July Favorites 2022

Wow! We are more than halfway done with 2022 and I got to experience many firsts in the month of July! I traveled quite extensively that month and my favorites will include gems from London, and Southern California (San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County)! Please enjoy!

$: British Museum, OC Fair, Harry Potter Statue

$ Bargain

Harry Potter Statue (Harry Potter Statute): Come see the boy who lived immortalized! Located in Leicester Square, London, guests can see a young Harry Potter flying on a broomstick. It’s in a park that’s accessible for everyone and is a cool photo opt! See more here.

Museum (The British Museum): The British Museum in London, UK is enormous and has a very robust collection from all over the world. Entrance is free, and guests can easily spend hours here. Read more here.

Shopping (OC Fair): The OC Fair is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Entrance fee is $12 and must be done online through Ticketmaster. You can go shopping, look at contest winners and watch shoes (The Alaskan Pig Race is my favorite).

$$: D23 Afternoon Mixer (Top, Middle), Ethopian Food (Left two photos), Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour

$$ Moderate

Indian Dinner (Tayyabs): I ate at quite a few Indian restaurants in London, but Tayyabs was my favorite. Their dry meat was so extremely succulent and tender, but everything there was fragrant and delicious. Read more here.

Harry Potter Backstage Tour (Warner Brothers Studio Tour London): Tickets for the WB Studio Tour London were a nightmare to get (and I’m not sure if it’s because they limited the number of timed tickets or if everyone just wants to go on vacation – probably a combination of both), but it was worth it (!!!) since it was my favorite memory on my entire London trip. There were a couple of interactive experiences, and I just loved reading about the details about the sets and seeing props/costumes etc. On my visit they opened up a new Mandrakes Greenhouse Exhibit which had great photo/video opportunities. Tickets were £49.50 (Roughly 60ish USD with tax for a single adult) If you’re a Potterhead you HAVE to come visit – but I recommend if you’re able to making those reservations at least 6 months out. See full review here.

Disney themed party (D23 Afternoon Mixer): The D23 Afternoon Mixer at the Punchbowl Social in San Diego was so much fun! It’s an annual two hour event held during San Diego Comic Con (with different themes each year). Attendees enjoy games, food, and character meet n greets. Admission was $30 per person, but you must be a D23 Gold Member to attend. Watch TikTok Video here and see more IG photos here.

Ethiopian Food (Fresh Ethiopian Food): Inglewood, CA has really great ethnic food and Fresh Ethiopian Food was no exception. The Veggie Platter is $17 for one, $34 for two and Lamb Tibs $18.99 (one portion). Really delicious and aromatic food for a reasonable price. Click here for more info.

$$$: Ritz London Afternoon Tea (Left Photos), Fortnum & Mason Shopping (Middle Two), Cursed Child Play (Right Photos)

$$$ Splurge

Theater Performance (Harry Potter & The Cursed Child): Watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a huge splurge as tickets were £199 (roughly 241.75 USD) for Orchestra 12 rows back; however, you must know that you’re watching two shows (so it’s an all day event). The special effects and the way they utilized the stage was really cool, and I enjoyed the storyline. Read all my tips here.

Tea Time (The Ritz London): If you want to experience the glitz and glamor of high society book yourself a tea time at the Ritz London. It’s hard to convey into words how regal and exquisite the experience is but I definitely think it’s worth checking out. Tea time was £67 per person (roughly 95 USD). Read full review here.

Tea & Souvenirs (Fortnum & Mason):No trip to the UK would be complete without buying tea fit for a queen. Fortnum & Mason has been serving her royal highness and the royal family for quite some time so picking up a few cannisters is a must. There are two locations, and I’ve gone to both twice each actually and definitely spent money there. Read more here.

The month of August will likely have more local OC, LA favorites as I’ll be returning to work.

Until Next Time,

Irene

June Favorites 2022

I know this is long past overdue but I promise you this post is well worth the wait! In the month of June I travelled across the pond and visited five different cities around the United Kingdom. This post took me so long in part because 1) I visited a ton of restaurants, shops, and sites and was trying to remember where I went AND pick my favorites and 2) I was still jetlagged lol

Nevertheless, I’ve come up with my favorites for this month. There’s ONE London favorites and the rest really are the best of the best in the UK. My July Favorites will include many MANY more London favorites, but without further adu please enjoy!

$: Harry Potter Scenes (Durham Cathedral),Thrift (Cats Protection – Newcastle upon Tyne Charity Shop

$ Bargain

Thrift (Cats Protection – Newcastle upon Tyne Charity Shop): I’ve been to my fair share of thrift shops and among the many shops I visited in the UK, Cats Protection had the best selection of ready to wear apparel at very reasonable prices. I bought my new favorite black wool coat (£10), 2 dresses (1 for £4 and the other £8), a necklace (I think £4), and a Pusheen bag (£2.5). All proceeds benefit cat rescue, education, and protection. Read more here.

Harry Potter Scenes (Durham Cathedral): If you consider yourself a Potterhead this is a MUST visit Durham Cathedral! They filmed several courtyard scenes from the early movies and you truly will feel like you’re a student at Hogwarts. Admission is free, but guests may donate £5. Read more here.

$$ Thrift (Save The Children Charity Shop), Indian Food (Nutmeg Bristol), Sight Seeing (Stonehenge)

$$ Moderate

Thrift (Save The Children Charity Shop): One of the nicest looking thrift shops I’ve ever visited is this mid-sized store in Clifton Village (Bristol), UK. They carry many designer and mid-high range items and honestly, you’d never know that you were at a charity shop. All proceeds benefits Save The Children, which is a cause I can stand behind. I bought this fuchsia pink dress for £20 and I absolutely love it! Read more here.

Sight Seeing (Stonehenge): I’m pretty sure no one can argue Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England taking a coveted spot in this month’s favorites. Admission is £24, and definitely worth every penny. I mean this is a piece of history that dates back to 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Get more info here.

Indian Food (Nutmeg Bristol): Fantastic curry with bold dynamic flavors and fluffy naan bread. The atmosphere at Nutmeg is equally as vibrant. The Sharabi Jhinga (Shrimp Curry) was £22 and Garlic Naan was £3.50. Click here for more.

$$$ Splurge

$$$ 2 Michelin Star Dinner (Da Terra), Dinner (Six)

Dinner (Six): To be fair work treated me here, but I loved everything about this restaurant. Located in New Castle, UK, Six is a fine dining establishment that rests at the top of a building. It has glass windows everywhere which gives you the most magnificent view of the river and city. The food was also beautifully presented and delicious. You can read more about my experience here.

2 Michelin Star Dinner (Da Terra): My friend and I decided that we were going to treat ourselves to a really extravagant meal in London to celebrate our survival of the school year. After extensive research I picked Da Terra and this restaurant gave me the best meal of my life. At £189 per person, this omakase experience is not cheap; however, considering the four hour experience and over 30 unique items presented (all of which I loved) and the fact that I did not leave hungry makes this a more than worthy awardee for my June favorites. I wrote more extensively about my experience here on yelp and posted many photos (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) on IG. Maybe one day I’ll do a dedicated post on the dishes Chef Rafael presented in a future post.

July will most likely be late as well, but I can tell you that that post will be crammed with favorites!

Until Next Time,

Irene

May Favorites 2022

Late again? Good riddance!

May has been extremely busy in terms of work (with wrapping up the school year) and play, but there were many highlights. Enjoy this month’s favorites!

$ Bargain

Convention (Comic Con Revolution): Comic Con Revolution is nice mid-sized convention with a good number of fee-based celebrity meet-n-greets and nerd shopping. They usually have their convention during this time of year based on their celebrity guest appearances I usually attend. Tickets are usually $30 a day (adult), but I was able to find it for a little less than $20 on Goldstar.

