Best New LA Restaurants for Date Night (Plus, What to Wear!)

fashion, Lifestyle

After 18 months of homeschooling, Zoom-ing, and being stuck at home with the kiddos during this crazy pandemic, parents are more than deserving of an adults-only night out!

And, you’re in luck! Quite a few superb restaurants have opened in LA during the pandemic despite the hospitality industry’s struggle to maintain strong business in the rollercoaster of lockdowns and quarantines. These new restaurants on my list are so good that they’re not just surviving during these unsteady times – they’re thriving!! So, in addition to our need to escape repetitive (and exhausting!) parental duties, exploring one of these awesome new hot spots is another great reason for you to get out of the house with your S.O.!

But OMG what do we wear out these days? I don’t know about you, but most of my pandemic time with kiddos has been spent in yoga pants! I absolutely LOVE a good excuse to get dressed up, and as dining establishments continue to reopen, I’ve been so excited shopping for new looks to wear out on date nights on my fave e-retail site REVOLVE! If you’re stumped on what to wear, I’ve included some date night outfit ideas for each restaurant below!

Here are my top six new restaurants in Los Angeles for date night!

  1. Saso, Pasadena
My kind of cocktail: Txolo Squinkles made with tequila, mezcal, poblano liqueur, lime, grapefruit

Located in the historic Pasadena Playhouse, the new Saso serves Basque-inspired coastal cuisine, creating the perfect balance of century-old traditions mixed with farm-fresh fare. Everything at Saso is beautiful, fresh and vibrant — the open-air atmosphere, the flower adorned cocktails, the luscious crab claws and melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu steak. Make sure you start with the croquettes and fried oysters. Not only are they perfectly prepared, but their dipping sauces are addictingly yummy! My only knock on this place is that I thought it was a bit overpriced, but it’s much cheaper than taking a trip to Spain so WORTH IT!

What to Wear to Saso: Saso has a very California casual vibe, so go for something that feels bohemian chic. You’ll feel cool in a puff sleeve black top and high-rise black jeans. Throw a leather jacket over your shoulders if you sit on the patio. Shop this look here.

2. Agnes, Pasadena

Barbecued Pork Collar – honey mustard marinated, apricot mostarda, pink peppercorns

At Old Town Pasadena’s newcomer Agnes, gastronauts will love the open kitchen where they can interact with the chefs creating hearty proteins from the hearth. The best spot for date night, though, is the airy back patio where you can linger over beautiful cheese and meat boards and scratch-made pastas while sipping locally inspired cocktails, like the Descanso (mezcal, Luxardo, green chartreuse, lime, serrano chili) and the Tournament of Roses (aperol, fresh watermelon, Cremant, rosemary). Plan to make your reservations weeks in advance, as a table on the patio at this hot spot has been extremely hard to come by!

What to Wear to Agnes: The restaurant’s open kitchen and airy patio provide a laidback atmosphere. But, you’re on date night, so you gotta look cute! Go for this flowy off-the-shoulder top paired with wide-leg jeans for a look that’s on trend with a dab of hottness! Shop this look here.

3. Cinque Terre WEST and Enoteca 5, Pacific Palisades 

I took this photo of the beautiful Burrata at Enoteca 5 during our media preview dinner

Pacific Palisades’ Lingurian restaurant Cinque Terre WEST opened right before the pandemic hit, and the restaurant’s exceptional food and warm hospitality was such a hit that it stayed open with the support of the community. Locals love the restaurant’s farmers’ market driven menu and outstanding wine list so much that the owners just opened an intimate wine bar next door called Enoteca 5. I was lucky enough to be invited to a private media preview of the new space, and I cannot wait to bring my husband back for date night! The menu changes seasonally, but standouts on the menu I tried included the cheese and charcuterie board (get the Lardo di Colonnata AKA cured pork belly – its like butter in your mouth!!), the Burrata (stone fruit, pea tendrils, sourdough toast, saba), Black Truffle Pizza (mozzarella, goat cheese, black truffle), Papparadelle alla Bolognese, and Risotto del Giorno. The sommelier will steer you toward the best Italian and Californian wine pairings for your meal. Executive Chef Gianba Vinzoni and his wife Marlo are so warm and kind, making every guest feel like family here! Simple, romantic, and authentic, this venue transports couples to a date night in Italy!

What to Wear to Cinque Terre WEST and Enoteca 5: The vibe is dressy casual. The restaurant is tucked into a strip mall, but the amazing Italian food and wine are upscale. The crowd is beachy but wealthy. Look effortless, but look stylish and smart. That’s where this House of Harlow ribbed dress comes in. The soft ribbed fabric says, I’m comfortable, but the dress quality and feminine cut says, I care… but not too much. Shop this look here.

