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

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

Celebrating Magic and Splendor at the 51st Annual Academy of Magical Arts Awards Show in Hollywood, CA

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of the fanciest ceremonies to date – The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) Award Show.  This black tie event was hosted by the Magic Castle and recognized the contributions of magicians from far and wide. For my readers who are hearing about the Magic Castle for the first time, the Magic Castle is a private club housing magic performances from both local and international guests. Invites are restricted to members, associate members, and their guests; however, tickets for the AMA Awards were sold to the public around February (about two – three weeks before the event) if this black tie event is something you’re interested in attending in the future.

Guests were dressed to the nines and started checking in at 5pm. We were all greeted with the evening’s program book and escorted down the property to the event. Hor D’oeuvres were passed around and guests were welcomed to the self-serve buffet table which featured steak, salmon, roasted veggies, butternut squash ravioli, among other things. The ceremony began around 7pm and announced nominees and winners for various categories. Some of the guests in attendance included and Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and actress Bai Ling (The Crow).

The ceremony concluded at 9pm and guests were invited to enjoy the after party inside the Magic Castle. There were special performances in the various showrooms, a photo-booth, and complimentary desserts passed around. It was dare I say a magical evening and one for the books!

Have you been to the Magic Castle?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Seeing Celebrity Guest Sophie Turner and Getting the Latest Scoop from the Dark Phoenix Panel at Wondercon in Anaheim, CA

It’s no secret that Wondercon is my FAVORITE geek convention. I get to party with the pros (Batman’s 80th Bday Post), hear about the latest comic news, and cosplay.  One highlight from this year’s convention was attending the Dark Phoenix panel where I got a new poster (photo below) and an opportunity to hear the producer speak about the latest Xmen movie, Dark Phoenix.  However, the cherry on top (at that point) was seeing a 10 minute clip from the beginning of the movie!

Posters given to audience members

After the clip, the entire cast of the movie came out including: Sophie Turner (Dark Phoenix), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Alexandra Shipp (Storm) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler). The arena of guests were excited to see them and eager to hear about their experiences.

Sophie Turner (Dark Phoneix) and cast

Afterwards the audience was teased with a SECOND 10 minute clip from the movie. This time an action sequence showcasing Dark Phoenix’s true power. It seems that many female heroines are showing a great presence in the spotlight. I’d love to see a live action movie about Psylocke in the future! I mean who wouldn’t want to see an asian ninja assassin kick butt?!

Which lady comic character would you want to see on the big screen?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Hogs and Kisses from Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, CA

It’s the Year of the Pig and it is lit at the Hsi Lai Temple (3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA). Decked out in all things Red and Gold the usually calm and serene Buddhist Temple is a site to see during the weeks of the Lunar New Year. There’s various lanterns strung throughout the temple, and an assortment of pig and zodiac displays for tourists to photograph and enjoy. While I’m not Buddhist I can appreciate the festive and celebratory decorations and the sanctuary is free for all to roam around. My friend also informed me that the temple has a very affordable vegetarian buffet for $8 that’s open to the public. I came after a late dinner, so I’ll definitely need to come back to check it out and hopefully be inspired by other vegetarian options to incorporate into my diet. After all 2019 is the year for a healthy body, mind, and soul.

What kind of changes are you making in 2019?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All” at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

Geek conventions are a great place to buy merchandise, watch panels, and see amazing cosplay! But one thing that differentiates Anime Los Angeles (ALA) from the other nerd gatherings is ribbon trading, an activity where you complete a task or trivial and in exchange get a ribbon to add to your badge.

Pokemon Gym Leaders

Anyone can participate in the ribbon trading and there are certain groups of individuals who work collectively to make the ribbon trading activity a scavenger hunt. One of the best groups is the Pokemon Group and this year they focused on Team Rocket Recruitment. Attendees would checkin at the “Pokemon Center” and be given a starter Pokemon (their first Pokemon ribbon). I started with Larvitar, a Rock/Ground Pokemon and needed to find other Gym Leaders (individuals with the Red and White Pokemon Button) to “battle” and collect more ribbons.

2019 Pokemon Rocket Challenge

Once you collect at least 14 of the 18 Pokemon types, you can see “The Boss” and collect the last badge – Pokemon 2019 Champion! It’s a fun activity to take part-in and it’s makes for a really cool souvenir.