$ Convention (Comic Con Revolution)

$$ Moderate

BBQ (Calhoun’s Texas Barbeque): BBQ for two for $30, yes ma’am! Calhoun’s Texas Barbeque is a small hole in the wall in Murietta, CA with a loyal fanbase. The baked beans with brisket is money as is the baby back ribs. See my full review here.

Midori Matcha (L’Moon Creamery): Strawberry Matcha drinks are now one of my fav combinations, and L’moon Creamery in Upland, CA does a great job in crafting this beautiful and tasty drink. For about $6 you’ll instantly cool down. Read more here.

Falafel Bowl (Sababa Falafel Shop): I wanted something healthy after a long day at the convention. Anaheim, CA is known for Mediterranean food and Sababa Falafel Shop was a fantastic find. $10.99 bowl of misc veggies, seasoned rice, and sauces, (hummus + $1) plus falafel was a perfect way to end the day. Read my entire review here.

$$ BBQ (Calhoun’s Texas Barbeque), Midori Match (L’Moon Creamery), Falafel Bowl (Sababa Falafel Shop)

$$$ Splurge

Roasted Duck (Ji Rong Peking Duck): If you’re treating extended family or clients to an authentic dinner that’s more presentable than many Chinese restaurants Ji Rong is a good choice. For $85 you’ll need to preorder (at least the week of) you’ll get a beautifully carved duck, all the accouterments, and tortillas to wrap it up. Delish! Located in Rosemead, CA this small mom and pop shop certainly has a showstopper entree.

Convention (Star Wars Celebration): I’ve gone to my fair share of Socal conventions for the past several years and back in 2020 I was slated to attend a new one (or at least new to me) in Anaheim – but alas Covid happened so we all had to wait. Regardless, Star Wars Celebration is a four day event with special announcements, celebrity meet-n-greets, fan panels, some of the best cosplays I’ve ever seen, and TONS of merch! I bought a 4 day badge for $199 (1 day $75) for the event (May 26-29, 2022), and boy there’s definitely a ton to see and do! Getting to see the Mandalorian Costume/Set Exhibit was by far my favorite followed by the Obi-Wan Kenobi Premiere and meeting Anthony Daniels (C-3PO Actor). It’ll be in London, UK in 2023, but if you love this Space Western this is a convention that shouldn’t be missed! I unfortunately, can’t go next year but if it returns to LA, OC or SD I’d be open to attend again!

$$$: Convention (Star Wars Celebration), Roasted Duck (Ji Rong Peking Duck)

Hope you all enjoyed my May favorites! I will be traveling to various cities in the United Kingdom so I can’t wait to share my finds. *Note: I can 100% guarantee you that my June favorites will be late, ha! But they’ll be worth it I promise!!

Until Next Time,

Irene

April Favorites 2022

I know, I know… I am beyond late for last month’s Favorites, but April was crazy and I’ll just leave it at that. Here are my favorite discoveries last month – enjoy!

$ Mochissant & Goat Cheese Croissant (Rolling Out)

$ Bargain

Mochissant & Goat Cheese Croissant (Rolling Out): Rolling Out is a one man shop in San Francisco that’s most known for their Mochi- Croissants! The owner invented this concepted and was granted a trademark for his creation. It’s really an interesting concept and for $2.75 a piece, I think it’s a worthwhile try. He also sells other baked goods including the Goat Cheese Croissant $3.75 which was delicious. Read about my full experience here.

$$: Hat & Boots (Goodwill – San Francisco); Duck Banh Mi (Cafe Bunn Mi); Mochi Donuts (Mochill Mochi Donut)

$$ Moderate

Mochi Donuts (Mochill Mochi Donut): The Cherry Blossom Festival was happening during my visit to SF’s Japantown and Mochill was selling a box of 6 mochi donuts for $15. Patrons could choose whatever glaze flavor, but we decided to do one of each to try them all. My favorites were the matcha and fruity pebble. I really like the bouncy texture and these all tasted really fresh. Two thumbs up! Read more about my experience here.

