September Favorites 2021

Wake me up when September ends…

Welp! It’s now the end of September and time for another round of my monthly favorites! Check them out below!

$: Almond Cookies (Phoenix Bakery), Museum (Chinese American Museum(

$ Bargain

Almond Cookies (Phoenix Bakery): Situated in the heart of Chinatown LA, CA is Phoenix Bakery, which is home to their delicious Almond Cookies. I’ve purchased a double dozen box ($6.95) twice in the same month, which should be saying something! Read all about it here.

Museum (Chinese American Museum): This three story hub offers complimentary admission for all visitors. I thought it was a great exhibit to learn about the Chinese immigrants and their contributions to New Chinatown ironically located in Chinatown LA, CA. Read more here

$$: Mini Taiyaki (Costco), Vegan Burger (Burgerlords)

$$ Moderate

Mini Taiyaki (Costco): I’m usually pretty good about my purchases from Costco in terms of moderation for a particular purchase – that was not the case with Suji’s Taiyaki. I bought four boxes in one week *gasp* But only because it’s not regularly stocked at my Costco (For some odd reason).This 30 count fish shaped dessert found in the freezer section has been in my regular snack rotation since I’ve started using an air fryer. For $10.54 a box I now can experience a taste of Japan in the comfort of my home. If you like crispy dough and cream custard you would love this!

Vegan Burger (Burgerlords): I’m open to trying new food and I really enjoyed my “cheeseburger” here. At $9 a pop, this fast food joint does a good job creating a meat-free option. Read about my experience here.

$$$ Oogie Boogie Bash (Disneys California Adventures)

$$$ Splurge

Oogie Boogie Bash (Disney’s California Adventure): Trick or Treating with villains and dressing up in costume to Disney? Yes please! While this event in Anaheim, California is sold out I enjoyed the character meet-n-greets and definitely stocked up on candy/health snacks from the Trick-or-Treat Trails. Also the lines for rides in DCA were very short! See more photos of the rare character encounters here here.

So Fall is just around the corner, which means lots of pumpkin flavors. Are you a fan or prefer other seasonal flavors?

Until Next Time,

Irene

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

April Favorites 2021

It’s that time of month – monthly favorites! and for the month of April I visited San Francisco and the surrounding cities during my Spring Break! (!!!) Woo!!! It was much needed.

During that trip I knocked off a few more of my bookmarks and several of them made this month’s favorites! Check out my list below to see who made the cut!

$ Falafel (Falafel Stop), Roast Pork Entree (New Lun Ting Cafe),Japanese Confectionary Treats (Osaka-Ya), Duck Chow Mein (Sam Wo)

$ Bargain

Duck Chow Mein (Sam Wo): This Chinatown SF staple has been serving the community for over 100 years, so they must be doing something right! I ordered the Duck Chow Mein ($9.05) and boy was I in for a surprise. I absolutely loved it. The noodles had a nice chew to it and it can easily feed you for two meals. Read all about it here.

Roast Pork Entree (New Lun Ting Cafe): The mysterious orange gravy may look off-putting to some, but boy that sauce slathered over a thick cut of roasted pork and rice is beyond amazing. See full review here. For $9.25 you can feed two people with that popular entree. I will DEFINITELY be back for this on my next visit to SF Chinatown.

Japanese Confectionary Treats (Osaka-Ya): Osaka-Ya is a Sacramento staple that has served their loyal customers since 1963 and their authentic treats are both beautiful and delicious! They have many different flavor combinations and while I ordered 2 sets of four types in a future visit I will need to order way more! This was by far my favorite stop in Sacramento and the prices were very reasonable although it’s very hard to just pick one: Mochi ($1.50) Manju ($1.60), Flavored Mochi Bites (Box of 12 small bites, $4.75). See my full review here.

Falafel (Falafel Stop): Healthy fast food for a reasonable price. For $7.11 you can get a very nutritious and filling meal. The Falafel in a pita bread, may look small, but it is packed with a lot of ingredients! See my full writeup here.

Thrifting (St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store): There are multiple branches of this charity good store; however the San Mateo location has a great assortment of garments and misc items. See full review here.

$$ Pad See Ew (Bangkok Spice), Boba Drink (True Dan), Beef Wrap (Zen Noodle Bar)

$$ Moderately Priced

Pad See Ew (Bangkok Spice): This Anaheim mom n pop shop is legit! The portions here are enormous and very reasonably priced. An order Pork Pad See Ew was $10.95 and could easily feed you for two meals. See what else I ordered here.

