July Favorites 2021

With more of the US opening up it’s time enjoy the outdoors and patron more small businesses! Here are my July favorites!

$: Sunflower Fields (Hana Fields), Sushi (Sakae Sushi), Ice Cream (Rich Farm Ice Cream)

Bargain $

Ice Cream (Rich Farm Ice Cream): If you have a sweet tooth the homemade ice cream at Rich Farm in Placentia, CA will give you a run for your money. It’s a favorite among locals and they also give very VERY generous servings. A size “small” is $6.50, but honestly the portion is like a size large at most standard shops. This is 1/2 a small that I shared with my friend. See my full review here and recommendations.

Sunflower Fields (Hana Fields): Looking for an affordable activity to do with family and/or friends? Hana Fields located in Costa Mesa, CA is a huge working farm where patrons can enjoy the fields with in the suburbs. Admission is $5 and if you want to cut your own sunflowers it’s $20 for 15 stems. Curious to see what it’s all about? Here’s a video from my recent trip or you can read about it here.

Sushi (Sakae Sushi): Authentic, sushi, and take-out aren’t usually words you see together often, but Sakae Sushi in Gardena, does just that and for a very reasonable price. They offer 6 different types of sushi for $1.05 – $1.25 a piece (though each piece is double the size of a normal sushi piece) and they packaged your order in the most endearing and convenient manner. It’s been a staple in the community since the 60s and I would love to go back and support this small mom n’ pop shop. Read my tips here.

$$: Salad (Money Business Cafe), Mochi (Chikara Mochi), Falafel Plate (Zankou Chicken), Egg Rolls (Thien Loc Food to Go)

Moderate $$

Mochi (Chikara Mochi): I love mochi and the confectionary treats at Chikara Mochi in Gardena is the real deal. Tasty, beautifully crafted and something I would love to gift or be gifted. Most of the mochi were around $2.20 a piece and while the shop is very small, their treats are definitely worth the visit. See my full write up here.

Salad (Monkey Business Cafe): Finding something healthy to eat when you’re out can be a struggle, but if you want to not only eat fresh produce from the Fullerton Arboretum AND support the organization that helps at-risk youth with employable skills this shop kills two birds with one stone. I ordered a strawberry chicken, avocado salad for $13.99 and it was delightful. Monkey Business Cafe is located in Fullerton, CA and to read more click here.

Falafel Plate (Zankou Chicken): I was hoping to find a more plant based meal option and this was one that I hadn’t tried yet. There are a dozen locations in socal, and I visited the newest location in Huntington Beach. The falafel plate was $10.99 and I think I may be a regular here since the price point is very reasonable. Read more here.

Egg Rolls (Thien Loc Food To Go): I wanted to bring something delicious for potluck and figured that everyone loves eggrolls. Located in Garden Grove, CA this mom and pop shop will freshly fry them up for you and for $.65 a piece this is a steal! I ordered 50 for $32.50. This was obviously before I started dieting. Read about my full experience and see my ordering tips here.

$$$ Chinese food (Jiang Nan Spring)

Splurge $$$

Chinese food (Jiang Nan Spring): If you’re looking for a more upscale Chinese restaurant that serves authentic cuisine Jiana Nan Spring in Alhambra, CA is a good option. They were a 2020 Michelin Guide recipient for New Inspector Award and I feel it was certainly well deserved. My party ordered a lot of food on our visit. Read what I ate here.

What do you plan to do this summer?

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

Glancing at the Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs is a peaceful and serene place, and while I nearly died on the Manitou Incline (Post here), I was blown away by the beauty of the Garden of the Gods. This natural rock formation evokes a type of Jurassic World meets Cars Lands (from Disneyland); It’s really a sight to see and these photos don’t do the attraction justice.   Visitors can choose to hike, drive, horseback ride, or bike around the mountain to admire the landscape. I came here twice during my Colorado trip and got to see it from various vantage points – up high and right at the base. Spanning a 1,367 acres the size alone would warrant a name worthy of the Gods – yet it was originally called the Red Rock Corral. The name was changed in 1859 from a group of surveyors who thought that was was a place fit for the Gods and since then the name stuck!

You honestly feel like you’re in another world, and even though I’m not really an outdoor girl, I can certainly appreciate the natural wonders!

How would you enjoy this park? Driving? Hiking? Horseback riding?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center 
1805 N. 30th Street in Colorado Springs

Conquering the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs, CO

If there’s two thing that my friends all know it’s 1) that I’m not a morning person and 2) I definitely do not like hiking; however, on a recent work trip in Colorado Springs, CO I did the unthinkable. I woke up at 4am (Colorado time, so it’s in essence 3am California time) to go (you guessed it) hiking *Gasp* But hear me out… It’s not everyday I get to visit a new state, so when some coworkers volunteered to lead a group up the Manitou Incline before our professional development training it seemed opportune to experience one of Colorado Springs most popular (and fatal) attractions.

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Sunrise on the way up

At the beginning of the the hike I was very optimistic, but with each step I felt increasingly more light-headed and fatigued. If I’m being brutally honest, I felt like I was going to die. The top was 9000 feet above sea level and we were starting at 7000 feet and for someone who lives at sea level this drastic change in elevation was really hard on my body. It became increasingly more difficult to breath with each step and the stairs were extremely steep.

The Incline

There were so many moments when I wanted to quit and go back down although it might have been more dangerous had I done that. I eventually made it to the halfway point where hikers can take a safer and much more even way down and while I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t make it to the top, I am proud that I at least did the halfway since I remember wanting to quit 1/4 of that!

Would you do this incline? I didn’t notice the sign until I looked more closely, but people have died from this hike!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Walking off 12 lbs at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA

For 2019 one of my goals was to slim down for my cosplays and while I’ve drastically changed my diet to include more fruits and veggies and consume less refined carbs, a major part of my fitness journey included regular cardio. I decided early on that I would become a Knotts Berry Farm Season Pass Holder (Peanut’s Celebration, Boysenberry Post) 1) because I love roller coasters and planned to take a trip to Cedar Point in Ohio later this summer and 2) since there are no blackout dates, I can go weekly (at the minimum) to walk around the park and increase my steps! The scenery is captivating and seeing physical landmarks pushes me to burn more calories faster, so Win-Win!

I found that for me taking a lap or laps around the park then rewarding myself with a roller coaster ride was a great incentive. It worked especially well after work on the weekday since the lines were very short thereby maximizing my play time at the park. When I’d go on the weekends (or when they had extended weekday evening hours) my friends and I would enjoy the Silent Disco Party or 80s Dance Party and dance to amazing tunes – all while busting a move and slimming down.

What’s your best exercise or diet tip?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar