes said...
I remember when this happened. It’s a horrible and senseless tragedy. I can’t imagine the pain the Shaw family has gone through these last two years.
I don’t know, however, if Jamiel’s Law is the answer. If it becomes a law it will give the LAPD the right to arrest anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant gang member. That means any young Latino can be arrested for simply looking like they could possibly be illegal. It will stop illegals from coming forward when they have information about the perpetrator of a violent crime for fear of being deported. It’s racial profiling and that’s not the answer.
According to the LA Times, Special Order 40 wasn’t a factor in Espinosa’s release the day before the murder because he was arrested and released outside of LAPD jurisdiction. But that’s beside the point. I think the problem with gang violence has as much to do with the LAPD as with illegal immigration. There are not enough police officers for a city of this size. There are not enough resources in these gang-ridden communities to give young people any other choice.
Something has to be done to stop the gang violence that’s terrorizing this city. And we need to elect officials who are willing to do everything they can to make that happen.
Reply March 03, 2010 at 01:06 AM
April said...
I hope the Shaw family NEVER GIVES UP! Keep asking questions and demanding answers! Use the press to get them to be accountable for this very preventable tragedy!
Please check out There are all kinds of facts and information on illegal immigration on this website. Also, on We MUST speak out and DEMAND from our politicians to build the border fence and to crack down on illegals.
E-Verify is what is needed nationally. E-Verify is currently a volunteer program that employers use to "match" the documentation a new hire gives (only used after hiring). No match, no job. If this were implemented, within months, illegals would be self deporting. No job, no reason to be here! Americans like Jamiel Shaw should be able to walk down the street at any hour, and not have to worry that an illegal gang banger is going to kill you! God bless The Shaw family, and thank you Mrs. Shaw for serving your country. DON'T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!
Reply March 03, 2010 at 01:09 PM
Kathy said...
thanks for posting this. My heart goes out to the family of that poor young man. How brave of them to be putting their energies into something positive.
Reply March 03, 2010 at 02:16 PM
Michelle T Griffith said...
WOW...thanks for sharing. I'm really just about speechless. My heart just sank and I'm thinking of their family.
Reply March 05, 2010 at 06:00 AM
Sickofignorantpeople said...
I'm sorry, but not all Latinos are murderers, just as not all African American . If the Jamiel's law passes .. Simply put is that the Shaw family is encouraging racial profiling. I understand that they have hate in their hearts for a senseless act of ONE person, but there is no need to generalize all Latinos!!
How many times do African Americans murder Latinos or Americans ? And simply you don't see us all up in the media to try to pass a law to arrest every black person who walks down the street that may look like they are either from the crip or blood gang that sag their pants past their butts just to have them sent back to Africa ! Do I sound ridiculous ? Well, that's how this whole thing is being brought about.
To all: NOT all Latinos are Mexican . That's the ignorance of an uneduated individual . Read
about history before assuming and just because we speak Spanish does not mean they are Mexican !! I know that the famIly wants justice, but racial profiling is not the answer. And for Mr. Shaw to call Mr. Ridley Thomas a sell out simply because of his decision on not supporting the Arizona law on racial profiling is just plain wrong.
I just hope that the Shaw family's hearts heal and that it was a very unfortunate situation ,
but wanting to do is simply wrong.. Do they not remember the 1960's era.
It's a shame if they have forgotten on how it feels to be discriminated ?
And with that I have nothing else to say!
Reply June 08, 2010 at 03:01 AM
BlkWmSpeaks said in reply to Sickofignorantpeople...
First of all, need I define the word "INVASION" for you? Cuz that's exactly what's happening here .... illegal aliens are crossing our borders by the thousand each day.
So, it's not 'racial profiling' at's PROTECTION for the Americans to enforce EXISTING immigration laws. According to federal law....immigrants are required to establish their immigration status [upon other "papers".....this is FEDERAL LAW .... "federal law" that "unfortunately" hasn't been enforced.
Likewise, Americans must show driver's license, car registration and car insurance "upon" request. What's the difference?? Why shouldn't Latinos show "papers", especially known gang members?
The illegal alien problem has gotten waaaay out of hand, it's "beyond time" to enforce existing federal immigration laws, however, if you have the necessary "papers" to establish your status..........what's the problem?
The majority of illegal aliens crossing the borders ARE Latinos [from Mexico]....there's no getting around that FACT.
The issue isn't about 'tit for tat' or "how many African Americans have kill Latinos" [as you so IMMATURELY put it] ... the issue is whether or not the Latino doing the crime is an "illegal alien".
Americans can't go to Mexico and do what the hispanics are doing here. please. Buy a clue. I'd rather the police stop every single suspicious Latino in town and enforce existing "federal immigration laws," if necessary...... than risk more loss of black life....our black youth are being gunned down by mexican "illegal alien" gang members [who, openingly, admit to ethnic cleansing].
Are we [Black Americans] supposed to stand by while these people kill MORE of our children....our people???? You must done lost your freakin' mind.
So, no, it's not racial's PROTECTION for americans [& black people ARE Americans] from INVASION .....from those who seek to kill us and our children. If anyone is ignorant, it's YOU......cuz obviously "you" don't know "your" history or federal law.
Every other country has rules, regulations, policies, and LAWS that are set in place to protect its citizens.....the US government has a moral & constitutional obligation to protect Americans from this [current] invasion from mexico.
And, before I forget.......YOU don't get to compare or minimize the plight of Black Americans [blk ppl. were FORCED here]........ to Latinos who come here "willingly" and ILLEGALLY on their own accord....those same Latinos can GO BACK TO MEXICO, if they don't like the laws here.
Go back to your own corrupted Mexican government [with it's hypocritical president]........cuz we all know.....the immigration laws in Mexico are a lot worse AND much harsher & strict. Yet, ya'll come 'here' and complain.
I ask you, dear readers, what's wrong with this picture? "eyeroll"
Reply June 11, 2010 at 10:05 PM
W. Martin said...
Jamiel “Jas” Shaw
I found this by accident and it brings me to tears.
To the Shaw family: I know your lives are forever changed but hope you have found strength through the pain. Jamile sounds like he was such a light with such a promising future.
I wish our government would listen to the will of the people. I believe they are all pawns of corporate greed. How can they see what is happening and not care? It's beyond me but money is the root of all evil.
We need a revolution.
Reply June 17, 2010 at 11:23 PM