Boba Drink (True Dan): This small 3 chain boba shop serves Taiwanese drinks with a twist. I visited the Burlingame location and tried the “Fresh Milk With Brown Sugar, Crema, and Oreos” with Oat Milk Substitution (+$.50) = $6.50 and wow it was amazing! Honestly, it beat out my 2020 favorite boba drink (see list here), and that’s saying a lot! See my full review of my True Dan experience here.

Shanghainese Food (Zen Noodle Bar): If I want authentic Shanghainese food in the Bay Area Zen Noodle Bar will definitely be my top pick! Their Beef Wrap ($8.96) was amazing (perfect marriage of all flavors) and all the other dishes were solid. For a variety and a party of two I’d recommend three dishes. See what I recommend here.

$$$ Afternoon Tea (Malaya Tea Room), Fruit Flavored Sugar Cane Drinks (Sugarmama), Artisanal Pastries (Baker Doe)

$$$ Splurge

Afternoon Tea (Malaya Tea Room): For about $33 a person, you can enjoy finger sandwiches and an unlimited pot of tea of your choice, in a classy, tropical destination. I tried Butterfly pea for the first time (See Video here) and seeing it change from blue to purple was pretty cool. To see the breakdown of my tea experience click here.

Fruit Flavored Sugar Cane Drinks (Sugarmama): I grew up drinking sugarcane and when I found this home-based small business up in Oakland called Sugarmama, who specialized in fruit flavored sugar cane beverages, I was eager to check her out. At the time she did glass jugs – See my IG post here. Many flavors were in the $30 – $32 a flavor, and a jug can yield 5 cups. I think now you can buy a large jug (since she moved to plastic) for $23-$25 (though Durian is $29). I loved the strawberry sugarcane drink as it was very refreshing! If you’re local to Oakland you can pick up on Wed, Fri, or Sat or for a small fee you can have it delivered within the Bay Area. She also does individual sized drinks ($6-$8), but I thought the jug was great to share!

Artisanal Pastries (Baker Doe): You can get a dozen croissants from Costco for about $5, or you can get one Croissant that’s basically a work of art for $6. I won’t lie it took me three attempts (meaning three different days) to get an order in, since he sells out super fast! You can read my instructions and review on each pastries here. He has a different menu every week, but my writeup will give you some insight on the experience. Honestly, probably the most beautiful and buttery croissants I’ve ever had and if you want to see what all of them look like click here. I ordered two of everything that was available that week and the total came out to around $70ish.

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

February Favorites 2021

Some of you know that I do a forty-day fast each year for Lent. I usually pick eating out as my sacrifice, but this year I wanted to try something different. I decided to give up meat and poultry (which started back on Feb 17th), but I will still eat eggs and seafood. So for this and next month many of my food picks may be vegetarian/pescatarian. But don’t fret, I will never compromise my reviews for the quality of taste and I had some pretty amazing finds to share (both food, art, and fashion). So without further adieu, lets see the Top February picks!

$ Fortune Cookies (Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company), Thrifting (Pick of the Litter), Number Cake (Sweets from Liz)

$ Bargain

Number Cake (Sweets from Liz): Sweets from Liz (IG) is a home baker in North Orange County who creates custom sweets. I ordered a number of different items including her Micky and Minnie Cocoa bombs, and chocolate covered strawberries, but her Number Cake ($20) was definitely my favorite. The presentation was spot on and everyone in my family loved eating it. The cake was light and the berries were very fresh. I cannot wait for another opportunity to order it! Also, if you live in Orange County she delivers for $3! You can read all about why I was celebrating 8 years here.

Thrifting (Pick of the Litter): I’m quite picky about my thrift shops and “Pick of the Litter” was definitely top dog on my recent thrift adventures. Not only do proceeds benefit the humane society, but I really liked the assortment of curated items they had and the prices were very reasonable. I bought a hair of dress slacks for $2.50 and a gold formal gown for $5. See my full review here.

