December Favorites 2022

These are a few of my favorite things… Enjoy!

$ Bargain

Free Nativity Scene Exhibit (The Creche): I believe this is an annual event, but I was made aware of this free exhibit in Fountain Valley, CA. It’s free to enter and in the auditorium they have a 100 or so nativity scenes as expressed by different countries in the world (including a galaxy far far away). I really enjoyed seeing all the different materials used and the creativity at work. They also have local high schools and organizations perform as well. This year it was held during the first weekend of December. Check out their instagram page for more info.

$$ Moderate

Thai Food (Ruen Pair):  Great inexpensive and authentic Thai food in the heart of Thai town (Los Angeles, CA) is a winner in my book. The portions are generous so come in a small group (four is ideal) so that you can try many different dishes. The papaya salad, Tom Yum soup, and pineapple fried rice are bomb and roughly $15 a plate. Pad See Ew is also a solid choice! Read more here!

Comic Convention (Los Angeles Comic Con): If you’re looking to experience a San Diego Comic Con kind of convention but haven’t successfully secured your tickets through their lottery system, Los Angeles Comic Con (in Los Angeles, CA) is a great alternative and you don’t have to fight over tickets. They always a great range of celebrity guests on year they got Amy Jo Johnson (Pink Ranger from MMPR), Simu Liu (Shang Chi), and many more. Additionally, they have a lot of cool panels, vendors, artists, and exhibitors. This convention had historically been in October, but it looks like moving forward it’ll be a December convention. Single day starts at $35 + fees for adults and $95 +fees for a three day.  

Pop Person (Funko Hollywood): I’m lucky enough to get to attend premieres and sometimes get autographs from the celebrities in that feature. One of my favorite ways to commemorate the meeting is by purchasing a Funko Pop of that actor’s character and getting his/her signature. Well now we also can customize ourselves and get our very own Funko Pop with our own qualities. For roughly $25 I designed myself at the Funko Store in Hollywood, CA and thought it was so meta. Read about my entire experience here.

$$$ Splurge

Boodle Fight (Lola’s by MFK): Curious about eating with your hands? In traditional Filipino culture a Kamayan feast (or a boodle fight) is where an assortment of food is spread across banana leaves. This communal gathering does not allow for utensils and Lola’s by MFK in Anaheim, CA has a lot of protein options. On my visit our party of 10 paid about $55 each (including tip), which does lean on the more expensive side, but it’s a fun experience to try at least once. Read more here.

Hotel Stay (Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel): I came here with my family for my mom’s birthday. At $500 a night this was definitely a splurge, but the shower and bath robes felt very luxurious. Read more here.

I do want to note that while I did/am traveling to Barcelona, Spain this month I will hold those favorites in January so that I can get a better grasp on which of those are indeed the best finds. Happy holidays!

Until Next Time,

Irene

September Favorites 2022

September has been jam packed with work responsibilities and fun. To be honest, I’m kind of exhausted, but I still wanted to leave you with the best of September!

$ Bargain

Thrift (Mariners Church Community Thrift): Located in Irvine, CA this charity shop has limited hours of operation but their deals and quality of goods is very high. Everythign was $5 unless it was in the designer boutique section. Read my full review here.

$$ Moderate

Star Wars Themed Bar (Scum & Villainy Cantina): Scum & Villainy Cantina in Hollywood, CA has been on my bucket-list for a while and I finally had an occasion to visit while in Star Wars apparel (while not required, seemed appropriate). I really liked the decor and whole vibe of the bar. It’s a chill place to hang with your Star Wars friends and is a very welcoming place.

$$$ Splurge

Special Occasion Hairstyle (Guys & Dolls HB):  I’m very frugal, when it comes to pampering myself, but I decided to have a professional do my hair for a retro inspired look especially since my hair doesn’t hold curls easily. I made an appointment with Guys & Dolls HB in Huntington Beach, CA for my upcoming Oogie Boogie Bash and I loved how she made me look. Read about my full experience here. I’d been putting long hours at work, and for $75 (plus 20% tip), I think this having a pro give me the glam treatment was worth it!

Until next time,

Irene

December Favorites 2021

Happy holidays everyone! Please enjoy my last monthly favorites list for 2021!

*Note: This month I spent a great deal of money towards autographs from my childhood heros. Each auto/photo opt ranged in price ($40-$110ish).

$$: Comic Con Revolution, FIDM Scholarship Store

$$ Moderate

Convention (Comic Con Revolution): It’s was my first time attending CCR and while it’s usually held in May; this small/medium sized convention had a really impressive list of celebrity guests! I got autographs (for an additional fee) from Maria Canals-Barrera (Voice of Hawkgirl), Susan Eisenberg (Voice of Wonder Woman), and George Newbern (Voice of Superman). Additional there was a lot of great shopping for nerd gear! I really liked how lax this convention was and I will definitely go again in 2022. Weekend badges are $35.