Duck Banh Mi (Cafe Bunn Mi): I’ve eaten a lot of banh mi’s in my lifetime, but the Duck Banh Mi at Cafe Bunn Mi definitely wins for elevated comfort food. Located in the heart of San Francisco, this hipster joint serves up made to order banh mi’s. For $13.04 it’s pricey, but the duck meat is just so incredibly juicy and succulent, and paired with the fluffy baguette and tangy slaw it was a masterpiece. *Chefs Kiss* Read more yelp reviews here.

Thrift Shop (Goodwill – San Francisco): It’s always a hit of miss when you go thrift shopping, but this particular Goodwill in San Francisco has a LOT of really cool things. At least at the time of my visit they had a good number of vintage and maybe items that might have been used as costumes or theater performances. Prices are more moderate/high range for thrift shopping, but I will definitely be back since their inventory looked pretty unique.

$$$: Tapas (La Mar Cebicheria Peruana)

$$$ Splurge

Tapas (La Mar Cebicheria Peruana): Wow! The setting at La Mar is very impressive as it has a beautiful view of the bay. Thankfully, my friend and I got reservations at this San Francisco establishment as it was a poppin’ place! We tried their San Francisco Restaurant Week Menu ($75 Dinner) and we got to try a little bit of everything. The Roquitas (Rock Shrimp wrapped with crisp squid ink tempura) was my absolute favorite (which is on their regular menu for $26) followed by the peruvian chocolate mousse. If you’re looking to impress clients or a date, this place will definitely help you up your game!

April Favorites were mostly in the Bay Area but stay tuned for May and June! May will have some gems in the Riverside/SD area and June hopefully will have many London discoveries (eeee!!)

Until Next Time,

Irene

February Favorites 2022

Wow! This is the latest I’ve ever been with a monthly favorite – so sorry for the delay! February just flew by. Nevertheless, I got to experience some delish eats so I’m happy to share them! Enjoy !

$ Bargain

Mochi (Shuei-Do Manju Shop): Authentic Japanese confectionary treats are always a fav of mine and the Butter Mochi at Shuei-Do Manju Shop in San Jose, CA was a star treat! A piece is $2 and most people will get a tray of at least 4, 6, 8 (or more). Check out my full review here.

Mochi (Sheui-Do Manju Shop)

$$ Moderately Priced

Fusion Breads (Bake Sum): Carbs are my weakness and the baked creations from Bake Sum, in Oakland, CA fed into my gluttony. They sell both sweet and savory breads, which individual servings in the $5 range. There was already a line, before the bakery opened so you know they’re good. See which breads were my favorites here.

Mini Cheesecake Poppers (Charlie’s Cheesecake Works): Honestly, I’m not a huge cheesecake person as they’re often super dense and sugary – not these! The dessert from Charlie’s Cheesecakes Works, in San Jose, CA are super light, fluffy and it has that “not too sweet” flavor to it. He’s got tons of flavors and a sampler pack ($15.50) which has a dozen 1oz bites is pretty much perfect. Read more here.

Pork Katsu Curry (Champion’s Curry): I pretty much eat ramen exclusively when I go to LA Little Tokyo, CA; however, on this occasion I visited Champion’s Curry and was actually really impressed. The Pork Katsu was moist and the curry has a little bit of a kick (more like spices that enhance the flavor, not burn your mouth spicy). It’s definitely a great place to bring large group. Read more here.

Pork Katsu Curry (Champion’s Curry), Fusion Bread (Bake Sume), Mini Cheesecake Poppers (Charlie’s Cheesecake Works)

$$$ Splurge

Pickled Veggies & Rice Bowl (Cultured Pickle Shop): I don’t know too much about pickled veggies other than it’s good for your gut health, but if you’re up for an educational and unique experience come visit Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, CA on the weekends. For $22 they put together an assortment of pickled veggies over rice for patrons to try their different products. Very healthy and it was a great way to try food prepared in this fashion! Read about my entire experience here.