Fortune Cookies (Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory): I’ve never really liked fortune cookies since they often tasted stale, but these at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory were freshly made and gave me a completely new outlook on what they were suppose to taste like. They offer a variety of flavors including Sesame, Green Tea, Strawberry, Chocolate, and their original flavor. I loaded up on a bunch of bags (roughly $6ish depending on flavor) to gift family and friends. Suffice to say they were all gobbled up. If you’re in the Bay area you should definitely check them out. They’ve been a huge part of SF Chinatown for the past 57 years! Read the full review here.

$$ Laska (Lion Dance), Macarons (Macarons by Natalie), Chicken Wings (Capital Restaurant)

$$ Moderately Priced

Chicken Wings (Capital Restaurant): If you love chicken wings the Salt and Pepper Chicken wings from Capital Restaurant in SF Chinatown is the bomb. It is THE place to grab wings, and on my visit EVERYONE included it in their order. See my full review here.

CNY Macarons (Macarons By Natalie): I recently discovered Macarons By Natalie (IG), who is a home baker based in Oakland, CA, who specializes in character macarons. At the time she offered preorders of her Chinese New Year Macarons ($30) and they were adorable! She currently does local pick-up in the Bay area, but maybe one day she’ll do shipping or open up a brick-and-mortar. I stocked her IG stories and the brick and mortar dream is a very definite possibility! She does custom orders, but it looks like her $30 assortment boxes happen during major holidays so St. Patty’s Day and Easter must be next! Want to see what flavors you incorporated with her designs? Read it here.

Laska (Lion Dance Cafe): I’m usually suspicious on a hipster’s take on authentic cuisine, but with lots of praise from various press including the San Francisco Chronicle, Eater SF and more I was very curious to see what the fuss was all about. Lion Dance Cafe is known for their Shaobing sandwich (photo here), but I was blown away by all the complex flavors in their Laska ($16). Order open up on Wednesday for Friday, or Saturday pickup. See my full review here.

$$$ Crab (PPQ Dungeness Island), Beskar Baby Yoda Doll (BeskarBabyYoda), Pizza (June’s Pizza)

$$$ Splurge

Pizza (June’s Pizza): $30 a pie is expensive especially when it’s all vegetarian. However, June’s Pizza (IG) uses the freshest ingredients available that week and honestly I didn’t even notice that it was meatless because it was so flavorful. Every week they have different “special” pies depending on what’s in season. On my trip it was butternut squash, ricotta cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper *drool*. It was so good, and when when I’m not doing a meat-fast I definitely want to go back and try more pies! It is somewhat of a process to get since they only serve 60 pies a day, but worth it! See my cliff notes on how to order and the full review here.

Crab (PPQ Dungeness Island: I haven’t had crab in a long time, but the crustaceans at PPQ Dungeness Island were top notch. At the time of my visit they did offer outdoor dining, but we had to reserve in advance. I want to say it was $60 a crab or market price, but the way they prepared it is definitely worth a visit! The Peppercorn and their signature “roasted” were my favorite, but click here to read the entire review.

Beskar Baby Yoda Doll (BeskarBabyYoda): Beskar Baby Yoda (IG) $249 + $20 Shipping. If you love “the child” Shawn is an incredible artist who really takes it to the next level. He does Baby Mando, Baby Boba-Fett, and Baby Armorer. He’s also working on Jedi Grogu now! You can see my unboxing video here to get a closer look at all the details.

Which of these look the most interesting to you?

Until Next Time,

Irene

January Favorites 2021

Kickin’ off the new year with my January favorites. Lets roll!

$: Thin Mints, Organic Crispy Coconut Rolls

$ Bargain Find

Carne Asada Burrito (Tacos Los Reyes): I’m sure they use lard, but gosh darn it! it tastes so good! If you want authentic Mexican food, Tacos Los Reyes (Yelp Review) in Orange, CA will not disappoint. For $6, I got a carne asada burrito (which I ate for 1.5 meals), chips, and salsa. It’s a steal if you ask me.

Thin Mints (Girl Scout Cookies): I’m confident the vast majority of the internet knows about Girl Scout cookies, but you may not remember when you can get these seasonal munchies! The 2021 Cookie Program ($5 a box) is scheduled to run from January 22 – March 21 and you can get them online here if you don’t have a go-to Girl Scout already.