Clothes (FIDM Scholarship Store): I bought this beautiful “Twice in a Lifetime” Zhivago dress at the store. It goes for $627.11, but I bought it for $65.70. There are beautiful and fashionable pieces and all proceeds help provide scholarships for FIDM students. Read about my entire experience here.

$$$: iPhone 13 Pro, Los Angeles Comic Con, Kigu

$$$ Splurge

iphone 13 Pro (Apple Store): I’m not a huge tech nerd, but I have been eyeing the 13 pro (1TB) for a while and finally made the splurge ($1499+). To be fair I currently have a 7+ and I was desperately due for an upgrade.

Kigu (yotsubanoclover on Etsy): Spending anything over $100 on pajamas is absurd, but I did it and I have no regrets. This is a handmade fleece replica of Deku’s jammies (My Hero Academia) when he was young. Yes, you can buy the same style for cheaper elsewhere, but I just love how the ears stand on this one. My wallet is crying ($361.25 total), but this is my favorite cosplay/PJs for 2021.

Convention (Los Angeles Comic Con): This is a great large convention that has something for everyone. They had amazing celebrity guests, entertainment, and tons and tons of exhibitors. I got autographs (for an additional fee) from Kevin Conroy (Voice of Batman), Michael Rosenbaumand (Voice of The Flash), and a photo with Ming-na Wen (Voice of Mulan, Fennec)! This event is usually in October and weekend badges are around $110ish.

Which of these finds are you hoping to try in 2022?

Until Next Time,

Irene

October Favorites 2021

Come check out my favorite finds for this month!

$ Misc things I thrifted at (Assistance League of Huntington Beach)

$ Bargain

Thrift Shop (Assistance League of Huntington Beach): I started thrifting a little more frequently this month as I was in the market for a couple of pieces for my cosplays, some of which I found here. The hours are limited and the store is relatively small; however, I usually find at least one hidden gem, whether it’s clothing, knick knacks, craft material or others. Every Saturday they usually have a 1/2 off sale on whatever designated item which is the section of the store I will visit. Read my entire review here.

$$ Shrimp Tacos (Marisco 4 Viento), San Marcos stay (AirBnB), Chicken Soup (Lourdes)

$$ Moderate

Shrimp Taco (Marisco 4 Vientos): I was doing a photoshoot with friends up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA so naturally I wanted some authentic Mexican fare. They don’t look that photogenic; however, the deep fried shrimp taco ($2.50) is definitely worth getting. Read here to see what else I ate.

Room (AirBnB): When I plan a trip my room/board destination isn’t usually the highlight of a trip; however, this stay in San Marcos was well beyond my expectations. For $84 a night (plus cleaning fee, service fee etc), I was given a comfortable bed, hot shower, breakfast, an amazing outdoor patio view, a private playground (w/ a trampoline), golf course, and a well stocked snack section. Honestly, if I didn’t have my weekend planned out already this would have been an amazing place to just stay in. See stay here.

Chicken Soup (Lourdes): I doubt most people would go out of their way for soup, but the chicken soup here is definitely worth the drive! For a 32oz bowl ($9.65) you get fresh flour or corn tortilla, slices of avocado, a well seasoned soup that’s perfect for a cold day. Read the full review here.

$$$ Jasmine Wig (C80thingamabob)

$$$ Splurge

Jasmine Wig (C80thingamabob): I commissioned this wig from C80thingamabobs (IG) back in July; however, I never got a chance to wear her until Halloween weekend. I was so incredibly impressed with it. It is heavy, but it looks just like the original Disney parks Jasmine wig and I got so many compliments wearing her. The wig was $225 plus shipping, but honestly I felt like a million bucks and a true princess.

Which of these finds are you hoping to try?

Until Next Time,

Irene

March Favorites 2021

It’s the end of March and time for announce my monthly favorites! Come see my top picks!

$ Fish and Chips (English Fish and Chips), Pad See Ew With Shrmp (Tasty Food To Go), Udon Combo (Han Nam Udon & Sushi), Pistachio Gelato (Costco)

$ Bargain

Fish & Chips (English Fish and Chips): If you want a generously portioned and inexpensive seafood option English Fish and Chips in Long Beach, CA is a fantastic choice. I got the snacker which included a large filet and fries for about $5. See my review here.