Who would be your starter Pokemon?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Debuting My New Hero Cosplay at the “My Hero Academia” Photo Shoot at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario, CA

Over the weekend I attended Anime Los Angeles (ALA), a three day convention in Ontario, CA. While many conventions focus on celebrity guests appearances (Justice League SDCC post, Marvel SDCC post) or powerhouse media companies (VIZ Media @ Anime Expo Post), the cosplayers are the stars of this convention. Roughly 60% of attendees cosplayed and with My Hero Academia debuting a Season 4 later in 2019, there was an enormous hero and villian presence at ALA. I participated in one of the conventions largest cosplay meetup as Momo Yaoyorozu – Class 1A’s Vice President in her hero outfit (My Hero Casual Meetup post).

Meetup photos

As one of the first conventions of the new year, many cosplayers use this convention to debut new outfits. Personally, I spent my winter break sewing my belt and styling my wig and was happy to share my finished project. There were well over 200 cosplayers at the meetup and while I knew there would be an abundance of Deku, Shoto, and Bakugos, I was most surprised by the number of attendees who dressed as Deku’s mom! 

It’s always great to see others dress up as your favorite characters and I can appreciate the care and craftsmanship that goes behind the design.

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

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Ringing in the Holidays at Macy’s 71st Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, GA

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches…  There’s nothing more magical than the moment when you trim a tree then light it up, yet the Macy’s 71st Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony they did that and so much more.

The evening tree lighting extravaganza had a fun filled program complete with special performances and two stages in the Macy’s parking lot.  The annual event was hosted by anchors Jovita Moore and Zach Klein of Channel 2 WSB-TV and filmed live to kick-off the holidays!

Francesca Battistelli, Adrienne Bailon Houghton & husband Israel Houghton, and Kyla Jade

There were many special performances from celebrity singers including Adrienne Bailon Houghton (previously Disney Cheetah Girl) and husband Israel Houghton, Francesca Battistelli (popular Christian singer), Russell Dickerson (handsome country superstar), and Kyla Jade (“The Voice” contestant on Team Blake). They sang holiday classics as well as music from their albums. Additionally the Macy’s All-Star Choir sang a few pieces and Santa also made a festive visit!

Macy’s Tree Lighting

Once the stage performances commenced fireworks lit up the sky laying the perfect backdrop for the lighting of the Macy’s Christmas Tree. It was a magical evening and it really highlighted the joys of this wonderful season.

How do you kick off your winter festivities?

 

 

XOXO.

Rockstar

Disney fun at Los Angeles Comic Con (Sunday) and New Disney Cosplay Reveal?!

Disney has been a big part of my life growing up so when I debuted my Violet Parr cosplay at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC post) this past summer, I was excited about all the upcoming Disney gathering and photo shoots since I’ve mainly done DC characters.

Disney Group Shoot

LACC seemed like forever ago (See Marvel post, and Street Fighter post), but a few photographers posted some shots of my Violet Parr cosplay and I was reached out by Kids Can Cosplay, a nonprofit organization to portray her in an upcoming holiday meet-and-greet event benefiting at-risk kids. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog about it since it’s a private event and I’d want to be sensitive about minors and their financial status, but we shall see if I can do the adult cosplayers!

Me, Disney Princesses, Nightmare Before Christmas

I’ve always so impressed by the Disney cosplayers and the Princess group always seemed so much fun, so… for 2019 I’m going to debut a NEW Disney cosplay and it’s going to be a Disney Princess!! *gasp*

Disney Pixar Characters

Can you guess which Disney princess I’m working on? I’ll give you a hint, she’s sassy and will have a live action movie coming up! Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Heros and Villians Compete at the U.A. Sports Festival in Huntington Beach, CA

I’m aware that conventions attract the biggest comic geeks such as Los Angeles Comic Con (Day 1, Day 2) etc, but the fandom for My Hero Academia is on a whole other level. At Anime Expo & SDCC  fans waited hours to see the show’s creator. Suffice to say there will be a Season 4 and I’m sure many more seasons after that. There’s an arc in the earlier seasons where the first year students competed in various competitions  called the U.A. Sports Festival and Cosplayers Undercovercottonswab and Libbubblescosplay hosted a similar competition at Huntington Beach!

U.A. Medals; U.A, Teachers and Sports Festival Hosts

It was a beautiful sunny day and this casual event was hosted right on the beach. Fans of the anime came from far and wide, some in cosplay and some in beach-gear to experience the U.A. Tournament. There were various mini competitions such as the limbo, and jump rope, but everyone was eagerly anticipating the relay-style race to the finish and the contenders were wait for it… heros versus villians!

Hero Cosplayers

I had a great time meeting others who also love this anime series and was proud of myself for styling my characters wig (2 hours and a whole can of hairspray later… lol). The things we do for characters we love.

Do you watch/read My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite character? Momo Yaoyorozu’s mine

 

XOXO,

Rockstar