Organic Crispy Coconut Rolls (Costco): I must be late to the game for these, but these are delicious. They’re sweet, but light and flaky and the price tag doesn’t break the bank. They retail for $7.99 at Costco, but during this month’s January promotion they were $2.50 off for a total of $5.49.

$$ Curry (Marugame), TMS Lip Gloss (The Makeup Shack)

$$ Moderately Priced

Curry Nikutama Udon (Marugame Udon): Japan is a country I’ve been longing to visit and while I likely won’t do international travel this year, Marugame Udon is probably the closest experience I will probably have in experiencing that country. They are an international business with branches all over the world, and six locations in California. I visited the South Coast Plaza branch in Costa Mesa, CA and this cafeteria style foodie spot is a great affordable option. I ordered a large Nikutama $15 and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lip Gloss (The Makeup Shack): I’ve been a big fan of the curated makeup from The Makeup Shack (IG) in Orange, CA since I started cosplaying. I’ve always loved TMS eyelashes (Review Here) and recently tried some of their other makeup items. Honestly, I’m super impressed with their line of lip glosses. For $8.99, you can add rich colors to your lips that also gives you shine. They work perfectly with my Disney Princess cosplays.

$$$ Corn Garlic Cheese Bread (Calic Bread)

$$$ Splurge

Corn Garlic Cheese Bread (Calic Bread): This Korean Garlic Cream Cheese Bread is not for the faint of heart. It’s ooey-gooey and I’m sure it accounted for my calories for the week. Nevertheless it was worth it. It is a bit of a process to find way to get this, but I outlined some options here. The sourdough loaf itself it $25, but the shipping varies based on where you live.

January’s list definitely has some top contenders for my 2021 Best of List; however, February is going to have an EPIC list, as I’ve already pre-ordered a TON of stuff online. I can’t wait for them to come and share with you. Did you try something amazing this month? Share below!

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

The elusive “White Rabbit” found at Smorgasburg in Los Angeles, CA

Ever since Chinese New Year there’s been some a ton of buzz about the Wanderlust Creamery‘s White Rabbit flavored Ice Cream. The Foodbeast and Wanderlust collaboration (Primary Article) essentially broke the internet as nostalgia filled the minds of Chinese and Chinese Americans and curiosity peaked for Asians and non-Asians alike. Originally intended as a special edition flavor for the month of February, this highly coveted flavor may have a permanent home with the Los Angeles based ice cream shop and I got a chance to taste it on Sunday at their Smorgasburg LA pop-up shop in Los Angeles, CA.

Flavors at Smorgasburg LA

When this flavor first came out the lines resembled that of lines at San Diego Comic Con, yet people were willing to wait for a taste of their childhood. Thankfully, that was not the case for me as I stood behind 5 or so people and was able to lick my artisan scoop in no-time. The flavor is light and resembles that of an Asian inspired Vanilla profile. It definitely brought me back to my childhood.

Ube and White Rabbit Ice Cream

At $5 a scoop and $2 extra for a cone, this tasty treat is definitely a splurge, but it’s always fun to see exotic flavors incorporated into ice cream form.

How long would you be willing to wait to try this delectable flavor?

 

 

XOXO

Rockstar

Living on Cloud 9 at the annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a luxury staple in Orange County. This annual event highlights great talents and features world renowned chef celebrities like Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu Restaurant), Chef Jet Tula (The Charleston) and so many more! It’s one of my favorite regional festivals and I was thankful to cover the event again as one of @foodiejudge‘s plus one.

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival tastes and sips!

In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.

More noms!

My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*

More Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival photos!

Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.

What would you enjoy first? Noms or sips?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Engaging in extreme gluttony at the OC Weekly Decadence in Costa Mesa, CA

Halloween is just around the corner so I’ve increased my exercise regime and returned to eating very lean meats and healthy, nutritious meals to prepare for my fall cosplay outfits. While I’ve seen positive results in these changes, I’ve incorporated at least one cheat day a week to balance my cravings. The OC Weekly Decadence event on Friday evening was nothing short of a self-indulgent.

OC Decadence Spread

This yearly event was hosted outside of the Segerstrom plaza in Costa Mesa and as a VIP guest I was given admission to check out all the glorious noms and sips at 6pm. I was also given a really sturdy tote bag and later found out was filled with tons of great goodies! As my friend and I wandered around the plaza trying everything, we both agreed that the steak over garlic mashed potatoes from Texas de Brazil and Bourbon Bread Pudding from Sweet Dixie Kitchen were the dishes of the night. There was also plenty of alcoholic libation poured and photo booth opportunities to pose for.

OC Decadence Spread Continued

Like many food festivals that I attend this had a great variety of local restaurants; however, the swag bag was definitely one of the best that I’ve seen. The gave away an elegant necklace perfect for a night out on the town along with generous coupons to visit the participating restaurants in the future. My favorite swag item had to be the $20 gift certificate from Mozambique. Can’t wait to try their exotic flavors and see their dessert options.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

 

XOXO,

Rocstar