4. Lucky’s, Malibu

A feast for the eyes! Photo credit: Blue Ladybug Studio

The popular Montecito steakhouse has landed in Malibu and provides a fabulous option for an upscale date night! Lucky’s is worth the drive up the PCH to rub elbows with the beautiful beachy “it” crowd and indulge in steakhouse specialties. My Texan heritage requires me to order steak for my entree, and Lucky’s chars them just right served with sinful sauces like cognac peppercorn cream and red wine horseradish. The chopped salad with prosciutto and shrimp is divine, the sides are top-notch (hashed browns with gruyere cheese!!), and the cocktails are strong. Start with a martini and live your best life with your bae in the ‘Bu.

What to Wear to Lucky’s Malibu: This is a classic upscale steakhouse, but you’re in Malibu, so they typical LBD won’t do. Choose a polished yet youthful dress that’s not too stuffy, like this pretty dress made with champagne chiffon fabric. This dress is formal but fun – perfect to match Lucky’s atmosphere! Shop this look here.

5. Gigi’s, Hollywood

The intimate dining room and bar at Gigi’s | Photo Credit: Shade Degges Photography

I’m a sucker for a great adults-only night out in Hollywood to make me feel young and free of diaper duty again, and Gigi’s checks all the boxes: beautiful atmosphere, excellent service, perfect people watching, Insta-worthy strong cocktails and delectable food. Gigi’s serves French bistro fare, so you still feel fancy when your husband orders the cheeseburger with caramelized onions, pickles and frites, but I’m more of a whole roasted branzino girl myself. You’ll have to plan your date night several weeks in advance, because reservations at this celebrity favored restaurant are HOT!

What to Wear to Gigi’s: This restaurant is the pre-party that you never want to end – and it might not if you can snag a spot at the bar after dinner! With Gigi’s lively atmosphere and sophisticated aesthetic, you want a dress that’s both sexy and refined. This is not an appropriate place to wear your barely-there bodycon dress from your last trip to Vegas pre-kids circa 2016 (But, if you do decide to go in that direction, we don’t blame you for trying to relive the glory days!). May I suggest this ribbed bodycon dress instead? I love its midi length with a super sexy high slit and cut out back! Yes, go for it! Shop here.

6. Merois, West Hollywood

These views!!

Merois is everything you want from a date night dinner spot in Los Angeles: outstanding Eurasian cuisine from renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck, upscale atmosphere, jaw-dropping rooftop views of Los Angeles, impeccable service and a beautiful crowd. It’s definitely a see-and-be-seen place at West Hollywood’s hottest new hotel, The Pendry, so expect to see some familiar faces. In between bites of Hamachi Tartare and Shanghai Lobster, you’ll probably say something like, “Don’t look now, but isn’t that the one guy from Stranger Things?” From my last decade spent working in the hospitality industry, these are the types of hotel restaurants that get me giddy. Everything at Merois comes together just right for an impressive and memorable dining experience with your forever dinner date.

What to Wear to Merois: Pick an outfit that’s stylish yet timeless. You may finally get discovered by some big shot agent at this restaurant, so you should look like the leading lady. Hey, you never know! I love the classic silhouette on this Majorelle dress, and the ruffles and terracotta color are on trend. Shop this look here.

Where should we go on date night next? Which outfit is your favorite? Give me your best LA restaurant recommendations and tell me your favorite looks in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson! You can shop all my date night looks by clicking the image below and following me on @shop.ltk!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Best Affordable Swimsuits for Summer

fashion, Lifestyle
The cutest lavender bikini from H&M

This summer, I’m all about AFFORDABLE SWIMSUITS! After a year of little social activity and few vacations, plus being pregnant last summer, I’m now ready to overhaul my old swimsuits for fashionable new ones!

I don’t know about you, but I like to change up my pool/beach looks while on vacation… which means I can’t be spending $100-$200 per ‘kini — OK?!?! Luckily, H&M has killed it this summer introducing TONS of affordable swimsuit options! And, many of the suits you can mix and match – like these ribbed bikini bottoms and matching tops!

I’ve outlined all my favorite affordable H&M swimsuits below. I can’t wait to wear some of these new suits at all the upcoming pool parties and travel we have planned this summer!

Affordable swimsuits from H&M
  1. Lavender Bikini Bottoms and Lavender Bikini Top – This lavender color is so pretty for this classic bikini. This will probably be my most worn swimsuit this summer!
  2. White Bikini Bottoms and White Bikini Top – I was hunting for an all white bikini to rock this summer, and this one fits so perfectly! I love that its ribbed, so the fabric is thick. It comes in multiple colors, so you can mix and match the bottoms with the tops!
  3. Neon Yellow Bikini Top and Neon Yellow Bikini Bottoms – I’m digging all the ’90s vibes this season and this neon suit feels so old school Sports Illustrated! This will look so good with a tan!
  4. Pink Brazilian Bikini Bottoms and Pink Brazilian Bikini Top – So girly and flirty! If you’re looking for a high waisted bikini, this one is so flattering!
  5. Black High-Legged Ribbed Swimsuit – I got this swimsuit in red and I love it! It’s sexy but also appropriate enough to wear in the water with kids.
  6. Red One-Piece – Ready to join the Summer Olympics in this number! Feels like Sporty Spice!
  7. Blue Striped One-Piece – Feelin’ the classic East Coast vibes with this suit! Perfect for rocking at the country club or a Fourth of July pool party.
  8. Pink Striped Shaping Swimsuit – This suit is ultra flattering with high leg cut and sculpting effect on waist. I love how girly it is with pink stripes and ruffles.

Which swimsuit is your favorite? Are you team one-piece or team bikini? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to follow with me on Instagram and LIKEtoKNOW.it for more easy, affordable fashion!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Easy and Affordable Red, White & Blue Looks for Summer

fashion, Lifestyle
Love this red puff sleeve crop top from H&M!

I absolutely love summer! The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, but I like to kick off the season of red, white and blue outfits with Memorial Day Weekend! I don’t know about you, but since its the first long holiday weekend in the COVID vaccination era, I’m ready to celebrate with family and friends! I can’t wait to get dressed up and see people again! Here are some easy red, white and blue looks to copy for poolside parties, backyard BBQs and date nights this summer!

Three easy red, white and blue looks to copy for summer!
Red, white & blue looks for Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July and ALL SUMMER!
  • Straw Fedora Hat – Nothing better than a classic straw fedora hat to wear all summer for all occasions – so easy for pool, beach or any outdoor party!
  • Red One Piece Swimsuit – I love that one-piece swimsuits have really made a fashionable comeback in the last few years. This one gives ’90s sporty vibes, which I love for being chic but also active in the pool with my kiddos!
  • White Swimsuit Cover Up Wrap – This Amazon cover-up is so affordable, comes in a variety of colors and comes in packs of two! I love this for when I’m at the pool and want to quickly get up to get a drink or go back to the hotel room but don’t want to get fully dressed.
  • White Birkenstocks – These have been my go-to sandals for the last year, because they’re so comfy and waterproof. Great shoes for running errands, staying cute at the pool or chasing my kids around!
  • White Crop Top – White linen crop tops will be my go-to with all my high waisted shorts and jeans this summer!
  • Blue Striped Paper Bag Waist Shorts – Bless the person who invented paper bag waist shorts! They are so comfy! These navy stripes are perfect for summer and can go with lots of outfits.
  • Elda Slide Sandal in Natural Raffia – This sandal gives me tropical vibes. Can’t wait to wear them on vacation and with all my dresses this summer!
  • Red Chandelier Earrings – I’ve worn these for the last couple years and they don’t get old! Perfect to dress up a casual outfit or add a pop of color!
  • Red Puff Sleeve Crop Top – This top looks so romantic and chic for a date night!
  • Distressed High Waist Levi’s – My most favorite “mom jeans” ever! They’re often sold out, so I’ve linked similar styles here and here.
  • Tule Block Heel Sandal in Black Leather – I’m digging the square toe this season. These sandals are ridiculously comfortable for heels. Can’t wait to wear these for date nights and evening social gatherings with friends!

What are you looking forward to wearing this summer? For more fashion inspo, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson and LiketoKnow.it!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Diaper Bag Essentials

fashion, Mom & Baby

The baby product industry is always working to convince us that we need MORE STUFF, so I’m determined to keep our approach as minimalist as possible. With all the options out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed guessing what you truly need in your diaper bag – for baby and mom! Rather than carry half the nursery with me “just in case,” I personally prefer to stick to just the essentials.

The first step is choosing the right diaper bag. I have two: the Freshly Picked Classic Backpack in black and my new favorite Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin.