Pistachio Gelato (Michielan Pistachio Gelato): Honestly, I’m not huge on desserts but this gelato is heavenly. So luxurious and creamy, and for just $8.59 a carton at Costco! This is definitely worth it! Feel boujee, without breaking the bank.

Thrifting, (Deja New): This is an oldie, but a long time favorite. I haven’t visited Deja New (IG) in a while, so it was great to check them out again. See my full review here. As always they still have excellent deals! On my visit all outerwear and bottoms were $5, and misc clearance items were $4. Each week they have different promotions and since the pandemic started their hours and days of operation has changed. So far, it’s been Wed-Friday 10am-3pm and some Saturdays, but the best way to see when they’re open is to check their Facebook page.

Pad See Ew with Shrimp (Tasty Food to Go): This Long Beach, CA take out spot is popular among the locals and for good reason. Food tastes authentic and is reasonably priced. My Pad See Ew with shrimp was $9.59. See my full review here.

Udon Combo (Han Nam Udon & Sushi): You know how hard it is to find a noodle shop that doesn’t use pork/ beef/ chicken as their protein? It took me a LOOOONG time, but I was in the mood for udon and I finally found a great local spot in Garden Grove, CA that offers dine-in! My udon and sushi combo was $9.99. They also gave ban chan (side dishes) too! Check out my full review here.

$$ Pink Donut and Butterbeer (Taste of Universal), Beyond Burger (Costco), Botana (Marisco Las Islitas)

$$ Moderately Priced

Beyond Meat, Beyond Burger (Costco): I’ve been craving meat all month long and this plant-based patty from Costco was a really good alternative to curb my taste buds. At the time Costco had a $4 off coupon, making this 8 patty package a grand total $10.99 ($1.37 a patty).

Tasting Event (Taste of Universal): For $53.66 (Adult Price, Saturday) patrons can enjoy shopping and outdoor dining (complete menu) throughout the Upper Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood in Hollywood, CA. Each ticket grants five tasting items and there were tons of options! I had a fantastic time and you can see my vlog experience here and here.

Botana (Mariscos Las Islitas): Finding an affordable and fresh seafood option has been a challenge, but I found an incredible spot with major tropical vibes. For $20, my friend and I shared an abundant plate of shrimp, abalone, imitation crab meat, octopus, and more. I had such a great experience – chefs kiss! See my full review here.

$$$ Cinderella Wig (Lisa Fabio), Dole Whip (Touch of Disney)

$$$ Splurge

Cinderella Wig (Lisa Fabio): Some of you know that Cinderella was one of my all time favorite Disney Princesses growing up, and while I have been doing some wig stylin Cinderella’s french twist updo and bang swoop are still techniques I’m not comfortable doing yet. I decided to commission from Lisa Fabio (IG) a well established wig stylist with more than 10 years of experience. Suffice to say this is probably one of the most beautiful wigs I’ve ever owned. Her artistry and experience does come at a hefty price ($275) for this parks style bang, french twist updo, but this wig sure is beautiful!

Dole Whip (Touch of Disney): Its been ages since I’ve last visited the Disney Parks, and during the months of March and April they created a Tasting event in Disney’s California Adventures. Tickets were $75 and I ate a lot of them park food, but Dole Whip remains at the top – come see my post here to see what else I ate!

Which of these would you want to try? Let me know! Also, I’m going to get to eat meat and poultry again soon. Give me your top picks on where I should indulge!

Until Next Time,

Irene

Best of 2020 – Bargains and Splurges List!

With a new name I figure I should have new content too, and after thoughtful consideration I plan to blog at least once a month to highlight my favorites of that month! But before I jump right into my January Favorites I thought I’d share a few of my BEST 2020 finds. 2020 was a rough year for everyone, and while I think these businesses are the bomb, I want to do my part so that they can stay in business for years to come! So, without future adu here are 2020 Favs!

$ Bargain Finds

Brioche Bread (The Brioche Lady): One of the few entries I did in 2020 was about this amazing little bakery called The Brioche Lady in Fresno, CA. See my entry here and lets just say that I got one of my foodie friends hooked and now her freezer is stuffed with loaves of these breads (and we live about 5 hours away lol). I believe a loaf is $5.50 or $6.50 depending on which flavors you pick.

Hot Chocolate (Timothy Adams): I drank a lot of hot chocolate in 2020, but the BEST Hot Chocolate ever is from Timothy Adams Chocolates in Palo Alto, CA. Read all about it here. For $7.50 you can indulge in the finer things without breaking the bank.