Native American Food (Wahpepah’s Kitchen): If you want to be a part of a movement that supports tribal traditions and empowers women Wahpepah’s Kitchen, in Oakland, CA needs to be on your list. It was really awesome to hear everyone share stories about where the food comes from and the food was very earthly. Appetizers and entrees ranged from $5-$20, but I guarantee you you’ll probably want to try multiple items. Read my extensive review here.

First Three photos on the Left: Native American Food (Wahpepah’s Kitchen); Two photos on the right: Pickled Veggies & Rice Bowl (Cultured Pickle Shop)

Which of these look the most interesting to you?

Until Next Time,

Irene

Best of 2021 – Bargains and Splurges List!

It’s that time of year! Judgement day – lol. But in all honesty I traveled up and down California and visited various part of Arizona all of last year to find the best of the best! Come checkout my absolute favorites from 2021!

$ Bargain

Papaya Salad & Coconut Cakes (Mae Ting’s Coconut Cakes): Hands down the best papaya salad ($9)! This little stall in a LA Chinatown parking lot may not look like much but their food really packs a punch. Read more here. It was so good that I went back and had it again and successfully tried their coconut cakes ($6) for a dozen!

Sushi (Sakae Sushi): Authentic, sushi, and take-out aren’t usually words you see together often, but Sakae Sushi in Gardena, CA 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.

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.

Thrifted Goods (Society of St Vincent De Paul- Scottsdale): Hands down best thrift shop in Scottsdale, AZ. Everything is very reasonably priced and they have a cool bridal section if you’re in the market. If I come back to Phoenix I will definitely want to make a trip here. Read my complete review here.

$: Papaya Salad & Coconut Cakes (Mae Ting’s Coconut Cakes), Roast Pork Entree (New Lun Ting Cafe), Thrift Shopping (Society of St. Vincent De Paul – Scottsdale), & Sushi (Sakae Sushi)

$$ Moderate

Boba Drink (True Dan): This small 3 chain boba shop serves Taiwanese drinks with a twist. I visited the Burlingame, CA 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.

Salad (Flower Child – Gilbert): I make salad for lunch regularly, but I aspire to make salad like this! The butternut squash and organic pear salad has loads of delicious ingredients including candied pecan, cranberries, ricotta salata and more. The salad by itself is $10.95, but patrons can add a protein for an additional fee. Salmon would be my choice. There are multiple locations and this location is at Gilbert, AZ; read the full review here.

Chicken Soup (Lourdes): I doubt most people would go out of their way for soup, but the chicken soup here at Escondido, CA 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.

$$: Chicken Soup (Lourdes), Salad (Flower Child – Gilbert), Boba Drink (True Dan)

$$$ Splurge

Salmon Spinach Cream Udon (Udon Mugizo Mountain View): Among the different types of noodles Udon is probably my favorite. I usually have it with broth however, the Salmon Spinach Cream Udon at Udon Mugizo was definitely a highlight of this month. There are two locations for this restaurant – one in Japantown, CA and one in Mountain View, CA and while It is a bit of splurge for noodles ($18ish a bowl) it’s delicious! See my full review here to see why.

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.

Cream Puffs (@Puffs_SD): Honestly, these are some of the most beautiful cream puffs I’ve ever seen. I think a traditional flavor of that size costs roughly $2.50 and these are more at $4.33 each (but you need to buy in half dozen or full dozen increments). Nevertheless, the flavors are very unique and I would absolutely buy them again on my next San Diego, CA visit. Learn about the ordering process here.

$$$: Salmon Spinach Cream Udon (Udon Mugizo Mountain View), Cream Puff (@Puffs_SD), iphone13 pro (Apple Store)

These were my absolute favorites last year and I hope you’ll check them out in 2022!! What businesses did you discover and want everyone to know about? Comment below!