Here’s what’s important when shopping for a diaper bag:

Backpack style – Only once did I attempt to carry a large shoulder bag with me when out with the babies, and it was so challenging! Backpacks keep your hands free and the bag off the dirty ground – especially important when changing diapers in public restrooms!

Pockets! And more pockets! – Staying organized on-the-go is necessary when you’re quickly trying to clean up a mess or wipe a runny nose. Sometimes, you only have one hand to quickly grab a wipe! Pockets provide a place for everything, so you’re not digging toward the bottom of your bag for the loose hand sanitizer, sunscreen or whatever it may be.

Just big enough for a small laptop – Our family loves traveling and I’ve even brought the babies with me on work trips. In my opinion, there’s nothing more annoying than carrying additional bags through the airport when you also have kids in tow, so having a diaper bag that’s large enough for a small laptop – but no larger – is ideal.

Chic – As someone who considers herself a “cool mom,” there’s nothing more annoying to me than an item that screams baby. Like, I want carry a diaper bag, but I don’t want to look like I’m carrying a diaper bag. I like that the two bags I have can also function as stylish backpacks without looking like I’m carrying a pack of baby wipes with me.

Quality – This bag will go everywhere with you for a couple years, so you want it to be durable.

My diaper bags:

Freshly Picked Diaper Backpack in Black

This was the bag I had on my baby registry, and it has been such a wondeful gift! This Freshly Picked diaper bag has survived almost three years of baby and toddler craziness. I’ve brought this bag everywhere with me, and I really don’t see why a mama would need any other bag. In addition to the zipper closure, it has a flap that goes over the top, which is so handy when you only have one hand to close your bag and go! Because its black vegan leather, the bag can be dressed up and doesn’t stand out when I’ve had to take it to more formal occasions. I’ve brought this bag with me to present at work conferences! Bonus: It comes with a portable changing pad, so you don’t have to buy a separate one!

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin Leather

Y’all, I am so obsessed with this Cleobella bag that I’ll probably continue to carry it as a chic travel backpack even when we’re out of the baby stage. I got this diaper bag after having my second baby, Lucy. I’d been carrying the Freshly Picked bag for the last 2.5 years and was ready for a change. I’ve been gravitating toward more neutrals since having a girl, and I think the moccasin color is perfect for spring and summer. The leather is so soft, and there’s so many pockets and compartments inside making it so easy to stay organized. I love that it also comes with a long shoulder strap to wear as a cross body. The braided detailing is very stylish. When my mother and husband first saw it, they did not think it was a diaper bag – WIN!

What’s in my diaper bag:

Portable Changing Pad

For diaper changes on-the-go, an easy-to-clean portable changing pad is vital. I like this portable changing pad from Amazon because its small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I love these aden + anais Muslin Blankets because they are multifunctional while being beautiful and long-lasting. I use these as a nursing cover, a swaddle for baby, a blanket for baby to wrap up in or lie down on, or to cover dirty surfaces baby may touch, like a grocery cart. They come in several beautiful colors and patterns that are easily washable. I like that they can cover a large surface while still being able to fold small to fit in my bag.

Burp Cloth

My favorite burp cloths are by KiddyStar, because they are thick and hold their shape. I’ve ended up with spit up all over me when using other brands’ thin, short, floppy burp cloths.

Disposable Diaper Bags

I carry these Munchkin Diaper Bag Refills in case I have to change a yucky diaper on-the-go and there’s no where to dispose the diaper. Believe me, you don’t want to have to keep an exposed yucky diaper in your beautiful new diaper bag or inside your car – ewwww!

Backup Clothes – Kyte Baby Footies

Spit-ups and blow-outs are just a part of everyday life when you have a baby, so always keep an extra change of clothes for baby in your bag. I especially like to have Kyte Baby Footies, because they’re sooooo soft and fold up really small inside your bag! They come in so many colors, so when you’re making your baby registry, register for a bunch!

Huggies Diapers and Wipes

After trying every brand of diaper out there, Huggies Diapers seem to be the best at keeping blow-outs at bay – very important when you’re out and about with baby! We also use Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

Extra Teething Toy

I always keep an extra teething toy or two in my bag to give something “new” to the baby that she’s currently not playing with in her stroller. It helps when she’s starting to get bored and fussy. I like these natural wooden teething rings because they’re non-toxic and have fashionable neutral colors.