Matcha Toffee Drink (Urban Ritual): The most unique and tasty dessert drink you will probably ever have. I went to Urban Ritual twice in a week which is saying a LOT! But this was worth it. Read my full yelp review and order here. $6.50 for a decadent drink is pretty sweet (pun intended lol)

$$ favorites: Burrito (Taqueria San Bruno), Chimi-Churri Skirt Steak Pizza (Cambalache Grill), Student Noodle & others (Phnom Penh Noodle Shack), Garlic Chicken Pizza (Kech Cafe)

$$ Moderately Priced

Burrito (Taqueria San Bruno): The best burrito I found in 2020 was a surf and turf in San Bruno, CA (Northern California). You can read my full yelp review here, and for about $14, you can enjoy two meals and feel like a king/queen.

Cambodian Noodles (Phnom Penh Noodle Shack): I visited Phnom Penh Noodle Shack in Long Beach, CA pre-pandemic, but it’s been on my bookmarks for a LOOOOONG time. Read my full yelp review here. In short the Student Noodles (roughly $10) were the bomb!

Chimi-Churri Skirt Steak Pizza (Cambalache Grill): Wednesdays have officially become Pizza Night at Casa de Irene, because it’s BOGO Pizza from Cambalache in Fountain Valley, CA. For about $15 you can get 2 pies and please lots of happy family members. They have other types of pies, but the Chimi-Churri Skirt steak is definitely a family favorite and always devoured promptly.

Garlic Chicken Pizza (Kech Cafe): Kech Cafe truly defines the “never judge a book by it’s cover” slogan. Located in a gas station in Fountain Valley, CA, you’ll have a counter with everything made to order. $15 for a pie that will surely scare away all the vampires. Read my full yelp review here, along with other recommendations.

$$$ favorites: Secret Honey Dresses (Mary Poppins, Library Belle, Snow White)

$$$ Splurge:

Cosplay (Secret Honey, Hana Castle): I’ve often wondered where some cosplayers get their Disney Princess outfits and was introduced to this Japanese company called Secret Honey (IG Account) This brand sells cute fashionable outfits, but what makes them special is that they do annual Halloween collaborations with Disney to replicate outfits of popular Disney characters – honestly, their stuff could easily be mistaken as official Disney Parks outfits!

Unfortunately, Secret Honey only sells official licensed items in Japan and a small number of other countries. The US is not among them *cries* However, I was introduced to other company called HanaCastle (IG Account) and they are a third party site that sells untagged versions of those outfits. They also ship nationwide! Untagged means that the product didn’t meet the final inspection for official sale, but I’ve bought a couple Untagged outfits and did not notice any flaws. They’re also usually sold at a discount, but they still cost a pretty penny (Avg. Price $300 – $500 an outfit). I loooooove these outfits, and they photograph beautifully! In 2021 I’m sure I’ll have more professional photos taken, but if you want to see more be sure to follow my Cosplay IG account to see them! Suffice to say I’ve found a new guilty pleasure, and I can’t wait to see what new additions they’ll have this year!

$$$ favorites: Adorkabow custom bows

Adult Bows (Adorkabow): I’m a nerd and dork at the core, and bleed Sailor Moon – so when I found out about this independent shop that does Sailor Moon (and other franchises) inspired hairbows I was super interested. Adorkabow (FB Account) primarily sells Sailor Moon inspired enamel pins; however, Sarah, the founder and artist’s passion is making custom one-of-a-kind bows. I’ve ordered 5 already from her, which should say something! My small bows were around $40 a piece and the large one $60, although she can make extremely elaborate ones for more.

What business did you discover in 2020 that you want everyone to know about? Comment below!

Until next time!

Irene

Cosplaying at the World Premiere of Dark Phoenix at Hollywood, CA

I’m an avid movie goer and average about 5 movies a month; however when I was invited with my x-men cosplay family to attend the World Premiere of Dark Phoenix, I was beyond excited. I didn’t really know what to expect aside from potentially having the opportunity to see some of the cast and see a movie before anyone else. The day was beyond amazing and suffice to say I can now check mark off one of my bucket list items – attend a VIP Screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre!

Shots from the World Premiere

I arrived there with some friends at around 3:30pm to get checked-in for the 6pm red carpet event. There were so many amazing cosplay and I was actually really surprised by how far these cosplayers traveled. One of the Jean Greys few from Ohio with her boyfriend and a genderbend Magneto’s flew all the way from Dublin, Ireland! I sometimes forget that I live in one of the coolest places in the world and only had to drive 2 hours (mostly because of the traffic) to get here. There were ample reporters and press covering the event and you might see me (the only Psylocke there) in a few local and international televised and/or print clips! Some of the media outlets included one from Australia, a Chinese channel, Marvel, Disney etc.