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

November Favorites 2021

I’m so thankful for getting to try so many different restaurants and experience wonderful places. Many of this months’ favorites are from my recent Arizona roadtrip that I took. Come check out my recs for my November favorites!

$: Arizona Humane Society Thrfit Shop; Society of St Vinent De Paul – Scottsdale

$ Bargain

Thrifted Goods (Society of St Vincent De Paul- Scottsdale): Hands down best thrift shop in Scottsdale, AZ. Everything is very reasonably priced and they have a cool bridal section if you’re in the market. If I come back to Phoenix I will definitely want to make a trip here. Read my complete review here.

Thrifted Goods (Arizona Humane Society Thrift Shop): This is another awesome second hand shop with great finds! You definitely need to dig but all purchases benefit fur babies and that alone is hard to beat. On this trip I bought a pair of Jimmy Choos for $2 (!!!!), a Banana Republic jumpsuit for $4, and brand new Talbots Gold Flats for $2. Click here to read more.

$$ from Left to Right First Row: French Cruller (Tourist Home Cafe), Italian Sandwich (Sedona Memories Cafe & Bakery), Salad (Flower Child); Second Row: Local Goods (Gilbert Farmers Market), Creme Brulee Donuts (The Local Donut), Historical Site (Montezuma’s Castle

$$ Moderate

French Cruller (Tourist Home Cafe): If I visit Flagstaff, AZ again I will definitely be back for these bad boys! They’re served daily until noon, but can sell out! so pick these up early. Read details here. It’s three bucks for one of these “donuts” – I say that because it’s more like a churro.

Creme Brulee Schmancy Donut (The Local Donut): One of the best donuts I’ve had period. Read all about this Phoenix, AZ favorite here. $3.50 for a little piece of heaven.

Historical Site (Montezuma Castle): What?! Not food? Honestly, the highlight of my Arizona adventure. It’s incredible to see how resourceful Indians were back then and to see it in person is remarkable. $10 admission. Read more here.

Salad (Flower Child – Gilbert): I make salad for lunch regularly, but I aspire to make salad like this! The butternut squash and organic pear salad has loads of delicious ingredients including candied pecan, cranberries, ricotta salata and more. The salad by itself is $10.95, but patrons can add a protein for an additional fee. Salmon would be my choice. There are multiple locations; read the full review here.

Italian Sandwich (Sedona Memories Cafe & Bakery): I was looking for a good lunch spot and this cafe popped up as a local favorite. The sandwich is HUGE, both in size and in flavor. Get the Italian and you won’t regret it. $9.95 for the sando. Read more here.

Local Goods (Gilbert Farmers Market): The variety of small business products is awesome here! Open 8am-12pm on Saturdays this is a popular spot to enjoy local and support small. I have a VERY lengthy review here that gives my picks and tips!

$$$: Chai Tea – Loose Leaf (Prickly Pear Tea Co); Tortilla (Benny Blanco)

$$$ Splurge

Handmade Tortilla (Benny Blanco): Damn! Fresh tortilla made with lard is delicious! For $7 for 6 large tortilla it’s definitely a splurge. I think you can get twice as many for two bucks or so at other places, but if you feel like indulging this would hit the spot. They’re working on shipping, but for now they can be found at the Gilbert Farmers Market. Check out their website here.

Tea (Prickly Pear Tea Co): It’s not often that I splurge on drinks (especially for myself) but for $20 for a bag of hand picked Prickly Pear (which is also very unique), I couldn’t help myself but get two. LOL I spoke to the owner, who I met at the Uptown Farmers Market in Phoenix, AZ and she said that they were contacted by Mayo Clinic as there’s immense benefits to consuming Prickly Pears! The Chai Prickly Pear is the best. They ship if you’re interested. Click here.

Which of these finds are you hoping to try?

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

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