Cuyana Wristlet

After carrying around my heavy wallet for a year with my firstborn, I finally wised up and got this cute, slim wristlet wallet from Cuyana. This wristlet has been so handy, especially when traveling. I keep my diaper bag on my back and this wallet around my wrist as I’m going through the airport and have to consistently pull out ID’s, tickets, credit card, etc. I also like this for quick errands when I don’t want to carry my diaper bag to the store. Now, I don’t need to transfer my wallet to another bag, because this wristlet does it all. It also has a pocket big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Cuyana has become one of my favorite leather goods brands. It’s such good quality at a perfect price point. And, the brand works to be as sustainable as possible.

Quay Sunglasses

I’ve owned several pairs of Quay Sunglasses, and these are my newest pair. I like that they’re fashionable, good quality, and at a good price point, so I don’t feel guilty buying a couple new trendy pairs at a time to try.

Other items that I always keep in my diaper bag include disinfecting wipes (to wipe down yucky surfaces), hand sanitizer, chapstick or lip color, and snacks for my toddler and me.

Our matching outfits:

While I have you, let’s talk about how cute these matching mommy-and-me dresses are from Cleobella. My mother and I used to wear matching dresses and jumpers back in the ’90s, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I got so excited for our future matching outfits! The main difference is that my mother actually used to sew our dresses back in the day, and since I’m no seamstress, it makes my heart so happy that Cleobella sells these adorable dresses. I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural.

I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural
Holding my Cuyana Wristlet

I hope this post was helpful for new mamas trying to plan outings with their littles or for experienced mamas looking to revamp their diaper bag! Comment in the posts below or let me know on Instagram!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

My Favorite Spring Dresses and Accessories on Amazon

fashion, Lifestyle

I could not be more excited for spring! Here in Los Angeles, the weather is warming up and more businesses are starting to reopen now that coronavirus numbers are down. It feels like we may actually get to be social again this spring! I’m so looking forward to dressing up and seeing friends!

I don’t know about y’all, but I have a major shopping itch after a year of rarely going anywhere. I also was pregnant all of 2020, so I haven’t bought any new clothes in what feels like forever! We have a few trips planned this spring, and with Easter and some friends’ birthday celebrations coming up, its time to update my dress selection!

It’s often so challenging for me to go shopping with two little babies in tow, so I love the ease of shopping online – especially with Amazon Prime! I’m able to receive my packages in a couple of days and always have free returns and exchanges. All the reviews from other shoppers make picking outfits such a breeze, too. It helps getting insight from other customers on the fit and quality of each item.

Below are the beautiful spring dresses and accessories on Amazon that I’ve either already added to my cart or have my eye on for a future purchase. Scroll to the bottom to see me wearing dress #6 in my newborn photo shoot with Lucy!

My Favorite Spring Dresses on Amazon

Spring Dresses:

  1. VintageClothing Women’s Floral Maxi Dresses Boho Button Up Split Beach Party Dress
  2. Relipop Women’s Polka Dot Jumpsuits Deep V-Neck Long Sleeve Knot Front Ruffle Hem Floral Rompers
  3. Women Floral Mini Dress Sexy V Neck Ruffle Flutter Sleeve Smocked Summer Dresses
  4. Romwe Women’s Casual Floral Print Off Shoulder Trumpet Sleeve Swing Dress
  5. Romwe Women’s Cute Tie Back Ruffle Strap A Line Fit and Flare Flowy Short Dress
  6. Dokotoo Womens Square Neckline Long Sleeve Floral Print Mini Dress
  7. BELONGSCI Women’s Dress Sweet & Cute V-Neck Bell Sleeve Shift Dress Mini Dress
  8. MITILLY Women’s Summer Boho Polka Dot Sleeveless V Neck Swing Midi Dress with Pockets

My Favorite Spring Jewelry, Bags and Sandals on Amazon

Spring Accessories:

  1. Turandoss Dainty Adjustable Layering Choker Necklaces for Women
  2. Allen&Danmi Dangle Earrings Made with Woven Rattan for Women
  3. FUNRUN JEWELRY Rattan Tassel Earring for Women
  4. Miuco Womens Bamboo Handbag Handmade Large Tote Bag
  5. Handmade Wicker Woven Purse Handbag Circle Boho Bag Bali
  6. Sam Edelman Women’s Yaro Heeled Sandal
  7. Steve Madden Women’s Travel Flat Sandal
  8. Steve Madden Women’s Platform Sandal Wedge

I bought this Dokotoo Womens Square Neckline Long Sleeve Floral Print Mini Dress when I was in a bind right before my newborn photoshoot with Lucy. I was 2 weeks postpartum and none of the dresses I had originally planned to wear were properly fitting. Thankfully, Amazon Prime got this dress to me in two days! I think it worked out well – what about you?

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.