More photos from the Premiere

After the press interviewed a few of the cosplayers and snatched candid footage, the movie cast members arrived! and walked the red carpet. I had the opportunity snap a few selfies with some of the actors including James McAvoy (Professor Xavier), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), and Jessica Chastin (Vuk)  *squeel* and take a group photo of the entire cast before we were moved to the theater to watch the movie!

I really enjoyed the movie and feel that it’s especially important to celebrate all our diverse backgrounds, gifts, and talents. It truly brought people from all corners of the earth and I will treasure this experience forever!

If you could choose your mutant power what would you pick? Obviously I pick psychic!

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Celebrating Batman’s 80th Birthday with Celebrity Guests Kevin Conroy, Lee Meriwether, Jim Lee, and more at Wondercon in Anaheim, CA

Over the weekend I attended one of my all time favorite conventions – Wondercon, the baby brother of the World Famous San Diego Comic Con. (2018 SDCC Cosplay Post, 2017 SDCC Cosplay Post) The three day geek convention has a vivid cosplay scene and with Batman celebrating an enormous milestone attendees were ready to party with the Dark Knight and crew! I attended the event as Nightwing and geeked out with 500+ attendees at the official DC Comics Birthday Bash.

Photos from Wondercon

The packed room featured an all-star panel included Kevin Conroy – the voice of Batman: The Animated Series, Jim Lee (DC Publisher CCO), David Mazouz (Young Bruce in Gotham), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman in 1960s Batman Movie), Diedrich Bader (Batman in Batman: Brave and the Bold), and Roger Craig Smith (Batman in Batman: Arkham Origins video game) as they reflected and shared memories. A gigantic cake was rolled out later in the program and all participants were given a Batman decorated cupcake and a mini Bat-signal flashlight as party favors.

Cosplaying as Nightwing

The event concluded with a montage of celebrities wishing the Cape Crusader a Happy Birthday and all the Batman cosplayers had a chance to take a group photo with the panelists. Attending this event was definitely a highlight of the convention and I’m still star struck that I got to be in a photo with the voice of Batman Kevin Conroy (!!!) who will forever be my Batman as I use to watch him everyday afterschool when I was an elementary and middle school student.

Whats your favorite Batman memory?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Not a game, but a hunt – Alita Experience at Los Angeles, CA

Does it bother you that I’m not completely human? — Alita. Over the weekend a few of my friends decided to head to “The Alita Experience“, a pop-up escape room that portrayed Iron City and other key movie scenes. We had a 4pm reservation and shortly after checking in we were joined by another guest to make up the robust yellow team.

Directions

Once inside we were directed to personalize our badge and head toward The Kansas, the local bar, until escorted to the main play arena. There were 5 other teams (with differing size makeup) and we were instructed to play at the different stations which gave us tasks to complete in order to earn “credits”. Some stations were more athletic oriented and others related to recalling trivia from the movie, and some tasks tested how quickly we could finish an assignment.

Me in robot gear

After completing the various stations we were directed at the end to place bets for Motor ball. Our team performed admirably and even took home the highest team score! We were awarded a priceless coin at the end and directed to the gift shop, which featured various robot gear.

In the movie Alita was willing to give up her heart, her most prizes possession? What item is most valuable to you?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Hero’s and Villains, Oh My! Attending the VIP My Hero Academia Voice Actor Panel and Autograph Signing at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

One of my favorite things to do at conventions is attend panels especially voice actor ones as I love learning about the audition process, and inspiration for characters. While I had the opportunity to see both the creator, voice actor for Deku and All Might at SDCC in 2019 (Post Here), Anime Los Angeles brought the full star studded My Hero Academia cast (!!!) for the weekended and included an autograph session for all attendees.      The weekend was far from short of My Hero Academia cosplays (post here) and the voice actors who brought their character’s voices to life including Justin Briner (Izuku Midoriya), Clifford Chapin (Katsuki Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Momo Yaoyorozu) , Eric Vale (Tomura Shigaraki), Morgan Berry (Thirteen), and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa) all participated in both individual and group panels. I was lucky to snag a front row seat in the group panel and got selfies with my two favorite voice actors Coleen Clinkenbeard (Momo) and David Matranga (Shot Todoroki)! I had a great time seeing these voice actors and loved that I got to converse with them in this more intimate convention. A few of the voice actors even complimented my spikes and were really impressed with my cosplay. I’m planning to continue working on it and who knows maybe at AX Momo will have even more refined details 🙂

Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar