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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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): 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.
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!
I’ll be honest I forgot about March, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find some amazing things! Come check them out below!
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.
Coats (Salvation Army): Among the chain thrift stores Salvation Army is one of my favorites as the prices are reasonable. For some reason I don’t typically frequent this Huntington Beach, CA location and it has a 2 star yelp rating, but on my recent visit I scored two coats for $10 each (they were having a random 50% all clothes deal that day). One is by the brand Miss Sixty and the other is a Cole Hann Wind Breaker. Total score! This is the location I visited.
$$ Moderately Priced
Chicken Burger w/ Mushroom & Cheese + Fries (World Cafe): I’ve never had Persian/Iranian food so when I saw this perfect five star rating on yelp I wanted to see if this small mom n’ pop joint in Glendale, CA lived up to the hype. It definitely did and aside from the food being incredibly flavorful they’re open late and on Sundays (which is super rare). For the burger and fries it was about $10. Read my full review here.
No splurges this month lol
March was super busy with work and activities so my finding were more sparse; however, I know that for April’s entry there will have a TON of hidden gems as I have many bookmarks to checkoff for my birth-month!
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!
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.
$$ 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.
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.
It was muggy and moist on the last day of my Midwest Roadtrip and my friend and I didn’t want to go into Chicago proper to explore. Additionally we were scheduled to fly out of O’Hare Airport in the late afternoon so we decided to checkout Little Italy, Pison and other neighborhoods instead. I typed in “thrift” in a couple of search engines as another activity since we had already visited three food destinations and found Village Discount Outlet as a spot to spend some time before eating again. lol
Wow! This chain thrift shop is uh-mazing, and had I known sooner that they had multiple locations and how massive it was I would have probably dedicated entire DAYS to just thrifting. Holy Cow! This warehouse location was massive and there were TWO FLOORS with aisles upon aisles of clothes, household goods, shoes, toys – you name it! and the prices were very VERY reasonable. On top of that if your item had a tag of a particular color there were additional discounts – SCORE!!! I had about 45 minutes to shop, but considering the size of the store I had to speed through my usual sections. I found a several cute dresses, but were slightly big on me including a Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, and BCBG brand. I settled on a black Batgirl dress that I planned to wear during a Batman Afterparty at SDCC (I got a LOT of compliments on it). There were some minor alterations that needed to be done, but for $3.50 I was willing to do some hand-sewing! I also bought the pink and white summer bag in the photo above for $5. Not bad considering the time constraint as well as luggage space. lol
Dresses and bags are always things I look for when thrifting. What kind of gems do you love finding?
Village Discount Outlet
2032 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Over the weekend I decided to check out a few local thrift shops to find some hidden gems. It was cold and dreary, but that didn’t stop me or other thrifters from scoring some major deals. I started my day at the Assistance League in Huntington Beach (Thrift Shop; 8071 Slater Ave # 145, Huntington Beach, CA 92647) and found this new with tags LulaRoe stripped dress for $8! They usually go for $40+ and I also scored a pair of new slacks (not pictured) for $12 (org. $98). I spent more than I usually do when thrifting, but all the proceeds go towards a variety of philanthropic programs, which is a win-win for me!
LuLuRoe Dress and Banana Republic Jacket with Tags
Next I headed to Cross Roads Trading Company (19021 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA 92648), which is a for profit thrift shop. They had more trendy, day to day type of outfits available, but I found this Banana Republic Navy Blue Suit jacket for half-off their selling price and for a total of $13 – it even had the original tags that said $113 and fit perfectly on me! Score!!
My last pit stop was at the Salvation Army in Fountain Valley (Yelp Page; 16119 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, 92708). This thrift shop has an enormous variety of items ranging from furniture to shoes. Additionally, the pricing is very reasonable and I found this near identical light purple purse to accompany one of my favorite cosplays – Lois Lane. And at $4.50 – it was well worth the splurge.
When you’re window shopping what do you tend to look at? Dresses and jewelry are my favorite!
In the past I use to go monthly treasure hunting for bargains galore and when I’m traveling I try to hit up at least one charity shop to find some hidden gems. My trip to Georgia was no different and The Drake House mission statement in providing shelter and education for women and children, it was a worthy cause to support.
I started my day at the Drake Closet Alpharetta location and when driving by I felt like I was going to someone’s house and upon entering it was as if I was shopping in someone’s closet. The set-up was very spacious and clean, with a purple and white color pallet. Most pre-loved garments shared the same sticker price, but some higher end designers were individually tagged in their boutique section ($20 starting price). Brands included mid-to-high designers including Banana Republic, J-Crew, Michael Kors, and Sherri Hill with prices ranging starting at $7 and most regular priced items falling around the $10 range.
The price-point is a tad-higher than what I have paid for in comparable charity shops, but the store presentation and variety of clothes made the experience fun and enjoyable. I had such a great experience that I visited two of their three locations.
26 Old Roswell St, Alpharetta, GA 30009
6030 Sandy Springs Cir, Sandy Springs, GA 30328
825 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA 30075
Alpharetta had the biggest selection and Roswell branch didn’t distinguish the garments early as closely as Alpharetta. Overall, if you’re looking to diversify your closet or find something fabulous to wear for 2019 check out Drake’s before dishing out some serious dough at the mall.
I wear many Banana Republic garments, but I love Betsey Johnson pieces! What are some of your favorite fashion brands?
So sorry for missing a week of posts. It’s just been busy and I’ve only got $20 in my pocket… Okay, so maybe I used a card, but I was super impressed in all the things I bought last weekend when I decided to see what I could find with a strict budget. It’s been ages since I’ve gone thrift shopping and while I usually have obligations and events to attend during the weekend, I decided to check out some old spots that I use to frequent and see what hidden treasure I could find.
I started my day at Artwalk store closing sale and bought two holiday pins for $.50 a piece then headed to NCLTicktockers (yelp) Sidewalk sale. Typically you’d go inside their store and all items have priced according to what category they belonged to; however, on that day they were switching out their summer for fall items hence the huge sidewalk sale. I came around noon and they announced that everything was going to be half off! Woo!! Talk about massive savings!
After picking up a few NEW tights, and other random things, I headed to Deja New (yelp)- another favorite shop in Irvine. I didn’t find anything on this occasion, but if you’re looking for quality clothes they have a great selection. My last stop was Salvation Army (yelp) in Fountain Valley and boy did they have some interesting things. This store truly is a gold mine and on that day all clothes were an additional 50% off. There was a random couch perfect for therapy and lots of really interesting cat items. meow?
What I ended up getting…
4 tan convertible tights (Bloch) – NEW
2 fishnet stockings (Capezio) – NEW
1 tan convertible tights (Body Wrappers) – NEW
2 holiday pins
10 papyrus holiday cards
1 college sweatshirt
1 plaid shirt (for cowgirl spirit day)
2 college tshirts
1 100% wool hat
It was definitely a fruitful haul and while every trip isn’t always, I think I was excited that I not only could save money but also that my dollar contributed to an organization that helps others. It’s a win win!
What was your best bargain item bought and for how much?
Goodness gracious!! It’s been months since I last blogged and I am so sorry that I’ve been gone for so long. It’s been kind of crazy juggling daily visits to the hospital (grandmother’s not doing well) during the college- application season (I work in a HS) among other challenging obligations. But enough with the excuses… here’s the 411 on my frugal adventures!
1) I chopped off all my hair for $20 and donated it to Locks of Love– a non-profit that provides wigs for children with cancer. For all my local readers out there, I went to Bebe Salon (Yelp Review) in Garden Grove and got my hair washed, cut and styled for an Andrew Jackson. Yes!
2) Today I dropped off two Christmas shoeboxes (Instagram photo) for Operation Christmas Child filled with hygiene products, school supplies, and toys for one special boy and girl in a “to-be-determined” country. I paid for shipping online, so my box will be tracked. Can’t wait to see where it ends up I only wished that I had stocked up during the various Back-to-School sales in September. Next year!
3) Shopping: To be honest, I haven’t really gone shopping or even thrift shopping in a while. I’ve been extremely consumed by work and extremely exhausted, but in October I was invited to two private shopping events at Deja New in Costa Mesa, CA and boy did I really hit the jackpot.
On both visits There were special discounts on boots, dresses, and pants. In addition if you made a $10 purchase you automatically qualify for a $5 discount, say what?! Yeah, I was completely shocked by the merchandise available. They had some amazing outfits and the prices were seriously hard to beat. In the first outfit I scored this rockin’ Cynthia Steffe dress with a front exposed zipper and chunky pair of Burgundy BCBG shoes. This is such a fun outfit for a night out on the town.
My second outfit was actually one that my mom picked out. This adorable drop waist olive dress paired with these high Naturalizer chocolate riding boats is such a girly Fall look that is reminiscent of what an anime character might wear, or perhaps I’m watching too many Sailor Moon episodes, haha…
On my second trip I made it a priority to arrive early to snag as many jewelry pieces possible, since I saw a “All jewelry is $1” on their website. Sweet! And my second visit to Deja New was no less stellar than my first. I scored a girly Betsey Johnson necklace, Cookie Lee pieces, and items that could have easily been returned to Macy’s (tags still on!). These are definitely accessories that would easily glam up any outfit.
In the third outfit I am wearing Calvin Klein from head to toe. The rich eggplant one shoulder dress paired with the classic black pumps make for an elegant and sophisticated evening attire. I just hope that there’s a classy event to showcase this little number. I also scored a pair of Ed Hardy jeans and a pair of Alice and Olivia slacks (not pictured), but they need to be shortened as well as a pair of Stuart Weitzmen tortoise heals- super adorable (instagram photo)!
I’m thinking about hosting my own private Deja New Party as the proceeds help put women back to work and the items they sell really is top notch. And of course all good parties have rockin music and light Hors D’oeuvres to entertain the savvy shoppers.
Are you game for a Deja New Party (in Costa Mesa) with Yu Bargain Rockstar? If yes, when should I host? Sound away below!