Best of 2022 – Bargains and Splurges List!

After months of exploring locally and across the pond I’ve compiled my absolute favorite finds from 2022! Be sure to bookmark these spots for 2023!

$ 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.

Thrift (Veteran’s Thrift): I was looking for a few basic items for an upcoming costume and found several very fair priced items at the Veteran’s Thrift Shop in Chula Vista, CA (San Diego). You’ll need to dig, but there were gems to be found! Read more here.  

Dragonfruit lemonade (Healthy Juice): I’ve walked past this fruit cart several times when I visited LA Chinatown and thought to try them out. They allow guests to sample their beverages and mix them up! I decided on a dragon fruit and lemonade/chia seed concoction and it was so refreshing! I think regular was $4 and large was $5 – which is a steal considering they use all fresh fruit! You can check out their IG here.

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.

$$ 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.

Baked Catfish Springrolls (Nam Giao Restaurant): Everyone inside this Garden Grove, CA restaurant was Vietnamese so I figured this was a local favorite. My friend and I shared a Medium Catfish (which I think was $40ish), though we probably could have gotten away with a Small, carved the flesh and plopped it into our Vietnamese burrito. Read full review 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.

Falafel Bowl (Sababa Falafel Shop): 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.

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.

$$$ Splurge

Sashimi (Sushi Ota): This San Diego, CA sushi bar has been on my bookmarks for a long time and finally I got to cross it off! I did a omakase ($130), and while everything was tasty, the sashimi was to die for! The raw seafood is definitely worth a visit. Read about my entire experience here and tips here!

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.

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 1Part 2Part 3) on IG. Maybe one day I’ll do a dedicated post on the dishes Chef Rafael presented in a future post.

Until Next Time,

Irene

December Favorites 2022

These are a few of my favorite things… Enjoy!

$ Bargain

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

$$ Moderate

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

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

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

$$$ Splurge

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Irene

November Favorites 2022

Here are my November favorites!

$ Bargain

Kimbap (Sodam): If you’re looking for an inexpensive, light snack the Fishcake Kimbap at Sodam in Dublin, CA will fit the bill. A tray of the homemade rolls go for around $7.50. Read about my entire experience here.

$$ Moderate

Baked Catfish Springrolls (Nam Giao Restaurant): Everyone inside this Garden Grove, CA restaurant was Vietnamese so I figured this was a local favorite. My friend and I shared a Medium Catfish (which I think was $40ish), though we probably could have gotten away with a Small, carved the flesh and plopped it into our Vietnamese burrito. Read full review here.

Fried Fish & Clam Chowder (The Codfather): My favorite find during my last minute Vegas trip is The Codfather in Henderson, NV. I ordered the Haddock for $12.50 and it was probably the best fried fish I’ve ever had. The meat was so buttery and the fried exterior has a nice crisp taste to it. Chowder was awesome as well. Read all about it here.

$$$ Splurge

Mediterranean Food (Desert Moon Grill): If you want truly authentic Middle Eastern Food, Desert Moon Grill in Anaheim is some of socal’s best. I ordered a Mix plate which has a little bit of everything for $29.99 and it was devine. Read my full review here.

Blossam (Jangmo): If you want authentic and tasty Korean food, that’s not bbq and tofu, Jangmo in La Palma has some really great traditional comfort dishes. My favorite was the Blossam, which is pork belly and veggies. You eat them like a korean burrito. They’re meant to be an appetizer and shared, but I ate that as my meal lol. I think it’s around $30 for the plate. My full writeup is here.

Hotel (Madonna Inn): I’ve driven by the Madonna Inn sign several times on past roadtrips and decided to spend a night there to check it out. I picked the Wilhelm Tell Room, which has an apple motif and a rock waterfall shower (very very cool). It was $407.47 a night including all the fees. Read all about my experience here.

Smoked Tea Duck (Z & Y Restaurant): Located in SF Chinatown this Michielin recognized Szechuan restaurant has a fabulous duck that you have to try. The bird itself was $28.95 plus an extra $10 for the wrap and condiments. So worth it. See what other things I tried there as well here!

Strawberry Shortcake (Bakery 101): $55 for a 8 inch cake is on the high side for me, but if you’re looking for that not too sweet classy dessert to serve your Asian family and/or friends this will not disappoint. Located in Santa Ana (it’s very closer to South Coast Plaza actually), this Japanese French style bakery has some amazing cake! See my full writeup here.

Until Next Time,

Irene

October Favorites 2022

Hi everyone!

To be honest October wasn’t a great month for discoveries. I’ve been swamped with personal and work responsibilites, so going has been rather limited. The couple of hole-in-the-wall shops that I did visit were very mediocre or bad, and I had a couple of problems with commissions, so this month will highlight my tried and true go-tos!

Top Row: Brodard; Bottom Row: Meal Prep Sunday

$$ Moderate

Spring Rolls (Brodard): When I feel like eating something light and consistently good I always resort to Brodards. I think I’ve been here three times just this month. Based in Fountain Valley, CA this mom n’ pop shop is a local favorite among the Vietnamese community. They did increase their price slightly to 4 pork spring rolls are $10, but it’s well worth the price.

Ready to go meals (Meal Prep Sunday): I’ve been working a lot of long hours in the office since this month is peak college application season and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to meal prep regularly. Regardless, this San Diego, CA delivery service makes healthy organic meals and delivers them to the Southern California area on Sunday morning. Each meal is roughly $12 and I’ve been doing either 5 (lunch) or 10 (lunch & dinner) depending on the week. The flavors are good and I’m glad that I get to eat something different for each meal (versus when I cook I’m eating the same thing for several days). You can check them out here.

The month of November should be much better and I should be able to highlight some amazing hidden gems as I have Norcal roadtrip planned and several spots bookmarked. So stay tuned!

Until Next Time,

Irene

August Favorites 2022

Honestly, I’ve been doing a lot of prep work for the new school year and upcoming cosplay projects, so I haven’t explored as much as I had in previous months. Regardless, I found three for this month’s favorites. Enjoy!

$ Bargain

Thrift (Veteran’s Thrift): I was looking for a few basic items for an upcoming costume and found several very fair priced items at the Veteran’s Thrift Shop in Chula Vista, CA (San Diego). You’ll need to dig, but there were gems to be found! Read more here.  

$$ Moderate

Tom Yum Soup (Phucket Noodle): Most people don’t think to try Thai food in LA Chinatown, but this stall really gave me Thailand vibes with the whole setup. $8 for a filling Tom Yum soup was a way for me to enjoy lunch. Read more here.  

$$$ Splurge

Sashimi (Sushi Ota): This San Diego, CA sushi bar has been on my bookmarks for a long time and finally I got to cross it off! I did a omakase ($130), and while everything was tasty, the sashimi was to die for! The raw seafood is definitely worth a visit. Read about my entire experience here and tips here!

Until Next Time,

Irene

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

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